China Travel Answer

Q: Could you please advise the best way to travel to Jiuzhaigou? How long does the trip take? How long does it take to tour the area? What about accomodation possibilities? Many thanks.

Jiuzhaigou (“Nine Hamlet Valley”) is a scenic area located in the northeast of Sichuan Province. It is 435 km from Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. Most visitors to Jiuzhaigou set out from Chengdu, where can find buses bound for Jiuzhaigou. Flight services from Chengdu (and Chongqing too) have also become available. Flights arrive at Jiuhuang Airport, which is just 70 km from Jiuzhaigou. Flight time from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou is approximately 40 minutes.

Visitors need to pay entry fees to enter Jiuzhaigou scenic area. It is about ¥300 per person during high season (April 1 to Nov. 15) and about ¥150 during off season (Nov. 16 to March 31).

There are hotels right outside the entrance of the park. Unless you know what you’re doing, you may not want to stay at the home of a local resident. While you may learn a little about local life that way, there may be hassles that you do not foresee. There are a wide range of hotels to choose from, room rates range from ¥100 at a common guest house (mostly for native Chinese visitors) and ¥800 at a five-star hotel.

Visitors are not allowed to stay overnight in the park, so those who plan to spend more than one day in the area need to come out of the park before sunset and re-enter the next day.

No personal vehicles are allowed in the park. Once in the park, visitors can choose to take the environment-friendly shuttle buses or hike on their own. It is a good idea to get to know the area beforehand and come up with a plan that combines shuttle-rides and hikes. One can purchase a shuttle ticket (¥90) and then hop up and down the bus at stops of his choice.

If one hurries, one can tour Jiuzhaigou in one day. But if you want to hike and get close to some of the scenic spots, it takes at least two days. Please also keep in mind that there are a few other scenic attractions in the region, such as Huanglong. If you’re going to be in the region, you might as well to spend a little additional time visiting these areas.