Beautiful Jiuzhaigou Valley
Initially we wanted to take a 10 hours bus ride to Jiuzhaigou Valley a few hundred kilometers north of Chengdu. However as the whole region had experienced heavy rain falls for the last few weeks the roads were all closed and so we opted for a comfortable one hour flight.
Juzhaigou Valley is part of the Min Mountains on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and so its airport was 3400 meters above sea level which made us feel a bit light headed on arrival. In addition it was rather cold and raining and so for the first time in months we had to take out our jumpers.
The transfer to our hotel near the park entry took about ninety minutes down into the valley. Normally July is the high season for this area but as the roads were closed there were not as many tourists and we had the three story hotel for ourselves. The young mangers of the hotel were nice chaps and pointed us to a good restaurant nearby were we had a lovely dinner. Before going to bed we decided we would take it easy the next day and only visit the park one day later once the weather was better.
The next morning started badly. At 7:45 the ground started shacking – an earthquake. We guess it lasted for about 30 to 60 seconds. We were just on our way out of the room (Kevin still in his boxers – sexy) when it stopped. It was quite strong and we had never experienced something like that before. There was a second, weaker one about and hour later.
Later on we read the there was a magnitude 6.0 earthquake about 300 kilometers north which claimed a few lives and injured quite a few people. Unfortunately the whole region is in a highly active earthquake zone and a very deadly earthquake in 2008 killed almost 70’000 people. Luckily nothing happened to us.
The next day we visited the Jiuzhaigou National Park another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once again we were lucky with the weather and had a cloudless sunny day. The park was just awesome – several lakes with crystal clear seethrough water followed by cascading waterfalls. It was astonishing beautiful and hard to describe (look at the photos to see what we mean).
The whole park was extensive but a clever system of buses and pathways connected the different attractions which made it a fantastic day out in the nature. We were very glad that we took the efforts to go there! We are even thinking of revisiting t it once in winter which must turn the landscape in a snow and ice wonderland.
In addition as this part of China is home of Tibetan tribes we saw a lot of prayer flags and mills throughout the park which added to the beauty of our visit. We once again were very grateful to have had the opportunity to visit something so beautiful.
The following day we flew to Xi’an in the afternoon. On the way to the airport (this time in good weather) we enjoyed the views of the valley and saw a few monasteries and yaks along the way.