Cycling around Chengdu in a Week

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.

Start Cycling from Chengdu
Chengdu Cycling Trip

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.

Biking towards Balang Pass
Cycling to the pass of Balang

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.

Hiking at Mount Siguniang
Hiking at Mount Siguniang

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.

Jiajin Pass Cycling
Cycling down Jiajin Pass

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.

Chengdu Zhaogongshan Day Hike

Mount Zhaogong, or Zhaogongshan is a good place in Chengdu to do a day hike. Zhaogongshan is one of the mountains located west to Dujiangyan and one of the Taoist mountains around this place. It is 70km’s drive from Chengdu, you can arrive there by only 1.5 hours’ of driving.

Mount Zhaogongshan in Chengdu - Chengdu Day Hike
Mount Zhaogong Hiking

The hiking is quite difficult in one day due to it is very steep. Elevation gain is about 1200 meters and will descend the same distance and elevation. Considering this and the steep trails, the walking is quite strenuous. It will normally need about 3-4 hours walking up and about 3 hours walking down. Time to do the hiking is from April to October for it is warmer and without snow on the trial. When there is snow, it is much more difficult to walk. Because it is quite strenuous, this day hike may not be a perfect place to spend one day there walking, but if you are well trained or want to be trained, this is the perfect place for you.

Also this place is one of the natural habitats of wild pandas. On the trial you can see many bamboos growing everywhere. One needs to be really lucky to see a panda in the wild here.

Important Events and Festivals in Chengdu

International Food & Tour Festival of China

It has been held by Chengdu government for a consecutive 11 years since 2004. This is one of the major food events in China. As Chengdu is also named a gourmet city, this festival has brought a larger popularity in both China and the world. Time of the festival is not set; it can be in July or October every year.

Chengdu Jinsha Sun Festival

It is celebrated at Jinsha Museum each year during Chinese New Year. This celebration includes the display of the glorious history and civilization of Ancient Shu Kingdom to show the courageous, unified and integrated part of Chinese people. It is an amazing journey to participate in this activity.

Chengdu Flower Festival

Chengdu Flower Festival
Chengdu Flower Festival

Chengdu is one of the places in history that was called a city of flowers especially city of hibiscus flowers. According to the tradition that there is a birthday of all the flowers, which falls on the 15th day of the second month in Chinese Lunar Calendar, hence this specific day and the days around are made a Flower Fare around Chengdu. At present the place to hold this festival is mainly at Qingyang Taoist Temple. It used to be a time for people to have a spring break from work. Families would take the day off and go out to see the flowers with friends and drink tea or wine together. This is a time when people buy and sell flowers, exchange ideas of flower raising experiences, etc. Also for the many people been attracted to this event, there are usually lots of food and other items to be sold at the Fair. There is a famous poem written by Luyou that is familiar to every Chinese: 当年走马锦城西,曾为梅花醉似泥;二十里路香不断,青羊宫到浣花溪. (Long ago I traveled through west Chengdu and was drunk from the smell of plum flowers. Today ride for 20 li to see the flowers from Qingyang Temple to Huanhuaxi Park)

Chengdu Plum Blossom Festival

This festival is featured with Plum Flower solely. It is held at Xinfu Plum Forest at Sanshengxiang by the second month of Chinese Lunar Calendar each year. The plum forest is one of the four major forests of its kind. It covers a total area of over 3000 mu and has over 200 different kinds of plum trees and over 200,000 trees. It is a marvelous sea of flowers when they bloom.

Tazishan Lantern Festival

It is also a traditional festival celebrated at Tazishan Park at each Lantern Festival 2 weeks after the Chinese New Year. It was originated from the lantern fair from ancient times. During the festival, acrobatics, traditional music instrument playing and many snacks are full of the park. Each year a million visitors are recorded to this park to attend this festival.

Chengdu Grand Fair

It is also held during the Chinese New Year. The location is by Wuhou Shrine as a tradition. Dragon Dancing and food are the highlights.

