The journey to Jiu Zhai Gou (九寨沟)

We started from our hotel in Chengdu (成都) at about 8am in the morning. After about more than an hour or so, we were in the rural areas and you can start seeing mountains in the distance.

the road to jiuzhaigou into the mountains

Along the way, we started seeing the devastation of the 8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake. It was heartbreaking. As the tour guide recalled some stories from the earthquake from the news and her personal experience, I shed a few tears. (Fortunately, we were in a tunnel with no lights when the tears came so it wasn’t so unglam/embarrassing.) It was definitely impossible not to feel emotional/sad from the stories. As I type and recall the stories, I can feel tears welling up in my eyes.

reconstruction work to the disaster area

One of the stories that left a deep impression on me was how there was only 1 road into the disaster zone but it was destroyed by the landslides and earthquakes. The only way into the disaster zone was by foot as it was in the mountains and the mountain drifts makes helicopter use tricky.

The relief workers had to walk for 3 days and nights on foot from the nearest town of Dujiangyan (都江堰) to reach the outer most part of the disaster zone. By the time the relief workers arrived at the first disaster site, their shoes had holes/split and their feet were blistered and bleeding.

Along the way, the relief workers only had some biscuits and water to eat as they hurried along the mountain roads and landslides to start relief efforts. They had to eat instant noodles dry as there was no water to cook the pot noodles.

It was heartbreaking. Our bus ride from Chengdu (成都) to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟) was about 10 hours and for a good half of the journey or so, you could see the devastation of the earthquake. Go do the maths on the extent of the damage that’s visible from the road. It doesn’t even include the damage and devastation that’s not along the route!

extent of the landslide into the river
reconstruction work to rebuild the highway/road that were damaged by the earthquake
villages damaged by the earthquake
landslide. go figure the scale of the damage
bridge damaged by the earthquake

Enough with the depressing stories for now, here are the other sights along the way towards Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟):

the road ahead to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟) on a toilet break
a shop along the route to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)
a Qiang (羌) town we passed en route to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)
a town of people from the Qiang (羌) minority ethnic group
a Qiang (羌) museum under construction in Maoxian (茂县)

We stopped for lunch in Maoxian (茂县) before we proceed with our journey to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟). I must have dozed off after lunch as I realised that I do not have many photos of the journey after lunch. Haha. The view would have been the same as per before lunch – the landslides and ruins of the villages and towns from the earthquake.

At our next toilet break, we stopped at Die Xi Hai Zi (叠溪海子). The view was pretty lovely by then:

Die Xi Hai Zi (叠溪海子)
White yak!
view surrounding die xi hai zi (叠溪海子)

After this stop, we were about 2 hours or so away from Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)! Can’t wait to get there! My butt was getting flat from all the sitting on the bus!

more sights along the route to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)
another Qiang (羌) town along the way to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)
A bridge of the traditional Qiang (羌) design

Finally, we arrived at our hotel in Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)!!!

Our hotel in Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)

The hotel was one of the better ones in Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟) apparently. Still, hot water was rationed and only available between 6 – 8am and 8pm – midnight everyday. Bring your own toiletries, towels and some cup noodles/food!! You’ve been warned.

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