Jiuzhaigou or Zhangjiajie
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Nov 5, 2012 10:59 AM Last Post By: msander
Sep 10, 2012 9:29 AM
Jiuzhaigou or ZhangjiajieI'm travelling to China this Friday with a view to travelling around the countryside before I get myself settled into Beijing by the time Golden Week kicks off (and then flying home, difficult timing but no choice in the matter)
Before I get to Beijing, I'm hoping to fly to Kunming and visit Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yangshuo area and Jiazhaigou or Zhangjiajie - appreciate I might struggle to do all of these places justice between 15th Sep and 29th/30th Sept.
Is there a view out there as to which one is 'better' out of Jiazhagou or Zhangjiajie. I don't just mean in terms of visual beauty as this is subjective (though, important), but in terms of accessibility, crowd numbers, transport etc? (I'm hoping the answer is Zhangjiajie)
Sep 10, 2012 9:57 AM
I've been to both, from where you are JiuZhaiGou is much more easily accessible as you're kind of further south already. You just need to get to Chengdu (easy from Kunming or Yangshuo) then jump a bus from Xinnanmen Bus Station to JiuZhaiGou (about 10 hours)
To go to ZZZ you'd either need to fly directly there at quite a high cost, or get to Changsha either by air (cheaper) or bus/train (cheapest) then change to a bus from Changsha's south or west bus stations to goto ZZZ city, from there you can change to another bus to goto the national park, or take a taxi to the entrance to the Tian'men Mountain Cable Car which is in the city.
If you're travelling at peak times they're both going to be full of people, I went to both off-peak and found ZZZ to be much quieter than JiuZhaiGou. Scenery-wise in my humble opinion there's not much in it, very different but both equally breathtaking. Price, equally ridiculous 200+ for entry to either site. Probably a little bit more expensive in ZZZ.
In summary, I'd go for ZZZ if you can afford the extra expense because I found the crowds at JZG to be too much to really enjoy it!
Sep 10, 2012 12:45 PM
Sep 10, 2012 12:46 PM
Sep 10, 2012 7:59 PM
Sep 10, 2012 8:52 PM
5Let me preface this by saying that I hate crowds and scenic spots that are paved over with buses running around.
That said, I would still prefer Jiuzhaigou, which has the crowds and buses. I really enjoyed Zhangjiajie, especially the chance to take some small trails and get away from the crowds (I crossed one washed out bridge and found myself on a trail without any other people for over an hour).
However, Jiuzhaigou is one-of-a-kind. Especially if you like photography, Jiuzhaigou is hard to beat. The air is usually much more clear than in Zhangjiajie, which is often misty or hazy. If you can stand the crowds, I'd recommend Jiuzhaigou.
Sep 10, 2012 10:54 PM
6Both are great places. I can be wrong, but probably the weather in JZG right now is more nice because of the higher altitude. ZZZ maybe still has this ugly white to ledgrey sky, while there is sun in JZG. I was in JZG end of October and had blue sky without clouds. For me it was a fantastic trip. the crowds weren't so bad.
I really like the stonepillars of ZZZ and was a little bit disappointed by the hazy weather when I was there once in September. Probably ZZZ also would be better in late October.
Sep 11, 2012 5:19 AM
7Thank you all for getting back to me. I was hoping for a unanimous verdict, but they both now sound unmissable. I really feel compelled to going to ZZZ as its pictures of that Nat Park that first inspired me to visit China!
Maybe I should approach it differently. Maybe the question is, because I really would like to be in Beijing before 1 October (both for travel availability and for any celebrations on display), should I then sacrifice TLG to allow me to visit both ZZZ and JZG??
Surely its not possible to see TLG, Yangshuo, ZZZ, JZG in 14 days (i.e. 15 Sept to 30 Sept)??
Would appreciate any help. Thanks
Sep 11, 2012 5:21 AM
8I should also say that flying intercity is within my budget, rather than train (though I would like to do some train journeys for the experience), so that frees up some time in theory
Also, with not much time before I go, is it easy to organise tours in JZG and ZZZ from local hostels or is it easy to self-navigate? Just think I need to plan ahead if I'm tight on time
Sep 11, 2012 6:55 AM
9We'll arrive/departure to/from Chongqing airport and have scheduled to visit also Chengdu and nearby sights.
We only have 10 days in the end of October and would like to experience China as much and up close as possible.
This time I'm having 3 friends with me for whom it would be their first visit to China (for me it's 14th) and I'd like them to really feel China as it is.
Now I have the same problem - JZG or ZZZ ?
Coming from Northern Europe mountains, forest and waterfalls are in Norway (very close and have been there) and also Alps therefor carst peaks look really exotic to me. I've beem to Shilin Stone Forest once before and it was spectacular. (however overcrowded and touristy)
Looking for the air fairs JZG is really expensive, and the hotels are highly overpirced as well (by tripadvisor). How it is with ZZZ ?
