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How to Plan a Trip to Ruoergai

Ruoergai, a county belongs to the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in the north of Sichuan Province, is located on the northeast edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Known as "The Oasis of Northwest Sichuan Plateau", it ranks first among the six most beautiful swampy wetlands in Chinese National Geography. It is not only famous for its stunning natural scenery but also its minority folk custom. Different from the commercialized tourism spots, Ruoergai is still a relatively pristine place that is waiting for exploration.

How to Plan a Trip to Ruoergai
The First Bend of Yellow River

For tourists who don't know how to plan a trip to Ruoergai, we have prepared many travel tips you need for this Ruoergai tour.

Ruoergai Highlights

Ruoergai County has a vast area, rich resources and outstanding advantages. Here the vast grassland would bloom to the sea of flowers in mid-Summer. Here the Monk in red of Langmu Temple would pray for the holy land day and night, with their pure faith. Here the sites and relics would attract the visitors who love history. The local people are simple and comfortable, with little desire to peep into the outside world, but they welcome those who travel here.

The scenic spots in Ruoergai are loosely distributed, and far apart each other, so chartered car or self-driving car is the best choice if you want to play thoroughly.

Ruoergai Grand Prairie

Ruoergai Grand Prairie is the second largest grassland in China after Hulunbuir grassland. The famous natural wetland - Flower Lake, is located there. July and August will be the best time to come here. You can see wildflowers everywhere.

How to Plan a Trip to Ruoergai
Ruoergai Grand Prairie

Hongyuan Grand Prairie

Hongyuan Grand Prairie is located in an open meadow, the white river winds its way in an "S" shape, like a crescent moon in the sky, which endows the place a beautiful name - Moon May Prairie. Compared to the Ruoergai Prairie, Hongyuan Prairie is flat, like a gentle and comely Tibetan maiden, standing quietly. In those days, the Red Army had passed through this grassland during the Long March. Although you can't see the grass and wildflowers everywhere in late autumn, you can also see the golden grass shined by the sunlight.

The First Bend of Yellow River

The Yellow River, our mother river, originates from the Bayan Kara Mountain in Qinghai Province. It twists and turns from west to east and joins the Baihe River in Ruoergai County, forming the magnificent first bend of Yellow River. Across the river from Gansu province, it is the only section of the Yellow River in Sichuan Province. From the observation, you will see two rivers competing for the current, charming and graceful. As the most representative scenic spot, the First Bend of Yellow River is a must-see site in Ruoergai.

How to Plan a Trip to Ruoergai
The First Bend of Yellow River

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Best Time to Visit Ruoergai

Ruoergai enjoys a Plateau Cold Temperate Humid Monsoon Climate, without summer all year round. The annual average temperature is 1.1℃, and the annual precipitation is 648.5mm. There is no absolute frost-free period.

The rainfall is mostly concentrated from late May to mid-July, with an annual rainfall of 648.5mm. The annual relative humidity is 69%. Every year, the land starts to freeze in late September and thaws completely in mid-May. Its frozen soil reaches to 72 cm at the deepest.

Summer (July & August) is the best time to visit Ruoergai.

How to Plan a Trip to Ruoergai
Beautiful Views After the Rain

Due to its plateau location, the temperature is not very high in summer, which is suitable for outdoor activities. During this period, the prairie is covered with wildflowers. The flower shadow is swaying in the famous Flower Lake, which was the most beautiful moment in the whole year.

In addition, most of the biggest Tibetan festivals are held in winter (December to April). The weather is cold, and there are few tourists, so it is also a good time to experience the real ethnic customs if you are not afraid of the harsh weather.

Dressing Tips

In summer, the temperature is not high, but the difference between morning and evening is large. Remember to bring a thick coat to prevent cold at night. During the day, protect yourself from sunburns. Prepare light and thin long-sleeve shirt and sunscreen.

In winter, the temperature is usually below 0C, so it is essential to have thermal closing to keep you warm. Thick coats and sweaters are recommended.

From October to May, the temperature in the plateau region is relatively low, so heating is needed. Sometimes it's sleet, so it would be nice to have sunglasses and rain gear.

How to Get to Ruoergai

Ruoergai County is located in the north of Sichuan Province, belongs to the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. It is 230km from Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area (4hrs driving) and 160km from Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport (2.5hrs driving).

