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Overview

Get an in-depth look at Sichuan, China’s largest province. Through insightful visits, connect to the kaleidoscope of peoples and landscapes that make Sichuan so unique. From nomadic homestays to beautiful trekking routes, Buddhist immersion to culinary adventures, this trip has it all!

Trip Highlights

Sichuan Province, Chinese & Tibetan Buddhism

Explore Bifengxia Park

Walk along the spectacular Bifeng Gorge and visit the panda protection centre to get close to the endangered gentle giants.  

Experience Tibetan culture

Connect with Tibetan culture in western Sichuan by visiting religious centres, sampling local cuisine and staying with a nomadic family.  

See Sichuan’s iconic sites

Visit Leshan’s giant Buddha image, discover Buddhist beliefs at Wenshu temple and enjoy spectacular scenery at Emeishan. 

Itinerary

1

Arrival in Chengdu

Chengdu Airport – Chengdu city (approx. 20 km): 30 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Upon arrival into Chengdu, a guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport into the city and to the hotel for check in.

Welcome to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province and ancient capital of the powerful Shu Kingdom. Chengdu has had the same name for over two millennia, which is proof of not only its longevity but also the major role that it has always played in the region.

In the evening, get a taste for the region’s famous flavours with mapo doufu, a traditional Sichuanese dish comprising of fresh tofu, minced beef, and soy served in a sauce of garlic, peppered oil and Sichuan peppercorns.

Overnight in Chengdu

2

Chengdu

Chengdu city – Sanxingdui (approx. 50 km): 1h *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Start off the morning with a stroll through People’s Park. A perfect example of China’s vibrant park scene, locals take part in everything from Tai-Chi, Kung-fu and sword dance to meditation, dance, and gymnastics… all activities they consider essential to their well-being.

Follow the park stroll up with a visit to the archaeological site of Sanxingdui, close to the town of Guanhan. It is here that hundreds of objects dating from as early as 2000 BC have been found including pottery, jade sculptures, and statues.  The site was discovered in the 1930s, but it was in 1986 that the fabulous collection of masks and a bronze “divine tree” were discovered. Numerous exhibitions have been organized all over the world since this discovery, one that some consider to be as important as that of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an!

Return to Chengdu and pay a visit to the Wenshu Temple, the best preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. Enjoy a cup of tea in the House of Tea next door (the most popular of the city’s many teahouses) before dining in the garden of the vegetarian restaurant in the temple.

Overnight in Chengdu

3

Chengdu - Leshan - Emeishan

Chengdu city – Leshan (approx. 150 km): 2 hours Leshan – Emeishan(approx. 40 km): 1 hour

Begin Day 3 with a departure for Leshan. It is here that the largest Buddha statue in the world is found, which was carved into the side of a cliff more than 1,200 years ago. The Giant Buddha, as it is commonly known, measures in at 71m (231ft) high and 28m (92ft) wide – a true stone giant!

Optionally: For those interested in another vantage point, view the Giant Buddha from the Min River on board a sightseeing boat. Consult us directly if interested.

Continue on the pleasant forest track through the Oriental Buddha Park, dotted with some small temples, thousands of small statues, and the gargantuan artwork that is a lying-down Buddha, over 170m long (558 ft). By far one of the most impressive in the world!

Journey on to Emeishan, taking just under an hour to cover the approximately 40km that separates these two sites.

Depending on the selected hotel, either stay at the foot or the summit of Emei Mountain.

Overnight in Emeishan

4

Emeishan - Bifengxia

Emeishan - Bifengxia(approx. 150 km):approx 3 *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Begin the day with a transfer out to Emeishan.

One of the four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China, Emeishan is still a major pilgrimage destination.  Most of its temples and monasteries date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties and are linked by more than 50km (31 miles) of stairs and mountain pathways.

The mode of travel will alternate between walking, bus, and cable car over the course of the day in order to best discover the major temples and the pine forest. While there will most likely be Tibetan macaques along the route, it is advised not to feed them (or carry anything appearing to have food in it.)

Continue onwards by bus (with the guide) to the Baoguo Temple. Located outside the heart of a beautiful garden, this temple is known for its porcelain Buddha, made in the famous imperial furnaces of Jingdezhen.