How does it look for you from my angle - which site should we visit for about 3-4 days ?
Sep 11, 2012 7:54 PM
10#8 yes I think you have time to do all this, if you can afford to fly..which will be costly to all these particular destinations. (Just remember that there is still real time involved to travel to airport, do check-in/security, fly, and assume possible delays).
1) 14th: Fly into Kunming early enough to connect to Guilin.
2) 15th-18th Yangshuo and Rice Terraces
3) 19th Fly Guilin-Kunming-Lijiang. Aft/evening Old Town Lijiang.
4) 20th Tiger Leaping Gorge daytrip, 4 hour hike down to river at middle gorge, return to Lijiang.
5) 21st Shaxi village, Friday market, overnight in guesthouse there
6) 22nd Shaxi valley hiking (or Shibaoshan), return to Lijiang
7) 23rd fly Lijiang to Jiuzhaigou via Chengdu or Chongqing connection (expensive!).
8) 24th-25th Jiuzhaigou (or Jiuzhaigou + Huanglong)
9) 26th early bus to Chengdu (assume will take 10 hours but could be less). Get to airport for 9 pm direct night flight to Zhangjiajie.
10) 27th-29th Zhangjiajie.
11) 30th fly ZJJ-Beijing.
You will be spending a LOT on flights, as these routes tend to not be discounted too much especially at this peak time of year. Don't wait until the last minute to book these flights if you are committed to doing all this, as seats will sell out. Also take heed of the very hefty entry fees at JZG and ZJJ.
Sep 11, 2012 9:24 PM
11I can recommend that you stay at the Zhongtian Intl Youth Hostel. A very nice place. They have a sister hostel located right in the heart of the park. The internal park buses stop just a few meters from the hostel (if you ask them to). They can ship your bags to the hostel in the park and back again for a small fee. It's easy to take a bus to the gates, walk up the valley to the glass elevator and take a bus right to the hostel. It is possible to get away from the crowds. On the most popular trails it will be you and 3 million Chinese tourists but we were on several trails where we only saw a few others - and got onto one where everyone else had better sense than to try it. The short trail out from behind the hostel is actually one of the best and when you do it before breakfast you will be all alone with the birds. Search for Zhangjiajie on this branch and you will come up with scads of information.
Edited by: ruby98103
Sep 12, 2012 9:02 AM
12Thanks for detailing that Jiejie.
I think I've decided that I won't rush around and try to get to beijing before 1 Oct (as I was only going to aim to do that to watch parades/celebrations/fireworks etc, but I can't see any evidence of such a thing existing so will just aim to get to Beijing on 2/3 Oct which should give me enough time to see Beijing before I leave early on 8 Oct. Any thoughts on whether it is worth being in Beijing for 8 Oct
As a result I guess I have unlocked a few more days so I think it is possible to see JZG, Yangshuo, ZZJ, TLG between 15th and 2 Oct.
Agree? So I fly into Beijing and then intend on flying straight on (maybe naively, assuming I can buy a ticket at the airport). Is there anyone who has an idea as to which order is the best for visiting JZG, Yangshuo, ZZJ, TLG before flying on to Beijing? Looks like jiejie is saying Yangshuo, TLG, JZG, ZZJ and on to Beijing?
Sep 12, 2012 10:47 PM
13I thought you were first flying into Kunming? And trying to exit from Beijiing? Your last post tends to upend that. Well, no matter, whether flying into Beijing or Kunming or elsewhere, you should asap book that domestic connecting flight online on ctrip, elong, or travelzen.com. Also any other flights you can nail down. If starting from Kunming (or Guangzhou/Shenzhen) as your entry point, I'd still go with what I recommended above. If starting from Beijing, then I'd change order and probably reverse the direction, or go clockwise JZG - Lijiang region (via Chengdu connection) - Guilin/Yangshuo area (via Kunming connection) - ZJJ - Beijing.
Getting to Beijing on October 3 would be ideal. Usually October 2-4 is a good time to move intercity during that holiday. Beijing can absorb large holiday crowds so it is a good place to end up. Just plan on going to more remote section of Great Wall. With the extra pickup of about 3 days, you have a better trip on the other parts rather than rushing about.
Sep 13, 2012 1:34 AM
14Jiejie, thanks my return flight is to beijing but I've always planned that I'll just fly straight on from beijing out west somewhere without leaving the airport. Just trying to figure out where is best. Thanks for the advice. The only reservation that I'd have is that from what I hear there is a big difference in crowd numbers at ZJJ between weekdays and weekends so I thought I'd try to avoid being in ZJJ in the week, then Yangshuo, then Beijing? Make sense
Glad to hear what you say about Beijing - I thought its most sensible to shack myself up there for golden week
Thanks for all the help!
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