Welcome to Central Sìchuān
The province’s friendly and modern capital city, Chéngdū, is where most travellers start their Sìchuān explorations. It makes a great base for trips to the region’s top sights. The area surrounding this emerging metropolis remains dotted with quaint old villages and farmsteads. Nearby rise the lush, forested peaks of Éméi Shān, the cliffs of Lè Shān with an ancient Buddha (the world’s largest), and, hidden in the... Read More
Top experiences in Central Sìchuān
Central Sìchuān activities
Half-Day Chengdu Panda Breeding Center Tour
Spend your day with some loveable creatures that will never fail to capture your heart. A hotel pickup will take you to either the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center or the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Center, non-profit research and breeding facilities for giant pandas and other rare animals that strives to simulate a natural environment for these creatures. Your expert guide will take you through the center to get a full overview of a panda’s development. Learn about the progression from a baby panda to a full grown panda with a visit to the baby panda area, where you’ll admire these small and delicate creatures. Despite their age and size, you’ll see how full of life and energy they are! Then, head to the area that keeps the young adult pandas. Learn how adolescent pandas, between the ages of one and five, spend this important maturity period. Finally, you’ll witness the giant panda in all its full-grown glory at the adult area. Take pictures of these endangered species eating bamboo, sleeping and playing with one another.Keep an eye out for the red pandas among the trees or stretched out on a branch with their legs dangling. Choose to feed and take photos with them (see more below). After a morning of admiring these lovable animals, you’ll be transported back to your hotel. Upgrade to hold a baby giant panda! Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hold an adorable baby giant panda, which are six months to one year old, and get your photo taken! This unique experience takes place at the more intimate Dujiangyan Giant Panda Center to let you admire these rare, endangered creatures up close. Plus, all of the money will be donated to the non-profit Dujiangyan Giant Panda Center for research. Option only available if conditions are favorable.
Panda Rescue Center Volunteer for a Day
China’s most symbolic animal is now an endangered species numbering just 2,000. Since 2011, the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Center, part of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP), has made a home for injured and elderly bears, treated with utmost care in specialized facilities on a secluded, 126-acre (51-hectare) reserve of bamboo and parkland at the foot of a sacred mountain. Departing from your hotel after morning pickup, drive by private vehicle for approximately 1.5 hours to the non-profit rescue and research center. Receive a commemorative t-shirt, then switch vehicles and ride an excursion bus up to the top of the site, where you can observe resident pandas going about their daily lives.Meet the panda keepers who work to create a natural environment for China’s most beloved animals, and receive a short training session. You can participate in two panda feedings — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — washing and carrying fresh bamboo, and preparing food like fruit, carrots and panda cakes. These nutritional treats are made with shredded bamboo mixed by hand with rice and egg to create a large, solid cake.After your first volunteer session, enjoy your own lunch, provided for you at the center’s cafeteria.Spend about an hour visiting the panda gardens before you resume your volunteer work. Your guide provides a complete overview of panda development so you can understand the bears’ progression from infancy to adulthood. Stop at the sub-adult garden, where the adolescent pandas between the ages of one and five years old hang out. Then observe full-grown giant pandas in the adult area, where the bears can be seen eating bamboo, sleeping and frolicking about. In the afternoon, you’ll help clean the pandas’ indoor and outdoor enclosures, and may perhaps learn to record panda behavior or even assist with weighing the pandas (depending on the caretaker's schedule). After the pandas’ second feeding, take a break from your volunteer duties to walk around the panda center at leisure. You are free to use the computers and watch panda videos at the volunteer service center if you’d like.Please note: The center limits direct contact with the animals to ensure their well-being. The duties of your volunteer service may be changed due to the needs on any given day, and are not guaranteed.After a full day helping out with these impressive animals, you’ll receive a volunteer certificate and the satisfaction of contributing to a great cause. At the end of your tour, you’re transferred back to your hotel in Chengdu by private vehicle.
