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Chengdu, home of the Giant Panda and capital of Sichuan province is famed for its outstanding natural beauty, fiery cuisine and China’s first, largest and best known Panda research and breeding centre. Arrive Chengdu airport and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to spend at leisure. Overnight - Chengdu
Chengdu - Huanglong - Jiuzhaigou. This morning fly to Jiuzhaigou - a region that for centuries has been inhabited by various Tibetan and Qiang people. Tour the Huanglong Monastery - built during the reign of Ming Emperor Hongwu, it is now a place of worship for the local Tibetan, Han, Qiang and Hui people, all of which have different religious beliefs. Afterwards enjoy a relaxing stroll by the region’s famed calcium travertines. Resembling a terraced field, the travertines flow gently into a series of multi-coloured, mineral rich ponds beneath. Onward travel to Jiuzhaigou. Overnight - Jiuzhaigou
Today is spent exploring the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Reserve. Located in the high Min Shan mountain range, the Jiuzhaigou reserve is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty. It’s home to densely growing conifers, broadleaf trees and of rare and endangered animal species such as takins, golden monkeys, Giant Pandas and white-lip deer. Ancient Chinese legend has it that the goddess Semo accidentally smashed her mirror here and the pieces that fell down the mountain formed beautiful lakes, streams and waterfalls. Afterwards, visits will be made to Pearl Beach Falls, Nuorilong Falls and Long Lake. The ever flowing cascade of Nuorilong spans an impressive 320 metres - making it the widest waterfall in all of China. Overnight - Jiuzhaigou
Morning flight returning to Chengdu. An hour’s drive to the north west leads you to the ancient city of Dujiangyan. It was here, in 256 BC that provincial governer Li Bing set up the Dujiangyan Irrigation Scheme. The three part engineering project using a central dam and artificial islands to split the Min River into an inner flow for irrigation and an outer channel for flood control. A spillway directed and regulated the water while an opening carved through the hillside controlled to flow rate. The project was maintained until 2006 when a new dam was created 9km upstream. Tour the dam site, view the Anlan Suspension Bridge and the Dragon Taming Temple. Overnight - Chengdu
Today we tour Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding a short drive out of town. China’s Giant Pandas are considered the most endangered mammal on the planet. Due to a loss of habitat in the Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu Provinces it is estimated that there are less than 1500 giant pandas remaining in the wild - 80% of which are located in Sichuan Provence. Visiting the Panda nursery is a must, here you can get relatively close to the centre’s infant population. The Breeding Center has achieved breakthroughs in captive breeding. Afterwards, visit the Wuhou Memorial Temple, the Tomb of Wang Jian and Jinli Lu street - part of the old city where open air theatre and Sichuan Opera are performed in the evening. Overnight - Chengdu
Driving to Leshan our morning is spent exploring the Dafo (Great Buddha), which is carved into the red sandstone face of Lingyun Hill overlooking the treacherous confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers below it. Driving onward take in the views from Emei Shan (Mt Emei). Rising some 300 metres its thick forested slopes set a backdrop for spectacular waterfalls, pristine brooks and numerous Buddhist temples. Arriving at Baoguo, located at the foot of the Mountain, we visit the Temple of Baoguo. Spend the remainder of the day exploring this delightful village, easily navigated by foot. Overnight - Baoguo
Baoguo - Chengdu. This morning we travel by cable car to the top of Mt Emei to tour the magnificent Wannian temple. The oldest structure on the mountain, its contents are stunning: three thousand tiny iron Buddhas surround a life sized enamelled bronze sculpture of Bodhisattva Puxian (the protector of the mountain) riding a gilt lotus flower astride his great six tusked white elephant. Weighing over 62 tonnes and standing over 7 metres in height the masterpiece had to be bought to the mountain top in pieces. Returning to Chengdu the remainder of the day is free. Overnight - Chengdu
If your flight is not until later in the day, consider a visit to the Tibetan quarter, south of the city, frequented by very few tourists. The district teems with shops stocked to their roofs with heavy clothes, turquoise jewellery, prayer wheels, conches and other temple accessories, much being purchased by Tibetan monks, cowboys and Khampa women (a minority group, similar though distinct with their own culture and dialect to Tibetans) all looking decidedly tall and robust next to the city’s local residence. Hotel check out and departure transfer to the airport.
About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...