Huanglong Travel Guide

Huanglong is located on the easternmost of Qinghai - Tibet Plateau. It belongs to Songpan county, Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province.

It is 300 kilometers far away from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. And Jiuzhaigou Valley is as its neighbor. It is close to the boundary of Sichuan, Gansu, and Shanxi province.

Huanglong scenic and historic area is famous for its colorful lakes, snow clad mountains, valleys and virgin forest. Huanglong scenic and historic area is regarded as the "world wonder and fairly land on earth".

Huanglong got its name for its special geographical features, which seems like a golden dragon winding its way through the virgin forest, stone mountains and glaciers. There are numerous ponds and lakes with different shapes and colors. Every lake is a beautiful picture and each pond can be an imagined image.

Possible Altitude Sickness

  • The altitude of Huanglong is higher than that of Jiuzhaigou, ranging from 3200 to 3600 meters, and you need to drive over a 4000-meter-high pass to get to Huanglong.
  • Even if you are fine at Jiuzhaigou, you need to pay attention at Huanglong.
  • Do not jump or run, or do any strenuous exercises. Walk and move slowly.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits. Do not drink wine.
  • It is recommended to prepare an oxygen bottle, which is available in Chengdu, at the airport, and there are many oxygen stations in the park.

Another special scenic in Huanglong is its calcium carbonate (travertine) formation in every corner of the park. You will find every lake, pond, spring, waterfall was held by the travertine. The water is so crystal clear that you can see the bottom of the pond and lake by your naked eyes. With the colorful plants around them, every pond and lake is a beautiful picture that can not be describe by words.

In walking in the valley, your eyes will be caught to the imaginative sites that you can not believe in yourself. Famous ponds include the Yingbin (welcoming guests) Colored Ponds, Feipuliuhui (glowing waterfall), Xishen (washing body) Cave, Penjing (miniascape) Ponds, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Temple, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Cave, Shitazhenhai and Zhuanhua (whirling flower) Pond, etc.

It will be a difficult job to describe the beauty of Huanglong for the man who has never been there. It is a good saying that people who came from Jiuhaigou and Huanglong will have no need to appreciate the beauty of water in other places.


The average temperature is around 7 °C all the year round. It is misty in the morning and evening and rainy from May to August.

Aba has a complex landform, and therefore, has various types of the climate. The temperature is higher in the southeast, but lower in the northwest, because of the changing altitude.

The hilly plateaus in the northwest belong to the continental plateau monsoon climate. Therefore, the features of the four seasons are not too distinct. The weather in winter is cold and long, but cool and moisture in summer. The mean temperature is 0.8 °C - 4.3 °C. The region of plains and hills belongs to the cool and semi-moisture climate.

Thus, it is cool in summer and cold in winter and spring. The climate changes vertically. In the high hills, it is moisture and chilly. In valleys, it is dry, warm and cool. The mean temperature is 5.6 °C - 8.9 °C. In those areas, with the change of the altitude, the climate zone changes from the subtropical zone to the temperate zone, the cool temperate zone, and finally to the Frigid Zone.

For more detailed weather and climate info, and what's good to do and see when, see Jiuzhaigou Weather — Jiuzhaigou is only 50 km north, though much further by road.

Food and Restaurants


A staple food of Tibetans, it looks like mainland China fried wheat flour, prepared with main ingredients of barley flour as well as pea and oat powder.

Tibetans bring the Zanba cake wherever they go, to farm, to graze and to travel. It is a convenient fast food, especially welcome in sparsely populated and fuel-scarce areas.

Butter Tea

Its main ingredients are butter and milk as well as walnut kernel, peanut and sesame, egg and salt, being stirred in a barrel, then mixed with boiled tea and brawn-red coloring matter. After being stirred for a few seconds, a fragrant barrel of buttered tea is ready. It is poured into a big kettle and kept warm on a stove for drinking.

