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Huanglong Scenic Area - a wonder for the green traveller

For any eco-tourist the Huanglong Scenic Area translated as the 'Yellow Dragon' is one of the most beautiful national landscapes in the world. Named after the Huanglong temple, the park is located in the north west of Sichuan and is one of China's most stunning parks and an ideal location for any green traveller.

On entering the Huanglong, one of the first things you will encounter are the ponds. Crystal clear, the ponds will take your breath away and at the right time of the year, around spring, the trees are at their brightest.

During your visit, the Huanglong Temple should be part of your schedule. The temple was built during the Ming Dynasty and is around two miles from the entrance to the Huanglong valley. The temples centre on Taoism and Buddhism and are excellent examples of the culture. Some of the area is just a relic now, but other parts have been kept up. The view from the temple is said to be one of the finest you will find anywhere in Huanglong so it may be advisable to set aside a day for this trip and take a picnic.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the Huanglong Scenic Area is the Huanglong Valley. Throughout the valley a millennia of evolution has brought about a travertine river. Limestone deposits in the water have caused a beautiful effect where the river flows yellow, as the river forks the water changes colour and a rainbow of different colours can be seen.

From the top of the mountains the view is spectacular and well worth the trip; however, only the fittest should consider hiking up. There is a cable car which will make the trip somewhat easier and the walk down is considerably easier. Do allow a full day though, as the walk down can take between three and four hours. Once you reach the top oxygen levels are quite low, so if you are not in the best of health seek advice before making the trip up.

For the eco-toruists out there, there is a bus that runs twice a day. Many will want to avoid using a hired vehicle so the best way to do your bit for the atmosphere is to take the bus. There is a bus that leaves Jiuzhaigou at 7.10am most days