Location: Jiuzhaigou, 九寨沟, Sichuan, China (33° 13′ 0″ N, 103° 55′ 0″ E)
Date: 3 May 1999; 9.15am
Camera: (analogue) Canon 500N with negatives and scanned
Jiuzhaigou is one of the most famous and popular tourist destinations in China to foreigners; the other is of course including Beijing’s Great Wall and Forbidden City. It is a nature reserve, well-known for its beautiful and colourful- blue, green and turquoise- lakes and waterfalls. The reserve’s reputation was enhanced after being featured in the Chinese sword-fighting movie “Heroes” starring Jet Li. The area derived its name from the 9 Tibetan villages along its length- “Jiuzhaigou” meaning Nine Village Valley. The lakes are every clear- some of them are visible to great depths. Its variety of colours is due to carbonate deposits, different residues, reflections of the surroundings as well as the different depths. Visitors to the reserve have to pay a hefty entrance fee of 220 RMB plus 90 RMB for the park bus which operates on a hop-on/hop-off basis. One used to be able to stay inside the reserve and walk around the lakes later in the day when all the tourists have left; but this is now forbidden. The best time to enjoy the beauty of this place is during the autumn months, which is also the busiest. Despite the high entrance fee and (now) blatant commercialization of the reserve, it is still a fantastically beautiful place that should be on the agenda of anyone visiting China.