I made the deliberate plan to stay in the Jiuzhai Valley area for four full days, or basically four full days since my flight out was at 2130 at night on my fourth day in the valley. Since I had my activity planned for my final day, I had an open day for visiting something else in the area. When I was doing deeper research on the Jiuzhai Valley, I discovered the Fairy Pond Scenic Area, which wasn’t mentioned in my China guidebook. Upon further investigation, it sounded like a beautiful place to visit and an ideal day trip from the Jiuzhaigou village I was staying.
The Fairy Pond Scenic Area is only about 49 kilometers (30 miles) from Jiuzhaiguou village, but it takes about 90 minutes to get there by car. It is certainly possible to take a bus to the area, but it honestly seems like more trouble than it is worth. So your two basic options to visit the Fairy Pond are to do a tour group trip, or hire a taxi on your own to take you. I chose the latter since it gave me freedom of movement and the ability to set my own schedule. Since I don’t speak Mandarin, the front desk manager was kind enough to book a taxi for me. She didn’t really speak English, but she spoke better English than I did Chinese, and combined with some basic phrases and Google Translate, we were able to communicate.
So my taxi driver for the day showed up at the pre-arranged time (400 yuan for a full day) and we headed off for Fairy Pond Scenic Area. Even though the actual distance isn’t that far, it still takes a while to get there. The road is narrow and winding, and we had to cross a very high mountain pass (3604 meters or 11,825 feet) to get to the Fairy Pond on the other side of the mountain. We stopped for a few minutes at the top of the pass to marvel at the beautiful mountains below us. Some of them were laced with morning fog, and some of them were peeking out.
Admission to the Fairy Pond Scenic Area is 100 yuan and then you are pretty much free to roam about. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the entrance area to the start of the scenic area. There are stairs on both side of the scenic area and you can walk up either side and walk down the other. At the base of the valley is the Gold and Silver Beach with is a wide trickling waterfall built up with calcium deposits and a blend of gold and silver colors, hence its name.
I elected to walk up the right side of the valley so I would walk down the left side of it and get the most comprehensive view of the valley’s sights. As I walked up the stairs, I followed the gently flowing water. The bottom of the valley was a very wide, golden calcium carbonate travertine and the water rippled slowly over it and produced a delicate, beautiful shimmering effect.
The first travertine pool was Jasper Lake and it was easy to walk among and over the lake via the wood planked boardwalk. These pools weren’t the first travertines I’ve visited (that would be Pammukkale in Turkey), but that didn’t stop me from appreciating their unique beauty. The calcium deposits were a delicate golden color and the water was an iridescent turquoise blue, and I marveled that such stuff can exist in nature, and took thousands of years to get to the point they are at now.
The path was a wood planked set of stairs and kept going up and up, with occasional stops for different sights. The path itself is very easy, and the ascent is rather gentle with plenty of sights to see along the way. The lakes were beautiful colors of blue and green and they were so clear. I imagine the area would be even more beautiful in full overhead sunlight, but even with the smattering of clouds, Fairy Pond was still colorful and beautiful. Blue Dragon Pool was a beautiful blue and the still water was a perfect reflection of the trees resting underneath the water’s surface.
About midway up the stairs, the view stops at Multi-Lotus Reflecting Pools. The travertines were a beautiful contrast of pure white or bright golden calcium deposits and very bright turquoise blue water, all set among the green trees and looking out over the faraway mountains.
The path ends up at the top of a colorful flag pavilion. It’s a small open air pavilion festooned with colorful prayer flags. The pavilion provided some shade and welcome coolness from the hot air and a good place to rest.
The path downward was easy with more sets of stairs. This way allows you to see the same sights as the hike up, but on the opposite side to provide a different perspective.
All told, I was at the Fairy Pond Scenic Area for a leisurely couple of hours. All the sights you want to see are clustered in this valley and the park is set up real well to facilitate an easy visit.
Fairy Pond Scenic Area makes for a great day trip from Jiuzhaigou village. Now if you are only in the area for a few days, I suggest you spend two days in Jiuzhaigou National Park and another day at the Huanglong Scenic Area. But if you have another free day, Fairy Pond is very much worth your time.
[…] the Multi-Colored Pond. This was another set of travertine pools, very similar to what I saw at Fairy Pond Scenic Area. The water were shades of blue and green set among the golden travertines. The clouds were gray and […]
Thank you very much for your kind words on my blog. To answer your questions:
1. How long the trip is from your hotel depends on what hotel you stay at. There are a wide variety of hotels on the roads from the park entrance. I would assume at least 5-10 minute taxi drive, depending on traffic and distance to park entrance. My hotel was 1.5 kilometers from the park entrance and it took me about 10-15 minutes to walk.
2. The trip is definitely doable for older persons. There are busses that go from the park entrance to the two different valleys. The bus trips from the park entrance go all the way to the end of each valley and then turns around and goes back down. The bus will stop at every scenic point so visitors can get out and see each site and then get back on the bus. Most of the paths are boardwalked with minimal stairs.
3. Yes, I used the electric sightseeing bus when I needed to.
4. I arranged a day trip to the fairy pools and back with my hotel manager. She quoted me a price of 400 yuan for a taxi driver to take me there and back. It is always possible to negotiate a different price, but since I don’t speak Mandarin, I was at a bit of a disadvantage when it came to bargaining.
Great written blog and enjoying reading your blog.
I’m interested visiting fairy pool 神仙池 and wonder you can help me with some information?
1. How much time needed for the trip from jiuzhaigou hotel?
2. Is it “doable” for elderly at their 70th?
3. Read somewhere that the site has a sightseeing bus and electric car and wonder if you using that on your trip?
4. Estimate transport cost from Jiuzhaigou hotel to fairy pool.
Thanks before hand for your time and keep writing great blog.
Thank you for your prompt reply. Appreciated much…
I’m planning to visit JZG by bus from Chengdu and stay either Sheraton or Intercontinental.
Beside the Jiuzhai Valley National Park, I’m tempted to visit the fairy pond after reading your blog which more less time consuming compare to Huang Long.
We’ll be visiting with two eldery on their 70th.
Wonder if the pond available to visit throughout the year?
Do you have information about the pond opening hour?
Cannot found any website about this pond.
Did you went to Bian Bian street asuming you stay at Sheraton?
Thanks again for your very informative blogs.