There are places in Sichuan that are unknown to the world. We may have learnt that to travel to Tibet you need to use a travel company and have a special permit. Well the western part of Sichuan is geologically and culturally Tibet, if you have not heard.
This part of China is known as western Sichuan and from a Tibetan perspective, the Kham. It is home to over two millions of Tibetan people and also many beautiful and yet unexplored places.
There is the Shambala of Yading, the unexplored lakes of Rangtang, the unnamed peaks of Genyen,etc. TI think the world is still a wonder and full of surprises by looking at these places.
As one of the three holy mountains set at Yading Nature Reserve, Xian Nairi is the tallest of them all, measured as 6000 meters.
It is the first mountain you see when you travel to Yading: a stunning peak standing in front of you is quite shocking. The snow on top of the miuntain forever stay up there.
Yading of Daocheng is a very far place to travel to though. You will need at least two days by driving. Now they have an airport that allows you to fly there within two hours but many visitors suffer the mountain sickness due to its high elevation above sea level. At Yading the altitude is basically above 4000 meters, making the walking in the park a challenge. However lots of visitors cone here to see the beatiful views in spite of these challenges because its beauty worths the efforts.
From middle August the weather in Chengdu is very hot and no rain. These two weeks are the hottest time of the year in Chengdu.
So if you are traveling to Chengdu at this time of the year, expect to walk and tour in the heat.
Also if you are going to visit the pandas, please do go there early in the morning while some pandas are still chilling outside of their rooms enjoying the cool morning and not lying on a big ice cube in their rooms. An early visit can also avoid you walking in a lot of people and fighting your way while visiting. There are a lot of visitors here at the panda base during summer.
Wolong Panda Base, or Wolong Panda Nature Reserve, was closed years ago after the earthquake in 2008. Being the ever first panda base in China that dedicated to protect the lovely pandas, it is now a mainly wild training center that is unavailable to visitors at this moment.
Many visitors/ animal lovers want to see pandas in the wild more than in a zoo, or something similar to a zoo will want to see pandas in Wolong. So where do you go now? There is actually a place near Wolong where you have a chance to see pandas in the wild but it will take you up to a week’s time. It is called Huangcaoping in Wenchuan. For any animal observers or animal photographers who want to take photos of these wild pandas and have a trip there, please contact our expert from Sichuan Travel Guide.
July and August are good season for traveling. Sichuan attracts many bikers every summer. The cycling usually starts from Chengdu and goes into the mountains.
The last trip was a cycling trip around Chengdu for a week. We started from Chengdu and passed Dujiangyan, had the first night by the former earthquake epic center Yingxiu. And then continued to cycle through Wolong Panda Reserve in two days before we met our biggest change when we have to bike up from below 3000 meters to 4600 meters in a day. The road was very good and views are excellent. Cycling down from the pass of Balang is like a reward from the hard working going up.
The day in the middle we had a hiking day at Mount Siguniang to shake the stiff off our muscles and also to see the great views of Mount Siguniang herself.
The second pass, which is called Jiajin Pass, that we decided to use a van to help us to go up instead of cycling. It felt like cheating but we didn’t have very good bikes so we agreed it was a good decision to use the van. The view at the second pass was splendid. We got up there early so we got the chance to see the great view of cloud and mountains below us. The longest day of cycling was the day from Jiajin Pass to Lushan going all the way down for 150km’s distance. We caught the rain for the next two days but we are lucky we didn’t stuck in the valley at Lushan as we heard the road was blocked by landslide the next day we were out. From Lushan it took us two days to cycle back to Chengdu.
We didn’t anticipate the pass being so difficult but the road was really good. It rains a lot but when it does not rain, the views make us feel the hard working totally worth. This trip is my longest cycling trip in my life and I felt cycling a lot of fun. The views that I saw along the way is really great.
Muli is known as a county-level town in Sichuan. It is by far the most remote place I have traveled in Sichuan. Its remoteness consists of two factors, first is the road and the second is the people. And yet its beauty is obvious.
To get to Muli you will have to get to Xichang, which is a big city in Sichuan and easy to get to by flight, train and car. By car it is 7 hours from Chengdu. So from Xichang, a Yi people place to Muli, it is another 8 hour’s drive through the gorges and over the mountains. The people that live along the driving road include Chinese, Yi, Tibetans and even Mongolians. The town of Muli itself is not very big but very interesting. It stands on side of a mountain facing the river. Driving into from the mountains feels like a surprise to first time visitors.
The people are taller in Muli and it is difficult to tell weather they are Chinese, Yi or Tibetan. Their skin is more tanned probably because of the sun. And the women there are very beautiful. Everyone feels friendly and it seems they all are sharing the town of Muli and the atmosphere. There is a square in the biggest park in the town and people come here to dance every day at 7.00pm. The dancers are Tibetan, Chinese, Yi or Mongolians. I don’t think Chinese people are good dancers but here I was wrong.
Muli is probably famed, if it is, by Muli Monastery, which is a hundred-year old Buddhist monastery that Joseph Rock described in his book and had a photo of the head monk of Muli monastery on the cover of National Geography in America. Muli Monastery is however not located in the town of Muli but hours’ driving from the town.
Muli is beautiful and far. Muli is not so far if you have the time to explore it.