Nuorilang Waterfall (诺日朗瀑布 [Nuòrìlǎng Pùbù])

Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China

About Nuorilang Waterfall (诺日朗瀑布 [Nuòrìlǎng Pùbù])

Hiking Distance: 0.5km shuttle
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-05-01
Date last visited: 2009-05-01

Waterfall Latitude: 33.16304
Waterfall Longitude: 103.90737

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Nuorilang Waterfall (诺日朗瀑布 [Nuòrìlǎng Pùbù]; Promising Bright Bay Waterfall) was nearby the road so Julie and I noticed that it tended to grab the attention of bus riders thereby earning it the title of the most famous waterfall in the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve (九寨沟自然保护区 [Jiǔzhàigōu Zìrán Bǎohùqū]; 9 Village Gully). It was very similar to the other cascades and waterfalls in the park where calcium-rich water caused trees and other foliage to grow throughout the waterfall’s course. This particular falls was said to have a width of about 320m (perhaps making it the widest in the park) and a height of 20m. It was also considered one of the top six waterfalls in China according to the China National Geoegraphy Magazine (note: this was not the National Geographic Magazine we were used to seeing back at home).

Draining the so-called Mirror Lake, this year-round waterfall probably would see its best flow in late Summer and Autumn. Julie and I visited this waterfall in the Spring where the waterfall wasn’t particularly spectacular as there were plenty of exposed underlying rocks while the falls had more of a stringy and segmented appearance throughout its entire width.

Like the Pearl Shoal Waterfall, it was possible for us to take photos of this falls with the stunning alpine mountain backdrop if we were seeing it from a high enough vantage point. Unfortunately, we didn’t get this view as I think we got lost in the moment and we completely overlooked the fact that we could’ve (and should’ve) pursued that higher perspective. I guess we’ll have to look forward to doing that next time, if we’re fortunate to return here.

We visited this waterfall as part of a short 15-minute shuttle walk starting from the boardwalk entrance a few paces north of the visitor center complex and finished at another shuttle stop further to the north (downstream) of the waterfall. This boardwalk went directly across the front of the Nuorilang Waterfall, where it was very difficult to photograph the falls as it was way too wide to even fit on the widest of wide angle lenses.


The Promising Bright Bay Waterfall sits right at the intersection of the backwards-h-shaped road within the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve. The left (west) branch leads to Swan Lake while the other branch leads to Long Lake. The stop right at the road intersection also happens to be hub containing a dining and souvenir shopping facility along with a huge parking lot to accommodate the numerous buses that would stop here for a break. However, I must add that the bus drivers also tended to take their breaks during lunch where it seemed like every driver took their lunch breaks at exactly the same time thereby resulting in a rather chaotic rush to board one of the few buses that would run during the lunch hour.

How did we know this? Well, we were part of an unruly group that waited for nearly a half-hour or so as numerous buses would pass right by us. When one finally came to pick us up, you can imagine the stampede (no such thing as lining up in an orderly fashion in China apparently) as people pushed and shoved their way to squeeze onto the limited space in the bus. Definitely not a place to be for the timid!

To get to Jiuzhaigou village (where we stayed), it was about a 90- to 120-minute drive to get from the Jiuzhai Airport town to the park entrance. Then we had to take the mandatory shuttle bus to navigate within the park.

We arrived at the Jiuzhai Airport from Chengdu, which was 424km away (a 1-hour flight or 7.5-hour drive). Chengdu was a 2.5-hour flight from Hong Kong, 1,963km (21 hours drive or over 3 hours flight) west of Shanghai, and 1,818km (20 hours drive or over 3 hours flight) southwest of Beijing.

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Sweep of the width of the falls from one of the leftmost spots

Frontal sweep of the falls showing more detail in the rocks underlying the water

Sweep from one of the rightmost viewpoints

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Tagged with: jiuzhaigou, tibetan plateau, sichuan, szechuan, chengdu, jiuzhai, lakes, nature reserve, promising bright bay, travertine

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