ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Huanglong

DAY 7 – FAREWELL JIUZHAIGOU & XIAN, China

Leaving Huanglong behind, our taxi drove northwest into the mountains.  The ride to Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong Airport was roughly an hour long.  The mountainous scenery along the way was pleasant under the sun.  The airport was busy with passengers designated to either Chengdu or Chongqing.  Our flight to Xian only operates during peak tourist season.  It was already dark when we arrived at Xian after the 1.5 hour flight.  Stepping out of the airport, we could immediately tell the difference in the air, from the refreshing highland air of Sichuan to the typical urban smog of a Chinese big city.  It was raining heavily and we decided to take a taxi returning to Hantang House, the guesthouse that we stayed at in the first half of the trip.

Hantang House is a simple guesthouse hidden in an alleyway within walking distance from Xian’s Bell Tower.  Given the affordable price, central location, youth hostel ambience, good selection of international beer and local ice pop, we were quite happy with the stay.  We dropped down our backpacks and walked out to a nearby shopping centre for dinner.  Originally we opted for a popular hotpot restaurant, but eventually gave up when we were told that the wait for a table would be 2.5 hours.  We ended up going to a fish based hotpot restaurant in another shopping centre.  In the next morning, we walked across the alleyway to Xiaohe, a street eatery right outside of our guesthouse.  That was our second and the last opportunity to taste the spicy noodles and local burger made with crispy baked bread.  At the lobby of Hantang House, we said goodbye to the friendly cat which always greeted visitors whenever it was awaken.  We sat around the high wooden table in front of the lobby reception and waited for the American lady whom we would share a taxi to the airport.  Our short trip to Xian and Jiuzhaigou had come to an end.  This concludes our record for this trip.

IMG_7942.JPGThe mountainous terrains near Huanglong reminded us that we were at the southern region of Minshan Mountains.

img_7959Enroute to the Jiuzhai-Huanglong Airport from Huanglong.

dsc_0441Ascending to the sky from Jiuzhaig Huanglong Airport, we could see the a series of snow capped mountains in the area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHidden in an alleyway, it took us a little while at our first night to find our way to the front door of Hantang House.

dsc_7256The lobby of Hantang House resembled a pub.

dsc_7258The front desk of Hantang House.

dsc_7769Xiaohe, the local eatery just across the alleyway from Hantang House.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocal burger with fried egg and mixed vegetables in baked bread.

img_8381Spicy noodles were quite delicious, though we had to causally sit on tiny wooden stools at the sidewalk to finish them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAXiaohe Eatery and its table and stools on the sidewalk.

dsc_7752We said farewell to the cute cat at Hantang House.

dsc_7761The friendly cat in the lobby was part of the hospitality of Hantang House.

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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

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DAY 6 – DESCEND FROM FIVE COLOUR POND (五彩池), Huanglong (黃龍), China

After the Five Colour Pond, we stopped by a colourful Buddhist temple known as Huanglong Ancient Temple (黃龍古寺).  Outside the temple, we sat down on a bench and took out the sandwiches brought with us from our guesthouse.  It was chilly and we quickly finished our lunch and began our walk downhill.  From about 3600m above sea level at the temple, we followed the designated path and descend to other major sights of Huanglong.  The Five Colour Pond was only the first of many travertine pools in Huanglong.  Next came a series of clusters of turquoise pools including Flamboyant Pond (爭豔池), Azalea Pond (娑蘿映彩池), Mirror Pond (明鏡倒映池), Bonsai Pond (盆景池), etc.  Gentle waterfalls over white calcified terrain and the dense evergreen forests created a picture of visual contrast, while occasional yellow foliage stood out as brushes of vivid highlights.  Our descend to the park entrance took a little over two hours.  We made it just on time, about five minutes before 2pm when our taxi driver would come pick us up for the airport.

Unlike Jiuzhaigou where our experience relied heavily on shuttle buses, Huanglong was primarily a hiking experience.  Visiting Huanglong was a pleasant hike of meandering through the surreal calcite terrains at high altitude.  Huanglong was less crowded and in a way less touristy.  The three days at Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong were physical demanding, but were also highly rewarding.

dsc_0178Huanglong Ancient Temple (黃龍古寺), where we took a lunch break at its forecourt.

dsc_0206Elevated boardwalks provide most of the park trails.

dsc_0214Huanglong Middle Temple (黃龍中寺), another old temple that we passed by during our descend.

dsc_0222Most visitors, including us, ascend to the Five Colour Pond by cable car, then walk down to visit the various sights on our way to the main park entrance.

dsc_0255Flamboyant Pond (爭豔池) was another popular site with surreal turquoise pools.

dsc_0287Gentle waterfalls and the delightful sounds of running water were all over Huanglong.

dsc_0300Azalea Pond (娑蘿映彩池) had a higher concentration of shrubs in the pools.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABonsai Pond (盆景池) was another interesting spot where trees and shrubs grow from the calcite waters.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeven Mile Golden Sand (七里金沙) and a golden tree stood out from the mountainous background.

dsc_0309Golden Sand Pavement (金沙鋪地) looked like rolling hills covered with a white and golden carpet.

dsc_0311Close up of crystal clear water.

dsc_0380Mirror like turquoise pools on our way down.

dsc_0407Flying Waterfall on Lotus Platform 蓮台飛瀑, a gentle waterfall flowing on the yellowish calcified landscape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWashing Cave 洗身洞 where local tourists loved to take photos.

dsc_0419Close to the bottom, the boardwalk arrived at the last main attraction, the Guests Welcome Pond (迎賓池).

dsc_0431The main concentration of turquoise pools of Guests Welcome Pond (迎賓池).

dsc_0437We reached the park entrance minutes before 2pm, when our taxi would drop by the roadside to pick us up for the airport.

 

 


DAY 6 – ASCEND TO FIVE COLOUR POND (五彩池), Huanglong (黃龍), Sichuan (四川), China

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.  _A145916.JPGWith tickets in hands, we followed the long covered walkway to the cable car station.

dsc_9896Huanglong was rainy and cold when we arrived at the upper cable car station.

dsc_9911Much of the surrounding evergreen forest was covered by the fog,

dsc_9918After few minutes into the hike we could see the Five Colour Pond from afar.

dsc_9941Snow-capped mountains were in all four directions

dsc_9976Looking down the valley we could see the Huanglong Middle Temple.

dsc_9981Looking uphill we could see the travertine landscape and colourful pools.

dsc_9995Highland trees were changing their colour to autumn foliage.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was still foggy as we approached the Five Colour Pond.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up of the Five Colour Pond.

dsc_0041View of the Five Colour Pond as seen from the main deck.

dsc_0107Five Colour Pond and the main viewing deck.

dsc_0112The colours get brighter when the fog was lifted.

dsc_0133Overview of the Five Colour Pond.

dsc_0162Five Colour Pond under the sun.

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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