Transfer by bus then cable car to the Wannian Temple, the oldest temple on Emei Mountain, famous for its 62-tonne bronze statue of Puxian on a white elephant.

Optionally: Depending on the weather (and personal fitness) it is highly recommended to take the walk (4km/2.5 miles) back from the Wannian temple, which arrives at the Pavilion of Pure Sound. This pavilion is suspended on a promontory encircled by the Black Dragon and White Dragon Rivers, which turn into a waterfall, providing its name.

Transfer by bus then cable car to the Jinding Temple, located on the peak of the same name. In addition to this majestic golden palace, there are also beautiful views of the Wanfo peak. At 3,099 meters, it towers over the whole site.

Optionally: It is possible to spend the night in one of the various monasteries on the mountain. The conditions are basic, but the experience makes it worthwhile. Please consult us if interested.

Note: It is recommended to bring good shoes, especially for those planning to undertake the walk to the Pavilion of Pure Sound.

Late afternoon departure for Bifengxia. Overnight in Bifengxia (basic accommodation) 

5

Bifengxia - Moxi - Hailuogou

Bifengxia –Hailuogou(approx. 220 km): approx 4h30 *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Wake early in the morning and head for the gorge from Bifengxia. Upon reaching the gorge, take the elevator, located behind the ticket office, which in a matter of seconds will speed to the heart of the gorge. Walk from here for 60-90 minutes, depending on personal pace, through an enchanting landscape: a crystal-clear river, luxuriant greenery, and the steep cliffs of the gorge hollowed out by waterfalls whose mist sometimes seeps enchantingly across the site.

Depending on the weather, this will be a great spot to have a picnic

Note: the site is humid and the stone walkways can sometimes be a little slippery; as such, it is recommended to wear good walking shoes.

From here will be a walk to the local Panda Centre. For those who would prefer not to walk, it is also possible to reach the center by bus on the main road.

Arrival to the Centre, boasting just under 100 pandas, making it the largest center for Pandas in captivity in the world. The panda is an endangered species that the Chinese Government and specialist NGOs have been consciously protecting since the 1980s. Their efforts have been rewarded and the latest population counts have shown an increase of nearly 50% in the number of pandas in the world.

Return to the park entrance by one of the park busses and transfer just after lunch to Hailuogou Glacier Geopark (located 200km away, taking 4h30 to 5 hours).

There will be a stop in Moxi, located just next to the park entrance, where a small Catholic Church is located, built in the 1920s.

Note: It is imperative to bring sun cream, lip balm, sunglasses, and to stay regularly hydrated. It is also strongly recommended to consult a doctor before doing this trip to check for physical capability for climbing to altitudes sometimes greater than 4,700 meters.

Night in Hailuogou (basic)

6

Hailuogou - Tagong

Hailuogou National Glacier Forest Park entrance–Hailuogou Glacier: (approx. 30km): 1h Hailuogou - Tagong(approx. 220 km): approx 5h *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

In the morning, pay a visit to Hailuogou. This National Glacier Forest Park is located on the eastern side of Gongga Mountain in Luding County of Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, Sichuan Province.

The park boasts many geographic attractions, including ancient glaciers, a grand glacier cascade, virgin forests, wild animals, and hot springs. Head to the Hailuogou glacier by local van (private cars are banned), followed by a cable car ride to reach the viewpoint (3600m high) that overlooks the glacier above.

From here stands the Grand Glacier cascade, with a drop of 1080 metres made up tons of ice cubes. The 6km glacier penetrates into the forest, forming a rare natural landscape with the blend of glacier and forest. Take a walk into the Virgin forest, boasting almost 5,000 species of plants!

Continue on towards Tagong. Enjoy the views of the surrounding prairies upon approaching the majestic Sacred Mount Yala (Zhara Lhatse in Tibetan, 5820m altitude).

After arriving at Tagong, dinner will be provided in the Khampa Café & Art Centre. Food is traditional, but they also serve an excellent yak burger… for those who fancy a culinary change!

