Jiuzhaigou (map) is a nature reserve in the north of Sichuan province in south western China. It is officially known as Jiuzhai Valley in English. It is known as the habitat of giant pandas and for its many multi-level waterfalls and colorful lakes. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
Jiuzhaigou is all about seeing! The colours of its lakes, trees and mountains are breathtaking and defy adequate description. The best time to visit Jiuzhaigou is autumn, especially September and October. Besides, with the snow scenery, Jiuzhaigou winter is attracting.
Most visitors will first take the shuttle bus to the end of Rize and/or Shuzheng gully, then make their way back downhill by foot on the boardwalks, taking the bus instead when the next site is too distant.
⇒ Also сheck оut мore info: Visitor information • Travel around Jiuzhai Valley • FAQ
Jiuzhai Valley (Jiuzhaigou) is a major feature of the Sichuan Scenic Area, located 350 km north of *Chengdu (map), the capital of Sichuan province. The Town of Zhangzha (map) at the exit of the valley and the nearby Songpan County feature an ever-increasing number of hotels, including several luxury five-stars, such as Sheraton.
+ Jiuzhaigou Travel Guide – How to Plan a Trip to Jiuzhaigou (chinahighlights.com)
Jiuzhaigou’s best-known feature is its dozens of blue, green and turquoise-colored lakes. Jiuzhaigou is composed of three valleys arranged in a Y shape. The Rize and Zechawa valleys flow from the south and meet at the centre of the site where they form the Shuzheng valley, flowing north to the mouth of the valley. The mountainous watersheds of these gullies are lined with 55 km (34 mi) of roads for shuttle buses, as well as wooden boardwalks and small pavilions.
Zharu Valley is the home of tourism in Jiuzhaigou. The valley has recently been opened to a small number of tourists wishing to go hiking and camping off the beaten track. Visitors can choose from day walks and multiple day hikes, depending on their time availability.
It is part of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. The main scenic area stretches 80 km (50 mi) long in the form of a letter Y comprising of three main valleys – Shuzheng, Rize and Zechawa. The name means “Valley of Nine Villages”, derived from the 9 ancient Tibetan villages that call it home. Today, 7 of those 9 villages are still inhabited by ethnic Tibetans, while the remaining 2 have been abandoned.
The main agglomerations that are readily accessible to tourists are Heye, Shuzheng and Zechawa along the main paths that cater to tourists, selling various handicrafts, souvenirs and snacks.
There is also Rexi in the smaller Zaru Valley and behind Heye village are Jianpan, Panya and Yana villages. Guodu and Hejiao villages are no longer populated. Penbu, Panxing and Yongzhu villages lie along the road that passes through the town of Jiuzhaigou/Zhangza outside the valley.