Jiuzhaigou Valley is located in the north of Sichuan Province, China. It is called "a fairyland", and this is not over rated. Its attraction lies in its simple, idyllic beauty; with majestic and unrivalled emerald(sometimes multicolored) lakes, layered waterfalls, colourful forests and snow peaks. It is also the homeland of the giant panda. The main scenic area, which covers at least 80 km, is full of scenery that are just breathtaking. It composed of three valleys arranged in a Y shape.
The Rizegou and Zechawagou gullies flow from the south and meet at the centre, then form the Shuzheng gully, flowing north to the mouth of the valley. Jiuzaigou is most famous for its water. There is a saying in China: No mountain is worth seeing after you have seen Mount Huangshan, and no water will interest you after you've visited Jiuzaigou. It is dotted with many gorgeous lakes. They are notable for their high concentration of calcium carbonate, to form different shades of blue, green and turquoise-colored lakes according to their depths, residues, and surroundings.
The carbonic calcifications between the lakes and waterfalls dazzle with color in the sunshine. The water is so clear that the bottom is visible despite depths of several dozen meters. Waterfalls are the essence of the scenery in Jiuzhaigou. The most famous is Pearl Shoal. It is a huge fan-shaped calcium beach. The stream rushes down, splashing water about like millions of bouncing silver pearls, and then goes down to form fantastic waterfalls of various shapes with a thunderous roaring echoing throughout the deep valley. Jiuzhaigou is magnificent throughout the four seasons. But the best of all is in Autumn. The breeze is intoxicating, while the leaves turn colorful, and are beautifully reflected in the sparkling translucent lakes. However, this is also the most crowded time of the park.
For our family trip, we chose to visit Jiuzhaigou in Summer. With a six years old boy in tow, and 70+ years old parents, this seemed to be the best time of the year. The weather was comfortable, and relatively less visitors meant we need not rush through the scenic spots. In fact, the weather was cooler than I thought. We stayed at Jiuzhai Paradise Hotel up in the mountains. Some mornings, we encountered wintry weather. Due to the rarefied atmosphere up in the mountain. We felt tired easily, and have to walk slowly around the hotel and even in the hotel room, sometimes feeling some sense of discomfort, and nauseous. We have to carry the oxygen tube around so that we can inhale some oxygen when we feel uncomfortable. The air was a lot better in the town area and the Jiuzhaigou scenic area.
We need not use the oxygen tube and can move around swiftly. In fact, in Jiuzhaigou scenic area, the air was great - clean and cool. The local authorities obviously place a lot of emphasis on keeping the place unpolluted. They use the "green" bus to travel around the area, and that is the only vehicle that is allowed in the park. The scenery was simply magnificent. The water is in different shades of blue/emerald, and so crystal clear. Even my six year old would pause from his playing occasionally, too captivated by the beauty of Nature! Remember the movie "Hero", by Zhang Yimou. One of the unforgetable scene where the two male leads fought on the tranquil blue lake, dipping in and out of the water. It was filmed right here.