This post is part of a weekly feature called Discovery of the Week. By discovery, I mean a place, a custom or dish that is not widely known. See, I love to read travel magazines, websites and books. Very often, I find beautiful and interesting gems that not a lot of people seem to know about. That is why I thought about introducing this feature because I am sure it will expose a lot of astonishing places. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the many amazing places in the world. I believe my readers also enjoy this activity.
Discovery of the Week: Jiuzhaigou Valley
Where it is located: In northern Sichuan province of southwestern China.
What it is: A nature reserve and national park known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks.
The geological, hydrological and ecological features of this are so outstanding that the UNESCO declared it World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. In addition, the China National Tourist Association classifies it as a AAAAA scenic area.
Jiuzhaigou, which means Nine Village Valley, takes its name from the nine Tibetan villages along its length. Seven of the nine villages are still populated today and some are accessible to the public.
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. The boardwalks are typically located on the opposite side of the lakes from the road, shielding them from disturbance by passing buses.
Jiuzhaigou’s best-known feature is its dozens of blue, green and turquoise-colored lakes. Originating in glacial activity, they were dammed by rockfalls and other natural phenomena, then solidified by processes of carbonate deposition. Some lakes have a high concentration of calcium carbonate, and their water is very clear so that the bottom is often visible even at high depths. The lakes vary in color and aspect according to their depths, residues, and surroundings.
Giant pandas still roam the park (but populations are small).
The land access to the part can be difficult. The “easiest” way to reach the park is by a 10 hour bus ride from Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan). The access by air is easier. After looking at the pictures of this place, I think I would have no problem enduring the 10 hour bus ride.
Did you know about Jiuzhaigou Valley? Let me know in the comments section below.