So I was unable to buy bus tickets for Jiuzhaigou today so I spent today exploring some of the old alleys around Chengdu including Kuanzaixiang and Jin Li.
With old alleys comes xiao chi, small eats which are basically small servings of different famous Sichuan dishes. Comes old alleys also comes teahouses. So I spent most of the day indulging in all that Chengdu has to offer
from different types of noodles
to tang yuan, soup balls which are balls with a thin skin of dough filled with peanut and sesame paste and cooked in boiling water
and relaxing with cups of tea watching the world go by.
For dinner, my taiwanese friend Simon and I headed out for some ma po dou fu, Sichuan’s famous spicy tofu and some greens and boy did it feel good to eat vegies! We stocked up food for our 10 hour bus ride to Jiuzhaigou and called it a night.
It’s amazing how much u can pack into a small 5.5L pack if all you bring are the basics. We’re heading out for 4 days and all I brought is my camera, thermals, toothbrush and toilet paper, that’s all you need right =P
So as the bus travels further and further away from Chengdu and into the Aba Province, Chinese characters become Tibetan scribble.
Standard houses become large white coloured homes with huge beautifully decorated red wooden doors and prayer flags fluttering in the wind.
Sheep and cattle walk freely across the main road asking for it. Poorly dressed Chinese Han become traditionally dressed Zhuang minority and robed monks.
Concrete become plateaus of grassland with green, yellow and red pine leaves growing as far as the eye can see.
Mountain ranges in the distance are capped with a layer of snow. Brown murky water becomes Mt. Franklin blue. This place is amazing and the closer we get to Jiuzhaigou, the more it feels like you’re lost in the wilderness, in one of the places seen on the Discovery Channel like Yosemite or the Rockies.
We stopped at a village where I saw my first Tibetan yak! It looks awesome with its clean white fur and beautifully decorated with Tibetan accessories.
So the bus seems to stop every 90 mins or so for a toilet break but every place they stop at costs 1 yuan to use the toilet. As if mate! Instead we either take a wizz behind the toilet, behind the restaurant, in someone’s yard … basically anywhere we can find that’s free. Damn I’m such a tightarse =P
Tonight I tried the famous sou you cha, yak butter tea. It has a distinct funky smell but it tastes quite decent, reminds me of that thick Chinese sesame or peanut drink.
So there’s a place nearby called The Fairy Pond Scenic Area and basically it has sulfur pools just like Huanglong so after seeing photos of it, I was keen to check it out the day after. After speaking to reception, they told us due to the lack of popularity, it is currently closed … We’re going to confirm that tomorrow but fingers crossed because Huanglong is way too expensive just to see the sulfur pool, I’d rather pay a bit more and go another day in Jiuzhaigou instead.
Off to another early night for the big day tomorrow =D
We kicked the morning off at 5:20AM, checked out and headed to breakfast. During breakfast I dropped one of those ceramic spoons on the floor and it snapped in half. Thank god the owner wasn’t watching or else he could charge me anything.
We waited for the ticket office to open and we were the first two to buy tickets and board the bus. The park is shaped like a Y, with over 40km of paths to explore hence the need for shuttle buses. We kicked it off with the Western path before coming back for the Eastern path after lunch.
Words can’t describe how amazing the place is but theres a number of fully saturated turqoise lakes surrounded by multicoloured trees.
I know these photos taken on my phone don’t do it much justice but I promise to upload more from my camera when I get home.
We bought tickets for the 11th to return to Chengdu thinking that we’ll spend an extra day here but decided that we want to leave today instead. We rocked up at the bus ticket office at 6AM hoping we could change our tickets but all tickets for today are sold out. We are now stuck another day in Jiuzhaigou.
If you ever go to Jiuzhaigou, here are some tips based on my experience. If you are travelling around public holidays, there’s going to be heaps of people coming and leaving so its best to decide which places you want to visit before you come and its best to buy bus tickets 2 days in advance to ensure a seat. So in terms of planning where you want to visit, for example if you decide to go to Huanglong, then buy tickets to Huanglong and from there buy tickets to Chengdu. Same goes with other places like Songpan etc. Don’t do what we did and buy a return ticket to Chengdu from Jiuzhaigou for 2 days later because you’ll realise that there’s not all that much to see other than the park.
Staying at Jiuzhaigou can be super expensive and the food available not only tastes below average, its expensive. We thought we had it all down pat when we brought instant cup noodles in with us for lunch. We came across a rest area where everyone was slurping noodles so we were like Yatah! Went inside looking for hot water and encountered ”you need to buy something from us before we will provide you with hot water” … I’m guessing the 310 yuan entry fee wasn’t enough for them to provide us with hot water.
Posted by Wordmobi