Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Impressions from China - Fairyland

Jiuzhaigou - oftentimes referred to as the "fairyland" of China.

It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site; this is not surprising, having seen for myself the magnificent vistas & extraordinary colors of the rivers & lakes in the region. We were in Sichuan last week visiting Chengdu, Huanglong & Jiuzhaigou. Visitor numbers are down this year because of the earthquake. This made our visit more pleasant as we didn't have to fight with crowds for photo opps, although there were still certain areas which were pretty jammed with people, by Singapore standards!

Huanglong, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is located at an altitude of 3,500 m is known for it's unusual colored multitiered pools which look like craters. With powdery blue colored water, they almost seem as if they are man made. But it is the mineral deposits in the pools that cause the reflection to be that color. Many of us were hit by altitude sickness to varying degrees. Some were merely breathless, while others had headaches & nausea. A few took the Chinese herb Hong Jing Tian (I think the English name for this is Rhodiola Rosea) which is a TCM remedy for altitude sickness. Say what you will about TCM, but those who took this herb seemed to do very well up there!

Jiuzhaigou, the highlight of our trip, lived up to its name. The unusual high mineral content of the area contributes to the colors of the lake & the distinct lack of marine life in the waters there. In fact, if we humans drink that water straight from the rivers, it would probably have the same effect as drinking this.

Pictures do much better than words to describe the beauty of the region. So here are some...(I swear, I did not Photoshop any of the pictures...the colors are all real!)


Going up the mountain roads to Huanglong, you see a lot of these "snow clouds".

Multi-tiered pools that is characteristic in Huanglong. Lovely blue color; some have streaks of golden-brown (right side of picture).

Autumn colors surround the pools

Typical view in Jiuzhaigou

Very good feng shui - mountains & lakes!

The pride of Jiuzhaigou - Sparkle Lake - supposed to contain 5 colors - blue, green, yellow, purple, red.

Lone mallard swimming on Mirror Lake - named such for obvious reasons.

One of many waterfalls in the park

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