Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jiuzhaigou - From Primeval Forest to Nuorilang Falls

Day 9 (30 October 2012)

I have been drinking two vials of Hong Jing Tian since 27th October. It was said to be able to prevent high altitude sickness.

Today was the highlight of my Sichuan holidays. It was Jiuzhaigou day. I woke up at 5:15 a.m. It was still early so I spent about 30 minutes on the web with my Sony Xperia before getting ready. By 6:15 a.m., I was out looking for breakfast. No, this was not Chengdu. Chengdu begins the day early but here, I saw only one opened restaurant. I decided to go in for my breakfast. Two trays of small steamed buns cost me RMB24. The same price could buy me 24 pieces of steamed pork buns three times the size in Chengdu. This is a tourist town and everything was expensive.

By 6:30 a.m., I was on my way to the main road to look for a taxi. I did not see any. It was still dark. A car approached slowly towards me and stopped. The driver asked me whether I was going to the entrance of Jiuzhaigou National Park. I said yes, and asked him how much. He said RMB10. It was not a taxi. He said he offered cheaper rates than taxis. I hesitated, after having learnt my lesson in Dujiangyan not to accept offers from touts. Then again, a taxi might be hard to come by at this early hour. I wanted to be at the ticketing office by 7:00 a.m. and decided to take the offer.

Within minutes, he stopped and said we had reached the entrance. It was just before 7:00 a.m. I asked him whether that was really the entrance. It was still dark and I could only see some light. He pointed to other vehicles arriving there and convinced me it was the entrance.

As I walked towards the ticketing office, long queues had already formed outside the office. They were early! I joined a queue. When the ticket office door opened at about 7:01 a.m., everybody rushed forward. I was in a short queue. By the time my turn came, I saw all the queues have cleared, including my line, when I turned around to look. I was actually last in the line. There were altogether 12 ticket counters. Some of the counters were closing or rather there was "service paused". The cost was RMB220 for a ticket and RMB90 for the bus. Another RMB10 was paid for an unknown reason, making the total cost RMB320 for a day's pass. I was caught unaware of this new price because I have always read that it was RMB310. There was no way to avoid paying for the bus ticket as the ticketing clerk asked for RMB320, and never giving any choice to the customers to decide.

I was in no hurry and went to collect some brochure from the Visitor Centre before walking to the park entrance gate. The entrance ticket was checked by a guard who scanned it on a machine. Once through, we have to queue up again for the buses to the National Park. Although the bus made at a few stops, we were advised to start our walk from the last stop, which was the Primeval Forest on the Rize Valley. It made sense as it was easier walking down the mountain instead of walking up.

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Click to enlarge

At the Primeval Forest, the walkway was slippery as it was covered in a thin layer of snow. Sack was placed on the stairs for visitors to walk on.

Jiuzhaigou was really a sight to see. From Primeval Forest, I walked to Grass Lake, and from there to Swan Lake. I saw snow falling from the sky the first time in my life, albeit just very light snow while walking to Grass Lake!

From Swan Lake, I hopped on a bus to Arrow Lake. From there, it was non-stop walking until 4:00 p.m, except for a ½ hour respite from a light drizzle at about 1:30 p.m. at Colorful Lake @ Peacock Lake @ Five Flower Lake @ Five-Colored Lake. I could only cover the distant until Nuorilang Fall for today.

Pearl Shoal was beautiful but I missed out on Pearl Waterfalls. I was walking on the trail on the road side and the falls was blocked by trees. Pictures from other bloggers of Pearl Waterfalls were really beautiful. I never realised what I missed until I was back in PNG.

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One of the scenes in Hero, starring Jet Li was said to be shot at Arrow Bamboo Lake.

In addition to Hero, a Chinese TV serial movie was also shot in Jiuzhaigou, with scenes from different parts of Jiuzhaigou.

I left the park at 4:00 p.m., as it was the park closing time. Yet, the bus driver dropped visitors at a few spots on the way out. I did not join them as I have had enough for today. Hopefully, I would be able to cover the rest of Jiuzhaigou trails tomorrow. I would probably walk less and use the bus more.


  1. Jiuzhaigou is ever beautiful despite the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008. I was there in 2007, but your blog post makes me want to go back there again!

    1. Yes, its so gorgeous and beautiful ... I arrived a bit late when all the colourful leaves have fallen off, but then again the "very" peak season in early October coincides with China National Day public holidays and hotels are very expensive. Why not bring your misses over to JZG in a different season?