Questions and Answers About Huanglong Travel Guide

Andrea Bugada 2014-04-11
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Dear China Highlights, next week I will go to the Jiuhuang airport and from there i wanted to visit jiuzhaigou, huanglong and then going to cheng du, which is the most "time friendly" route to take? Especially taking in consideration the transportation. Thank you so much!
Dear Andrea Bugada, You could visit Huanglong firstly, then visit Jiuzhaigou, at last take a flight to Chengdu. There are some shuttle bus between Huanglong, Jiuzhaigou and Jiuhuang airport. Lussie Lu replied on 2014-04-14
Jen Cowman 2014-03-03
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I hear there is a free shuttle bus. Does it stop at the different lakes/scenic areas? I bave asthma and shouldn''t walk much in the high altitude. But still would like to see it.
yes, in the site, there are some free shuttle buses for you to take to see the different views. Vanessa Zheng replied on 2014-03-04
Tomer 2014-01-06
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Hi. I''m wondering whether it''s worth it to visit Huanglong in April.. We will be in the area visiting Jiuzhaigou (and other natural reserves) and we also wanted to go to Huanglong, but I heard that Huanglong is not always open in April, and that the pools are dry in April. Is that right? Are the pools goign to be dry, and if not, will they be colored nicely? THanks in advance!!

Hi Tomer,

It's worth it to visit Huanglong in April, together with Jiuzhaigou.
Huanglong is closed from Jan. to Mar., but open in April. They pools  are rarely dry  as the water is from under ground.
They will also be colored nicely in the sunny days :)
If you need any tour service, please feel free to contact me.
Whitney Liao replied on 2014-01-07
vittoria segre 2013-06-26
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Hi we are going to visit Jiuzhaigou and Hanglong next August. We will start our trip from Chengdu. Can you please tell me which is the best way to reach both of them (bus? rent a car? taxi?) and how long does it take from Jiuozhaigou to Hanglong. Thank you! victoria
Dear Vittoria, You could take a bus from Chengdu Xinnanmen bus station(新南门汽车站) to Jiuzhaigou, it takes about 7 hours and it costs about CNY150/US$25 per person. The bus sets off at 8:00am every day. I suggest you take a flight and there are some flights every day. It takes about 1 hour, you could save your time. You will arrive at Jiuhuang airport where is about 43 km from Huanglong and about 88 km from Jiuzhaigou. It is easy to take a shuttle bus to get the scenic area. It costs about CNY20-40/US$3.3-6.5 per person. You also could rent a car from Jiuhuang airport to Huanglong and Jiuzhaigou. Jiuhuang airport to Jiuzhaigou direnctly: around CNY200/US$33 per car Jiuhuang airport to Huanglong to Jiuzhaigou(in the same day): about CNY400/65 per car Lussie Lu replied on 2013-06-27
Lily Lim 2013-05-23
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We are planing to visit Huanglong around 10Jun 2013. Is it worth going in June as I heard that some of the ponds will be dry. We shall visit Jiuzhaigou before Huanglong. There are 2 elderly people in our group. Is the walk difficult in Huanglong? Are there a lot of steps to climb? In fact going down the steps is more difficult for one elderly due to knee problem. Do you think walking up to the top(five colour pond) and then taking the cable car down a better alternative? How many kilometres walking up? Thanks.

Hi Lily, the ponds won't be dry in June. Don't worry. It is worth visiting because there will be less travelers in June, then you can travel with lower cost but more comfortable. The walk is not difficult in Huanglong as there are cable cars up and down. There are not lots of steps to climb and there are shuttle bus inside the area. You can take it for free. Sorry, I don't know the exact distance in km, but I checked with my colleagues who have been there. They said it won't be a problem even to an elderly with knee problem. Our tour guide is quite considerate, they will take good care of you during the tour.

Whitney Liao replied on 2013-05-25
April Offer $25 Coupon
  1. Send your inquiry before Apr. 30, 2014, and we will email you a $25 coupon.
  2. The coupon is valid till Dec. 31, 2014, for paying tour packages worth $250 or up.
  3. The coupon cannot be used for paying flight tickets, train tickets, hotel rooms and day trips.
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