It all started here...

It all started here...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Starting Tour of Jiuzhaigou

Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou 
Day 2--CTourus, August 31, 2016

It has been two months since our tour to Jiuzhaigou. I have vague memories of the details about this tour, mainly my fault, because I was too tired to take notes while on this trip. I thought I should be able to remember but I don't, I can only blame it on aging. Anyway, I will try to describe what I can remember and then leave the rest to your imagination.

Leaving our hotel in Chengdu for the long bus ride to Jiuzhaigou on this dreary morning.
I believe this hotel is called Paxton Park Hotel. A decent hotel at a convenient location.

Our bus on this tour.

The shopping mall right across the street from the hotel with a Carrefour Supermarket inside.

Getting on the busy highway.

The Chengguan express toll road.

Then we went on the G213 highway, I believe, passing through some beautiful valleys.

along the Minjiang River

Saw this from the bus and quickly snapped a couple of pictures. Not sure what this is though. I wonder if it is part of the Erwang (二王廟) Temple?

Not sure who this is.

Getting closer to Dujiangyan(都江堰). Maybe because of the close proximity of the Dujiangyan Irrigation, security here seemed tight. 

A statue of Da Yu (大禹) standing tall in the center of town.

Da Yu the Great was said to have been born here. He was a legendary ruler famed for his introduction of flood control in ancient China. 

The city of Dujianyan was heavily destroyed in the Wenchuan Earthquake (汶川地震) in 2008. The whole city has been rebuilt with funding contributed by other provinces.

All the buildings were rebuilt after 2008.

Minjiang River along the 213 National Road.

One of the rest stops on the way.

Some kind of 'medicine' that the tour guide was selling on the bus supposedly to help prevent high-altitude sickness. We were told that we should take 5 to 9 vials of these daily while we were up on the mountains. Each person was allotted two packs and we could returned the unused packs at the end of the tour.

Arriving Maoxian (茂縣) with a huge Qiang (羌) tribe population.

Qiangzhai (羌寨)

Our big spenders.

Lunch before visiting the Qiang village.

Lishi Restaurant where we had our lunch.

There are many Qiang minority villages, and we visited the "White Rock Qiangzhai".

Beautiful big houses, seems like they live a pretty good life. 

A pretty place to live.

An interesting visit.

Back at the main gate of the village.


Diexi Haizi  "Sea of Diexi" 叠西海子

White yak, which is considered sacred. Tourists can get a picture on the yak for a fee, of course.

Passing by a Tibetan village.

Tibetan prayer banners

Who gets to go first?

Mounigou Scenic Area (牟尼溝風景區)
While we were on the bus that day, our tour guide told us about the 'optional' upgrade package that we can purchase on this itinerary. Included in the upgrade package would be a trip to the Mounigou Scenic Area, the Kung Fu Show at Emei Shan, a Sichuan Hot Pot meal and an Imperial Herbal meal. Everybody on the tour must agree to the add-on for it to work. These were items not on our original agenda for the $99 tour. Of course, we all went for these extras and paid $120pp for this upgrade. Our next stop, Mounigour Scenic area was one of those add-ons. 

I definitely felt a little dizziness because of the high altitude situation here. Slowing down and taking it easy helped.

First a smaller waterfall as we entered the area.

Then the larger fall at the end of the trail. I believe this is called the Zhaga Waterfall.

With our very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, Mr. Yen. A wonderful guide that we had.

Visitor Center near the parking lot where the restrooms are.

Not that many visitors on this day.

A Tibetan temple.

the village

Songpan, Aba, Sichuan (松潘)
As we were going deeper into the mountains, we came by the old city of Songpan which used to be called Songzhou (松州). The county is composed of Tibetan, Qiang, Han and Hui populations. 
The ancient city of Songzhou was built during the Tang Dynasty, which at that time was bordered between Tibetan and Chinese Empires. The King of Tibet attempted to invade the gate of Songzhou and Tang Taizong, the Emperor of China offered Princess Wencheng (文成公主) to the Tibetan king to settle the dispute. It was said that Princess Wencheng brought all kinds of Chinese civilization and culture to the Tibetans during that period. 

Statue of Princess Wencheng and King Songtsan Gampo in front of the ancient city gate.

The ancient city of Songzhou.

Inside the city gate.

Sculptures depicting the friendly exchange between Chinese and Tibetans.

Shopping for yak jerky.

Yak jerky hanging above the storefront.

yak jerky

Construction of the high-speed rail should be completed in two years.

Beautiful flowers blooming outside the restaurant where we had dinner that evening.

Some kind of soup

stuffed bun

The restaurant that's near the Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport.

Holiday Inn Jiuzhai Jarpo
Finally, after a day of traveling from Chengdu, we arrived at our hotel in Jiuzhaigou--the Holiday Inn Jiuzhai Jarpo. It is very 'Tibetan' decorated from the lobby to the guest rooms. We would be staying here for two nights.

Lobby decorated with Tibetan praying wheels.

I have to say that this felt more 'spooky' than the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

It's not dirty, just the way they tried to decorate it with a taste of Tibet, I guess.

We had a good night sleep nevertheless.

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