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“Breathtaking view! But too many people.”

Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve
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3 Day Private Tour of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong by Minivan
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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 28 July 2014

The view is magnificent!

But, too many people! Very noisy and you cant really enjoy the view peacefully with that much of people. Long waiting time for the bus, saw someone spit into the water, put their legs into water!

Thank Backpacker8912
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 July 2014

If you have looked at pictures, read the guide books and reviews, you already know that this is a special place, so let's get that out of the way: it is one of the most spectacular places you will ever see. However, the entire experience can be ruined if you are not well prepared and plan accordingly.

1. You NEED TWO DAYS: This is an expensive park, at 310 Yuan (including bus you must take) per day per person, it is the most expensive natural park I have ever visited. But, if you have come all the way to Jiuzhaigou, this is not the time or place to be cheap. Considering the cost of getting here, another $50 for the second day is nothing (If you are a student, bring ID, you will get a significant discount). More importantly, regardless of what others say, this park CANNOT be properly seen in one day. Doing so would require you not to walk at all, take the bus from lake to lake , take pictures and leave. If you do that, you have just ruined what otherwise could be a very pleasant trip. In summary, plan for at least two days at Jiuzhaigou (and at least another day for Huang Long).

2. ARRIVE EARLY: Be in the park by the time it opens at 7:30. There will be huge crowds, but the ticket lines go fast, and you will have more time in the park.

3. HOW TO STAY LATE: Even though the park closes at 6:30, they will start pushing people out around 5 PM by closing many of the boardwalks (See below). They are extremely efficient in getting people out by 6:30, at which time the buses stop running. However, you can simply skip over a barrier that blocks a boardwalk, or pass a guy who stands there (they do not like confrontation with tourists, so they will let you go). Then, you can stay in the park much longer. However, be aware that you may have to walk out (and that is a looong walk). On the other hand, several minibuses drive around and locals may also pick up folks left in the park after hours.

4. YOU CANNOT GET OFF THE BOARDWALK: Unlike the parks in the US or elsewhere, where you can wonder as you will, that is not the case here. The park has an impressive 100+km of meticulously well maintained boardwalks, on which you must walk. But again, so do tens of thousands of other people who will be there the same day. This may diminish your ability to enjoy the sites, so be prepared.

5. HOW TO SEE EVERYTHING: All the lakes and waterfalls are beautiful, so try to make sure to see them all. You will have the ability to do so, if you stay two days in the park. On day 1, do the right leg of the Y (look at the map, and you will see what I mean), starting at Primeval Forest, walking down to Swan lake. Then take the bus to Arrow Bamboo and walk your way down to Mirror Lake via Panda Lake, Five Flower Lake and Pearl Shoal. When you pass the Panda Lake, make sure to go UP to see the Five Flower Lake from above: this is the most spectacular view in the park, period. On day 2, go up the left side of the Y to see the Long Lake and Colorful Lake. On the way back, stop at the Tibetan village near the Nuorilang Tourist center, followed by the Nuorilang Waterfalls - the largest in the park. Then walk as much as you can down the bottom leg of the Y.

6. TOILETS, FOOD and SOUVENIR SHOPS: Toilets are plenty, clean and well-maintained, however, no soap. Food is served primarily at the Nuorilang Center, with three buffet options to choose from. There are also many souvenir shops there, but nothing you cannot find elsewhere. Do not waste your time at the souvenir shops. Too many pretty lakes and waterfalls.

7. IF WEATHER IS CLOUDY / RAINY: Lucky you!!! Yes, the park is beautiful under sunny skies, but it is no less spectacular under rain or clouds. The clouds will create a much mystical view that is as stunning as sunny weather. There are two additional primary advantages to cloudy / rainy weather: The colors will pop even more and your photographs will be even more stunning, and most importantly, the crowds will disappear. I am not sure how this happens, but when it starts raining, it feels like most people hide someplace (and pop-up when the sun comes back). You will then have that serene, peaceful moment with you and the nature alone. This is another reason to come for two days, the weather changes is often, so you are more likely to get a sunny and a cloudy day.

8. SIMILARITIES WITH YOSEMITE: Many people compare Jiuzhaigou to Yosemite National Park in California, USA. I have visited Yosemite over half a dozen times, and it is - in my mind - the most beautiful park of its kind. Yes, there are similarities between Jiuzhaigou and Yosemite: they both of lakes and waterfalls. The lakes at Jiuzhaigou are more stunning (and many and connected to each other), whereas the waterfalls at Yosemite are by far more spectacular (and taller) than the ones in Jiuzhaigou. Yosemite is a much better value at $20 per car (up to 4 people) for a WEEK, as opposed to $50 per person per day with Jiuzhaigou. More importantly, you are almost guaranteed to see wild life at Yosemite, and you are guaranteed NOT to see any wildlife at Jiuzhaigou (people get all too excited when they see a squirrel). Also, you are free to wonder around at Yosemite and explore the wilderness as you will. You are not allowed to leave the boardwalks at Jiuzhaigou, and there is no wilderness to explore. Jiuzhaigou will feel a lot more crowded as a result. Nevertheless, if you are in Sichuan Province, you would be stupid not to visit Jiuzhaigou, whether it is similar to Yosemite or not.

