Artistic Wetland & Grassland – Hongyuan and Ruoergai
In the north of Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, there are two great places for photographer – Hongyuan County and Ruoergai County. The biggest grassland – Ruoergai Grand Prairie – in Sichuan is located in Hongyuan County and Ruoergai County. This is a place of magic, the home of yak, the world of flowers and the ocean of green grass. In here, the land is flat and the views are extensive; the pasture is lush and the cattle and sheep flocks. What a beautiful place to shoot! Besides that, you can shoot the most beautiful wetland in China – Huahu Lake and the First Bend of Yellow River in Ruoergai County. Langmusi in Ruoergai is the only place to view celestial burial. This place is the magical place for photographer. Besides the fabulous wetland and grassland landscape, you can find plenty of religion and human materials for your photo.
This Hongyuan Ruoergai photography tour can be customized depending on what photos you want to take, and on the weather condition when you go. Feel free to tell your interests and ideas to your personal travel consultants!
Travel Route: Chengdu / Huanglong / Jiuzhaigou / Ruoergai / Langmusi / Tangke / Hongyuan
Travel Length: 6 Days
Tour Code: CD-PTHRT-06
Tour Type: Customizable Private Tour
Departure: You Choose (you may plan it according to the best season and time.)
Your Hongyuan & Ruoergai photography tour will begin from the miraculous fairyland on earth – Jiuzhaigou Valley.
Today, after breakfast, your personal guide will escort you to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to fly to Jiuzhaigou. Upon your arrival, your local guide will meet you at Jiuhuang Airport and escort you to your hotel.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit Huanglong National Park, where densely scatters thousands of travertine color-ponds and flow streams. You’ll marvel at Huanglong Temple and fabulous Five-Color Ponds.
After the tour, drive to Jiuzhaigou to stay overnight.
Today, you will take photo in Jiuzhaigou National Park. It is well-known not only as a national park, but also a UNESCO World Heritage since 1992. Home to nine Tibetan Villages scattered in its 720 sq., it consists of three valleys – Rize Valley, Shuzheng Valley and Zechawa Valley formed a shape of “Y”. There are 114 lakes, 47 springs, 17 groups of waterfalls, 11 rapids and 5 tufa shoals within the reserve. It is said that there is no other place as peaceful as in Jiuzhaigou all over the world. This fairy land will take you to a wondrous world.
Stay overnight in Jiuzhaigou.
After breakfast, you will drive about 160km (nearly 4 hours) to Ruoergai County. On Route, enjoy the beautiful view of Ruoergai Grand Prairie which is famous as one of “Top 10 Most Beautiful Wetlands”. Once arrival at Ruergai County, check in your hotel and take a rest for a while, then go to visit the Dazha Monastery. Dazha Monastery, built in Qing Dynasty, is a Gelug monastery. Many rare Buddhism scriptures are displayed here. Stay overnight in Ruoergai County.
Get up early to shoot the beautiful sunrise on the Ruoergai Prairie. After breakfast, drive about 50km (1.5hrs) to explore the best highlights of Ruoergai Grand Prairie – Huahu Lake. It lies elegantly like a beautiful girl on the wetland with an elevation of 3468m. Summer is the best time for traveling to Huahu. Florid flowers bloom in the lake, and many wild birds inhabits here. Hiking around and enjoy the landscape for two hours, and you can take many beautiful photos during this time, then you will keep driving northward to the Langmusi Town.
Located on the border of Sichuan and Gansu, Langmusi is divided into two parts by a little stream. The main attractions of Langmusi is the Langmu Monastery, which was a Tibetan monastery built in 1748. Learn about its history and culture here. You can also go for a walk around Langmu Monastery to see the amazing landscape.
Stay overnight in Langmusi Town.
Today, you can get up early to shoot the sunrise of Langmusi. After breakfast, drive to Tangke to visit the First Bend of Yellow River. The mighty Yellow River cuts a winding path through the flat, green meadows just north of Tangke. Where it meets the smaller White River, the First Bend of the Yellow River forms a great S-shape before the river moves north into the great Ordos Loop.
Driving southward 60km, you will arrive at Waqie Town which is famous for the Talin, "pagoda forest" in Chinese. Buddhist pagodas gather around monastery like a forest. Thousands of prayer flags hang in the air.
