Juizhaigou translated into English literally means the valley of nine villages, this is due to the nine Tibetan villages which are situated at different locations throughout this famous valley in Sichuan province, China. Jiuzhaigou is situated within the Min mountain range at the edge of the Tibetan plateau, at around 3,500 metres altitude.
I can say with full confidence that Jiuzhaigou is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever laid my eyes upon and I think the photographs provide the justification for that statement. Sichuan is one of my favourite provinces, it was the first time I really went to the far west of the country and experienced the different food, climate, culture and landscapes; I found that Jiuzhaigou was the crowning jewel of this beautiful province.
Szechuan is a spelling that really grinds my gears, it’s often used in Chinese restaurants or chip shops in England, it isn’t even close to how the name is actually pronounced. The correct way to pronounce the name of this province is ‘Sichuan’, with a sharp dropping tone for Si and a drawn out flat tone for Chuan, this literally translates to ‘four rivers’ which relate to the Jialing, Jinsha, Min and Tuo rivers that cut through Sichuan province.
You’ll notice the colour of the water around the Jiuzhaigou valley is that of a wonderfully vibrant turquoise, this is all natural and not due to editing, the colour of the water is caused by high mineral levels mainly that of copper. I have edited these photographs but not heavily, the water really is this colour as you can see by searching other images on the internet.
The word awesome is often used out of context, like “this burger is awesome”, really? did it inspire awe? not very likely. Being in a place like this really does inspire awe, so justifiably earns the title of being awesome. What’s not to love about this place? you’ve got massive pools of crystal clear emerald coloured water surrounded by trees of all shades of green and yellow, and in the background the sky piercing peaks of the Min mountains cut through the white mist rolling off the Tibetan plateau, it really is like a gateway to the heavens.
Oh, I should mention that it really is quite high up, to get to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu via the roads you will pass through the mountains even higher than Jiuzhaigou itself and it is here that I had my first ever experience with altitude sickness and while it wasn’t too unpleasant at this height it wasn’t the best experience either. Depending on how sensitive you are to the altitude will determine the extent of your symptoms, for me I became tired very quickly as we elevated past 4000m, my mental capacity decreased and it took me a few hours of rest to equilibrate.
To get to Jiuzhaigou it is possible to fly but flights are few and a far between and are naturally more expensive than hitting the road which is a much more cost effective mode of transport for an economical traveller like myself. If I remember correctly you’re going to pay around 300 RMB for a bus ticket from Chengdu (provincial capital of Sichuan) and the journey will take around 6 hours with a couple of toilet and food stops along the way. The bus journey, although long is comfortable, fun and gives you the chance to see some great sights along the way.
I will cover another place in the Jiuzhaigou valley called Huanglong, it is another really famous natural area of beauty in China, it is higher up in the Min mountains but again very much worth the visit. Here is a little taster of what you will see on the way to Huanglong.
Goodnight, good afternoon or good morning wherever you’re reading this from 🙂 It’s goodnight from me.