On our fourth day in Sichuan, we went on a 10-hour bus ride through the mountains and up to the valley and national park of Jiuzhaigou. As you can see in the video, we spent the evening of our 4th day hanging out with tibetan locals at a KTV.
On the fifth day, we spent the whole day to explore Jiuzhaigou National Park.
As you might have heard the bad news a few weeks ago, an earthquake hit Sichuan and with it this beautiful National Park. A lot of natural sights were destroyed, with it, the Nuorilang Waterfalls which you can see at the end of the video. They were the tallest waterfalls in China, now it’s just a heap of mud! Once again, this shows that we should never wait for a trip we want to go on.
After living the adventure in Jiuzhaigou for only 2 days, we were ready for our 10-hour bus drive back to Chengdu.
In the morning, our hostel owner’s driver took the four of us to the bus station. It was quite early in the morning, but we were ready for the ride. Except for Ana, because she was even sicker than the day before, so the next 10 hours would be torture for her.
We were happy when we finally arrived in Chengdu, and the first thing we did was to put our things back in our hostel and ask for a pharmacy.
When we found the needed meds, we went back to our hostel and got changed. We were hungry, so we decided to end our last night in Chengdu with a famous Sichuan Hot Pot.
After our amazing dinner we strolled through the city a little bit. It was beautiful to have a last glimpse on Chengdu at night. It was still very busy and bright, a typical evening in a chinese big city.
We returned to the hostel, tired and sleepy from the food. We packed our stuff and went to sleep, ready to fly back to Shanghai the next morning.
What about you guys? Have you ever tried Hot Pot? And do you like spicy food, or are you a sucker like me? :D
After our first adventure of arriving at our hostel (which you can read here), we were now ready to spend our first full day at the National Park. The driver of the hostel took us there for a low fee and after a little breakfast at a cafe near the entrance, we were ready to queue for the tickets. It was okay for chinese standards I guess.
When we were finally able to get in, we had to take a bus to the first sight and from there, it was upon each tourist to decide whether to explore by walking or taking other busses. We mixed it up a little bit.
Here is my little guide to all the little spots in this beautiful park:
1. Arrow Bamboo Lake:
Our first stop was the Arrow Bamboo Lake which was half frozen and probably one of the most beautiful lakes I have seen.
2. Panda Lake:
Panda Lake was right next to Arrow Bamboo Lake and it was completely frozen. It was perfect for taking photos.
3. Pearl Shoals Waterfall:
These were smaller waterfalls on our way from Arrow Bamboo Lake. The smaller ones were not frozen, but the bigger ones towards the end were quite frozen.
4. Mirror Lake:
This lake was a part of the bigger Five Flower Lake. It had all these tree trunks inside, still alive underwater, because of the rich minerals keeping them alive. The whole park in general had such a clean, fresh air which you can probably find nowhere in China.
5. Five Flower Lake:
Here, we spent most of our time admiring the beauty, taking photos, snacking, observing people and enjoying the wonderful, sunny weather.
6. Long Lake:
For this lake, we had to take the bus to the highest peak of the park. When we got out, we were a bit disappointed though. The lake was completely frozen and it didn’t have the vivid colours as the lakes below. The sun has disappeared as well, so taking photos was no use here. We were feeling a bit tired. The thin air also gave us a hard time. We actually started to feel really bad, especially Ana was feeling a bit sick already. We had a small snack and took the bus to the next station.
7. Five Colour Pool:
We got out the bus to admire this small pool and took loads of pictures. Although the sun has disappeared by now, the pictures still came out nicely, with vivid blue and turquoise colours that blew away our minds.
8. Nuo Ri Lang Waterfalls:
These were the biggest waterfalls in the park and the now gloomy weather gave it a special atmosphere. The pictures looked pretty amazing on this one. Of course, we made the pictures look so much better since all the chinese tourists suddenly wanted to take pictures with us :’D
After the waterfalls, my friend Ana was feeling sicker and sicker. Her head was aching and we were both getting hungry. We decided to take the next bus to the exit of the park. It wasn’t too late but there were no restaurants to be found inside the park and there was no sense in it all to walk around with starving bellies.
We left the park and a bunch of chinese tourists caught us to take pictures again. We smiled on a couple of pics but then told them that we had to hurry for food. Being famous can be really tough ;D
We were walking, trying to find a restaurant. We found one and ordered several dishes. They were all quite yummy,and we finished all of them. Most of them were typical chinese dishes, but there were some Tibetan dishes as well.
After we finished eating, we heard noises from outside. I looked through the glass doors and saw a group of people coming closer, carrying the dragon costume and drumming on tin and iron sheets. It was a perfect ending to our almost finished Lunar New Year trip.
Back in the hostel, Ana was so tired that she could only lay down and drink loads of hot water. I left her alone so she could rest and stayed in the lobby, talked to the hostel owner, her big family who were tibetan as well and her little son. I saw some handmake tibetan jewellery they were selling at the lobby and chose 3 pieces. Then, two other girls appeared. A chinese girl from New Zealand and an italian girl. Both were travelling for Lunar New Year as well. They were leaving the next morning as well, so we organized a car for the four of us to take us to the bus station.
