Our hotel (Sheraton Jiuzhaigou) organized a taxi to take us to Huanglong and then onto the airport (500RMB). As the driver didn’t speak English, we ensured that the price was agreed before we left the hotel. We left the hotel at 8.30 and our flight was at 17.50. This really wasn’t enough time. The road between JZG and Huanglong is good but it is windy and single carriageway each way. If there is a lot of traffic it could be slow going. The scenery along the way is very nice, with the villages and towns probably worthy of stopping to see (not enough time for us unfortunately). The driver tried the “no oxygen in Huanglong” scam before we crossed the 4000m pass but I pretended not to understand him (he didn’t push it too hard). Crossing the Xuebaoding Pass was great – there was a sea of clouds beneath us. We stopped at the lookout at the top to take some photos and buy some jewelry from a Tibetan vendor. We could also see snow capped Xuebaoding Mountain – a great panorama.
The entrance to Huanglong is at the base of the pass. Due to our tight schedule, the driver advised us to take the cable car (different entrance to the normal park). This was good advice. Entrance to the park is 200RMB adults and 150RMB for kids below 1.4m. The cable car is now 90RMB. It’s still money well spent. We had 3.5 hours to cover the park. Note that if you are going to take the cable car, you really need to commit to walking down as once you start there is no going back (unless you want to climb loads of stairs back to the cable car). After getting off the cable car there is a 2.5km walk through some woods to a viewing platform which overlooks the park. From here, you still won't be able to see much of the pools that the park is famous for.
Due to the lack of time, we didn’t visit the upper sections of the park with the temple (probably one of the best bits but I always like to leave something to come back to) but walked down through the park. The park was a lot quieter than JZG and is very different but still extremely beautiful. There are toilets and food stalls (also selling oxygen) located throughout the park. The signposts are not as good as JZG but each sight has a multilingual information post giving you details about the sight and distances to the adjacent sights. Some of the terraced pools were dry, and the area around the middle temple was closed off (both sides of the path). We exited the park at about 2.30 and had some noodles from the visitor centre. The park was busier in the lower reaches with many people walking up.
None of our party had any problems with altitude whilst we were at the park and we only saw one person using oxygen whilst we there. We had taken Tibetan Herbal medicine since before leaving Chengdu (bought in Chengdu pharmacy for 28RMB per box of 24) and these seemed to work well.) and we'd also been in Jiuzhaigou for 4 nights before visiting Huanglong so we were probably quite well acclimatised. One more thing to note is that Huanglong has little shade so make sure you bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Definitely worth visiting, but I would allow about 5 hours to see the park even if you are taking the cable car. This would allow you to visit the upper sections of the park and have a leisurely walk down through the park. Final tip, if you suffer from travel sickness, bring medication as the roads from Jiuzhaigou and the airport are very windy mountain roads (well surfaced though).
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