Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

huanglong scenic and historic interest area

Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area is located in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, China. It stands as the sole well-preserved plateau wetland in the country, situated along a mountain ridge gradually rising from south to north, with elevations ranging from 1,700 meters to 5,588 meters. Covering an area of 700 square kilometers, it is approximately 100 kilometers away from Jiuzhaigou.

The core area is adorned with over 3,000 colorful ponds, showcasing intricate and vibrant surface calcification landscapes. The main attractions include Huanglong Valley, Danyun Gorge, Mounigou, Xuebaoding, and the Red Army’s Long March Memorial Monument Park. The primary focus lies in the approximately 3.6-kilometer-long Huanglong Valley, where carbonate calcium deposits abound, and a rich variety of flora and fauna flourish.

The best time to visit is during the summer and autumn seasons when the lakes are at their fullest, creating a picturesque landscape. Even in winter and early spring, though with reduced water levels, the scenery remains captivating.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of TourOver 3 hours
Ticket Price170 RMB (1st June – 15th December)
60 RMB (16th December – 31st May the next year)
Cable CarOne-way: 40 RMB
Return: 80 RMB
Opening Hours9.00 – 16.30
Telephone Number0086-0837-7249188

Location and Transportation

The Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area is situated in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, China. It is located in the southern part of the Minshan Mountain Range, which forms part of the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau.

The area is nestled in the upper reaches of the famous Songpan County, approximately 370 kilometers north-northwest of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. To get there from Chengdu, you can choose the following ways:

Express Coaches: There are express coaches departing from Xinnanmen Bus Station (新南门车站) and Chadianzi Bus Station (茶店子车站) every morning. This option costs about 200 RMB and takes around 10 hours.

Airplane: You can also take a plane from Chengdu Shuangliu Airport to Huanglong Airport, and then transfer to coaches to get to the scenic area. This option takes you about 3 hours, and the cost varies depending on when you book your ticket.

Self-Drive: Self-driving is always a popular choice for exploring the Tibetan Area of Sichuan. You can easily find companies providing car rental services in Chengdu.

Travel Agency: Alternatively, you can sign up for a two-day tour in one of the travel agencies. They will arrange everything for you, saving you a lot of trouble.

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Highlights of Huanglong

Huanglong Valley

huanglong valley in huanglong scenic and historic interest area

Huanglong Valley is renowned for its accumulation of calcium carbonate deposits from flowing water, resulting in over 3,400 calcified colorful ponds, an 80,000-square-meter calcified streambed, five karst waterfalls, and four karst caves. In the 3.6-kilometer-long Huanglong Valley, which is 1-2 kilometers wide, facing the Yucui Mountain, pristine forests surround the area. The calcified emerald pools and golden-colored streambed resemble a giant yellow dragon lying amidst the dense woods. The water in these pools is crystal clear, exhibiting a dazzling array of colors when illuminated by sunlight. Walking through this scenic landscape feels like stepping into a painting, earning it the moniker “Heavenly Pond on Earth.”

Five-Color Pond

five color pond in huanglong scenic and historic interest area

The Five-Color Ponds cover an area of 21,000 square meters, comprising 693 individual colorful ponds. This pond group is the largest within Huanglong Valley and holds the record as the world’s most extensive open-air travertine-colored pond group at the highest altitude. The ponds have low, scattered embankments, and their waters overflow, creating a picturesque scene. When viewed from a distance, these patches of colorful ponds resemble jade plates in various shades of white, purple, blue, and green. Under the sunlight, the colors display a vibrant spectrum. The ever-changing play of light creates a stunning “five-color spectacle,” making it one of the most captivating landscapes in the Huanglong Scenic Area.

