Saturday, January 19, 2013

From Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou

Day 8 (29 October 2012)

The highlight of my vacation finally came. Today, I would be going to Jiuzhaigou.

I woke up early, prepared myself and finalised my packing. I checked out of Traffic Inn before 6:30 a.m. and went for breakfast. The wife of the steamed bun shop proprietor tried to rip me off, even after I had patronised her shop two times already. She tried to charge me RMB4 for two eggs. I exclaimed why it wasn't RMB3. I knew the price because I overheard the proprietor of Wonton King Dumpling King charging RMB3 for two eggs to a customer. Just as I was about to go, she returned me RMB1 saying she miscalculated the cost. By that time, I was already telling myself that I would not come back to her shop after I returned from Jiuzhaigou.

At Xinnanmen Bus Station, I was surprised that the passengers were already allowed to pass through Jiuzhaigou boarding gate. It was just past 7:00 a.m., well before the departure time of 7:20 a.m. I gave my ticket to the officer to check but she just waved me through. I was surprised when I did not see anyone in the bus. I asked a staff standing there whether that was the bus to Jiuzhaigou and she replied saying behind the bus. I walked behind and a young lady was asking a man there for the bus to Jiuzhaigou. He asked her the time of her departure and when she said 7:20 a.m., he pointed to another bus. Since my departure time was also 7:20 a.m., I followed suit.

During this short period before departure, I realised that there were buses leaving at 7:20 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 7:35 a.m.¸ etc. There could be more buses departing for Jiuzhaigou instead of one which I had come to believe from the notice board and blogs.

Our bus was delayed by about 15 minutes because it was blocked by other buses parked haphazardly there. It was only able to leave after they cleared the path.

The journey itself was generally comfortable. The road has been 100% sealed. There were four stops, including a lunch stop. The first stop at about 10:15 a.m. The third stop at 1:45 p.m. was the most beautiful. At each stop, visitors had to pay RMB1 to use the washroom.

The mountain scenery was generally nice, with villages, small towns and cities at short intervals along the way. The road runs alongside a river, until the final part when the bus descended down the mountain to Jiuzhaigou.

That was my lunch

As the bus got closer to Jiuzhaigou, I noticed that Tibetan features became more and more prominent. The architecture of the building changed along the way. However, somewhere after Huanglong up the mountains, the landscape suddenly gave way to green pine trees, with some trees turning yellow in autumn landscape. Instead of going up, the bus began to descent and soon, the pine trees disappeared once more. Snow could be seen on mountain top.

After ten hours, I thought we have arrived already when I saw the bus approaching a bus station. Instead, it kept going until it arrived at Jiu Tong Yáng Guāng Chē Zhàn (Jiutong Sunshine Bus Station). As advised by many bloggers, my first task on arrival was to find the bus ticket office to buy a ticket back to Chengdu on 1 November 2012. I looked around but did not see it but many passengers were seen going into a building with the signboard "Jiuzhaigou mouth traveling passenger transportation enter". As far as I know, all passengers travel with their mouths. I decided to check it out. It did look like a ticket office as people was queuing up at the counter. There was no notice in English. Anyway, I asked the young man standing in front of me at the queue and he confirmed my guess.

The whole stretch of road towards the end of the journey was lined with shops, hotels, bus stations, etc., more than two kilometres long. In short, don't try to look for your hotel on foot once you disembark because you are going to have a long walk and countless hours to search your way around. I learnt my lesson in Singapore! I took the easy way by getting a taxi parked at the main road a short distant in front of the bus station, and it cost me RMB15 to Starway Snow Lotus Hotel. It was this driver who told me the name of the bus station after I asked. It was located adjacent to Jiutong Sunshine Hotel.

It was very cold at Zhangzha town, where the bus station was located. The ground was wet, indicating there was rain earlier. Very cold! When I arrived at the hotel, I checked in but the reception has difficulty understanding English.

I actually intended to have dinner at the hotel but there were only large round tables for big groups of customers, not a lone flashpacker. There were a lot of patrons. In another restaurant of the same hotel, there was no empty table. I then decided to walk out to the main street to look for dinner. "Zhazha Mian" cost me RMB15, double the price in Chengdu. I went to buy bottled water for tomorrow and it was RMB2 per bottle while in Chengdu, it was RMB1 only. I had read of the dearer price in Jiuzhaigou while planning for this trip.


  1. how was the bus journey? heard horror stories about people spitting on the bucket provided for every seat row....:(

    1. There was no bucket and there was no spitting nor vomitting. Those stories were, as you said it, stories. You do see people spitting but you would probably see only 10 -15 people spitting in a day.

  2. Awesome. Indeed it is very useful as i plan my trip on coming May. Thanks for the information.

  3. could you please tell me what time is the first bus from Jiuzhaigou to Chengdu? Thank you so much.

  4. Did you have lunch at the 3rd stop on the way to Jiuzhaigou? i'm going there this Dec. Thanks.

    1. Hi Quang. No. My lunch was at the second stop. I bought some food and titbits and did not have a proper meal actually.