The Colorful Zhengyan Ponds
This is the second largest group of ponds in Huanglong Valley. Zhengyan is near the middle of the scenic valley at the 3,420 meter or 11,200 feet level. There are more than about 500 ponds or pools of various sizes in this travertine pond cluster, and it is one of the main highlights in Huanglong.
This ponds are recognized all around the world and are compared with Plitvice, the National Park in Yugoslavia. Like it, you'll see various colors in the water such as yellow, white, blue, green and serpentine, and the colors change by the season, the weather, and the time of day.
The water is so clear that the surface reflects the colors of the sky and surroundings. This is partly why the colors change. You can see sticks and plants on the bottom vividly. Different chemicals and bacteria in each pond contribute different colors and hues. Because the ponds have differing depths, they reflect the sunshine differently as differently shaped prisms do, and this helps to present the rainbow of colors.
Best Season: In fall, the trees and bushes are most colorful with red and yellow leaves. It is also sunnier than in the summer for clearer lighting. If there is snow, the white contrasts exquisitely with colors in the water and trees. With the fall colors after a light snow on a sunny day, the color contrasts in this area are the most vivid.
Best Time: To appreciate the sound of the water and enjoy the mountain views, it is best to visit these ponds in quiet solitude. Try to enter the park at opening, and in the morning, walk about a kilometer up the valley on the right-hand pathway. These ponds are just after Jin Sha Pu Di. The park gets more crowded around noon. It is a surround sound sensorama that is best appreciated when it is quiet.
Open hours: 8 am to 5 pm
Ticket Price: High season (April 1 to November 15), 200 RMB per person. Low season (November 16 to March 31), 80 RMB per person.
Travel Season Information
High season: High season extends from April to the middle of November, and the particularly high volume weeks are around the major public holiday dates of May 1, October 1, and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Schools and universities let out in July, so during the vacation periods, there is an influx of students and student tour groups. Schools are back in term in September, so in early September, there is a lull before the end of September when tourism increases for the October National Day holidays. To avoid the crowds, it is best to try to schedule around these dates.
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