Nearly everyone who travels up to Jiuzhai from Chengdu also visits Huanglong. The name of this beautiful hidden valley means “Yellow Dragon”, a reference to the hundreds of travertine pools that snake, like scales of a giant dinosaur, down its floor.

As at Jiuzhai, these form cascades of brilliant aquamarine ponds, enfolded by scallops of yellow calcite and superb old-growth pine forest, which stretches up the surrounding mountainsides to the vast snow-capped peaks of the Minshan range. You can ride a cable car to the head of the valley, where a lone Buddhist monastery nestles amid the scenic splendour – surely one of the most mystical spots in all Asia.

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