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“Beautiful but crowded!”

Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve
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3-Day Private Tour of Jiuzhaigou From Chengdu With Flight
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Owner description: Jiuzhaigou Valley, eulogized as a world of magical fairytale, has for years enchanted tourists with its mountains and luxuriant forests, colorful lakes, gushing waterfalls and abundant wildlife. To its south is the Huanglong (Yellow Dragon Scenic Area). Jiuzhaigou Valley is located in Nanping County, 450 kilometers (about 280 miles) to the north of Chengdu City, Sichuan, covers a total area of 720 square kilometers and the valley is 50 kilometers in length. In 1992, UNESCO entered this scenic area onto the world natural heritage list.Jiuzhaigou, literally the Nine Village Valley, is hence known for the nine Tibetan villages within its boundary, Inhabited by Tibetans, the nine villages and alpine lakes, are like reflecting mirrors or crystal jade blocks inlaid in snow mountains and forests.
Reviewed 11 May 2012

Went with a tour group. Tour bus stopped us at a carpark (no tour buses allowed past a certain point), and thereafter we had to walk for about 15-20min along the sidewalk and through a tunnel to the entrance - my elderly parents found it tiring on the return trip after a long day of sightseeing in Jiuzhaigou.
The natural landscape in Jiuzhaigou is stunning, but perhaps my expectations were very high so it didn't seem as beautiful as I imagined. The special feature of Jiuzhaigou is the colour of its lakes, which I don't think you can find anywhere else in the world. The mountains are OK, nothing fantastic. Nuorilang waterfall didn't have much water going when we visited, Pearl Shoals waterfalls was better.
There were great crowds of Chinese tourists even when I went 1 week before the 1 May Labour Day holiday. There is a cap of 12,000 tourists a day, but this is not enforced I think, and the tour guide says during peak periods, the park can see 25,000 tourists a day. The noise from the crowds (more perceptible at Long Lake and Pearl Shoals Waterfall) and jostling on paths detracts from a lovely holiday experience.
We were brought to a 2 storey cafeteria for lunch. You buy a card for entry to a buffet lunch. We went relatively early, and already there was some jostling at the turnstile to get into the cafeteria. Crowds of tourists arrived 20 min later, and there was a lot of jostling at the food counters to get rice. Some of my tour mates paid more and went to a Korean restaurant near the cafeteria and reported that the food was quite good.
The toilets in the park are quite well-maintained.

4  Thank enokilover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 May 2012

The scenery is beautiful and the whole area a delight to visit. It's very well planned with private buses to move people around the park and miles of well constructed wooden pathways. Opportunities for photography are excellent and one can choose how much walking to do.
The altitude is quite high and we did experience a little bit of light headedness occasionally if we overdid things.
The queues for the buses are also quite an experience since the Chinese people become very physical and there is a lot of pushing and shoving, not for the faint hearted!

2  Thank Cymro33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2012

It's all about expectations. We had spoken with many relatives who said that Jiuzhaigou was just spectacular. And indeed it was beautiful, with clear, emerald green lakes, big granite mountains, and many waterfalls.

However, we expected something more akin to Yosemite National Park which we have visited over a dozen times in California. Jiuzhaigou's granite mountains are not nearly as majestic as Yosemite's, and the waterfalls are miniature in comparison. But if you don't have those expectations, I think you will enjoy the beauty, especially compared to what you see in the typical big city in China. And the Tibetan villages which dot the park make it all the more interesting.

Because of other commitments, we only had two half-days to enjoy the park--a very expensive way to go since our private tour had to include full priced entry and bus tickets for ourselves and our guide each day. I think there is a special rate for the second day, but that starts later in the season.

The buses that take you around the park are a must if you have limited time or can't physically go on extended hikes. They are frequent but crowded, as this is a very popular attraction among Chinese tourists. The large and mini buses all include narration by a live guide in native dress, but the narration is all in Chinese. So if you don't speak Chinese, make sure you read up on the park ahead of time (the signs are all in Chinese and English), and get one of the free English maps at the visitor center.

As in any mountainous region, the weather can be somewhat unpredictable. It was quite warm our first day--in the high 70s Farenheit. But it snowed overnight and was so snowy the next day, that the road to the other leg of the "Y" that we planned to see was closed. The snow actually made the park even more beautiful since it gave the otherwise barren deciduous tree branches a nice winter coating. If we have the opportunity, we'd love to come back in the September/October time frame when the trees show off their fall foliage.

4  Thank castriker888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2012

Be careful in Jiuzhaigou :
- 30% of the park is not accessible or under work (in april 2012)
- total cost to go there (plane, park entrance, hotal, bus...) doesn't worth it
- millions of chinese go there just as in Disneyland, without respect to nature, silence and the beauty of this park
Nevertheless, the valley scenery are beautiful

3  Thank gorgu1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2012

Likes: Beautiful lakes, scenery, and well maintained paths
Dislikes: Mainland tourists and their disrespect for nature (stay on the paths, and stop shouting/littering!)

1  Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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