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Jiuzhaigou in winter covering with snowThe patchwork of shimmering lakes of Jiuzhaigou was discovered when scientists trailing some pandas, observing their habitat and 415 migratory patterns, followed the pandas into this scenic wonderland. Scientists believe the lakes were formed because of the calcium carbonate in the flowing water when the earth was between ice ages. When the global climate warmed up, the calcium carbonate became active and attached itself to obstacles in the water, forming the milky white, lunar shapes in Jiuzhaigou's lake water. The scenery in the area leaves most breathless as the sheer beauty of the lakes and the vibrancy of the colors defy explanation.

Cut into the mountains of Jiuzhaigou in the shape of a "Y" three valleys, Shuzheng, Rize and Zechawa, extend over 50km into three main zones. Pathways and roads have been laid in the valley areas and buses fetry tourists from one section of park to another. The average height of the hills overlooking the valley is around 1,800m, but the elevations here are gentle, making for easy strolls as well as strenuous, longer hikes. Nearest to the park's entrance lies the Shuzheng Lakes. Of the ll4 lakes in Jiuzhaigou, only Shuzheng, Rize Valley, Zechawa and Zharu Valley are open to tourism. Shuzheng is the largest of the lake areas, so if time is limited, this is where you should spend your time.the beautiful lake with sunshine

Beautiful Jiuzhaigou

Legend says that the lake water of Jiuzhaigou is colored by the make-up of fairy maidens. The amazing hues of the lakes vary from blue and green to light brown, dark gray and light purple.

According to science, the dazzling colors are due from the aquatic plants in the lakes, the different temperatures of the water and how it refracts light and the amount of calcium carbonate in the water. Whatever the reason, there's no doubting that the gods and nature have been exceptionally kind to Jiuzhaigou. Jiuzhaigou is indeed all about color. Set in the Aba Autonomous Region, it may be more effort than most of Sichuan's other sights-but understatement is impossible when it comes to natural scenery. Listed by UNESCO as a Worid Natural Heritage, there is an airport in nearby Songpan, cutting to less than an hour the 450km from the provincial capital of Chengdu. Rapidly rising tour numbers at the site may be expected to rise much faster with the direct air connection but Jiuzhaigou is large enough to allow for introspective hikes off the paths more beaten by tour groups.

The name Jiuzhaigou comes from the nine Tibetan villages scattered throughout the valley. The Baima tribe of Tibetans live here - farmers and hunters, they grow corn on terraced mountainsides and farm Bison. The Baima are distinct from other Tibetans in that they have their own script for their language. They have their own religious writings too and worship mountain gods as opposed to being part of broader spectrum of Tibetan Buddhism.

It's impossible to pick a favorite among the many lakes considering the natural beauty of Jiuzhaigou. Shuzheng, the largest and most accessible of the three lake-specked valleys is all ideal place to begin your exploration.

Scenic Spots in Jiuzhaigou

Spread out over hundreds of acres, the main attractions in Shuzheng Valley of Jiuzhaigou are the Shuzheng and Nuorilang Lakes, Dragon Lake and Spark Lake. The first two are stepped lakes, dropping in stages over mountain ledges with the culture village in Jiuzhaigoucrystal clear water cascading from one tier to the next. Water music rarely sounded as sweet.

The milky yellow dyke at the centre of Shuzheng lakes is clearly visible through the clear water, looking like a dragon crouching below the lake. Shuzheng Waterfall meanwhile bangs and crashes its way down the hillside before plummeting into the lake.

All around, forests of many colors in Jiuzhaigou are reflected in the water. Many endangered animals such as the giant panda live in those woodlands, out of the reach of all but the most energetic tourists. Tastefully created wooden paths cut through the lower slopes of the valley and comfortable pavilions offer a respite to weary legs. On less crowded days they're also perfect picnic points.

Calcium carbonate coatings on dead trees on the bed of the 1ake resemble abstract art creations in their twisted, yellow shapes. Add to the color mix, the turquoise, saffron and crimson colors of vegetation in the lake and the tree leaves reflected in the lake and you've got an image more colorful and pretty than a George Seurat painting. We spotted several sketch pads, mostly on the knees of foreign visitors but there's plenty of iustification for taking an easel and box of paints up here in Jiuzhaigou.


Jiuzhaigou Tour

With so beautiful lakes, so charming natural scenery, Jiuzhaigou is really worth visiting during Sichuan tour. And almost every tourist regarded Jiuzhaigou as the must visit attraction in Sichuan!

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