It all started here...

It all started here...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Starting Tour of Jiuzhaigou

Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou 
Day 2--CTtours, 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. 

Our bus on this tour.

The shopping mall right across the street from the hotel.

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?

Could this be another statue of Da Yu?

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

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 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. I am sure we were way overcharged for these but everybody bought these nevertheless.

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

Qiangzhai (羌寨)

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.

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 on the yak for a picture with a fee, of course.

Passing a Tibetan village.

prayer banners

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' tour and upgraded meals that we can put on our itinerary. We would have to pay extra for these and everybody has to agree to it. These are not on our original agenda for the $99 tour. Of course, we all went for these extras for $180pp. Our next stop, Mounigour Scenic area was one of those add-ons. 

First smaller waterfall we saw 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.

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 tried invading 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 many Chinese civilization and culture to the Tibetans. 

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 interaction between Chinese and Tibetans.

Shopping for yak jerky.

Yak jerky hanging on 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 is more 'spooky' than the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

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