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Part 2: Easter Long Weekend @ Jiuzhaigou

We got up early and were seriously pumped and ready to go to the Jiuzhaigou National Park. We got there at 7.30am (park opens at 7am) and there were a queue already! I thought we were the only crazy people, clearly NOT! Whilst Hubby purchased the tickets, I took a photo of the map of the National Park.

We then got on the national park bus (no cars were allowed in the national park!) and went to our first stop – the Virgin Forest.

The forest reminded me a little bit of the movie ‘twilight’ – I stupidly said this to Hubby and the moaning and eye rolling started… *sigh* he just doesn’t get it!

I’m certain there is a shot of the forest like this in the movie!

Anyway, we caught the bus back to the first stop which was Swan Lake, got off and made our way down to the Tourist Centre. It was quite a lengthy walk – a good 2 hours walk but it was worth the 2 hours walk!

Some photos of during our walks…

Arrow bamboo lake…

Panda Lake…

Waterfalls…

We got to the Tourist Centre about lunch time and caught another bus to the other side of the national park – Ze Cha Wa Valley – which stretches 18km from Nuo ri Lang to Long Lake (Chang Hai) at the joint highest point of the park. The view was stunning and the photo doesn’t do justice! We found a log, sat down, soaked in the view and were mesmerized!

We had a rest here, and realized how exhausted we were..

We got on the bus and stopped at the five coloured pool. I really wanted to see this but when we got there, I was disappointed! It wasn’t as beautiful as I have imagined and it seems like it was going to fade away shortly – which was sad. The worse thing about it was you had to go down to see the five coloured pool – the way back up to the road was  painful! I think that walk / climb to the top really killed it for me! It was a pretty steep going down, so you can imagine walking up – it wasn’t pleasant.

There was nothing really good to see on the Ze Cha Wa Valley side, so we took the bus all the way down to the town centre, and then we stopped at Tiger Lake and made our way to the Entrance of the park. This was a long walk! A good 3 – 4 hour walk but we did see some of amazing sights which again made the walk worthwhile!

We made sure we took photos of the map so we didn’t get lost! Those who knows me well knows that I am prone to getting lost… anywhere and everywhere!

A snap of one of the village we walked pass.

Part of sparkling lake…

I was absolutely exhausted by this stage, as we walked a good 5 – 6 hours! We got back to the entrance at about 4pm and thought about an early dinner.

We went back to the village and found a different place to eat – Hubby wanted noodles and I wanted some more of those xiao long baus and that is exactly what we got.

Xiao long bau – as good as yesterdays!

Got Hubby some beef noodles with chili and this was extremely spicy! The soup was drinkable unlike that hot place that we went too in Chongqing.

We also got another noodle soup –  vermicelli, egg and tomato soup – which was just as good! The vermicelli was thin and cooked to perfection, the soup tasty. The meal in total costs 30RMB which was incredibly CHEAP!

We were so tired that we had to catch a taxi back to the hotel and both got a foot massage! We both really needed the foot massage and needless to say that we both slept well that night.

This was an amazing weekend away. It wasn’t about the food – it was about the scenery and what mother nature has to offer. Hubby had such an amazing time that he wants to come back.. but this time to camp / hike for 2 – 3 days and I have stupidly said YES! I have to admit though – I think it would be unreal. I wouldn’t go camping for more than 3 days max – anymore than that and I will go insane!

Jiuzhaigou – if you have never been – I strongly advise you to go. Its beautiful, amazing, simply breath taking – the photos really don’t do any justice. My favourite photo would have to be below.. now how can you say NO to something like this?!?!?

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Part 1: Easter Long Weekend @ Jiuzhaigou

I was in Xi’an when Hubby told me that we were going to Jiuzhaigou for our Easter long weekend. I have never been but have heard my mother rave about it. She originally wanted to go to Jiuzhaigou instead of Xi’an and didn’t understand why – but after going to Jiuzhaigou – I totally utterly understand!