9. HOTELS in the AREA: Plentiful and at all budget options. Stay as close as possible to the park entrance, so that you can just walk in (and not spend precious time traveling to/from the park).

In short, it is a spectacular place, it is just that you need to plan your time well ahead of time

44  Thank DincerP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014 via mobile

Visited the Jiuzhaiguo National in June. In the park, we chartered a private bus at ¥250 pp as opposed to taking the public buses. You have to push your way up the public bus and you have to get down at each stop. Eaxh stop brings you to a scenic locality and after you have enjoyed the sights, you join the queue for the next bus to bring you to the next stop. Taking a chartered bus gives you the flexibility to go to any stops you desire obviate the need to queue and rush for a bus. Jiuzhaiguo has many breathtaking waterfalls and pristine lakes. Every waterfall and lake is a good photoshoot. The local tourists form 95% of the visitors and everywhere is crowded. With the crowd, one has to contend with others to catch a good shot. As usual, the locals has little sense of practicing courtesy in giving way whether be it taking turbs for photos at choice spots or queueing on buses. One has to be patient and not lose one's cool. On the plus side, Jiuzhaiguo may be one of the few places in China where 'no smoking' and 'no littering' rules are observed strictly. This helps to preserve its natural beauty. For meals, there is a central eating hall where buffet is served for a small fee. One buys a ticket and enter the hall via the entrance where tickets are checked. Will I go again? Well, this kind of trip is good for once. I'll recommend that it should be on a person's bucket list if he has the means.

Thank King55Serangoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014

We took a flight from Chengdu to jiuzhaigou. The first thing that I saw when we were approaching the airport at Songpan was the mountain ranges. As it is now summer, the daylight is long. It was still bright when we landed around 7.30 pm local time so we had a good view of the surroundings as we journeyed to our Hotel which is one and half hours from the airport.
It was a good idea we arrived in the evening because it gave us some time to acclimatize ourselves to the altitude. We could feel that we were slightly breathless when we walked too fast.
We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel which is 1/2 hours ride from the natural reserve. It is important that you make arrangements for transport to the reserve the day before as it is important for you to make the effort to get up early in the morning to be at the park by 7.30 am or before. The minute you reach there you will see crowds of people. Go straight to the building where tickets are sold. Do Not follow the crowd who are waiting for their tour guides.
At the ticket counter get ready students ID ( iff applicable) because students get discounts. The other thing I find really worth the money is instead of buying the ¥90 Hop on hop off bus ticket go for the smaller van which takes only 20 people max. It cost ¥300 more per person irregardless of age. This fee includes a tour guide ( mandarin speaking). The advantage of this is that you get to see interesting and most of the "important" sites in a day. So you will not need to go there agin on the second day which will cost you another ¥220 (entrance)+¥90 ( bus fare).It is impossible for you to cover the left and the right side of the reserve if you take the hop on bus as the queues are very long and the distance between each site can be 20 minutes away.
As what everyone hs mentioned, you need to be a little bit rough to make sure you don't get shoved around whether waiting inline for tickets or a spot to take your photos.
Remember to take your hats, sunscreen, water, sunglasses as it was quite hot in the afternoon. The locals take snacks with them and sit where they can find shade to have their lunch as there is only one proper restaurant inside the reserve and the buffet cost between ¥60-138 depending on your budget. We took the ¥90 lunch . Nothing great but an experience since it served their normal fare. Don't go to the toilets at the restaurants. We find the toilets ( there are many) near to each attraction acceptable. You MUST bring your own tissue paper and sanitizer or wet wipes cos there's no soap either.
What makes it all worth it is the views of the lakes and waterfalls and the majestic mountain. We have never seen anything like this. The water is soooo clear. I just love the mountains which are partially enveloped by pieces of clouds in the mornings.
Do be wary of taxi drivers who try to coax you into going to tourists attractions which are tourists traps like the Jarpo ancient town. The taxi fare from airport to our hotel should cost only ¥200 but they said ¥300 because they are currently repairing the roads. We know for a fact that the locals only pay ¥200 the most.
Our flight back to Chengdu was at 3.30 pm but because of roads works, the road to the airport would be closed from 9 am to 3 pm so we had to leave for the airport before that happened so we left the hotel at 7.30 am in the morning. Luckily we were able to change to an earlier flight at the ticketing counter at the airport. For your information, apparently this road closure will be on going till sept this year. So do be prepared so that you will not miss your flight.

Thank redwineMalaysia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

The views in Jiuzhaigou are big, awe-inspiring and grand. Towering mountains, thundering waterfalls, shimmering lakes, vast expanses of all shades of green (in the summer)! However in order to enjoy all of that, you have to be prepared to battle long queues to buy tickets, enter the park and get on the buses. I was very annoyed with all the pushing and shoving! However, if you can get past that, the crowd eventually disperses throughout the sprawling national park, and you will have time and space to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest. Be prepared with a good pair of walking shoes, and some food and water to last you through the day.

1  Thank Joy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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