Leaving Waqie, you will keep drive about 40km to Hongyuan County. Stay overnight there.
Today, you will get up early to shoot sunrise at Moon Bay, the essence of Hongyuan and it’s the great place to shoot the vast and beautiful prairie. Then, drive about 1 hour to Hongyuan Airport and take flight back to Chengdu. Enjoying the magnificent Hongyuan Grand Prairie on the road.
Ruoergai County is also called as “the Oasis of Northwestern Sichuan” and “Paradise in the Cloud” by its fans. Located at the northernmost of Sichuan, it has the most beautiful alpine wetland in China. There are three must-go places for shutterbug in Ruoergai. Huahu Lake is the essence of Ruoergai wetland. First Bend of Yellow River is the perfect place to shoot the magnificent meander. Langmusi Town provides numerous religious subjects to shoot.
Huahu Lake means the lake of flower in Chinese. In summer, there will be lush aquatic plants and numerous little flowers. Look from afar, the lake is like a flower sea, thus people call it Huahu Lake. Green grass and colorful flower swing with the wind, flocks of swan and black-necked crane stroll leisurely in the lake, and verdurous sky provide the best background for this picturesque scenery. The best location to shoot Huahu Lake is the No.2 observation deck in the scenic spot. At here, you can shoot the most full ecological landscape of wetland. While on the Re’erlang Hill which sits behind the Huahu Lake, you can shoot the panoramic view of grassland. The best time for shooting is from 7:00 to 9:30 and 17:30 to 19:30, because at this time, the light and shade change quickly.
Langmusi lies in the border of Sichuan and Gansu, and it’s 47km from Huahu Lake. A little stream flow through the town and divides Langmusi into two parts. The southern part belongs to Ruoergai, Sichuan, and the northern part belongs to Gansu. Langmusi has both monasteries and masjids, and Tibetan Buddhism and Islam have blended in this place. Except for the grand landscape, Langmusi is a great place to shoot folk customs, temples and ethnic activities. In the first month of the lunar year, there will be Buddha parade, god dance performance and Tibetan opera show. This is the great time to shoot the exotic Langmusi. Langmusi is also the only place to see celestial burial in China. The burial site is located near from Saichi Temple. Groups of vultures are always hovering in the sky and the Tibetan people think they are the embodiment of God. The best time to shoot is morning, dusk and when there are festivals. If you want to shoot the panoramic view of Langmusi, you can shoot from the mountain behind the Langmusi Temple.
Yellow River has 99 bends, and the most beautiful bend is the First Bend of Yellow River. You will see an “S” shape of Yellow River in here. The First Bend of Yellow River is located at Tangke Town and is 61km from the downtown. In China, there are many places you can appreciate the beauty of meanders, however, you need to stand on a high point to appreciate the twist and turns of the meanders. With extremely beautiful curves, suitable high point and breathtaking sceneries, the First Bend of Yellow River is the best location to shoot the magnificent meander in Sichuan, even in China. The best shooting site is at the peak of the hill behind Songcanggoinba Temple. Best time for shooting is from 17:00 to 19:00. The river is flowing to the west direction, thus, 17:00 to 19:00 is the best time to shoot the meander under sunset.
In general, summer and autumn are the best seasons to shoot Ruoergai. To be specific, in summer, from June to August, Huahu Lake is the most beautiful at this time – the grass looks like a green carpet, the flower spread all over the wetland. While from August to November is the best time to shoot the First Bend of Yellow River. The summer grassland is full of green grass, while the autumn grassland adds a flavor of grand and magnificent. Spring and winter are not suitable to visit the grassland for there will be snow everywhere, and the transportation is not convenient and it’s dangerous to come. As for Langmusi Town, besides summer and autumn, another good time to visit is the first month of lunar year, for at this time, there will be many festivals and activities in Langmusi and this is the great time to shoot human and ethnic photography.
1. Recommended equipment
Wide angle lens is necessary in shooting the vast grassland. Tripod, small aperture and shutter release is also suggested. Telephoto lens is useful when you shoot people photography in Langmusi.
