Fascinating Sichuan Province
Discover Sichuan: Travel from the biggest Buddha in the world up to the Tibetan HighlandsMap
Sichuan Travel Information: From Chengdu to the Leshan Giant Buddha
Trip to the Giant Buddha in Leshan. The town of Leshan is located about 150km south of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. The main attraction of Leshan is the Giant Buddha of Leshan, with 90m height the largest Buddha statue in the world.
The monk Haitong began with the construction work for the Giant Buddha in 713. It was completed 90 years later by some of Haitong’s students. Legend has it that Haitong was so convinced of his project that he gouged out his own eyes to convince the King's advisors to finance the project. Today there is a bronze statue in his honor in front of the cave in which Haitong is said to have lived during the construction.
The best view of the Giant Buddha of Leshan is from the ship. On this journey you make a short boat trip on the Dadu river.
Tagong, Journey to the Tibetan Highlands of Western Sichuan
Trip to Tagong. Tagong is situated on the Tibetan Plateau of West Sichuan, embedded in the gentle hilly landscape of the Eastern Tibetan Plateau, at 3'700 meters above sea level.
Tagong is surrounded by the seemingly endless grass steppe landscape, which is ideal for extended hikes or horse treks.
The scenery along the way to Tagong is quite spectacular. Just when the snow-covered peaks of the Gongga Massif slowly disappear in the rear-view mirror, the seemingly endless expanses of the Tibetan highlands begin with the deep green grass plains, which stand in sharp contrast to the dark blue sky.
Overnight stay in Tagong is in an idyllic eco-lodge outside of the main town of Tagong.
Muge Lake (Mugecuo) near Kangding
Excursion to Lake Muge. The Muge Lake is an artificial lake and is located near Kangding, the capital of the Tibetan prefecture Ganzi.
In Kangding you make a detour to the Muge Lake, which is about 15km as the crow flies north of Kangding. The journey from Kangding to Muge Lake takes about 1.5 hours.
Although Lake Muge has recently become some sort of a tourist attraction, it is still worth a visit. The lake at 3700m is one of the highest mountain lakes in China. The park bus takes you to the lake. Hike on a pleasant trail along the lake.
Tip: If time permits, you can also walk back to the park entrance on a well-maintained hiking trail from Lake Muge.
Hiking Emei Mountain / Emei Shan in Sichuan
Travel information about Emei Mountain: Emei Mountain, or Emei Shan, is located about 200km south of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. The 3099m high Emei Mountain is often called "Mountain of Light".
According to a legend, a man called Pu Gong is said to have witnessed a visit of a Bodhisattva on Emei Mountain (Emei Shan). During this meeting Pu Gong was ordered to build a temple (today's "Hall of the First Audience") on the top of the mountain. Emei Mountain (Emei Shan) was originally a Daoist site and only became a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 3rd century.
On your journey to Emei Mountain you will spend the night directly on the summit of Emei Mountain (Jin Ding) at about 3000 meters above sea level.
On clear days early risers can witness an unforgettable sunrise from the summit. At the Emei mountain you undertake a beautiful hike through pine forests, past numerous shrines and monasteries from different epochs before you continue your journey to Moxi.
Travel to Bifengxia Giant Panda Reserve, Sichuan Province
Drive to Bifengxia Panda Station. Bifengxia Panda Station is located 180km southwest of Chengdu. Originally the Bifengxia Panda Station was built to complement the Panda Station in Wolong. The idea was that, in case of an epidemic in Wolong, another healthy panda population was still available for breeding.
Especially after the earthquake of 2008, when the Wolong Panda Station was destroyed, this idea proved to be the right one. At that time, more than 50 Panda Bears were resettled from Wolong to Bifengxia.
From the visitor center in Bifengxia, the Panda Station can be reached by a mandatory park bus. If you want, you can hike from the Panda Station back to the park entrance in about 1.5 hours.
A visit to Bifengxia Panda Station can be combined with a visit to Shanglizhen. The idyllic village of Shanglizhen was once an important trading post for goods transported on the famous tea and horse route.
Day 1: CHENGDU – LESHAN GIANT BUDDHA – QIANWEI
Chengdu City Tour. Pick up at your hotel. Visit the historic Taoist Qingyanggong Temple, which dates back to the Zhou Dynasty. Continue to the wonderful Wenshu Temple. The Wenshu Temple is the largest temple complex in Chengdu and is dedicated to the God of Wisdom.
Trip to the Great Buddha of Leshan. At 71 meters high that colossal and impressive Buddha statue is regarded as the biggest Buddha sculpture in the world. This structure was chiseled out of a stone wall in more than 90 years of work in the 8th century. You visit Dafo Park, from where the dimensions of Dafo, so the Chinese name of the Giant Buddha of Leshan, appear even more impressive.
After lunch you take a short boat trip on Min River. From the boat you have the best view of the whole Buddha. The trip continues to Qianwei. Overnight stay is in the town of Qianwei.
Day 2: JOURNEY BY JIAYANG STEAM-TRAIN TO HUANGCUNJING IN SICHUAN PROVINCE
Travel by Steam-Train to Huangcunjing. The leisurely journey by steam train of a former coal mine through the picturesque countryside to Huangcunjing is a wonderful experience. In 1938, a 600 mm narrow-gauge railway to Mamiao was built for the extraction of coal from the Huangcunjing coal mine. In July 1959 a new line was opened from Huangcunjing to Shixi. A little later, the line was rebuilt from 600 mm to 762 mm in 1960. At that time, the 20 km long railway line was used exclusively for coal removal and for the miners' ride.
