Visiting Huanglong: How To Get To Huanglong National Park
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Huanglong: How To Get To Huanglong National Park – As how it is with any foreign country, but most particularly China, it can be a little difficult to find information on how to get to certain attractions.
In this particular case, Huanglong National Park. For those who have heard of it, and have seen it, they’ll know of the national park’s beauty, and how it can rival that of any national park in the United States.
Read on and I’ll explain how to see and get to Huanglong, a hidden gem in China.
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About Huanglong National Park
Located in the South West of China in Sichuan province, Huanglong is famous for its turquoise blue water which looks to be from another world. Huanglong National Park is full of travertines – calcium carbonate based structures which are layered and look plateaued.
Each segment of the plateau, or travertine, is naturally hollowed out through natural processes and full of a crystal clear blue water.
Accentuating the beauty of the jaw dropping layered and colourful travertines is a rich and thick forest, alongside snow capped mountains.
Visiting during the right time of year, either in summer or autumn, will allow you to appreciate this true wonder to it’s fullest. While not as famous as it’s neighbour, Jiuzhaugou, Huanglong is still a famous stop within Sichuan for locals.
So beware, as it can be a little busy in the park, especially during peak Chinese travel times of May Day, National Day, and Spring Festival/Chinese New Year.
Much like Jiuzhaugou National Park, if visiting in autumn the surrounding forest will begin to change and decorate the ponds and lakes of Huanglong with golden, sunburst orange, and yellow tones.
Interestingly, the name Huanglong means ‘yelllow dragon’ in Chinese due to the travertines when viewed from a distance look like a yellow dragon snaking it’s way through the valley.
Where To Base Yourself
The best place to base yourself is in Jiuzhaigou, a small town which is about a 10 hour drive from Chengdu. The town is famous for the Jiuzhaigou National Park, which is one of the jewels of the Chinese national parks.
Its truly a Chinese national treasure. From Jiuzhaigou reaching Huanglong National Park will take around 2 – 3 hours so its best done as a day trip.
Due to the location of Huanglong National Park, it can be a little difficult to find a hotel near Huanglong itself. Since Jiuzhaigou is larger, there are more hotels in and around the town, more restaurants, and most importantly there are more transport options available.
To get to Jiuzhaugou you can either catch a flight to Jiuhuang (Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong) Airport, and from there it’s around a 1 hour drive to the town.
Otherwise you can catch a bus from Chengdu, which will take between 8 – 10 hours. For more information on how to get from Chengdu to Jiuzhaugou, please click our guide ‘Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou: Bus, Train and Flight Simplified’ for more information .
How To Get To Huanglong From Jiuzhaigou
You have three options essentially. Bus, private car, or a tour. Each option has it’s advantage and disadvantage, so it’s up to you to decide which one works best for your style of travel.
Getting to Huanglong from Jiuzhaigou by bus is the cheapest option available, and is how I got to the park. The journey will take around 2 hours to reach Huanglong National Park, and another 2 hours to return, for a total of 4 hours of travel time.
Because there is a total of 4 hours of travel time, the bus leaves Jiuzhaigou relatively early between 7:00 – 7:30 am (0700).
Please be aware that there is only 1 bus leaving for Huanglong from Jiuzhaigou, so if you miss out on a ticket, than you’ll simply need to wait until the next day.
In order to avoid the heartbreak of waking up early to buy a ticket on the day, only to find that the bus has been sold out (approx 25 – 30 capacity), I strongly recommend that you should buy a ticket for Huanglong immediately upon arriving in Jiuzhaigou.
If you arrive quite late, try early in the morning as you’ll want to purchase tickets as soon as possible prior to the date of when you plan to visit Huanglong National Park.
This is important as during Spring Festival/Chinese New Year, or any Chinese Holiday, there is a very real possibility that all the tickets have been sold.
The price of the ticket is around 40 RMB. There is no bathroom on the bus, but the bus will stop half way through the journey for a bathroom break.
At this spot you’ll also have the option to buy some snacks very quickly. The stop is only very short, around 5 – 10 minutes. So be sure to be quick.
When you do arrive at Huanglong National Park, pay special attention to the spot where you are dropped off, as this may double as the pick up spot also. If the drop of point isn’t the pick up spot, then it will be in a car park.
Since there are quite a few buses in the area, and it may be difficult to find your actual bus to return back to Jiuzhaigou, I suggest to take a photo of your bus, the number plate, or any recognizable feature.
This will make things a lot easier, as it may seem like finding a needle in a haystack otherwise.
Price: 40 RMB
Departs For Huanglong: Between 7:00 – 7:30 am from Jiuzhaigou Bus Station (Towards the south of the town, near a roundabout. Past the entrance to Jiuzhaigou National Park)
Leaves Huanglong: Around 2:00 – 2:30 pm.
For those who seem a little overwhelmed by the notion of needing to navigate the Chinese bus system, especially if you don’t speak any Chinese, than perhaps a tour might be in line for you. Unfortunately since I didn’t reach the park by a tour, we are unable to recommend a particular tour.
A quick google search of either ‘Huanglong Tour’, or ‘Jiuzhaugou and Huanglong Tour’ should yield some results.
By Private Driver
This option is perhaps the least reliable in terms of availability. My Chinese is practically non-existent, so there may be easier options to organize a private driver than the one I’m suggesting.
With that said, this is a method which I found to work for finding a driver, or by extension a tour for Huanglong.
After leaving Jiuzhaugou National Park, I happened to notice that there were quite a few people selling tours, or simply acting as a private driver to take people to Huanglong.
These people are standing right outside the entrance to where you need to scan your tickets to enter Jiuzhaugou National Park. If you’re finding it a little hard to find any of the drivers, be on the look out for somebody holding a piece of cardboard, a piece of paper with a few pictures of activities which they’ll offer.
The cardboard and paper will be A4 in size, so be on lookout.
Usually the activities they’ll offer are horseback riding, a day spa, and a trip to Huanglong. You don’t have to buy the other options, simply tell them what you want, which is Huanglong.
They’ll ask you when, and how many people, and finally provide a price. You’ll be looking at around 120 – 150 RMB per person from memory.
Once again, I didn’t use this option, but I did use the private driver I found a few days later to take me to the airport.
If you’re wanting to see something unique in your travels to China, than you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Huanglong National Park in Sichuan.
The best place to base yourself to see this amazing site is to stay in the town of Jaizhaigou, and from there you have the options to either take a private car, a tour, or even a local bus.
Once again, if you’re choosing the local bus option, be sure to purchase your tickets as soon as possible as seats are limited due to there being only one bus per day.
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