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.
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.
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.
Chengdu North Railway Station(成都站), Chengdu East Railway Station(成都东站) and Chengdu South Railway Station(成都南站)
What to bring to pick train tickets up?
Your passport and your online booking number.
Railway station office time: 24 hours
So after you have booked train tickets online, how to pick them up?
To book the train tickets, you can go online there are ways of booking train tickets in China but everything will be easier if you read or speak Chinese. After you have booked the train tickets, you need to pick them up before you use the train.
In 2016, the picking up has become more difficult. You will need to go to the station and show your booking number and your passport. Normally you can pick it up before you get on the train, which means you will need to arrive at the train station earlier, normally 30 to 60 minutes. If you wish to pick up the train tickets earlier than this, you will need to go to a train station, any train station to do this. Before 2016, you can actually do this at any train ticket office, which are located at many places in a city. But now the railway administration has made this more difficult for international travelers.
In Chengdu, there are 3 stations that you can pick up your train tickets. Normally you don’t need to get to a train station too early if you want to ride the train, 30 minutes will be ok but when you are traveling and it is somewhere you are not familiar with, it is better to arrive at there earlier, for example, 40 minutes. If you also want to have time for the train tickets picked up at the train station, you can arrive there 60-90 minutes earlier, that will give you enough time. In Chengdu, there are Chengdu North Railway Station(成都站), Chengdu East Railway Station(成都东站) and Chengdu South Railway Station(成都南站) with another Chengdu West Railway Station to be open this in 2016. These places are by far (March, 2016) the only places where an international travel can pick up their train tickets.
Shijing Monastery is a Chinese Buddhist Monastery built in late Eastern Han Dynasty about 1800 years ago. It is located 50km south east to the city of Chengdu. It is a tranquil Buddhist complex and a nice place to have a day trip to.
Shijing means Buddhist books carved on stone. Shijing Monastery was called Lingyin Monastery from Tang Dynasty and it is considered one of the Great Buddhist Lin of Sichuan. It was refurnished in Ming Dynasty in about 1500BC and used as the first sacred place for the great Buddhist master of Tsongkhapa, an important figure in Tibetan history. Shijing Monastery is composed of different halls built along the slope of the mountain side of Longquan.
There are a few ways of getting to Chengdu Panda Base from the city.
Bus routes 87, 198, 198a will pass Chengdu Panda Base.
Route 87 goes between Chengdu Zhaojusi Bus Station between Longtansi Gongyeyuan. Both terminals are a little far from the city center. So you need to transfer to Zhaojuesi Bus Station(the one terminal that is closer to the city center, easier to get to) first.
Route 198 and 198a departs from Chengdu Zoo Bus Station, it is also a little far from the city center. You also need to get to Chengdu Zoo first and transit to route 198 or 198a.
There are Tourist sites shuttle buses you can consider. This way is easier as they are running between major tourist sites in Chengdu. You can find more information of this here. The cost is usually below 15 depends on where you start.
Taxi costs about 30 to 40 yuan from the center of the city to Chengdu Panda Base.
Xiling Snow Mountain is a 3000+ meters mountain near Chengdu. It provides people a perfect place to watch sunrise, ski and hiking.
If one wants to go watch sunrise at Xiling Snow Mountain, the best season would be winter when it is dry. The duration is considered from mid-December until the next mid-February. Travel to Xilinig Snow Mountain in this season, one shall has the highest possibility of catching a sunrise by the top of Xiling Snow Mountain.
To do this, you need to drive from Chengdu for about 1 hour and use the cable car and bus to reach your hotel. There are not too many hotels at Xiling, so an early booking is usually necessary. The sunrise watching time is by around 7:00 am. One needs to get up and use another cable car to reach the top in time.
Winter is the snowing season at Xiling, the temperature drops below 0C especially in the morning. So one needs to be prepared for the cold weather. Other activities you can do by the top of Xiling include skiing or hiking to Yinyang Ridge.
The best season to travel to Chengdu is from March to November.
Chengdu locates in the sub-tropical region so its climate is also sub-tropical. Generally mild climate not too hot in summer neither too cold in winter. Average temperature is about 16C with extremes highest at 37C and lowest at -6C. It has four distinct four seasons although spring and fall feel short. The monsoon season is in July and August, they are also the hottest season of the year. Temperature of July and August are as high as 35C. Heavy shower are best possibly seen in July and August.
The days of rainfall drop to the lowest by December and January, which being the coldest time of the year as well. The temperature of December and January in Chengdu drops to 0C sometimes even a bit lower. Buy snow is not common in Chengdu.
Summer is humid and your skin will normally feel sticky. May and September may have the biggest temperature difference in a day but it is the most comfortable time weather-wise. September may also see a consecutive days of drizzling for up to 3 weeks. Winter in Chengdu is the least favored season probably. The air quality becomes the worst in December and January.
So what is the best time to visit Chengdu Panda Base in a year?
The best time to visit the pandas at Chengdu Panda Base is from September to the next June when weather is not hot. Because pandas don’t like hot weather, if visiting in summer time, they will usually stay in the air-conditioned rooms sleeping instead of playing or eating outside in their yards. Traveling in other time of the year, you have more options on choosing when to visit the panda base during a day.
During the whole year visitors will be able to see baby pandas. The babies usually born between August and October, so traveling before summer you will see half year babies and traveling after summer you will see one-year old baby pandas and the newly born pandas as well.
And what is the best time to visit Chengdu Panda Base in a day?
The best time to visit pandas at Chengdu Panda Base are in the early mornings when it is with less visitors and cooler weather especially in summer. If it is inevitable to travel to Chengdu in summer, then you are suggested to visit the base in the early morning by 7:30 or even earlier. In the morning the weather is cool and the pandas are not in the rooms. Besides, summer vacation will expect lots of families to this base, so an early visit of the day is a better idea. Even if you are not traveling to Chengdu in summer, it is still better to arrive at Chengdu Panda Base at an earlier time to avoid the probable crowd of visitors.