About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...
Located in the northern part of Sichuan is the historic town of Songpan, dating back over 2,000 years. In 1379 Zhu Yuanzhang (1162-1227), founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty, established Songzhou Guard, which was renamed Songpan after it annexed a nearby area. Songpan was an important trading centre for horse and tea exchange between Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet
The old town wall is made of bricks that weighed 30 kilograms each and it took 5 years to complete. Stretching 10 metres high and covering a vast distance, there are seven stone gates, each inscribed with relief sculptures. Today, parts of the wall are in ruins but the North Gate is still quite well preserved.
It is the countryside around Songpan however, that attracts most visitors to the area. Tibetan cattle herders lead their livestock over rolling grasses, endless valleys, and generally beautiful landscape. It is a perfect area for horse-riding, exploring the stunning countryside and also seeing the ethnic minorities (Hui, Tibetan and Qian) that live in the area. The bustling downtown area may now be filled with modern tourist shops but those with a sense of adventure will find old wooden buildings still line some of the side streets and residential areas.
The town also serves as a stopover point on the road to the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve and it's a good place to pick up some Tibetan wares and souvenirs.