Jiuzhaigou Overview

Jiuzhaigou Travel Overview introduces Jiuzhaigou fast facts including the Basic Information, Population, Climate, Geography, Culture, History, Economy, Natural Resources, Administrative Diversions, etc. Jiuzhaigou, literally means "Nine Villages Valley", which is named after the nine Tibetan villages in the area. In the year of 1992, Jiuzhaigou Scenic Spot was dubbed as the World Nature Heritage Site. 

Basic Information

Geography of Jiuzhaigou


Jiuzhaigou county, borders Wen county(文县) of Gansu in the east, Zhouqu county(舟曲县) and Diebu county(迭部县) of Gansu in the north, Zoige County(若尔盖县) in the west, Pingwu county(平武县) and Songpan county(松潘县) in the south. It lies between 32 53'-33 43' north latitude and 103 27'-104 26' east longitude, with a total area of 5288 square kilometers.


The territory of valleys horizon, high in the northwest and low in the southeast in meters between 2000. Steppedly, it is mainly composed of high mountain, as well as part tableland and flatland. The valley is of "Y" shape with a length over 50 km, dotted hundreds of multicolor lakes, pools, waterfalls and calcified hirsts. Primeval forest accounts for 70% of the total area.

Administrative Division of Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou County has jurisdiction over 2 towns and 13 townships.

  • 2 Towns: Nanping Town(南坪镇), Zhangzha Town(漳扎镇)
  • 13 Townships: Yonghe(永和乡), Baihe(白河乡), Lingjiang(陵江乡), Heihe(黑河乡), Yuwa(玉瓦乡), Dalu(大录乡), Shuanghe(双河乡), Baohua(保华乡), Luoyi(罗依乡), Wujiao(勿角乡), Majia(马家乡), Guoyuan(郭元乡), Caodi(草地乡)

People of Jiuzhaigou

By the end of 2018, Jiuzhaigou County had 22,583 registered households and 67,064 people, of whom 34,164 were men and 32,900 women. The urban population is 26,075, the rural population is 40,989, and the minority population is 26,669. Among the minority population, 21,838 are Tibetan, 3,401 are Hui, 1,170 are Qiang and 260 are other nationalities, accounting for 32.6%, 5.1%, 1.7% and 0.4% of the total population respectively. Ngawa Prefecture, where Jiuzhaigou scenic spot is located, is an autonomous prefecture of Tibetan and Qiang ethnic groups. To understand the folk culture here, you need to know about the Ando Tibetan and Qiang people in Ngawa.

Climate of Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou has a typical plateau humid climate, featuring mild temperatures and without extremely weather. The mountain peaks are covered with snow all year. In Jiuzaigou, the summer is short and cool, partly cloudy and the winter is long and freezing, mostly clear. The warm season lasts for about 4 months from May to September, and the cold season lasts for about 3 months from November to February. The annual average temperature is 12.7 ℃. It is wetter for about 4 months and dry about 8 months. Rain is most common in July and August. During the morning and night, the temperature difference is great so travelers are advised to bring warm clothes when visiting Jiuzhaigou.

The Best Time to Visit

Undoubtedly, autumn is the most brilliant period to visit Jiuzhaigou. September and October are the peak months with most colorful lakes, spectacular waterfalls and pristine forests. Try to avoid Chinese National Day that falls on the first week of October, when the park is full capacity with costlier dining and accommodation fares.

In addition, winter is becoming another highlight of Jiuzhaigou to appreciate the world of ice and snow. Jiuzhaigou Ice-waterfall Tourism Festival is kicked off on January and last for two months.

Recommended Time of Visiting: 3-5 Days

More information please browse the page Jiuzhaigou Climate.

