From Nuorilang, we walked northwards to Shuzheng Valley (樹正溝), wanting to check out the sights that we had yet covered the day before. The first lake we came upon was Rhinoceros Lake (犀牛海). Despite the name, no rhinoceros could be seen. The name only refers to a Tibetan legend when a sick old man and his rhinoceros came to this lake, healed by drinking the water and eventually stayed at the lake forever after. We continued to walk northwards along the shore until reaching another small lake, the Tiger Lake (老虎海). We had no idea where the name of Tiger Lake came from. However, there was a spot at Tiger Lake where stripe-like reflection of a row of shrubs did kind of resemble tiger stripes in an abstract way. Further downstream we passed a point where the tranquil water of Tiger Lake flowed over a sloped shoal, and soon turned into a series of small waterfalls. We found ourselves standing before an open shoal where trees and shrubs grew out of the shallow water. In a distance across the road we could see the buildings and Tibetan flags of Shuzheng Village (樹正寨). On the shoal, a few timber buildings supported on stilts over the moving water captured our attention. Accessible via timber bridges, one of these houses also contained a traditional watermill underneath the house.
Overlooking Shuzheng Lake Cluster (樹正群海), a series of turquoise lakes separated by tree-lined natural dikes, Shuzheng Village (樹正寨) is the largest village in Jiuzhaigou. After walking up a sloped path, we entered the village through a large archway which said “Jiuzhaigou Ethnic Cultural Village” (九寨溝民俗文化村). We didn’t stay long in the touristy village where many traditional Tibetan houses had been converted into souvenir shops catered for domestic visitors. The emergence of mass tourism seemed completely transformed the former Tibetan community into a shadow of its past. A few minutes walk from the village entrance, we arrived at a colourful building, a temple of some sort. In front of the temple, we saw two large Tibetan mastiffs confined in a small cage. The dogs were barking and jumping up against the cage, desperately wanting to get out while their owners were nowhere to be seen. It was a cruel sight to watch. We quietly turned back and left the disappointing Shuzheng Village. It was already past 5pm, and the park would close its doors soon. We hopped on a shuttle bus for the main gate.
After years of imagination and expectations, and one-and-a-half day of real experience in Jiuzhaigou gave us scenes after scenes of remarkable scenery, a few occasions of serenity in the early morning and a decent sense of autumn from the vivid palette of nature, but also some moments of disappointments from seeing how mass tourism had made its impact upon the landscape of this once a natural paradise.
Like the other lakes, Rhinoceros Lake was full of fallen branches and trunks in its turquoise water.
Ancient tree trunks in turquoise water is one of the main features of Jiuzhaigou.
Interesting reflection of shrubs at Tiger Lake.
The peaceful water of Tiger Lake enters the vegetated shoal of Shuzheng.
Steps of waterfalls and the stilt structures near Shuzheng Village.
There was an old watermill under one of the stilted house over the water.
The watermill is used for grinding inside the house.
View of Shuzheng Lake Cluster as seen from the entrance of Shuzheng Village.
Entrance of Shuzheng Village lies across the street from the lookout of Shuzheng Lake Cluster.
The entrance archway of Shuzheng Ethnic Cultural Village.
Most of the houses were converted into souvenir shops.
The colourful temple at the back of the village.
Dried maize under the eaves of the temple at Shuzheng Village.
Seeing the anxious massive Tibetan mastiffs confined in a small cage was a depressing scene.
We quietly left the village under the colourful Tibetan flags.
A row of colourful flags and white Buddhist stupas mark the entrance of Shuzheng Village.
On our way out of the park, our bus passed by the Bonsai Shoal.
On our way back to guesthouse, we rewarded ourselves with a bowl of local spicy tofu.
Our posts on 2016 Xian and Jiuzhaigou:
DAY 1 – NIGHT ARRIVAL, Xian, China
DAY 2 – QIN EMPEROR’S TERRACOTTA ARMY, near Xian, China
DAY 2 – BIG WILD GOOSE PAGODA (大雁塔), Xian, China
DAY 3 – HAN YANG LING MAUSOLEUM, Xian, China
DAY 3 – SHAANXI HISTORY MUSEUM, Xian, China
DAY 3 – GREAT MOSQUE (西安大清真寺) AND MUSLIM QUARTER, Xian, China
DAY 3 – MING CITY WALL, Xian, China
DAY 4 -FIRST GLIMPSE OF JIUZHAIGOU (九寨溝), Sichuan (四川), China
DAY 5 – ARROW BAMBOO LAKE (箭竹海), PANDA LAKE (熊貓海) & FIVE FLOWER LAKE (五花海), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – PEARL SHOAL FALLS (珍珠灘瀑布), MIRROR LAKE (鏡海) & NUORILANG FALLS (諾日朗瀑布), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – LONG LAKE (長海) & FIVE COLOURS LAKE (五彩池), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – RHINOCEROS LAKE (犀牛海), TIGER LAKE (老虎海) & SHUZHENG VILLAGE (樹正寨), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 6 – ASCEND TO FIVE COLOUR POND (五彩池), Huanglong (黃龍), Sichuan (四川), China
DAY 7 – FAREWELL JIUZHAIGOU & XIAN, China