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How to Plan a Jiuzhaigou Tour from Chengdu

Sep. 27 update: Part of the Jiuzhaigou National Park has reopened to visitors on Sep. 27, 2019.

Oct. 18 update: 1. There is a limitation of entrance everyday (5000 people each day). And the tickets for the whole October have already been sold out. The scenic spot is now taken up by domestic tourist group;

2. Thus we recommend you to visit Jiuzhaigou after November, for less tourist pressures, lower cost and winter landscape;

3. To ensure your Jiuzhaigou trip availability, please inquire and book soon. Book Jiuzhaigou tour for 2020 with us now, the order can be fully refunded if the tourist attraction closes again.

If you are planning a tour to Jiuzhaigou, contact our travel consultant to check the availability.

jiuzhai valleyThe beautiful fall colors of Jiuzhai Valley

Jiuzhaigou has been likened to land from a fairy tale. The scenery is breathtaking with its lakes, waterfalls and, above all, the plants, trees, and waterscapes, which, in their many hues and forms, provide the landscape with a truly magical quality.

There are two main recommended scenic areas: Jiuzhai Valley Scenic Area and Huanglong Scenic Area. The two areas are extensive and so, if you only have a few days in which to visit them, how should you organize your time? 

Here is our recommended two-day and two-night detailed itinerary, which takes in some of the more extraordinary sites Jiuzhaigou has to offer.

How to Get to Jiuzhaigou 

Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou

There are no direct international flights to Jiuzhaigou. You will need to get to Chengdu first.

Flights from Chongqing, Xi 'an, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou to Jiuzhaigou are expected to resume at the end of this year.

2 Days Itinerary — Huanglong and Jiuzhai Valley

Pre-book your hotel and the chartered bus to save yourself some additional time. There's a lot to see there, and you want to waste as little time as possible on trip administration once you arrive.

Day 1: Arrival, Huanglong Scenic Area 

huanglongA lake in Huanglong Scenic Area

It takes about 1 hour from the airport to Huanglong Scenic Area.

Huanglong Scenic Area is not as large as Jiuzhai Valley Scenic Area. You can save time by using the cable car inside the park.

Once you arrive, take the cable car to the top of the peak. From there, you will have an easy walk down through the scenic area — 3 to 4 hours will do the area justice. Walking down the mountain, you can see the main sites of Five-Colored Ponds, Mirror Ponds, Welcoming Guest Ponds, and a waterfall, as well as some temples and caves.

If you decide to do the whole trip on foot, forgetting the cable car, then allow yourself 5 to 6 hours for a slow hike up while you take in the scenery and a faster walk back down again.

In the evening, head to Jiuzhaigou Valley, about 2.5 hours. 

Day 2: Jiuzhai Valley Scenic Area 

Jiuzhaigou Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhai Valley Scenic Area should be visited on the second day as this scenic area is very large and you can spend the whole day inside the park.

Private vehicles are not allowed inside. We recommend that you take an electric shuttle bus inside the park to help you visit the best highlights in one day. Note that the shuttle bus requires an extra fee of 100 yuan per person.

The park's valley forms a "Y" shape and you are recommended to take a shuttle bus to Rizegou to begin your tour inside the park, and then have a rest at the joining point of the "Y" at Nuorilang Tourist Center. After a good rest, visit Zechawa Valley by shuttle bus. Afterwards, spend your time visiting Shuzheng Valley, which has the most attractions in the park.

tourist busA Shuttle bus in Jiuzhai Valley

Best highlights to get off the bus and see at each valley:

  • Rize Valley: Pearl Beach, Panda Lake, Arrow Bamboo Lake
  • Zechawa Valley: Long Lake, Five-Colored Lake
  • Shuzheng Valley: Nuorilang Waterfall, Shuzheng Waterfall, Shuzheng Lakes (or you can walk through this valley until you reach the exit if you have enough time)

Stay at Jiuzhaigou for one night. Or, if you don't want to spend an extra night outside the park, you can book a late flight to depart.

Try to book your return flight late enough that you don't leave the scenic area before 5 pm in the evening. It's about 90 minutes' drive back to the airport (90 kilometers), so make sure you leave yourself adequate time.


sheratonThe Sheraton hotel outside Jiuzhai Valley

After you have finished the Huanglong tour, we recommend you drive to a hotel outside Jiuzhai Valley Scenic Area, so that you can get into the park early the next morning. 

The most popular place for hotels is Zhangzha Town, which is closest to the entrance of Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve. Zhangzha has a wide range of accommodation, from 5* hotels to budget hostels.

If you prefer to be close to Huanglong National Park or Jiuzhuang Airport, you may choose a hotel in Chuanzhusi County.

If Muni Valley (Munigou) is on your list of places-to-go, you may consider staying in Songpan Town.

The standards of most hotels in the area are not as good as those of equivalent star-levels in the West. China Highlights has carefully selected the best hotel available, based on criteria like hotel environment, location, service, and previous customer feedback. 

Best Time to Visit and Tips to Avoid Crowds

Best Time — September to October

huanglong The beautiful scenery in autumn

The best time to visit Jiuzhaigou is from June to October but September to October is particularly recommended for the charming scenery with golden fall foliage. However, it's also the peak season for the scenic area.

Useful Tips to Avoid Crowds

Don't visit Jiuzhaigou during the National Day holiday (October 1st to 7th) as the scenic area will be filled with crowds.

Walk along the wood path and avoid traveling on the road during the peak season, as the main roads are used by tour groups.

The scenic area's attractions form a "Y" shape, and you can pick another route when you arrive at the conjunction to avoid the crowds.

Useful Tips During Your Trip

Jiuzhai Valley Five-Colored Lake in Jiuzhai Valley

Clothing: The climate can by trying, in particular, the low temperature between the cold mornings and evenings, so bring warm coats. Be prepared not only for this but also for the intensity of the sun at this altitude. Sunblock and sunglasses may be necessary, as well as protection against possible rain.

Altitude sickness: The altitude varies a lot in different areas of Jiuzhai Valley. For example, the entrance to the valley is at about 2,000 meters, while the airport is at about 3,500 meters. Vulnerability to altitude sickness varies from person to person, so it's suggested you consult your doctor prior to your trip.

A great deal of hiking involved: Although the trails through Jiuzhaigou are well-blazed, the distances you will need to walk to take in the sights you want to see will prove strenuous. So if you are visiting Jiuzhai Valley, please prepare comfortable hiking shoes.

Jiuzhaigou ValleyA waterfall in Jiuzhai Valley

1-day tour is not suggested — Very Tiring: If you only have one day, then you are recommended to just visit Jiuzhai Valley Scenic Area, and possibly miss some of the attractions inside the park.

Get to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport early in the morning and leave late at night. This way, you can finish the tour in one day with an early morning start.

See the Best of Jiuzhaigou in a Private Tour

Travel with China Highlights and we will help you solve these issues. We can adjust your itinerary during the tour. Considering your interests and requirements, we at China Highlights recommend the following tours for inspiration:

jiuzhai valley

If you have got some ideas for traveling around Jiuzhaigou, just tell us and we will tailor-make your Jiuzhaigou tour.

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