Spend the night in a traditional guesthouse (located in Tagong or in the nearby village attached to the convent, depending on availability). Accommodation will feature basic facilities (separate toilet and shower room)... but a very warm welcome!

Overnight in Tagong (basic).

Note: The hotel has double rooms, triple rooms or dormitories equipped with rustic furniture. Facilities are basic (toilets and shower rooms separate from the bedrooms.)

7

Tagong - Litang (altitude 4014m)

Tagong - Heping Fahui Convent(approx. 12 km): 20 min Heping Fahui – Litang(approx. 240 km): 5h *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Wake up Day 7 for a memorable breakfast on the terrace of the Khampa Café & Art Centre, which offers a perfect view of both the monastery and the main square of the town.

Continue with a visit to the Tagong Monastery, known for its vast collection of chortens, its impressive statue of the 1000-armed Avalokiteshvara, and, above all, for the poignant religious commitment on display. There is also a reproduction of the statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni, which fell from the convoy of the Chinese Princess Wencheng during her journey to Lhasa to marry the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. This replica was made at the location of the fall of the original statue and then the temple was built around it.

Take a stroll through the town, organized around a main street.

Continue the morning with a visit to Heping Fahui Convent. The temple was built upon a wish made by Lama Tsemper just before his death. He was a hermit who spent most of his life meditating in a nearby cave, and the temple is inhabited by the same nuns who up until the 1980s came here to provide him with food. The temple was consequently built and today is full of life and seems like a small village.

Continue with a visit to the neighbouring hill, covered in thousands of prayer flags. Some Tibetans, particularly in the Tibetan autonomous region, still practice the tradition of sky burial, where the bodies of the dead are left to the vultures; the practice is done on this specific hill. According to Buddhist Tantra, the soul of a dead person leaves to be reincarnated, while the flesh lies on the ground like an empty shell. The act of feeding predators with this flesh is therefore considered to be a complete return to nature, the final act of self-sacrifice of the dead to the earth from which it came. A funeral can be performed with or without ritual (this is regulated and can be costly).

Note: While it is possible to attend one of these daybreak ceremonies in Tagong or Litang, the dates are (naturally) unpredictable. Also note, some scenes can be shocking and attendance is not advised for all.

Journey to Litang. The first part of the trip is alongside the tumultuous river Liqi, and will offer one last chance to admire Mount Yala (Zhara Lhatse) from the road. Lunch en route.

Arrival in Litang towards the end of the day. Dinner in a Tibetan restaurant.

Overnight in Litang

8

Litang - night in a nomadic tent

Litang is the hometown of both the 7th and the 10th Dalai Lamas. Consequently, it is a major religious centre for Tibetans. Start the morning with a visit to the splendid Chode Gompa monastery, part of the Yellow Hat Sect (Gelupa). Enjoy beautiful views of the town and surrounding areas from the roof of the Gompa’s third main room. Follow the morning by partaking in a walk through the surrounding area. The region is characterized by monks, typical houses, chortens, a mani wall, and a unique local atmosphere.

Litang was once an important stop on the Tea Horse Road, another branch of the incredible heritage and history of the region. The Tibetans traded their horses for tea, and thus a high altitude caravan network was built up with Litang rapidly becoming a major step. The immense prairies of the region were a perfect environment for horses; the annual Horse Festival, reflecting this history, takes places at the end of August. This popular festival includes horse races, horseback shooting demonstrations, songs and dances. For those interested in coinciding the trip with this festival, please consult us directly.

Spend the afternoon on horseback to properly appreciate the spectacular countryside and surrounding eternally snow-capped mountains.

Enjoy dinner and an evening with a nomadic family who will share the secrets of their organic existence, closer to nature and far from the bustle of urban life.

The night will be spent in a tent (comfort levels are basic). Make the most of this unique experience and admire the stars (on a clear night) from the “rooftop of the world.”

Note: Litang is one of the highest cities in the word (400m higher that Lhasa!); the altitude can cause some trouble to people who haven’t prepared. It is imperative to consult with a doctor about being at such altitudes before embarking on the trip. 