History & Culture of Jiuzhaigou

Before the 1960s, Jiuzhaigou was a secluded place with only trails and mountain paths, when the Tibetan people lived a self-sufficient life and had little contact with the outside world. So Jiuzhaigou was never known by others. Jiuzhaigou county, formerly known as Nanping county. In the 1970s, a group of loggers who stumbled into the forest found the fairyland, and they are merciful, leaving the forest behind. However, the record of earliest human activities can be dated back as early as to the Yin-Shang Period, about 16th - 11th Century B.C. Jiuzhaigou was included in the world natural heritage list by UNESCO in 1992, which brought it popular fame in China. 

From a geographical point of view, Jiuzhaigou is located in the intersection region of Tibet, Han, Qiang and Hui, and the Tibetan culture of Jiuzhaigou is affected by many ethnic groups. Nowadays, the primitive Tibetan traditions still be retained in their life, such as marriages and funeral arrangement, local ethnic costume, sweet highland drinks, folk singing and dancing, ect. There are several folk customs in Jiuzhaigou, including resorting to God of mountain, fetching holy water, burning aromatic plants, etc.

See more about Jiuzhaigou Culture.

Transportation of Jiuzhaigou

By Air

It is the most convenient way to fly to Chengdu or Chongqing first, and then transfer to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport, which will take about 40 minutes to fly between Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou. Located in the town of Chuanzhusi, Songpan County, it is about 90 kilometers from Jiuzhaigou. Besides Chengdu and Chongqing, it has opened direct flights during the peak season to Xi 'an, Kunming, Zhangjiajie, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai Flight schedules often change so please feel free to contact us to get the exactly information about the routes.

By Train

At present, there are no direct trains to Jiuzhaigou. You have to go to Chengdu or Guangyuan, Jiangyou first and then take another vehicles transfering to Jiuzhaigou, very inconvenient.

By Long-distance Bus

There are regular buses running to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu, Mianyang, Dujiangyan, etc. It is suggested to travel from Chengdu with more tickets. Chengdu is the most common and popular hub to get to Jiuzhaigou, taking about 8-10 hours under normal weather and traffic conditions.

Please click Jiuzhaigou Transportation for more detailed information.

Things to Do at Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhai Valley National Park

Located 45 kilometers far away from Nanping County, Jiuzhai Valley has a series of interconnected valleys situated in a high mountain range. It is eulogized as “a fairyland on earth” and “a fairy tale world”, which enchants tourists with its multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks.

Huanglong National Park

When touring Jiuzhaigou, most travelers would visit Huanglong National Park together due to the close location. Huanglong National Park is the only well-protected plateau wetland in China, which is famous for its colorful lakes, snow-capped peaks, pretty valleys and diverse forest. It is reputed as the "Jade Pool in the World".

Munigou Valley

Located in the southwestern part of Songpan, Munigou valley is featured with primeval forest, alpine lakes, hot springs, giant calcified waterfalls, circular waterfalls and calcified color pools. The scenic area is composed of two parts: Zhaga waterfall and Erdao Lakes.

Festival of Jiuzhaigou

With most residents of Tibetan and Qiang ethnic groups, Jiuzhaigou features most traditional festivals of local Tibetan and Qiang people. There are Tibetan New Year, Mazi Fair, Huanglong Temple Fair, Lamp Festival, Qiang’s New Year, as well as tourist festival such as Ice-waterfall Tourism Festival. Here we briefly introduce some festivals and activities to you.

More detailed information about Jiuzhaigou festivals and activities.

Dining of Jiuzhaigou

Located in the Tibetan and Qiang autonomous region, Jiuzhaigou owns its food style related to the two ethnic groups. For the dining, the two ethnic groups have different cultures. The Tibetan mainly takes smoked and barbecued meat, accompanied by barley wine, butter tea, yoghurt and other drinks. While the Qiang people likes sour and spicy meat dishes and animal offal. The main featured flavor are lamb roast, hand-grab steak, dried beef, etc. Other specialties include yam tsamba, Jiuzhai persimmon, buckwheat flour cake, and pickled cabbage noodles. Jiuzhaigou has many special drinks and the vitamin that local food lacks is supplemented by elegant tea. Below are brief introduction to some local food, snacks and drinks. More detailed information about Jiuzhaigou Dining.

