Huanglong National Park, or Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area is located in Songpan County of Aba, Sichuan Province. It is famous for colorful travertine lakes and ponds, sinuous deep mountain valleys, magnificent snow mountains and mysterious peaceful wild forests, which has made the park known as “Wonder on the World” and “Heaven on the Earth”. Many influential reputations favored Huanglong National Park, including the World Natural Heritage Site, World Biosphere Reserve, Green Globes 21, etc.
Huanglong National Park consists of Huanglong Valley, Danyu Gorge, Xuebao Peak ang Munigou Valley. But so far, only the Huanglong Valley and Munigou Valley are well-maintained sites, other two are only visited by adventurers.
1.Where is the Huanglong Valley located
Huanglong Valley is located in northwestern Sichuan Province, by the side of Pingsong Road, Songpan County, Aba Autonomous Region. It is about 377km’s driving from Chengdu, 127km from Jiuzhaigou Valley and 43km from Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport.
2.How to transfer to Huanglong National Park
Travelers can get to Jiuzhaigou by flight from Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guanzhou, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Changsha, Kunming, Zhangjiajie, and Mianyang. Chengdu – Jiuzhaigou is the busiest line with usually 6 flights each day (more in peak season, less in off season). Chongqing is also a popular gateway hub to Jiuzhaigou with about 2 flights each day. Other cities can’t guarantee daily or frequent flights to Jiuzhaigou.
The shortest driving route is 377km from Chengdu, via Dujiangyan, Wenchuan, Maoxian, Songopan, to Huanglong. Road is well paved with good traffic condition. Some travelers drive from far northern Lanzhou to Huanglong with the whole distance of 650km.
Travelers can also take bus from Cha Dianzi Bus Station or Xin Nanmen Bus Station to Songpan or Chuan Zhusi, then transfer to Huanglong. The bus journey usually takes about 7~8 hours.
Huanglong Valley is a 7.5 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers wide gentle-slope valley on the Xuebao Peak (Xuebao Snow Mountain). Vast yellow travertine landforms exist in the valley, and look like a yellow dragon. This is how the valley gained the name as Huanglong (Yellow Dragon). The travertine scenery was created by the thousands years of geological evolution, including glacial revolution, terrane movement, chemical reaction, climate changing, etc. It covers a total length of 3.6 kilometers. The best featured landscapes in the valley are travertine banks and waterfalls, colorful ponds, caves, etc.
Welcome Pool (Yingbing Pool) – entering the gate of Huanglong Valley, travelers will be welcomed by an ingenious and clean pool – the Welcome Pool. It is composed of 350 small bonds with different shapes stacking one after one like welcoming the guests. The murmuring streams flows from upper ponds to lower ponds.
Flying Waterfall – walk several minutes from the Welcome Pool, you will get to the Flying Waterfall. Hundreds slices of waterfalls fly out from the forest, and drop down the slope, then form many ladder waterfalls because the slope has tens of layers. In the sunny days, the sunlight shine one the waters, and reflects different colors.
Lianyan Lake – located at altitude of 3,251 meters, this lake covers more than 2,000 square meters, has water as clean as mirror. It is the only lake in Huanglong Valley.
Lotus Waterfall – a 167 meters long waterfall drops on a yellow travertine slope which is shaped like a lotus throne.
Rhododendron Forest – Huanglong Valley has a humid and cool climate which is good for the growing of Rhododendron. So travelers can see vast forests of Rhododendron which usually bloom from March to June. There are many species of Rhododendron in Huanglong Valley.
Jin Sha Pu Di – it is a travertine slope which is more than 1,300 meters long and 40~122 meters wide. According to records, the travertine landform is the largest, longest and most functional and colorful among its kind in the world. Watching from afar, one will find the slope is looking like the squama of the Yellow Dragon.
Bonsai Pool – located at 3,320 meters above sea level, the Bonsai Pool consists of 330 colorful small ponds, and covers more than 20,000 square meters. The ponds is formed by the rhizomes of trees, and connect with each other. Different colors of travertine in the bottom of the ponds create a beautiful natural wonder. The pool, together with the trees, flowers, rhizomes, forms a natural Chinese bonsai.
