The hired taxi picked us up at our guesthouse at around 6:30am. Our flight back to Xian was at 4:50pm. We planned to arrive at Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport at 2:30pm, so giving us half a day to explore Huanglong (黃龍), another World Heritage scenic designation in the region. Huanglong is famous for its travertine landscape and colourful calcite pools, similar to the ones in Pamukkale of Turkey. The taxi ride from Jiuzhaigou to Huanglong took almost three hours on well-paved road. The weather didn’t look too promising. It was rainy when we arrived at Huanglong visitor centre. Though our taxi driver was quite optimistic about the weather, saying that a rainy morning down at the entrance would usually turn out fine when we get up the mountains. We got our admission and cable car tickets, found our way through a long covered walkway and reached the cable car station.
Several minutes of cable car ride took us up to about 3400m above sea level, where our Huanglong hike began. There was light rain and fog. Occasionally as the fog moved, we would get a faint view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The air was chilly but moist and refreshing. Mountain moss was all over from ground to branches. We followed the signs pointing towards the famous Five Colour Pond (五彩池), which was about half an hour of gentle uphill hike from the cable car station. We hoped the rain would stop and fog would be lifted by the time we reached the pond. We reached the main viewing platform of the Five Colour Pond at almost 3600m above sea level. The rain had stopped but it was still a little foggy. We stayed on the platform for a while. After 10 minutes standing on the platform, the fog began to clear. As we continued to walk along the Five Colour Pond, the sky get brighter and the air warmer. At last we could see the true colour of the Five Colour Pond under decent sunlight. Under the morning sun the turquoise and yellow pools of the Five Colour Pond formed a spectacular gradient of tones. The Five Colour Pond was the highest point in Huanglong at about 3600m. From there onward it would be a gradual descend for us to walk back down to the visitor centre at the mountain foot. With tickets in hands, we followed the long covered walkway to the cable car station.
Huanglong was rainy and cold when we arrived at the upper cable car station.
Much of the surrounding evergreen forest was covered by the fog,
After few minutes into the hike we could see the Five Colour Pond from afar.
Snow-capped mountains were in all four directions
Looking down the valley we could see the Huanglong Middle Temple.
Looking uphill we could see the travertine landscape and colourful pools.
Highland trees were changing their colour to autumn foliage.
It was still foggy as we approached the Five Colour Pond.
Close up of the Five Colour Pond.
View of the Five Colour Pond as seen from the main deck.
Five Colour Pond and the main viewing deck.
The colours get brighter when the fog was lifted.
Overview of the Five Colour Pond.
Five Colour Pond under the sun.
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