Inscribed as World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Jiuzhaigou Valley enjoys its great reputation all over the world. It is a part of Nanping County, in the Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, and about 330 km away from the provincial capital of Chengdu City. The name “Jiuzhaigou Valley” comes from Mandarin which means “Valley of Nine Villages”. Being covered by 52% natural forest, the Valley spans an area of more than 600 square kilometers. Due to the humid climate with an elevation of more than 3000 meters, Jiuzhaigou Valley has a large variety of flora and fauna, including 2,976 plant species, 141 bird species, 170 vertebrates species and 17 species of rare animals. Visitors have excellent opportunities for viewing rare and precious wildlife and plants, such as giant pandas, Chinese golden monkeys and takins. The high-altitude karsts are formed by glacial, tectonic and hydrological activities for thousands of years, hence more than 100 green, sapphire and turquoise-colored lakes emerge. Spectacular mountains, colorful forest, fabulous lakes, stunning waterfalls and unique Tibetan ethnic in Jiuzhaigou Valley have made up a heaven, which becomes one of the most popular international travel destinations and one of China's must- see destinations.
The forest is a wonderland for wildlife and lush green fauna. It occupies more than half of area in the Jiuzhaigou Valley. The vast extent of the forest is dominated by more than 2,000 species of plants and a variety of wildlife. 300,000 hectares are covered with primeval forest. And its dressing style varies from seasons. Best views can be seen in autumn and winter. In autumn, orange cotinus coggygria, golden birch leaves, purple maples and red wild fruits carpet each other, forming a natural oil painting. While walking, visitors can enjoy the mysterious beauty of nature: thick fog, scattered birds feathers, fallen leaves, fresh drops of water, running creatures, breezy winds and colorful flora. The forest in winter is a placid and pure silver world. Ice is diamond, sparkling here and there. The snow is scattered throughout the mountains and falls. There are always long views that you can see the snow from many different sides of hills and trees. It is absolutely a feast on eyes.
Jiuzhaigou Valley is also a wonderful waterfall kingdom. In spring, silky waterfalls drop delicately down from high gullies. The water is alive everywhere. It pats on rocks shyly and gentle like a sweet young girl. In summer, it is a fearless warrior. The powerful roaring water jumps fiercely from the gorges and against rocks and then fall straight down. Sparkling water, delicate mists, gorgeous rainbows feature a spectacular picture. The best known fall is Nuorilang Waterfall (Promising Bright Bay Waterfall) which is close to the junction of the valleys. It is regarded as the widest highland waterfall in China with a width of 320 meters and a height of 20 meters. In summer and autumn, visitors can savor a grand and fabulous view.
Jiuzhaigou Valley has already been inhabited for thousands of years by the Tibetan people. Tibetan Buddhism is a prominent religion in this area. The unique Tibetan culture is deeply rooted in the cuisine, life style and architecture etc. Highland barley, corns and wheat are the staple food for Tibetan people. Light diet and plain food are what Tibetan people like. It is not uncommon that Tibetan buildings are wooden houses with three storeys. The first floor is for domestic animals, the second is for living and the third one is a space for Buddhist chanting.
The well-known lakes in Jiuzhaigou Valley are called “Haizi” by local people, which means “son of the sea” in Chinese. As a result of glacial, tectonic and hydrological activities for thousands of years, calcium carbonate are accumulated and deposited. Meanwhile, lakes are formed gradually by various natural phenomena, such as earthquake or rock falls. The water in the lakes is pretty clean and clear even at very high depths because of the high concentration of calcium carbonate. These lakes are full of beauty. They maintain their charms with different colors: green, yellow, gray, pink or blue etc. When breeze ruffles softly to the lake, water is glistening like diamonds with colorful lust. The lakes present us the majestic beauty in this natural region.
The spectacular mountains are perfect creations to complete the natural beauty by being a connection of ground, water and sky. Three gullies make up of a “Y” and the rugged mountains with sheer slopes and cliffs attract many ambitious explorers. Being alive with an abundance of wildlife and fauna, cliffs and waterfalls, the tall mountains add more fun and challenges for visitors. Silver clouds and fogs cover the mountains and it becomes a sea of mists and clouds on the peak of mountains. The sunset views over these tall mountains are breathtaking. In the morning, rosy glow encircles high mountains and no one can resist the exuberance of sun. And then, the whole sky is painted into golden. When dusk comes, pinkish orange is far and wide on the mountains side. Under the mountains, water in the creeks sparks a brilliantly golden light in the reflection of the setting sun. The stunning scenic views of sun on the mountains can leave you speechless for days. Everyone will be intoxicated by the blending of magnificent mountains and romantic sun view.
This fairyland is remote from the outside world for centuries until some lumberjack broke in by accident in 1970s. The area gains great fame since it was discovered. It was classified as “the first Key Scenic Districts of China” in 1982 and was bestowed as “Forty Best Scenic Districts of China” and ranked first in New Nature Scenic Districts of China in 1990. The UNESCO designated it as “World Heritage Site” in 1992 and “World Biosphere Reserve” in 1997. Jiuzhaigou Valley becomes the only one scenic spot who wins two international titles in China so far.
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