Huanglong Temple

huanglong temple - a serene oasis in the huanglong scenic area

Huanglong Temple covers an area of approximately 500 square meters and dates back to the Ming Dynasty. It is a Tibetan Buddhist temple affiliated with the Bön tradition. The temple showcases impressive and ancient architecture, with finely crafted statues inside, reflecting the cultural fusion of Tibetan and Han ethnicities in the Huanglong Scenic Area. Situated between the Splendid Mirror Pond and the Five-Color Ponds, the temple is surrounded by lush red pine and needle-leaf forests, creating an elegant and serene environment. The harmonious coexistence of religious and natural elements makes Huanglong Temple a cultural gem within the scenic landscape.

Snow-Capped Peaks and Glaciers

snow-capped mountains in huanglong scenic and historic area

The Huanglong region, situated at an altitude above 3000 meters, boasts well-preserved remnants of Quaternary glaciers, with the Snow Treasure Peak area on the main peak of Mount Min being the most typical. This area features towering peaks, with seven peaks exceeding 5000 meters, including the prominent Snow Treasure Peak (5588 meters), Snow Column Mountain (5440 meters), and Mendoong Peak (5058 meters). Notably, it harbors three modern glaciers, establishing this region as China’s easternmost preserved area for modern glaciers. The landscape showcases a remarkable collection of snow-capped peaks, adding to the scenic beauty and geological significance of Huanglong.

Rich Vegetation

hiking and trekking in huanglong scenic and historic interest area

The Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area showcases a diverse range of vegetation, spanning from the bottom of Huanglong Valley (2000 meters above sea level) to its summit (3800 meters above sea level). The vegetation zones include subtropical evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forests, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forests, subalpine coniferous forests, and alpine shrub meadows. With a lush and extensive coverage of 88.9%, it stands as a haven for diverse plant life. Noteworthy among the flora are nationally protected species like the Fragrant Rosewood, Taxus chinensis, Sichuan Redwood, Fir, and Yew. Additionally, unique and endemic species such as the Snow Lotus, Abies fargesii, Magnolia officinalis, Picea brachytyla, and Tsuga chinensis var. tchekiangensis can be found in the area. The conservation area is rich in diverse species of spruce and fir, and bamboo species like Arrow Bamboo are widespread.


waterfalls in huanglong scenic and historic interest area

The Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area is adorned with captivating waterfalls that add a touch of enchantment to its natural allure. These cascades create a symphony of rushing waters, offering a soothing and mesmerizing experience for visitors. From the thunderous roar of larger waterfalls to the delicate cascade of smaller ones, each waterfall has its own unique charm. As you explore the area, you’ll encounter these picturesque waterfalls, framed by lush vegetation and surrounded by the pristine beauty of the landscape.

Vlog about Huanglong Scenic Area

Useful Tips from Genuine Reviews

Hiking Duration and Difficulty: For those with a good fitness level: It takes approximately 1.5 hours to ascend and 1 hour to descend. Take breaks at each scenic spot to appreciate, take photos, and catch your breath. For those less accustomed to physical activity: Expect around 2-3 hours to ascend and about 1.5 hours to descend. Don’t push too hard; many return midway due to fatigue.

Best Time to Start the Ascent: Avoid starting too early in the morning. Starting around 9:20 AM might result in a chilly and gloomy beginning. Waiting until around 10:15 AM allows sunlight to highlight the vibrant colors of the pools.

Snacks and Food Preparation: Bring snacks as there might not be stores along the hiking trail. The entrance sells instant noodles, sausages, corn, and milk tea. Having snacks helps replenish energy. There’s a Chinese restaurant at the foot of the mountain for those not aiming to reach the summit.

Protective Gear: Wear sunglasses; snow under sunlight can be glaring. It’s windy, so consider wearing a hat. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions.

Recommended Route: A comfortable route is taking the cable car uphill, walking around 2 kilometers, reaching the endpoint of the sightseeing car, then proceeding uphill to admire the Five-Color Ponds. The descent is about 3.9 kilometers, highly recommending using the cable car. The downhill path comprises stairs and might strain the knees.

Advance Ticket Booking: Purchase sightseeing car tickets online in advance. Only 5000 tickets are sold per day. It takes around 5 minutes by the sightseeing car from the cable car station to the Five-Color Ponds, whereas walking might take an hour.

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