Unspoiled Paradise of Nine Village Valley, China

in China

In this world of global tourism, there are very few unspoiled areas. One spot that can boast such a title is Jiuzhaigou Valley, or Nine Village Valley as it is commonly called.

This picturesque alpine location lies in the Sichuan province, around 450 kilometers from the capital, Chengdu. Its English name comes from the nine traditional Tibetan villages scattered throughout its 240 square kilometers.

The local villagers live in harmony with the land’s thick forest, 114 sparkling lakes, bubbling springs, and waterfalls. Agriculture and private vehicles are forbidden in the spot, which is protected as a World Heritage site.

As you might imagine, the Nine Village Valley is a haven for native wildlife. It’s home to giant pandas, white-lipped deer, golden monkeys, and around 140 kinds of birds. There are also many beautiful species of rhododendrons and panda’s favorite treats, bamboo.

The area is steeped in mythology. One story suggests that a mountain deity gave a goddess a mirror as a token of his affection for her. When the devil appeared to her she dropped the mirror, and the shattered pieces became the area’s many lakes. Skeptics suggest the lakes and waterfalls were instead formed by earthquakes and landslides, but the first explanation is much more romantic!

The colors of fall at Nine Village Valley, China

The colors of fall at Nine Village Valley, China

As agriculture is forbidden, villagers rely on tourism and government subsidies to live. Guests are encouraged to spend $3 on a photo of the locals in their traditional dress.

While Nine Village Valley is beautiful all year round, autumn is perhaps the best season to visit. Snow lingers on the mountain tops, but the red, orange, and yellow tones of fall are everywhere.

As personal vehicles are prohibited, tourists take the bus from Chengdu along the Minjiang River canyon. The journey generally takes 10 hours, although rock and mudslides in bad weather can add hours to the trip. It sounds daunting, but the unspoiled beauty of this area makes the long journey worthwhile.

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