Between the 8th and 10th July Liv and I travelled around Jiuzhaigou National Park and it was absolutely stunning. We have a few national parks here in the UK like the Cairngorms, Peak District, Lake District and so forth and while they’re pretty enough, when you’ve lived in that country for your whole life they become kind of normal. China’s national parks are naturally completely different and while I wanted to visit a few time simply wouldn’t allow this.
So after some researching and asking Liv and her family where to go we plumped on Jiuzhaigou National Park. Before I talk about Jiuzhaigou I must tell you about our journey there.
When I was in China we used Shanghai as our base as Liv‘s family were living there at the time. I really wanted to see some pandas in China so we went to Chengdu which is famous for it’s panda sanctuary (and which I blogged about here). Liv’s father’s brother or cousin (I forget which one) lives in Chengdu so he arranged for us to go stay with his family. This brother or cousin booked us a trip (which we paid for) to Jiuzhaigou via bus so we spent the most awful 10 hours on a bus going there listening to really awful karaoke. It felt especially awkward as I was the only white person on the bus and everyone kept staring at me like I had two heads.
Incidentally the route we travelled along was one of the area affected by the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake which killed some 70,000 – 80,000 people. If we had travelled a year later and a couple months earlier we could have been affected. Scary! But back to the story, we arrived at a hotel and it was really really shit. We changed rooms several times due to really dirty rooms (poo on the bathroom wall in one room) and the hotel was infested with mosquitos. That evening we went to a Chinese theatre show arranged by the tour group we were with and the usher who brought us in was horrendously rude. A culmination of shitty journey, awful accommodation and a show with rude staff, we went back to the hotel, picked up our bags and jumped in a taxi. We thought “fuck it”, we’ve only paid about £100, let’s just do it ourselves and it was monumentally better for it. The trip to Jiuzhagou itself was without incident. There was a big car crash on the way there so our driver stopped to help but it seemed no one was severely hurt which was good. Once we arrived at the hotel everything was great. Hotel was perfect for our needs and the park was absolutely spectacular.
I had a wee incident when entering the park. During our trip in China there was a heatwave so ground level was approaching 50C in places and combined with the pollution I was sick for the whole month I was there. Literally for a whole month I had diarrhea so by the time we reached Jiuzhagou which is up in the mountains I felt better but also a bit drowsy. The one morning we travelled into then park (you have to go to the main entrance and catch a shuttle bus into the park) I got on the bus and accidentally knocked someone on the back of the head with my camera (a Canon 1d3). Liv taught me some really basically Chinese but I panicked in the moment and instead of saying sorry I said “xie xie” which means thank you. “Thank you” for me hitting you on the head with a camera brick. Oops!
When we returned to Chengdu we took a flight back, which incidentally wasn’t much more expensive than the bus and took just an hour.
One of the things that really made me laugh was completely famous lack of people queing up. It was pretty hot so Liv and I fancied grabbing some food so we went to this hot food stand, where they do things like burgers, fried chicken, etc but also ice cream. There were literally dozens of people shouting “me!” “me!”. Have you seen the film Finding Nemo? If you remember the scene with the seagulls all shouting “me!” that’s what it was like.
Anyway, here are a few of my favourite shots from Jiuzhaigou. I’ll eventually make a book about China so keep an eye on the blog here for updates or even go to: https://www.chrisradleyphotography.com
One of my favourite shots from China. China was literally my first holiday in around 8 years so I didn’t really take that many portfolio type shots, just lots of fun shots. In quite a few places in China one can dress in the local outfits and I think Liv looks adorable in the outfit above.
Five colours lake. Depending on the angle at which you look at this small lake it changes colour, hence being called Five Colours Lake
The market above was about two to three hours before Jiuzhaigou but is typical of the many markets we saw on the way. One can stop, grab some really tasty food and a drink then carry on with their journey. Think of it as like a UK motorway service station.
We saw a couple yaks in Juizhaigou (and I’m a little ashamed to say we ate yak in one restaurant, which was really tasty) but just outside of Jiuzhaigou you can pay about 10p and sit on one and have your photo taken. I chose not to but I took a shot of Liv on one (wasn’t very good quality so didn’t post on here)
Jiuzhaigou valley. View of Jiuzhaigou valley as you drive into it
Long Lake Jiuzhaigou. The above lake is the longest in Jiuzhaigou Valley and one of the most spectacular. This is a real touristy shot but one day I’ll go back again (hopefully in the autumn) and take some proper photos.
One of my favourite moments in China was sitting by this lake. Mirror Lake is spectacularly beautiful but Jiuzhaigou was a really nice relief as it’s a lot cooler than the cities. To give you an idea Shanghai at this time was approaching 50C and at one point in our journey was over 50C. Jiuzhaigou, which is in central China is about 3000 metres up so is a lot cooler at around 25C. I love temperatures up to around 35C so this was perfect. But anyway, this part of Jiuzhaigou was for whatever reason fairly quiet so we had a sit down, had a drink and ate some food surrounded by stunning scenery but with relatively few people around.
I have no idea what this says but I like the inscriptions. I may get Liv to translate it for me but I’m worried a might be disappointed about what it translates to