If you have been following my blog, you would know that my whole family (including the little one) went on a trip to Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou (JZG). We went in December when it was cold but not entirely snowing heavily there. In my opinion, going to JZG in winter was a great decision because the tickets are cheap and you have the least amount of people in the park. For someone who doesn’t do well in crowds, this will be the best season to go and check it out. But I must agree, the park would look absolutely beautiful in autumn!
You’ll see a lot of JZG if you walk instead of taking the bus but of course, if you have kids with you, it’s best to take the available buses to the checkpoints and walk around the area before hopping on the bus again to the next spot. JZG is definitely not pram/stroller friendly as with any nature parks so it’s best if you babywear or prepare a carrier/hipseat for a tired toddler. My niece got tired after a while and was begging for her father to carry her so it can be tiring for an adult as well.
Our first stop was Arrow Bamboo Lake (箭竹海, Jiànzhú Hǎi) in Rize Valley. We took the bus all the way there and walked around the lake and down towards Panda Lake. They have plank roads around so it’s not like you are walking on dirt tracks so you don’t have to worry about slipping and falling. Just watch out for ice!
It was really cold so remember to wrap up well. My kid was strapped on to her daddy so the warmth from his body helped. She slept almost all the way, getting up for milk and water. Since you are high above sea level and it is winter, be sure to keep your baby (and yourself) hydrated.
The beauty of winter is the natural “ice sculptures” you see along the way especially at the waterfall areas. There are a lot of waterfalls in JZG but the most famous one is Nuorilang Falls (诺日朗瀑布, Nuòrìlǎng Pùbù) which I will get into later in the post. The above was taken at the waterfalls at Panda Lake. I love how the ice forms along the waterfall creating a very magical feel to it.
We then hopped on the bus and travelled downwards to Five Flower Lake (五花海, Wǔhuā Hǎi). This is a really beautiful lake. So blue and green with visible tree trunks under the still waters.
The lake here is so clear you can see everything under the lake. The beauty of this lake is the blue and green hues. It was here that we decided that the kid needed a diaper change. Don’t expect to see baby changing rooms in a nature park so you gotta do what you gotta do, change them in the open. It was cold and freezing so we were really fighting against time changing her.
This area is really big with plenty of steps to sit around while enjoying the beautiful scenery. If you are hungry and did not pack lunch, you can get instant noodles here from local sellers. They provide hot water as well so you don’t have to use yours keeping it to make hot drinks instead! Of course, they are expensive. I can’t remember how much they were but they are definitely not cheap!
Since we were already running late eating lunch here and not taking lots of pictures, we promised ourselves to come back here first thing the next morning. We then continued our journey downwards towards Pearl Shoal (珍珠滩, Zhēnzhū Tān) which is basically a big area where a wide stream with thin flowing water runs through into the Pearl Waterfalls.
Then we took a bus for a quick look at Mirror Lake before heading off to the famous Nourilang Falls.
It was crazily packed here! It was very hard to find a good spot to take pictures here so I had to settle with a side view, obviously too close to the falls because my lenses kept getting wet by the waterfall sprays! This is one of the widest highland waterfalls according to Wikipedia. It is really wide and beautiful. I think if you want to take beautiful pictures here, you have to come right when the gates are open to get a good spot with as little people as possible.
On the way out, we stopped by one of the busiest Tibetan Village within the vicinity of the park. Here you can get souveniers and local delicacies all for a slightly higher price than outside but not by much, I believe. There wasn’t much to do here, honestly, other than just walking around and looking at the goods for sale. We bought a couple of keychains and some peanut tidbits and then headed off to watch a Tibetan show to end the night after a hearty dinner!
The next day, we started off by heading to Five Flower Lake first and it was packed with people. Obviously a very popular spot for the morning, unlike the afternoon before where it was almost empty. It was rather hard to find a spot to take pictures so, be prepared!
After that, we took a bus all the way to the top of the other side of the mountain to Long Lake (长海, Cháng Hǎi) in the Zechawa Valley. Today, it was my turn to strap the kid on me so hubby could get a rest from carrying. The kid isn’t exactly light. :)
After a quick look around at the lake, we hopped on the bus again and headed to Five-Colour Pond (五彩池, Wǔcǎi Chí). This is another one of those beautiful lake with gorgeous blue and green hues. Sigh. So beautiful! This is a really small lake and it’s absolutely clear. Even though it’s so cold, the water does look inviting.
We spent the second day walking around and taking our time with photos and hanging out before heading off downwards Shuzheng Lakes (树正群海 Shùzhèng Qúnhǎi). I think this where we headed off to. After a while, all the lakes and waterfalls looks so similar, I can’t tell which is which! This waterfall below was taken at one of the lower lakes nearer to the entrance. I was a little tired of walking around with the kid strapped on to me so the husband went ahead with my sis and parents to check out the other sceneries.
Eventhough everything looks the same, it is still the most beautiful place I have ever been to. I am glad I went during the winter because I am not one who does well in crowds and so, I much prefer this. The best part is, since it wasn’t the most popular time for JZG in winter, tickets are cheap! It costs 80 Yuan! You have to purchase tickets for the buses as well but it’s so well worth it especially travelling with kids. If you prefer to be adventurous and walk around, you can. There are man-made pathways so you won’t get lost but be prepared to walk a LOT because the place is huge!
I would definitely recommend JZG if you ever think of coming here. If you are travelling with kids or a baby, don’t be afraid! If your baby or kid has existing health issues, it’s best to ask your doctor first and discuss with them as the high altitude can be tough. This goes for adults as well. I’ll share my travel adventures with my seven month old in another post since that could also potentially be a pretty long post.
I hope you like this post! It took me well over a week to write this and as I write this last sentence, it felt like I rushed through the commentary but really, writing this post is like a race against time. I only have 1.5 to 2 hours while the girl sleeps before I am needed again. :) Oh the joys of motherhood!
Off peak ticket price: ¥80
2nd day entrance ticket: ¥20
One day bus ticket: ¥80 (if you are going back the second day, you need to purchase another ¥80 ticket for it)
Is it baby friendly: No. If you bring a stroller, be prepared to lug it up and down the stairs and buses. Preferably travel with a hipseat or a baby carrier.
*you would need to purchase insurance as well but I couldn’t remember the price. According to wikipedia, it’s ¥20.
Where did we stay?: InterContinental Hotel
Review: InterContinental Hotel is beautiful! It is also very comfortable, a big difference from where we last slept in at Songpan. If you travel during the winter, many of the resorts/hotels/motels are closed for the season so I would suggest spending more on a better more reputable hotel to ensure you have heating. It’s especially important if you are travelling with children.
Where did we eat?: Honestly, I can’t remember but it was relatively near the entrance of JZG Park. We followed a private tour so we ate based on recommendations of the tour guide.