Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan Province was a place that I never thought I’d see, mainly because it’s rather difficult to get to and not to mention, quite expensive.
I think it was last year that I came across photos that my friend posted from her then recent trip there. “Where is that?!” I commented on her photo, which looked like it had been heavily Photoshopped. When she told me it was in China, I didn’t really believe her, nor did I believe her when she told me that the photo hadn’t been Photoshopped at all. The water is really that color.
After seeing her photos, I was determined to go. But with the months dwindling down until the day of my final departure from Hong Kong, I didn’t think it was going to happen.
There were other places yet I wanted to travel to before I left: I still hadn’t been to Seoul, but I figured it’s not difficult to travel there in the future. I had always wanted to go to Bali as well, but I had heard that it’s mostly been overrun by tourists. (Plus, I’ve been on my fare share of beach holidays in the past couple of years.)
Jiuzhaigou posed more of a challenge. Luckily, I didn’t have to figure out the logistics of how to travel there (thanks to one very esteemed unicorn.) One of the easiest ways is to fly from Chengdu, but it’s not without a price. Had we chosen to fly there, the cost would’ve been more than our flight to Chengdu. Instead, we opted for the significantly cheaper alternative: coach bus. It’s an 8 hour ride one way. I didn’t really mind because I slept for about 6 hours on the way there. But if it’s difficult for you to sleep on buses, I’d advise taking some kind of anti-nausea meds – the road to Jiuzhaigou is not a straight one.
One of the coolest things about Jiuzhaigou and surrounding areas are how heavily influenced it is by Tibetan culture. Granted, a lot of it is played up to hook in tourists, but it does work (at least initially).
If you stay in that area of China as long as we did, you’ll never want to see anything featuring the local special of yak ever again. Now, the thought of it makes me want to gag a bit (especially dried yak meat, which I would say is a not-so-tasty equivalent of beef jerky.)
Although getting to and from Jiuzhaigou can be a pain, it is unquestionably worth the trek. See for yourself:
With the exception of a few misty mornings, we were super lucky to have perfect weather for the four days that we were there.
Autumn is supposedly the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou because that’s when the leaves start to change color, but I would love to go back in the wintertime. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be to see the contrast of the turquoise water against a backdrop of snow frosted trees. Guess I’ll just have to go back again!