More than just spectacular scenery, Jiuzhai Valley National Park is home to nine Tibetan villages, over 220 bird species as well as a number of endangered plant and animal species, including the giant panda, Sichuan golden monkey, the Sichuan takin and numerous orchids and rhododendrons.
Jiuzhai Valley is locally known as Jiuzhaigou (Chinese for “Nine Village Valley”). It is a national park located in the Min Shan mountain range, Northern Sichuan in South Western China. It is best known for its fabled blue and green lakes, spectacular waterfalls, narrow conic karst land forms and its unique wildlife. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992; the park joined the Man and Biosphere Conservation Network in 1997 and has also received IUCN and ISO 14,001 accreditations.
Jiuzhaigou National Park
Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area
Huanglong is a scenic and historic interest area in the northwest part of Sichuan, China. It is located in the southern part of the Minshan mountain range, 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-northwest of the capital Chengdu. This area is known for its colorful pools formed by calcite deposits, especially in Huanglonggou (Yellow Dragon Gully), as well as diverse forest ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and hot springs. Huanglong is also home to many endangered species including the Giant Panda and the Sichuan Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. Huanglong was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.
Songpan Ancient Town
Songpan Ancient Town, situated in Jin’an Town of Songpan County, is nearly 200 miles from Chengdu (the capital city of Sichuan Province). Historically, it was known as Songzhou Town and was considered the ‘West Portal of Sichuan’. Due to its advantageous situation geographically, it functioned as a military base from the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It has recently gained a reputation as one of the most interesting historical towns in Sichuan Province.
Upon entering, visitors will immediately be impressed by the grand and ancient constructions before them. Although founded in the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the city gates and city wall here have all been fairly well-preserved through the centuries.
Crystalline Turquoise Lake
Stretching over 72,000 ha in the northern part of Sichuan Province, the jagged Jiuzhaigou valley reaches a height of more than 4,800 m, thus comprising a series of diverse forest ecosystems. Its superb landscapes are particularly interesting for their series of narrow conic karst land forms and spectacular waterfalls. Some 140 bird species also inhabit the valley, as well as a number of endangered plant and animal species, including the giant panda and the Sichuan takin.
The 18 km (11 mi) long Rize Valley is the south-western branch of Jiuzhaigou. It contains the largest variety of sites and is typically visited first. Going downhill from its highest point, one passes the following sites: The Primeval Forest, Swan Lake, Grass Lake, Arrow Bamboo Lake, Panda Lake, Five Flower Lake, Pearl Shoal and Mirror Lake.
The Zechawa Gully is the south-eastern branch of Jiuzhaigou. It is approximately the same length as Rize gully (18 km) but climbs to a higher altitude (3150 m at the Long Lake). Going downhill from its highest point, it features the following sites: Long Lake, Five-Color Pond and The Seasonal Lakes.
The Shuzheng Valley is the northern (main) branch of Jiuzhaigou. It ends after 14.5 km (9 mi) at the Y-shaped intersection of the three gullies. Going downhill from the intersection to the mouth of the valley, visitors encounter the following: Nuorilang Falls, Nuorilang Lakes, Sleeping Dragon Lake and Reed Lake.
Pearl Shoal Waterfalls
Pearl Shoal is a wide, gently sloping area of active calcareous tufa deposition covered in a thin sheet of flowing water. It empties into the famous Pearl Waterfalls, where the shoal drops 28 m in a 310 m wide broad curtain of water. A scene of the television adaptation of Journey to the West was filmed there.
Nuorilang Falls near the junction of the valleys, are 20 m high and 320 m wide. They are reportedly the widest highland waterfall in China, the widest travertine-topped waterfall in the world, and one of the symbols of Jiuzhaigou.
Upper Seasonal Sea in Jiuzhaigou Valley
The Seasonal Lakes are a series of 3 lakes (Lower, Middle and Upper) along the main road, that change from empty to full during each year.