I also didn’t stay too long and went to sleep soon. But not before hearing a song from one of the hostel owner’s family members. Then, they wanted me to sing a song as well, so I sang I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li :’D
It was a day full of beautiful colours and people. It was sad that we had to leave this place with its beautiful people. I would love to come back here in the future.
On our fourth day we had to wake up even earlier than the days before. We had to catch a bus that would take us to Jiuzhaigou – a huge national park famous for its turquoise lakes and deep blue pools – in 10 hours. We were excited that we would finally be able to see this beautiful place but we didn’t feel like going on a 10-hour bus ride into the mountains.
Plus, when we entered the bus, we realized that 1. we were the only non-chinese tourists and 2. that Ana and me were sitting in the crammiest back row seats I have ever seen.
Anyway, the bus ride did really feel like 10 hours. It was driving through winding streets up to the mountains. We were snacking, sleeping and trying to read. Unfortunately, I have been having a huge reading slump with A Clash of Kings, the second installment of A Game of Thrones and the bus ride felt even longer than it already was. Once in a while I was able to take some snaps out of the back window.
When we finally arrived at the bus station, we first had to check out where to take the taxi to, because the valley consisted of different villages and our hostel was in a quite small one. They helped us at the bus station but there were just too many clueless people like us trying to find their way. When we finally made it to a taxi he took us to probably the tiniest village I have ever seen. The taxi driver was a little bit confused about the exact location of the hostel as well. He brought us to the end of a street and told us that our hostel was up the street. We paid and tried to find it, but it wasn’t there. We searched through the place and aske a chinese woman who couldn’t speak any word of english. She tried to help us, asked for a phone number which we didn’t have and then also asked another man passing by. They were really helpful, but it was all for nothing. We couldn’t find it. They left us and I was starting to panic. I suggested to take the taxi back to the city centre and look for a hotel there. Luckily, Ana managed to calm me down and suggested to look inside that one hostel in fron of us. We went in and the hallway was empty. There were rooms but it didn’t seem like anyone was in there. At the end of the hallway we saw a stairway leading up to a room from which we could hear voices and noises. Ana waited for me downstairs with our suitcases and I went up and knocked on the door.
When I opened a door I saw two young girls approximately my age, a young guy, two older women and one older man sitting and having dinner. I went inside and I tried to tell them in a mix of english and chinese if they knew where this hostel was. While the two young girls approached me immediately and spoke english to me, of the elder ladies who was standing in front of the stove pushed a bowl of rice into my hands and insisted to eat it. I was overwhelmed by such warmth and kindness that I felt my eyes burning. My voice was shivering now, too and as the girls told me that they knew where the hostel is, I felt so relieved. I told them that my friend was waiting downstairs and they told me to fetch her up so we could have dinner and warm up.
We were eating rice and some vegetables. Then she offered us the most delicious Baozi I have ever eaten. It had walnuts inside and although I don’t like walnuts, it was one of the best things I have eaten in China.
The lady was one of the nices people I have ever met in my life. She wasn’t able to speak our language. She probably didn’t know anything about our countries. We could have been robbers or killers, but she welcomed and accepted us without fearing or judging us. It was obvious that this family wasn’t wealthy. They were sitting in a little room, 6 people crammed together and were ready to share their food with strangers. In this moment I realized that kindness never has to do anything with money or education and this is the most important feat a human being can have.
After we finished with our meal, we asked if we could take a picture, so one of the girls took a picture with us and their aunts and uncle and it is one of my most favourite pictures I have taken in China.
The girls helped us and we finally found our hostel. Then, they invited us to a Karaoke evening with them and all of their cousins.
Our hostel’s owner was a very friendy young mother and she welcomed us in a friendly way. She also offered us dinner but we told them that we already ate.
After checking into our overly cold room we got ready and met the girls. They took us to the city centre and we picked up some more cousins. One of the cousins’ parents has a souvenir stand with a lot of beautiful things. I bought a bracelet for our family friend’s mum and a mirror for my mum.
The KTV we went to was probably the most beautiful KTV I have been to. One of the reasons was that the rooms had their own toilets, so you didn’t have to use the disgusting public toilets. The ones at KTVs are always so dirty and disgusting that sometimes, I refused to use them.
It was so much fun to sing with those girls. There were so many of them :’D
Unfortunately, the germs of that woman in Leshan that sneezed on Ana caused her to feel a bit tired and sick so we told the girls that we wanted to go back to our hostel. They had drunk beer though, so they told one of their cousins to drive us back. We didn’t know him, so we were a bit suspicious, but she said that we could trust him. So we did, and he brought us back to the hostel safely.
It was an unbelievable day with a fun and unexpected ending.
Have ever had such an experience with locals offering you food and shelter? Tell me in the comments, I would be so interested to know.
Thanks for travelling with me!
In the next post, you will finally see the wonderful colours of that place.