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Huanglong National Park
黄龙风景区
9am - 4:30pm
Located 150 kilometers northwest of Chengdu and 65 kilometers west of Songpan, Huanglong (“Yellow Dragon Valley”) is a nature reserve certainly worth visiting. Many people skip it, heading only for Jiuzhaigou (certainly also worth visiting), and subsequently miss out on the remarkable spectacle of cascading pools, and otherworldly formations that are not to be found elsewhere.

Huanglong, a UNESO World Heritage site, gets its name from its yellow rocks, formed by calcite deposits, and when viewed from above, the park resembles that mythical, Chinese creature. The best time to come is in the fall, when rainfall fills the waterfalls and cascading pools. It creates quite the scene, as light reflects off the brilliant turquoise-azure water in a way reminiscent of the Yuanyang rice terraces. While some may prefer to take the cable car up to the top, it’s not a particularly difficult climb, and the intelligently designed pathways allow patrons to walk through the calcified terraces and dense forest without doing damage to any of the park’s fragile ecosystem. Look out for the panting laborers, hauling planks of timber strapped to their back up the mountain.

Be warned: the air up there is indeed thinner, so if you’re feeling light-headed, it’s probably not just from the suspect, mystery meat you had at lunch, and you’ll want to take it easy. Though there’s a monastery and more lakes at the top, we didn’t rush, and found that simply being surrounded by such pure air and beauty was worthwhile enough.

Snacks and bathrooms are provided throughout the park, and the museum at the base of the park is of mild interest. You can see the entire park in a day, done best before or after visiting Jiuzhaigou, as Huanglong is often included in tour packages going to Jiuzhaigou.

Getting three: By plane: Chengdu to Jiuhuang Airport. Ticket price: ~980RMB. Travel time: 40 minutes. Buses from Jiuhuang Airport to Huanglong cost 22RMB one way, 40RMB round trip. By coach: Take bus no(s). 6, 28, 49, 55, and/or 301 to the Xinnanmen Bus Station. Buses leave at 8:45, 9:15, 10:15, 10:30, 11:00 daily. Cost: 13RMB. Smaller buses are available all day from 6:30am to 5:00pm. Cost: 8RMB.
- Accessible from Songpan by bus, though from November-February service becomes patchy.
- Buses to Songpan leave from Chengdu from Chadianzi bus station thrice daily: Tel. 028 8750 6610.
Admission Fee: 200RMB during the peak season (from April 1 - November 15); 80RMB in low season (from November 16 - March 31).
Opening Hours: 9am - 4:30pm
More information: http://www.huanglong.com


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Mark Hiew (more chengdu)
Located 150 kilometers northwest of Chengdu and 65 kilometers west of Songpan, Huanglong (“Yellow Dragon Valley”) is a nature reserve certainly worth visiting. Many people skip it, heading only for Jiuzhaigou (certainly also worth visiting), and subsequently miss out on the remarkable spectacle of cascading pools, and otherworldly formations that are not to be found elsewhere.

Huanglong, a UNESO World Heritage site, gets its name from its yellow rocks, formed by calcite deposits, and when viewed from above, the park resembles that mythical, Chinese creature. The best time to come is in the fall, when rainfall fills the waterfalls and cascading pools. It creates quite the scene, as light reflects off the brilliant turquoise-azure water in a way reminiscent of the Yuanyang rice terraces. While some may prefer to take the cable car up to the top, it’s not a particularly difficult climb, and the intelligently designed pathways allow patrons to walk through the calcified terraces and dense forest without doing damage to any of the park’s fragile ecosystem. Look out for the panting laborers, hauling planks of timber strapped to their back up the mountain.

Be warned: the air up there is indeed thinner, so if you’re feeling light-headed, it’s probably not just from the suspect, mystery meat you had at lunch, and you’ll want to take it easy. Though there’s a monastery and more lakes at the top, we didn’t rush, and found that simply being surrounded by such pure air and beauty was worthwhile enough.

Snacks and bathrooms are provided throughout the park, and the museum at the base of the park is of mild interest. You can see the entire park in a day, done best before or after visiting Jiuzhaigou, as Huanglong is often included in tour packages going to Jiuzhaigou.

Getting three: By plane: Chengdu to Jiuhuang Airport. Ticket price: ~980RMB. Travel time: 40 minutes. Buses from Jiuhuang Airport to Huanglong cost 22RMB one way, 40RMB round trip. By coach: Take bus no(s). 6, 28, 49, 55, and/or 301 to the Xinnanmen Bus Station. Buses leave at 8:45, 9:15, 10:15, 10:30, 11:00 daily. Cost: 13RMB. Smaller buses are available all day from 6:30am to 5:00pm. Cost: 8RMB.
- Accessible from Songpan by bus, though from November-February service becomes patchy.
- Buses to Songpan leave from Chengdu from Chadianzi bus station thrice daily: Tel. 028 8750 6610.
Admission Fee: 200RMB during the peak season (from April 1 - November 15); 80RMB in low season (from November 16 - March 31).
Opening Hours: 9am - 4:30pm
More information: http://www.huanglong.com


Huanglong National Park
Huanglong National Park
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