2. Living Goods
There will be a large temperature difference between day and night, bring warm clothes with you. The UV is very strong in Ruoergai, so protect your skin from sunburn is very important. Sunglasses, sunblock, sunbonnet and sunshade are all good choices.
3. Medicine notice
The altitude of Ruoergai is about 3000m to 4000m. With such high altitude, it’s easy to have altitude sickness. So prepare some medicines to ease altitude sickness, and if possible, bring a portable oxygen bottle with you in case. Chewing gum is also helpful to ease the altitude sickness. The low temperature and large temperature difference will make you get a cold easily, so you need to bring cold medicine with you, too.
4. Transportation advice
There will be bus to Ruoergai from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Terminal from 7:00 to 8:00. Normally, the bus will arrive Ruoergai at dusk, so it’s recommended to stay overnight at the county center. Next day, you take a chartered car to get Huahu Lake and Langmusi. To get to the First Bend of Yellow River, you can take a chartered car, or take the bus from Ruoergai to Hongyuan and get off at Tangke Town.
5. Accommodation advice
Huahu Lake and Langmusi provide various class hotels for you, you can choose according to your needs. Tangke Town’s accommodation is not very good, so it’s suggested that after you shoot the First Bend of Yellow River, drive to Hongyuan County and stay overnight at there.
Seated to the south of Ruoergai County, Hongyuan County is famous for its prairie was one of the stops of Long March of the Red Army. Primitive forest and vast grassland have enhanced each other’s beauty here. Moon Bay is the most beautiful place in Hongyuan prairie. The scene at Moon Bay is just like a large landscape scroll. Another place which attracts numerous tourists is Waqie Talin – a pagoda forest in memory of the tenth Panchen.
The essence of Hongyuan prairie – Moon Bay is only 3km from Hongyuan County center. It gets this name for the White River at here is just like a crescent. As charming as the moon, White River lines out flawless curves on the plain grassland. Standing on the little hill besides the road, you will see the vast and beautiful prairie is just like a soft and green carpet spread over the dreamy land. The best place to shoot is located beside the Provincial Road S209 – the observation deck of Moon Bay. Moon Bay is also equipped with parking lot, and this is very convenient for photographer. The best time for shooting is from 6:30 to 8:00. During this time, the light changes from weak to strong, the whole view will become clearer and clearer, and the herds of horses are starting to move. Another good time to shoot is dusk, and you can shoot the sunset of Moon Bay at this time.
Waqie Talin is located at Waqie Town, Hongyuan County, and is 40km north of Hongyuan County and 60km south of the First Bend of Yellow River. Waqie Talin in Tibetan language means large tent, and this place is the chanting blessing land in memory of the tenth Panchen. Thousands of prayer flags hang in the air around the Talin. Prayer flag is a kind of totem written with scriptures to pray for safety and good luck in Tibetan area. Buddhist pagodas gather around the monastery like a forest. The best time to shoot in Talin is morning, especially in a fine weather.
Summer and early autumn (June to September) is the best time for photography. When summer comes, the color of the prairie will become verdant, and colorful flowers blossom at this time. The scene at this time would be a feast for the eyes. Once the autumn comes, the prairie will turn to a golden field as if there is a good harvest. Normally, after September, the weather will turn cold and it will snow on the prairie, so it’s not suitable for travelling.
1. Recommended equipment
Wide angle lens is more suitable to show the beauty of Moon Bay. Tripod is also recommended for the wind on the prairie is often strong, and use tripod can steady the camera and make sure the picture is clear.
2. Living goods & medicine notice
The weather and altitude of Hongyuan County is similar with Ruoergai County, so warm clothes, sunblock and sunbonnet are necessary to keep warm and protect skin from sunburn. Medicines to ease altitude sickness and prevent a cold are also needed.
3. Transportation advice
You can take bus from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Terminal to Hongyuan, however, the leaving time of the bus is normally before 7:30. Another way is taking an airplane to fly from Chengdu to Hongyuan. At present, there is only one flight commuting between Chengdu and Hongyuan every day. It only takes one hour by flight.
4. Accommodation advice
The accommodation condition around Moon Bay is rather poor, so it’s suggested to stay overnight at Hongyuan County.
For more photography advice about Hongyuan and Ruoergai, you can feel free to contact us and we are here ready to help!
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