Jiuzhaigou self guided visit tips
A hike anywhere in the valley is worth it. A hike in the Zharu Valley is worth it if you have spent enough time in the park. You need a minimum of two days just to do the basics of the park, hiking both of the main valleys. I have traveled extensively through China and this park is one of my favorite areas. There is no other place like it.
I was there a couple of years ago and the cost to get into the park was about $50USD. We stayed two days and did not pay to enter the second day because we stayed one night in the park at one of the 9 villages. The authorities discourage this by not allowing you to have a ticket for the "in park" buses on the 2nd day. without a ticket you will not be able to get on the bus the next morning to travel to the top of either valley, which is what most people do. They then walk down the valley back towards the entrance. We reversed that and walked up both days. This gives you opportunity to see the sights with much fewer visitors because everyone else in at the other end walking towards you.
When you get to the end of the valley at the end of the day there will be no problem getting on the bus. they do not check tickets at the end of the day.
Staying in the park is very inexpensive and you can mingle with the locals instead of hoards of other tourists. The beauty of the park is overwhelming. The serenity of the 1000's of waterfalls through trees and foliage is unparalleled. The crystal clear lakes are awesome.
Brief introduction of Scenic Area
The main scenic spots in Jiuzhaigou are distributed in the three gullies-Shuzheng, Rize and Zechawa. The Scenic area in the gullies can be divided into 5 zones:
1. Scenic Zone of Trasured Mirror Cliff: located in the lower part of Shuzheng gully. The scenic spots are Zharu Tibetan Temple, Botted-Landscape Lake, Reed Marshes, etc.
2. Scenic Zone of Shuzheng composed of Sparking Lake, Sleeping-Dragon Lake, Shuzheng Alpine Lakes and Rhino Lake on the upper gully.
Sorry, the picture is not quite clear. You shall send mail to me for clear one. ^_^
3. Scenic Zone of Rize: consisting of Nuorilang Waterfull, Rize lake, Mirror Lake, Pearl-shoal Waterfall, Five-colour Lake, Panda-lake Waterfall, Panda Lake, Arrow Bamboo Lake and Panda exhibition hall. It is the cream of Jiuzhaigou.
4. Scenic Zone of Primitive Forests: at the upper part of Rize gully consisting of Swan Lake, Grass Lake, Sword-rock, Spring and Primitive Forest.
5. Scenic Zone of Changhai: consisting of Colorful Pool, Changhai Lake and Sensonal Lakes. In my opinion, Primitive Forest , Panda Lake, Five-colour Lake, Colour Pool, Changhai Lake and Mirror Lake are the most ATTRACTIVE places. You SHOULDN'T miss it!!!
Tibet Culture - Xi Zang Wen Hua
A visit to the Tibetian Village will let you understand the culture of the Tibetian. This is strongly displayed at the Mill House and Jiuzhaigou Cultural Centre.
You could join the optional tour where a "Transdimension Drama - Dreamland Journey " is shown at Jarpo Grand Theater of Jiuzhaigou. It is a drama of singing and dancing by the Tibetan (Qiang Zu) wearing colourful costumes and thick makeup. Ticket are priced at RMB180 for VIP Seats.
Be preapred for Cold Winter
Thick Winter Jackets, gloves, thermal wear are required in Nov onwards. Moisturizer and Lip Balms are essential for the cold weather. Bring lots of memory, external hard disk, batteries or film as you may take lots of pictures in this beautiful place. Tibetian Medicine for high altitude - Hong jing Tian will be sold by your local guide.
motion sickness pills
If one prefers not to enter the crowd with the masses, there is a small trail one can take instead. It is across the man-made creek from the hotel to the left (east) of the main entrance. Following a large black pipe (with thin blue stripe) running along the hllside, one will soon arrive at the park’s wooden lank path. There are probably similar trails on the west side but one would arrive on the park road instead.
Finally, it is said that a section of the Tea-Horse Trail leads from Wanglang Nature Reserve (southwest of Jiuzhaigou) into the park, but that would be considerably tougher, involving hiking some formidable mountain passes.