Travel the Sichuan Province in China: The Highlights
A journey through the magnificent Sichuan ProvinceMap
Sichuan Travel: Chengdu - the hidden charm of a megacity
The megacity Chengdu inspires the visitors through its contrasts: On the one side you find modern, glass skyscrapers, Western fast-food restaurant chains and countless modern shopping centers. On the other side, you'll also find the "old" Chengdu with its countless, narrow alleys with traditional flea and street markets, typical hairdresser shops, ancient temples, as well as countless local restaurants.
On a city tour you will learn about the two most important temples of Chengdu, stroll through a part of the restored old town and visit a traditional Sichuan Opera.
During a trip to Chengdu, of course, the visit of the breeding center of the Panda Bears cannot be missed. During a tour of the spacious area of the Panda Breeding Center you learn more about the endangered Giant Panda Bears.
Chengdu Travel: The Sichuan Opera
A cultural highlight of a journey to Sichuan is a visit to a Sichuan Opera. The famous Sichuan Opera is a varied mixture of singing, music, acrobatics, puppetry and mask dance.
The origins of this extremely entertaining performance date back to the 3rd Century in the time of the 3 Kingdoms (A.D.220-280). However, the Sichuan Opera became only really popular during the Ming Dynasty.
It is characteristic of the Sichuan Opera that the singing is not accompanied by instruments. Only clapper (Kuaiban), gong and drum give the singer the rhythm. At the same time there is a third actor in the Sichuan Opera, who acts behind the stage and explains the feelings of the actor by commenting on the action on stage. Pieces written after 1954, on the other hand, also have instrumental accompaniment: today both forms exist in Sichuan. The Sichuan opera is performed exclusively in Sichuan dialect, as it is spoken in the capital Chengdu.
A very special feature of the Sichuan Opera is the "face-changing", where the performer will change the colorful face masks within 20 seconds up to 10 times, without the audience even noticing anything at all! In the past, the technique of "face-changing" was a closely guarded secret that only was shared within the family. There are only an estimated 200 people in China who still practice this art of "face-changing" in the Sichuan Opera.
Travel the Sichuan Province: Giant Panda Breeding Center of Chengdu
During a Sichuan Journey, visiting the Panda Breeding Center on the outskirts of Chengdu is undoubtedly one of the highlights. The Panda Breeding Center was founded in 1993 in cooperation with the WWF and offers the opportunity to observe these wonderful creatures up close and in an almost natural environment.
The best time for a visit to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center is early in the morning, when the Giant Panda Bears get their breakfast and therefore are more active. The cool winter months are also ideal for a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Center, then it has fewer visitors and it is much quieter and relaxed. The main occupation of the Panda Bears is mostly eating and sleeping.
The Giant Panda Bear feeds almost exclusively on bamboo, sometimes it eats a couple of herbs or some meat. Bamboo contains high quantities of cyanogenic glycosides. In the case of a single animal that eats up to 16 hours a day and in doing so scarfs down between 20 and 30 kilos of bamboo, a considerable amount of this poison is accumulated. The panda seems to cope well with this, but it could also be an explanation for its relative sluggishness. Although it belongs to the bear family, the Panda Bear does not hibernate and is active all year round.
Journey to the Giant Buddha of Leshan, Sichuan Province, South-West China
The more than 1,200-year-old Giant Buddha of Leshan enthrones over the confluence of the two rivers Min and Dadu.
With a height of 71 m and a width of 9 m, this colossal structure impresses by its dimensions alone.
The work was started in the year 713 A.D. by the monk Hai Tong. Hai Tong assumed that he could calm down the river gods by building the Giant Buddha, and that would make the navigation on the converging rivers Min, Dadu, and Qingyi safer. The completion of the Giant Buddha of Leshan lasted 90 years.
A very special experience is a short boat trip on the Dadu River, from where all the dimensions of the Giant Buddha of Leshan are even more impressive. Following this, you take a walk down to the feet of the Giant Buddha. It is said that on the big toe of the Giant Buddha of Leshan a table with four people easily could fit.
Travel the Sichuan Province: Mount Emei
From the Giant Buddha of Leshan you continue your journey to Baoguo at the foot of Mount Emei. Mount Emei (Emei Shan), which is under the protection of UNESCO, is one of the four most important, sacred Buddhist Mountains in China and is often referred to as "the Mountain of Light".
According to the legend, one day a man named Pu Gong witnessed the visit of the Bodhisattva Samantabhardra on Mount Emei (Emei Shan). During this encounter, Pu Gong was assigned to build a Temple on the top of Mount Emei (today known as the "Hall of the first audience"). Mount Emei (Emei Shan) was originally a Taoist site and only became a Buddhist place of pilgrimage in the 3rd Century.
The hike through the beautiful Pine forests, past numerous temples from different dynasties is one of the highlights of this Sichuan Journey.
Whoever want to stay overnight in a simple accommodation on the summit of Mount Emei (Jin Ding) at 3,000 m and enjoy an unforgettable sunrise the next morning.
Overnight accommodation on this journey to Emei Shan takes place either at Baoguo or on the summit of Emei Mountain.
Travel by highspeed train from Chengdu to the buddhsit carvings of the Dazu Grottos near Chongqing
The trip with the comfortable CRH highspeed train from Chengdu to Dazu takes about 1 hour.