9

Litang - Yading national park (altitude of 4000m-5000m)

Litang - Yadingpark entrance (approx. 225 km): 5h30 Yading park entrance – hotels inside the park (approx. 30km):approx 35 minutes Hotels inside the park - Longtongba (starting point of the visits, approx. 3km): 5 minutes Longtongba – Luanhuanpeng (approx. 3,5km): 5 to 10 minutes by electric car (or 40 minutes on foot) *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Wake and return to Litang for breakfast and a shower at the hotel.

Continue onwards to Yading National Park. The drive itself is a major part of each trip; the first part of the route will display nomadic tents and herds of yaks happily grazing on the immense pastures. Continue along vast expanses of hilly areas covered in millions of stones of all shapes and sizes before reaching the final part of the journey, running alongside a choppy river bordered by pine trees.

The entrance to the park is located around 30km (20 miles) from the hotel.

This small park paradise includes three sacred mountains: Jambeyang (5985m/19635ft), Chana Dorje (same height) and the highest of the three Chenrezig (6032m/19790ft). The most able and committed pilgrims come to these mountains to complete their pilgrimage, or kora.

The park is huge and the walking possibilities are endless. For those who would prefer not to walk, there are electric vehicles available that cruise the perimeter of the park.

Begin the journey with a 5-10 minute ride in an electric car alongside the choppy river. The drive leads to the entrance of the circle, Luanhuanpeng. For those who would prefer to walk the route, it can be completed in about 40 minutes, providing excellent views of the superb Chonggu Prairie.

Continue walking to the small 700-year-old Chonggu Monastery, the departure point for the kora. The corpse of the founding monk still rests there; devotees still burn incense to this day to commemorate his goodness.

The monastery is located at the entrance of a beautiful forest path leading to the emerald-colored Zhuoma Lake (1.5km from Luanhuanpeng).

Note: The water of the lake is sacred; it is forbidden to touch it.

Return to the hotel. With a bit of luck, there may be a stunning sunset over Mount Chenrezig from the hotel.

Overnight in Yading (basic)

Note: The hotel has double rooms, triple rooms or dormitories equipped with rustic furniture. Facilities are basic, but there are toilets and showers inside the rooms. 

10

Yading - Daocheng

Luanhuanpeng–Luorong prairie(approx.7 km): 10 minutes YadingPark – Daocheng (approx 75km): 2 hours *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Return to Luanhuanpeng via car and electric car towards the Luorong Prairie.

Continue on horseback (not included in the quotation) along a sloping path of around 12km/7.5miles, accompanied by the sound of waterfalls in the background. The path will lead to the Sea of Milk and to the Sea of Five Colors, two exceptionally beautiful lakes that make up the highest part of the journey. The Sea of Five Colors is particularly spectacular, nested at an altitude of 4700m/15,400ft and surrounded by grand pine trees. Hundreds of prayer flags are draped along the route, in particular in front of Jambeyang showing the intense spirituality of this place.             

Note: the horses belong to local people and the price of this activity can be modified according to different seasons. Therefore we can’t include the tariff in the quotation and book this activity in advance.

Depending on speed and the climate, there will be a stop made to enjoy a picnic in the lakes area.

Note: This journey can also be made on foot (taking somewhere between 4 and 6 hours depending on pace), but be warned- an ability to deal with the altitude and a good level of fitness are a must. It is expected that if this option is taken, it will require an extra night in the park. Please ask us for more information.

Return to the electric car station on Luorong Prairie, then onwards to Luanhuanpeng and Longtongba where the driver will be waiting. Head back to Daocheng.

Overnight in Daocheng

11

Hot Springs Inn - Daocheng - Chengdu

Daocheng city – Daocheng airport(approx. 40 km): 1h15 *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Early morning transfer to Daocheng airport (one of world's highest airports) located 40 km away.

Expected flight departure time is around 8:30 am (to be confirmed).

Arrival in Chengdu airport one hour later (flight quoted separately) 

We advise that do not talk sensitive politics topic with guide and locals to avoid any unpleasant experience.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide(no shopping basis rates) (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentionedvisits

Our services do not include:

  • Othermealsnot mentioned
  • Visa for China
  • Other services thanmentioned
  • International and domesticflights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

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