Journey through the Sichuan province in southwest China. Travel to the highlights of the Sichuan Province, which as well as scenically, culturally and culinary belongs to the most exciting and diverse provinces of China. Thanks to direct flights from Europe to Chengdu, it is now even easier and faster to reach the Sichuan Province. The starting point of this Sichuan Journey is the vibrant metropolitan city of Chengdu with a population of over one million and the capital city of Sichuan Province. From Chengdu, your journey will take you to the world’s largest Buddha in Leshan. You will go for an extended hike on the "Mountain of Light" and visit the historic rock carvings in the caves of Dazu from the Tang Dynasty. Of course, on this Sichuan journey we also pay a visit to the most famous inhabitants of the Sichuan province - The Giant Panda in the Panda Research Center of Chengdu.

Your host, Adrian Stalder

Adrian Stalder

A Swiss National, passionate traveler and outdoor expert. He graduated from the Swiss business school of commerce and was supposed to start a banking career soon after. More out of curiosity he took an interim job as a tour guide for one of the leading tour operators in Switzerland and that is when he discovered his love and affection for foreign countries and their fascinating cultures and history. In between his assignments he shouldered his backpack and started to explore the remotest corners of the Asian continent. After one year in Thailand he then moved to neighboring Myanmar where he worked as the country manager for a German tour operator for almost 5 years.

He then decided to move on to Kunming, where he realized a long time dream by starting his own travel company, and to share with others his extensive travel experience and profound knowledge about China and South-East Asia. Chinese is just one of 5 languages he speaks fluently. In his spare time he is practicing Tai Ji and studies the Chinese history.

Tour Information

Sichuan Travel: Chengdu - the hidden charm of a megacity


Travel to South-West China: Panda Bear, Chengdu

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 Panda Bears.

Chengdu Travel: The Sichuan Opera

A cultural highlight of a trip to Sichuan Province is a visit to a Sichuan Opera. The famous Sichuan Opera is a varied mixture of singing, music, acrobatics, puppetry and mask dance.


Travel to Chengdu: Sichuan Opera performance

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.

A characteristic feature of the Sichuan Opera is that the singing is not accompanied instrumental. Only the rattle (Kuaiban), gong and drum give the singer the rhythm. At the same time, there is also a third actor in the Sichuan Opera, who acts behind the stage and uses comments to express the feelings of the actor or the action on stage. On the other hand, pieces created as of 1954 have also instrumental accompaniment: today both forms exist in Sichuan. The Sichuan Opera is exclusively preformed in the Sichuan dialect, as it is spoken in the capital city of 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: Panda Breeding Center of Chengdu


Giant Panda: The most famous resident 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 Panda Bears get their breakfast and therefore are more active. The cool winter months are also ideal for a visit to the Panda Breeding Center, then it has fewer visitors and it is a little quieter to and fro. 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. This seems to be a good thing for the Panda, but it could also be an explanation for its laziness and solidity.

Even though he belongs to the bear family, the Panda Bear does not hibernate in contrast to his fellow species and is active throughout the year.

Journey to the Giant Buddha of Leshan, Scihuan Province, South-West China


Sichuan Travel: The Giant Buddha of Leshan

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 Haitong. 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


Travel to Mount Emei, Sichuan, China

From the Giant Buddha of Leshan you continue and travel to 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 in the vernacular often is also called "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 the mount (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.

Travel by highspeed train from Chengdu to Dazu Grottos Carvings and Chongqing​


Travel to Dazu Grottos in South-West China

The trip with the comfortable high speed train from Chengdu to Dazu takes about 1.5 hours. 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 working.

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 compliment 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 high speed train and drive in 4 hour to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province.

Customer Reviews

"...thanks to the efforts of our guide we got to know the Sichuan Province from a different perspective..."

   Peter from Switzerland
 


"...especially for kids the Zoo with the Giant Pandas was the absolute highlight..."

   Rita from Holland

Tour Map

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Tour Itinerary

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 - CITY TOUR - SICHUAN OPERA


Sichuan Tours: The Giant Panda Bear in Chengdu

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 business to protect these rare, endangered animals and their continued existence.

​Followed by a visit to the historic Qingyang Gong Taoist Temple, whose origin dates back to the Zhou Dynasty (1122-221 B.C.), as well as 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 Kuan Xiangzi Alley as well as its surroundings.

In the evening you will visit a Sichuan Opera. This colorful mixture of singing, music, acrobatics, puppetry and mask dance should absolutely not be missing during a visit of Chengdu. The origins of this extremely entertaining performance date back to the 3rd Century in the time of the 3 Kingdoms (A.D.220-280), but only gained popularity in Sichuan during the Ming Dynasty.  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!

Day 3:  SICHUAN TRAVEL: CHENGDU - GIANT BUDDHA of LESHAN - MOUNT EMEI ​


Travel to the Giant Buddha of Leshan, Sichuan

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.

Continuation of your journey to Baoguo, the starting point to the Mount Emei, where you arrive around the evening.

Day 4:  MOUNT EMEI, SICHUAN PROVINCE


Journey to Sichuan Province: Mount Emei, China

​Since the "Middle Kingdom" in the 6th Century, the Mount Emei is considered as one of the four most important Buddhist mountains of China. 

The Mount Emei, which in the vernacular often also is called "the mountain of the great light" (Da Guang Ming Shan), was in 1996 added to the World Heritage Site list of UNESCO.

After breakfast you drive with the park-bus to Lei Dong Ping that is located about 2300 meters above sea level, and continue with the cable car up to the "Golden Summit" at 3077 meters. Lunch. You will visit the Huazang Temple on the Summit.

Alternatively, you can walk down to the parking lot of the Lei Dong Ping (approx. 2 hrs.), or simply take the cable car back down to the valley.
Afterwards you drive back to Baoguo by bus.

Day 5:  TRAVEL FROM MOUNT EMEI TO CHENGDU, SICHUAN PROVINCE


Sichuan Travel: Hiking Mount Emei, China

Those who stay overnight at the summit of Emei Shan, enjoy a wonderful sunrise if the weather is good.

In the morning you drive to the Wannian Bus Station.

From there it goes by cable car or high up to the well-known Wannian Temple. After the sightseeing, you can hike down to the Wuxianggang Bus Station in about 2 hours through incredible pine forests via the Niuxin Pavilion.

From there we drive back to Baoguo. Lunch and then we drive to Chengdu.

Overnight accommodation is at Chengdu

Day 6:  SICHUAN TRAVEL: CHENGDU – CHONGQING – DAZU – CHONGQING


Reclining Buddha of Dazu near Chongqing, China

The rock carvings of Dazu are located approximately 125 km west of Chongqing.

The Dazu rock carvings 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. Drive to Chongqing.

Overnight accommodation is at Chongqing.

Day 7:  CHONGQING DEPARTURE

Transfer to either the pier for the Three-Gorges-Cruise on the Yangtze river or to the airport for your follow-up program. From Chongqing one can reach the city of Kunming in the Yunnan province with the super-high-speed train in about 4 hours.

 

 

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Travel the Sichuan Province in China: The Highlights

Duration:
6-8 days
A journey through the magnificent Sichuan Province
Tour Type:
Sichuan Tours