Get to Ruoergai by Flight

The nearest airport to Ruoergai is Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport in Songpan County, about 160km & 2.5hrs driving & RMB400 for chartered minibus. It is recommended to take a flight to Huanglong Airport first and then charter the car to Ruoergai County.

Get to Ruoergai by Bus

For the tourist who would like to travel independently and would like to save some budget, the bus service is a considerable choice.

The bus to Ruoergai County is usually from Chengdu. The surrounding counties and cities also have shuttle buses to Ruoergai, such as Aba county, Songpan county, and Markang county.

  • Chengdu to Ruoergai: Depart at 6:30 every day. Duration at 9 hours & RMB200 per person.
  • Ruoergai to Chengdu: Depart at 7:05 and 7:30 every day. Duration at 9 hours & RMB200 per person.
  • Songpan to Ruoergai: Depart at 10:00 and 14:30. Duration at 3 hours & RMB50 per person.
  • Ruoergai to Markang: Depart at 6:30 in summer & Depart at 7:00 in winter. Duration at 6 hours & RMB80 per person.
  • Ruoergai to Aba: Depart at 8:00 every day. Duration at 6 hours & RMB80 per person.

Get to Ruoergai from Langmusi

Langmusi is a county located in the south part of Gansu Province. It is only 85km & 1.5hrs driving between Ruoergai and Langmusi, so tourists who travel to Langmusi would like to see Ruoergai.

Chartered car service is the first choice for its flexibility and comfort. It costs around RMB250 per minibus per way.

However, for the tourists who love adventure and would like to save some budget, the bus is an available option.

  • Ruoergai to Langmusi: Depart at 7:00 and 14:30 every day. Duration at 2hrs & RMB22 per person.
  • Langmusi to Ruoergai: Depart at 7:00 in Summer & 7:30 in winter every day. Duration at 2hrs & RMB22 per person.

How to Get to the Spots in Ruoergai

Local Bus

In Ruoergai County, there are buses to the places where the famous spots are located.

  • Ruoergai to Tangke (where the First Bend of Yellow River is located): Depart at 15:00 in summer & 14:30 in winter every day. Duration at 1.5hrs & RMB23 per person.
  • Tangke to Ruoergai: Depart at 10:00 every day. Duration at 1.5hrs & RMB23 per person.

enlightenedTips: There is no bus to Flower Lake, so the chartered car is the only choice if you would like to visit there.

How to Plan a Trip to Ruoergai
Views along Your Way

Charter Car Service

Tourists could charter the minibuses that could be found on the square next to Jiexin Park. 

  • Ruoergai-Tangke First Bend of Yellow River Observation Desk-Ruoergai: 72km & around RMB150 per way.
  • Ruoergai-Hongyuan Grand Prairie-Ruoergai: 135km & RMB350 per way.

The price is for reference only, and it is fluctuated by off-peak season as well as the bargaining ability.

Local Custom and Taboo

Ruoergai is a habitation of the Tibetan and Qiang people, so tourists must respect the local custom and the people there.

  1. Dress appropriately when visiting the temples or monasteries. Skirt is necessary for female tourists. No photos or video during the visit. It should be clockwise to visit the temple and turn the pray wheels.
  2. Tibetans have the custom of water burial, so most of them do not eat fish.
  3. It is not polite to touch someone's head.
  4. No spitting or stepping into the fireplace in the Qiang people's house.
  5. Do not try to see the local burial custom of Zhodo Tidro Hermitage.

Ruoergai Tour Itinerary

Whether tourists are heading from Jiuzhaigou or Langmusi, it is recommended to stay one night in Ruoergai.

How to Plan a Trip to Ruoergai

Here we plan you a Ruoergai two days tour itinerary for reference, and you may make some changes according to your situation.

-Depart to Ruoergai before 08:00 am

-Sightseeing Time: whole day

-Sightseeing Way: chartered car + walking 

►Sightseeing Route:

Day 1: Jiuzhaigou or Langmusi - Ruoergai Grand Prairie - Flower Lake - Tangke First Bend of Yellow River - Stay overnight at Ruoergai

Day 2: Hongyuan Grand Prairie - Wache Prayer Flags - Jiuzhaigou or Langmusi

Here we also recommend you the tour related to Ruoergai: 5 Days Jiuzhai Valley and Ruoergai Tour