Since May 2010, the Jiayang narrow-gauge railway and the mine in Huangcunjing have been preserved and are protected as an important cultural relict by the government of the Sichuan Province.
"Jiayang" is the name of the owner of the coal mine, so today the train is called Jiayang Railway. Short hike to the village of Bajiaogou. Drive with the electric car to Baima Miao where the driver waits for you.
Afterwards continue your journey to Baoguo, the starting point for your excursion to the Emei mountain. By park bus and cable car you go all the way up to the summit of Emei Shan (Jinding). Check-in at the hotel. Overnight stay at the summit of Emei Mountain.
Day 3: TRAVEL FROM EMEI MOUNTAIN / EMEI SHAN TO MOXIZHEN
Hiking Emei Mountain. Since the "Middle Kingdom" in the 6th century, Emei Mountain has been considered one of the 4 most important Buddhist mountains in China. Emei Mountain, which is popularly called "The Mountain of the Great Light" (Da Guang Ming Shan), was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996.
Early risers experience a beautiful sunrise from the summit.
Visit the Huazang Temple on the summit. Continue to the famous Wannien Temple. From here a beautiful hike through pine forests brings you to the Wuxianggang bus station. From here the park bus takes you back to the park entrance. In the afternoon you drive west to Moxi.
Upon arrival check-in at your hotel and walking tour around Moxizhen. You will visit the Catholic Church, which was built here by French missionaries between 1918 and 1926 in European style. The church is important for recent Chinese history because Mao Zedong stayed here during the long march. On May 29, 1935, Mao, Zhu De, Zhou Enlai and Chen Yun held the famous Moxi meeting here, where the further strategies of the "Long March" were decided.
Day 4: SICHUAN TRAVEL: MOXIZHEN – HAILUOGOU NATIONAL PARK – KANGDING – TAGONG
Excursion to Hailuogou National Park. The Hailuogou Glacier Park is located at the foot of the 7556 meters high Gongga Mountain in Western Sichuan.
Travel by cable car to approximately 3500m, from where, on a clear day, you can enjoy some breath-taking views of the 7556-meter-high, snow covered Gongga Mountain. Head back into the valley by cable car and continue by park-bus to Moxizhen.
Your journey continues over a winding road in the shadow of the massive Gongga Mountain in north-westerly direction to Kangding.
After Kangding the road winds its way up onto the Tibetan Plateau. If you look back you can catch a last view of the snowy peaks of the Gongga Massive, while in front the endless green grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau emerge.
You reach the town of Tagong in late afternoon. The small town of Tagong lies at 3,700m above sea level surrounded by the seemingly endless Grassland of the Tibetan Plateau. Your Guesthouse is located about 10km outside of Tagong.
Day 5: TAGONG HIKING
Tagong, full day hike with a local guide. For this hike you will need light trekking shoes and a daypack.
In Tagong you have the possibility for longer trekking tours of several days or horse treks with overnight stay in a Tibetan monastery. Ask us about the details.
Of course you can do without a program on this day and use the day to explore the surroundings of Tagong on your own.
There are many simple accommodations in Tagong. If you prefer to stay in a more comfortable boutique hotel, we recommend to stay in Xinduqiao.
Day 6: TAGONG – MUGE LAKE – BIFENGXIA GIANT PANDA RESERVE
Visit Tagong Monastery in the morning. Tagong Monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect ("Red Hat").
You leave the Tagong Grasslands and drive back to Kangding. You cross the Zeduo Pass (4200 m), from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the snow-covered mountain massif of Gongga Mountain. After 2 hours drive you reach Kangding, the capital of the Tibetan prefecture Ganzi.
In Kangding you make a detour to the Muge Lake, which is about 15km north of Kangding as the crow flies. Although Lake Muge has recently become a tourist attraction, a visit is still worthwhile. Located at 3700m, the lake is one of the highest mountain lakes in China. The park bus takes you to the lake. Short hike on a well-maintained hiking trail along the lake shores.
Tip: You can also walk back to the park entrance on a well-developed hiking trail along the stream.
Then continue on the new highway via Ya'An to Bifengxia. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight stay.
Day 7: VISIT BIFENGXIA PANDA CENTER – SHANGLIZHEN – CHENGDU
The Panda Station in Bifengxia was originally built as the extension to the Panda breeding station in Wolong, with the idea that should an epidemic occur in Wolong then there would still be healthy pandas available in a second station.
After the large Sichuan earthquake in 2008 this idea was proved right. At that time 50 pandas were relocated from Wolong to Bifengxia. A short ride on the park-bus will take you inside the park. You take a walking tour around the park.
Continue to the village of Shanglizhen. The idyllic village of Shanglizhen was once an important trading post and an important stop-over for the horse caravans on the “Tea and Horse Road”. You take a walking tour around the village.
Drive back to Chengdu. Check-in at your hotel.
"...we got a very good insight into the diversity of Sichuan...we were thrilled by the trekking in Tagong...."
Sven & Mirjam, Switzerland
"...we live in Beijing and this trip was the perfect escape from the city-life..."
Marion and family from Beijing