I was exploring Sichuan by jeep one autumn when I noticed on the map that there was a place nearby called Jiulong County, which is the same name in Chinese as Kowloon Peninsula. How could I, who loves adventures, miss this? I ended up deeply captivated by Jiulong's pristine natural beauty.
Jiulong has the Hongba, Wanba and Wahui Mountain provincial nature reserves; the last of which was my destination. Apart from the open grasslands of four large cattle ranches, a few smaller farms, bullock pastures and the Hongshuigou ranch, the region was covered in dense virgin forest with vines wound around towering ancient trees. It was a perfectly preserved eco-tourism destination.
Leaving the verdant beauty of the mountains behind, I saw the sparkling Wuxu Lake amid the vast woodlands of northern Jiulong. The reserve covers about 400 square kilometres and features snow-capped mountains, gorges, lakes, grasslands, fantastic rock formations and waterfalls; exotic natural landscapes abounded and astounded, making the trip absolutely worthwhile.
Another point of interest in Jiulong centres around the Riluku grassland, which features mountains, valleys, houses and temples in a scenic area. Flowers blossom and bring fragrance to the land year round. Various faiths and ethnic cultures exist in harmony, and so does man and nature, presenting a unique geographical and cultural landscape.
If the Riluku scenic area is akin to elegant light music, then the Grand Canyon of the Yalong River is a galloping symphony! The canyon features steep peaks and winding valleys, with an altitude difference of more than 4,000 metres between them. Gushing waterfalls offer the perfect backdrop for the dramatic rock formations that nature has etched on the cliffs. These resemble birds and beasts as well as dragons in varying postures, providing the basis for the rich history and culture of the county, and impressing one with the force of nature.
Transport: Fly from Hong Kong to Chengdu, then take a car to Jiulong County
Sights: Jade of Gongga Wuxu Sea, Forest Kingdom Wahui Mountain, Riluku grassland, Yalong River Canyon
Climate: Alpine climate, cool year-round, autumn from October to December
(Text and photos by Leo Lin)