Sichuan travelogue – Hailuogou

Snow fall greeted us that morning.  It was sort of a drizzle kind, leaving a light sensation on the face.   After breakfast, we proceeded to the entrance gate of  Hailuogou (海螺沟) nature area.  The park entrance is in Moxi town. There park buses with tour guides would bring visitors up to the mountains.  It was a scenic drive, passing through farmlands, streams and forest.  A  guide in the bus  provided commentaries and advice to the passengers.  The road was winding, but in good condition. After a while, snow blanketed the vegetations, the ground and the road, but the bus has no problem negotiating the winding road and uphill climb.

Half way through the climb, the bus stopped near to a Tibetan prayer  area. There was a lone woman in traditional attire standing as if waiting for us. She started talking about the rock carving,  and then led us  into the ground behind. It led to a cave, where a Tibetan monk was meditating calmly. None of us sought the monk’s blessing, though  we did leave some money  in the donation box.

The bus climbed all the way to the camp no. 3. Visitors have the option of taking 3 hour still uphill walk, instead of cable car. I bet no one took the option given the heavy snow covered ground and uphill climb. It was here that I realised that I need a proper shoe as I kept on slipping when walking on the snow. I had my shoes changed with snow boots for 30 Yuan. Our guide Lamu was very playful, throwing snowballs at me and a few others. 

The cable car ride turned out to be the best ride of my life. It was just out of the world, as one gaze into the snowy mountains to the left and right.  Words just can’t describe the feeling of being overwhelmed by the imposing snow mountains close by, as we slowly moved amidst the clouds. The  cable car ride took us to the camp no. 4. This is the highest point we could go, and we were around 4000 metres above sea level.  From here, one should be able to see Mount Gongga (贡嘎山) clearly. This is the highest mountain in Sichuan (thus aptly called the King of the Shu mountain ) at 7556 metre (almost twice higher than Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia),  and also the eighth tallest peak in the world.  However, due to snowy weather and low visibility, I could not   view Mount Gongga in its full majesty.

Another wonder of this place is the ice glaziers. There are about 150 glaziers in this area, as there are many peaks above 6000 metres in this area.  I got myself a pair of spike and had them tie to my snow boot to prepare for the walk to the glazier. Glazier is called bing chuan (冰川) in Chinese which can be literally translated as ice river. I think this is an appropriate description. It was not easy  to climb down valley to have close up look at the glazier.  We followed a guide, and had to walk thick snow and slippery slope for half an hour.  It was tiring walk, and the climbing up  was even more tiring, given that the air was thin at 4000m above sea level.   

Visit to Hailuogou is certainly an awesome lifetime experience as far as I am concerned.  It is worth a repeat visit. It will be great to enjoy the glory of this place in autumn colours.



 Morning view from hotel window


Snowflakes still falling that morning…


Main park entrance at Moxi. Lamu is at bottom left.


Hailuogou park – Farm covered with snow


Snowland wonder … 




Mythical view  of mountain


View from the bus – feel quite assured that guard rails are installed along road


Snowland at camp number 2

The road near camp no 2

Camp number 2

Still some way to go


Mist covering the mountains


Lone Tibetan lady greeting visitors to prayer place


Cable car station at camp no 3


Majestic view from cable car

 Grandiose view of majstic mountain


View of  mountain  above the cloud from cable car



Another view from cable car


View from camp no 4


Camp no 4


Walking down to the glazier


Looking up at camp 4  from below …


Someone having fun playing with the snow


Ice glazier



Taking closing view of glazier


View from camp 4


view from camp 4


Mt Gongga is on the left


Faint outline of Mt Gongga at the centre of picture

Misty view … on the way fown


 Next: Luding bridge


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sichuan travelogue – Hailuogou

  1. Choomeanah says:

    What was the dates you were in Hailougou?

  2. Choomeanah says:

    Thanks. As far as you know Does it normally snow in march? Did you experience hot spring in snow at camp 2?

    • kchew says:

      I think snow in march is quite normal in the higher attitude region of Sichuan. I did not visit any hotspring there though i did see the shops selling swimming costumes in Moxi, presumely for nearby hot spa.

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