Panda Cuddling Project at Dujiangyan Panda Park

Where is this panda park that I can cuddle a panda?

Dujiangyan Panda Cuddling
Panda Cuddling Project at Dujiangyan Panda Park

Dujiangyan Panda Park is located in Dujiangyan, near Qingchenshan by the small town of Daguan. It is about 50 km west to the city of Chengdu. You can use the fast train from Chengdu north railway station and arrive at Qingchengshan Railway Station. And use a local taxi to drive there.

How much does it cost if I want to hold a panda?

It costs 1800 Chinese Yuan (about USD300) to cuddle the panda. Usually you pay the money before you are led to the panda house to cuddle a 2-year old panda.

When do they do this? And what time can you do it? How long can I hold a panda?

Everyday. And normally in the morning it begins by 10:00 to 11:00 and in the afternoon by around 3:00 to 4:00. Your 1800 yuan gives you 20 seconds time with the panda. You can cuddle the panda and you are allowed to touch most parts of the panda except the head.

How does it work? Do I need to reserve?

Yes, you will need to reserve a space before hand. When you arrive they sometimes take you directly to the house to do the cuddling and taking pictures, sometimes you will have to wait for a while to join the others to go to the panda cuddle houses. After you pay the money, you will be guided by the English-speaking workers there to the houses and to cuddle the panda by turns. It is usually done outside and the panda that is cuddled is a 2-year female panda at present (2015).

A suggested plan to do this project is: drive there in the morning and arrive before 10:00 and do the cuddling and a little tour inside the panda park before leave. You can have lunch nearby and tour the Dujiangyan Irrigation system or visit the Taoist Shrine Mount Qingcheng in the afternoon before drive back to Chengdu.

To reserve a space you can contact Mr. Li hai to make reservations for you: chengdutourguide@163.com. And he can also arrange transportations for you as well.

Panda Volunteer Work in Dujiangyan Panda Park

What is the project?

Panda Volunteer Work at Dujiangyan Panda BAse
Panda volunteer in Sichuan

Dujiangyan Panda Park provides panda works for volunteer workers. Its mission is to raise money for panda protection and to give people knowledge about giant pandas to raise the awareness of protecting wild lives and nature. And it also provides opportunities for visitors/workers to have close experience with the lovely pandas.

Where is the Dujiangyan Panda Park?

Dujiang Panda Park is the only panda base in China that has Panda Volunteer project open to the public at present. Dujiangyan is in Sichuan Province 50km west to the capital city Chengdu. The panda park is located 20km south to the town of Dujiang yan near Daguan Village.

Who can do this project? What are the requirements?

Everyone who is able to travel to China can do this volunteer work. There are so far no specific requirements on doing this work.

How much is the volunteer work?

It is actually a project rather than volunteer works. One needs to pay 700 Chinese yuan per person per day to do the work. If you only want to do a half-day work, a full day’s charge is required.

What is the process of this project? Are there any details to be provided?

After you pay, one volunteer worker’s tag and working T-shirt will be given to you. And you need to sigh a contract of this volunteer work you are doing. You will be led by an English-speaking worker in the park to guide you through one day’s work. You are suggested to arrive at the park by 8:30 to 9:00.

The working includes:

  1. A) Feed the panda three times each day at 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00, each feeding takes about 20 minutes. It is very exciting.
  2. B) Clean the panda enclosure one or two times before the feeding, each time takes about 40 minutes. This is very interesting.

How long can I do the volunteer work?

You can basically choose from half day to 4 days. Every day is charged 700 yuan per person.

Other activities you can do in the park between your volunteer work:

Visiting the red panda enclosure, hiking to the tea farm in the park, watching panda documentaries, if there is child involved, you can consider making panda bread or attending a panda lecture.

To join in a Panda Volunteer Work in Dujiangyan Panda Base, you can email us at panda@sichuantravelguide.com or call us at 86-13689094250.