Jiuzhaigou is not the easiest place to get too. Jiuzhaigou is located in the northern of Sichuan Province.  It is known for its many multi-level waterfalls and colourful lakes and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

There are many ways you get to Jiuzhaigou. You can drive, catch the bus, catch the train or even fly to Jiuzhai Valley. We flew to Jiuzhai Valley from Chongqing which took a good hour, and then a 2.5 hour drive from the airport to the National park itself.

Hubby and I flew to Chongqing on Good Friday, and we arrived at Chongqing quite late. We didn’t really do much at Chongqing except to have a late dinner – which was hot pot! Sichuan is well known for the spices and hot pot. So we found the nearest hot pot place across the street from our hotel and OMG – it was the spiciest and hottest beef hot pot I have ever had. If you are not used to eating spicy food then this is definitely not the dish for you!

We even asked for medium level of spiciness and it was quite hot. I noticed that the spices they use are quite different – it leaves that tingly feeling on your tongue. Drink water after it and the flavour will be infused!!! Hubby thinks it’s best to drink coke… I beg to differ. As you can see from the photo below – even the soup was red – it was seriously undrinkable! The soup was a tad bit oily but the hot pot itself was tasty. I’m not a big beef eater so only had a couple and it was tender. The mixed vegetables, mushroom and potatoes were fantastic.

We went to bed that night full and I for one slept like a baby. We got up early the next morning to catch our flight to Jiuzhaigou and were super excited!

We arrived at Jiuzhai Valley airport and it was absolutely amazing! I would have to say it is one of the best airport s (in terms of scenery) I have ever seen. The airport was surrounded by mountains, and snow was still visible on some of the highest mountains. It was seriously amazing and seriously cold!

To get to the national park itself its about 2.5 hours drive, which is about 200RMB cab ride. You can catch a bus for 45RMB each but the bus will not leave unless they have a minimum of 7 people. There were 4 of us – we found 2 other travelers who wanted to catch the bus. One of the cab drivers approached us and asked if we wanted to go together – all of us looked at each other and thought – why not? They were going staying at the Intercontinental and we were staying at Sheraton.

The Intercontinental Hotel is the newest hotel in Jiuzhaigou and it looked utterly amazing! We originally wanted to stay there, but it was further away from the national park and Hubby wanted to be closer. Sheraton is probably a good 30 – 40 mins away from the Intercontinental. It’s not as bad as some people have claimed, however, it’s definitely not a resort!

We got to our Hotel around about 2pm and were going to venture to the national park but were told that it was not worth going, as it was already 2.30 – 3pm. During peak season, tickets are 220RMB not including bus tickets which was 90RMB. Off peak is definitely cheaper at 80RMB and there were no two day passes during peak season. It would have been costly, so we thought we’d get up early tomorrow and just check out the villages and either have a late lunch or early dinner!

Even the surroundings of the national park were gorgeous! There are mountains everywhere you look.  Below is a photo of a lake … gorgeous.

Here’s a path from the national park to one of the villages.

We haven’t had breakfast or lunch so I was seriously hungry! We found this little place in one of the villages – I don’t remember the name unfortunately but all the restaurants looked great.

We ordered a serve of xiao long bau – I almost forgot to take a photo of it – took a bite of my bau, placed it back and took the photo. They were incredibly tasty – the bun soft and the meat juicy! With vinegar and chili, these baus really went down easily and nicely.

We also got sizzling beef – which was fantastic! Better than any sizzling beef I have ever had. The beef tender and succulent, veggies fresh!

Hubby wanted fish – so we got fish with preserved vegetables soup. This was amazing – one of the best fish soup I have ever had. The fish was fresh and soup full of flavour with a hint of chili, which was perfect. My only gripe would be that the fish was a little boney but overall it was fantastic!

Full and satisfied after a day of not eating, we waddled around the villages to buy some snacks for our walk at the national park!

Found a great bakery and stocked up on bread / biscuits / chocolate and drinks for our hike. Yes, we purchased all the below for the hike – it’s our breakfast / lunch / snack!

We didn’t do much that evening, thought we would get an early night so we can start early. I was seriously looking forward to the National Park!