Zhengyan Pool – the pool is the second largest group of colorful ponds in Huanglong Valley, right after the Five-color Pool. It has 658 small ponds, covering more than 20,000 square meters. Zhengyan Pool is famous for its hundreds unique and beautiful shapes of ponds which reflect different color under sun light.
Rhododendron Pool – this pool is composed of more than 400 ponds. The best highlight here is the vast beautiful rhododendron surrounding the pool. The different colors of rhododendron’s flower or leaves reflect in the water, and create mottled scenery.
Huanglong Middle Temple – this temple was originally built in Ming Dynasty. It is a temple of Bon. There is no ponds here, but you can enjoy great scenery of wild forest here. There used to be a large complex of buildings, but so far, only an Avalokitesvara Hall sits here.
Huanglong Back Temple – this temple has a history of more than 600 years. It is a Taoist temple. The Five-color Pool is situating at the back of the temple. This temple is a great background when travelers take the full views of the pools.
Five-color Pool – located at the altitude of 3,576 meters, the pool is the highest group of outdoor colorful travertine ponds, also the largest-scale in the world. It has 693 small ponds, covers more than 21,000 square meters. The ponds here are well-arranged, very similar to the Yuanyuan Rice Terrace in Yunnan. Looked from afar, the ponds are like many jade slices.
Since the attractions of Huanglong Valley are located in a valley, so travelers only need follow the well paved walking path in the valley to explore the attractions one after another. The entrance gate is situated at the foot of the valley.
Walking is the only way in the valley. No vehicle is available. So far, the most popular visiting route is taking the cable way to the upper location of the Huanglong Valley. After visiting the most top attractions – the Huanglong Temple and Five-color Pool, then walk down the valley, and visit the attractions one by one, until get to the foot of the valley. You can also walk the valley to the top, then take the cableway down the valley. Walking whole journey is not recommended because it costs much energy, and doesn’t have to repeat the walking path again.
Generally, Huanglong is not as famous as Jiuzhaigou. Travelers usually spend one or two days in Jiuzhaigou, and explore Huanglong Valley in a half day. The most popular way is firstly tour the Huanglong Valley, then transfer to visit Jiuzhaigou. Because Huanglong is relatively near the Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport, also close to Chuan Zhusi and Songpan Old City where travelers usually accommodate.
Munigou Valley is located 30 kilometers west of Songpan County, 60km from Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport. It is affiliate scenic area of Huanglong National Park. It has five features – waterfall, sea of flowers, lake, hot spring and stalactites.
It has two major attractions – Zhaga Waterfall and Erdao Lake. Zhaga Waterfall, 104 meters in width, 40 meters in height, is the highest travertine waterfall in the world. The water rush out from a lake, and drops on a layer-shape bed, passes three stages, fall off rapidly and splash back. The soaring sound of the waterfall can be heard from miles away. On the upper and lower locations of Zhaga Waterfall, there are dozens of small waterfalls with different shape and size. Erdao Lake region has 26 small attractions of forests, lakes, flowers, hot springs, stalactites, karst caves. Step along the path in the forests, you will find hundred lakes scattering around, and deep caves are hidden in the deep forests.
Huanglong National Park belongs to a high plateau template and subfrigid monsoon climate. Summer and Autumn are best season to visit Huanglong when the weather is cool and sunny. Bucause the ponds have not much water in the spring, and it usually snow in the winter. The Huanglong Vallley will be closed in winter for maintenance.
Since the attractions of Huanglong Naitonal Park are located more than 3,000 meters above the sea level, travelers should prepared well for the high altitude sickness. Keep a good healthy condition before your tour and rest well especially the first night of arrival. When walking in the valley, don’t go too rush. If you feel hart breathe, you can stop in the tourist service center to rest and get oxygen supply.
Entrance Ticket - Peak Season (4.1-11.15) : ￥200 / Off Season (11.16-3.31) : ￥60
Cableway – Upgoing: 80 / Down: 40
Entrance Ticket -￥100
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