Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area in Sichuan, China
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China's colourful terraced pools
While the sight of these gorgeous pools may make you want to don a swimsuit and plunge in for a refreshing soak, we don't recommend it. The water may be fed by underground geothermal springs, but these are no hot springs—the water's only about 5 degrees Celcius. We'll take it all in from dry land. The striking series of terraced, travertine pools cascade downward for nearly 3.2 kilometres. Formed over thousands of years, calcite deposits give the water its unique, and welcoming, turquoise coloration.
Huanglong is officially called a Scenic and Historic Interest Area, and we can see why. There are plenty of other things to see and do at this huge park nestled between snow-capped peaks in central China’s Sichuan province. With abundant forests, lakes, and glaciers, the diverse mountain ecosystem is home to a rich variety of animals, including endangered giant pandas and golden snub-nosed monkeys. So extensive and breathtakingly beautiful is this landscape that roughly 500 square kilometres of it were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.