Economy of Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou county persists in developing ecological economy, constantly optimizes the industrial structure, and strengthens developmental power, gradually building the new pattern of "All three industries develop and cooperate harmoniously". The economic strength of this county has been gradually strengthened and social undertaking progresses comprehensively. The county’s economy has grown steadily and ranks the third in the whole Aba prefecture. The private economy has become the main force promoting the rapid economic growth.

Tourism of Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou has won three international reputation of "Natural World Heritage", "World Biosphere Reserve", "Green Globe 21" and one national AAAAA scenic and historic interest area. There are national and provincial natural reserves and scenic areas, such as Wujiao Giant pandas, Baihe golden monkeys, Jiuzhaigou national park, Goddess Lake, Ganhaizi, etc. The natural reserve covers an area of 118,000 hectares, accounting for 22.3% of the whole county land. In 2007, it was designated as a "Strong Tourism County in China" by China National Tourism Administration. With the main strategy of "Make tourism promoting Economy”, Jiuzhaigou treats tourism as the main industry, the good reception work and management, all related accommodation, transportation, shopping, ethnic culture and art performances can ensure tourists a comfortable trip.

Natural Resources of Jiuzhaigou

Water Resources

Jiuzhaigou has developed water systems and abundant hydropower resources, with a theoretical reserve of 1.045 million kilowatts and a exploitable capacity of 642,000 kilowatts. In 2010, the hydropower cascade development in the Baishuijiang River Basin with an installed capacity of 490,000 kilowatts was successfully promoted. The Erdaoqiao Hydropower Station with an installed capacity of 12,000 kilowatts and the Heihetang Hydropower Station with an installed capacity of 80,000 kilowatts were completed and put into operation, with a total installed capacity of 100,000 kilowatts.

Plant Resources

By 2010, there were 357,000 hectares of forest land in Jiuzhaigou, which is the second largest forest zone in Sichuan with 69.75% of forest vegetation coverage. There are 290 kinds of natural Chinese medicinal materials, mainly including Dangshen, angelica, cordyceps, fritillaria, gastrodia elata, etc. The high quality agricultural products such as wild vegetable, walnut, black fungus and so on are popular at home and abroad. There are 2,033 species of wild plants, 33 species of which are rare plants such as ginkgo biloba, yew, and witchweed.

Animal Resources

Jiuzhaigou County has 42 species of national protected animals such as giant panda, golden monkey, tetraophasis obscurus, Lophophorus lhuysii, takins, forest musk deer and snow leopard, which are of outstanding rarity and great protection value. Among them, there are 10 species of national grade I key protected animals, of which: there are 6 species of mammals and 4 species of birds. There are 32 species of national Class II key protected animals, of which: there are 14 species of mammals, 18 species of birds and 25 species of endemic mammals.

Mineral Resources

Jiuzhaigou is rich in mineral resources. There are 14 kinds of proven gold, ferromanganese, hematite, arsenic, antimony and other mineral resources. The predominant minerals are gold, iron and manganese. Located in the golden triangle area of northwest Sichuan, which is one of the six major gold metallogenic belts in the country, Jiuzhaigou has a gold potential reserve of 150 tons. The proven reserves of Manaoke gold deposit, grassland gold deposit and Shuishengou gold deposit are all above 20 tons. It has been listed as "Cross Century Project" (M15-2 Project) and a resource-rich area of strategic significance by the former Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources. There are currently 2 large-scale deposits, 1 medium-scale deposit and 6 small-scale deposits.

Honor of Jiuzhaigou County

  • On December 26, 2017, Jiuzhaigou County was awarded the fifth batch of national unity and progress demonstration zones (units) by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.
  • On November 10, 2018, Jiuzhaigou County won the "2018 China Top Ten Tourism Demonstration Counties and Cities" Award.
  • On May 18, 2019, Jiuzhaigou County was included in the List of "2019 China's Most Beautiful Counties".

Edited by Hellen He/何琴

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