The city Dazu is located about 125 km west of the city of Chongqing. The rock carvings of Dazu originate from the 9th and 13th Century and are among the best works of art of this kind in the world. They are also the best witnesses of the last phase of the once flourishing Chinese Art of stone carving. The stone carvings of Dazu are the most impressive and best preserved in Baodingshan and Beishan.
The Baodingshan sculptures were all created during the Southern Song Dynasty, between 1174 and 1252 under the supervision of the Monk Zhao Zhifen. The Beishan sculptures were all created between 1127 and 1162 and are in a worse condition than those in Baodingshan. In 1999, the rock carvings were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. From Dazu, your Journey continues to Chongqing.
From Chongqing, you can complement your Journey with a Three-Gorges-Cruise on the Yangtze River or you choose one of our follow-up programs. From Chongqing, you can take the highspeed train and drive in 4 hours to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province.
"...thanks to our excellent guide, we got to know the Sichuan province from a completely different angle..."
Peter from Switzerland
"...for out kids the Panda Reserve was of course the absolute highlight of the trip..."
Rita aus Holland
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN CHENGDU
Arrival in Chengdu. Transfer to the hotel. The remaining program depends on your arrival time.
Day 2: CHENGDU: PANDA RESEARCH AND BREEDING CENTER - BAOGUANG MONASTERY - CITY TOUR - SICHUAN OPERA
In the early morning you visit the Panda Research and Breeding Center outside of Chengdu. The Panda Research Center, which was founded in 1993 with the support of the WWF, has made it their quest to protect these rare, endangered animals and their continued existence.
Trip to Baoguang Monastery, situated in the northern district of Chengdu. The origins of Baoguang Monastery go back to the eastern Han dynasty (25-220). During the Tang dynasty (618-907), when Buddhism started to spread in China, Baoguan Monastery gained importance and became a Buddhist center in the region.
On your way back to your hotel in Chengdu you make a stop at the wonderful Wenshu Temple. The Wenshu Temple is the largest Temple in Chengdu and is dedicated to the god of wisdom. Its origins date back to the 7th Century.
Subsequently you take a walk through the picturesque Kuanxiangzi Alley as well as its surroundings.
In the evening you will visit a Sichuan Opera. Overnight accommodation is at Chengdu.
Day 3: SICHUAN TRAVEL: CHENGDU - GIANT BUDDHA OF LESHAN - MOUNT EMEI
In the morning you drive to the ancient town Huanglongxi, located 40 km southeast of Chengdu. The history of this still pristine village can be traced back to the Western Han Dynasty.
Then 1.5-hour drive to the Leshan Giant Buddha. With its 71 meters in height, this colossal and impressive statue of Buddha is the largest Buddhist sculpture in the world. It took more than 90 years to carve this structure out of a cliff in the 8th Century! You will visit the Dafo Park from where the unbelievable dimensions of the Dafo, which is the Chinese name, are even more impressive.
After lunch, you take a short boat trip on the Dadu River.
You continue your journey to Baoguo, the starting point to Emei Mountain, where you arrive in late afternoon. Overnight accommodation is at Baoguo at the foot of Emei Mountain.
Day 4: HIKING ON EMEI MOUNTAIN, SICHUAN PROVINCE, TRAVEL BACK TO CHENGDU
Since the "Middle Kingdom" in the 6th Century, Emei Mountain is considered as one of the four most important Buddhist mountains of China. Emei Mountain, often also described as “the mountain of the great light” (Da Guang Ming Shan), was placed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites in 1996.
After breakfast you drive with the park-bus to Lei Dong Ping that is located about 2300 meters above sea level and continue by cable car up to the "Golden Summit" at 3077 meters.
You can have lunch on top of Emei Mountain.
After that you can either walk or take the cable car down to the bus station at Wannien. From there you go by cable car up to the well-known Wannien Temple.
After that inspection you hike in about 2 hours through marvelous pine forests via the Niuxin Pavilion down to the bus station at Wuxianggang.
From there the park bus takes you back to the park entrance. Here your driver awaits for your journey back to Chengdu. Check-in at your Chengdu hotel.
Day 5: SICHUAN TRAVEL: CHENGDU – CHONGQING – DAZU – CHONGQING
Transfer to Chengdu train station and travel by high-speed train in about one hour to Dazu. Pick up at the train station. Drive to the remarkable Dazu Buddhist Grottos.
The buddhist rock carvings of Dazu are located approximately 125 km west of Chongqing.
The Dazu sculptures are among the best preserved and most impressive rock carvings of this kind in the world and are the best witnesses of the last phase of the once flourishing Chinese Art of stone working.
This extraordinary collection of rock carvings was created between the 9th and 13th Century and includes more than 10’000 figures, all of which have been carved out of the bare rock. In 1999, the rock carvings were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Overnight accommodation is at Dazu.
Day 6: FROM DAZU ROCK CARVINGS TRAVEL TO CHONGQING FOR THE CONTINUATION OF YOUR JOURNEY THROUGHOUT CHINA
Transfer to either the pier for the Three-Gorges-Cruise on the Yangtze river, the train station or to the airport for your follow-up program. From Chongqing one can reach the city of Kunming in the Yunnan province by high speed train in about 4 hours.