Private Tour: Day Trip to the Leshan Grand Buddha from Chengdu
A private vehicle will pick you up from your Chengdu hotel and take you on a two-hour drive to the Leshan Grand Buddha. Upon arrival at Leshan, indulge in a delicious Chinese lunch at a popular local restaurant. Afterwards, your guide will lead you to the Grand Buddha Temple (Lingyun Temple), located behind the Grand Buddha’s head. Marvel at the elaborate construction of its coiled hair, which is made up of around 1,020 twisted buns. Walk inside and marvel at the intricate sculptures and wall designs of the temple.Then, follow your guide down the trail toward the left of the Grand Buddha. This walk usually takes approximately 30 minutes, but is flexible depending on any rest or photo stops you may want to make. Standing at an impressive 233 feet (71 meters) high and 92 feet (28 meters) wide, it is by far the largest carved Buddha sculpture in the entire world! Admire the grandeur of this structure as it towers over you.Your guide will then lead you on another 30-minute walk up the trail on the right side of the Buddha to reach another temple. Walk inside the Wuyou Temple, a pink-walled building housing an abundance of calligraphic paintings, sculptures of terracotta monks and various other Buddhist artifacts. Follow your guide to the Arhat Hall, where you will see upwards of 500 Arhat statues. Outside the temple, take in magnificent aerial views of the Buddha, the surrounding forest and the Min River, Qingyi River and Dadu River converging below.For an alternative view of the Grand Buddha, take a boat cruise on the river (at own expense). After a full day of touring this World Heritage Site, sit back and relax as your private transport drives you back to your Chengdu hotel.
Private Leshan Giant Buddha Day Tour from Chengdu with High-speed Train Transfer
Once you are picked up by your guide at your Chengdu hotel, you will head to the modern Chengdu Train Station to catch the high-speed train to Leshan.During the one-hour train ride, you can mingle with locals and enjoy the idyllic landscape of the Chengdu countryside, which changes throughout seasons - carpets of yellow rapeseed flowers in spring, the greenery of rice paddies at summer, or colorful harvesting in the autumn. Once you arrive at Leshan, you will head to the Giant Buddha Park. The Leshan Giant Buddha is the biggest Buddha statue in the world – a 71-meter (233 ft) tall stone statue, built during 713 AD-803 AD by the Tang Dynasty. It is carved out of a cliff face and lies at the confluence of three rivers in the Mount Emei Scenic Area. Mount Emei and the Leshan Buddha were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. You will first climb 300 steps to the top of Lingyun Hill, a 20-30 minute journey. On the way, you will stop to see the Black Dragon Pond and many ancient stone carvings and Buddhist sculptures. From the top of Lingyun Hill, you will view three rivers: Min, Qingyi and Dadu river as they come together and you can explore Buddhist sculptures and murals inside Lingyun Temple. You will then descend along the red sand cliff road to view the phenomenal Leshan Giant Buddha from the bottom, and climb up at the opposite side of the hill.The walk will take around 30-40 minutes. From there, you walk to lunch in a local restaurant before visiting the Wuyou Temple, which has not been significantly restored and so retains its tranquil Buddhist atmosphere. The Giant Buddha and the temple are separated by the Min river, and you will walk around 20 minutes, crossing the Haoshang bridge. Once there, you will have an hour or so to enjoy the ancient courtyard, visit the hall dedicated to the Wuyou Buddha (a frightful-looking figure that was cast in India at around 618-907), and enjoy the Arhats Hall with beautifully-painted life-size clay figures of 500 Buddha’s disciples.Your tour ends late in the afternoon, if time permit,your guide will also show you the neighborhood of old Leshan city before return to the train station for the relaxing high-speed train journey back to Chengdu.Your guide will accompany you back to your hotel.
Experience Chengdu: Sichuan Cooking Class
Put on your chef’s hat and partake in this Sichuan cooking class in Chengdu that will teach you how to cook four different traditional Chinese dishes. The dishes include Kung Pao chicken (‘Gong Bao chicken’ in Sichuan), sweet and sour pork, fish-flavor eggplant and dumplings. (You may also learn a dish of your own choice, provided that you inquire in advance; you may request this when booking). You’ve seen all these dishes on a typical Chinese menu, so discover for yourself how they are made! Learn about the delicate ways people from the Sichuan province use different spices, handle separate food elements and make use of different utensils. Follow the cooking practices of your professional chef, and master the art of Sichuan cooking. The best part is eating, of course! Taste your masterpieces and be amazed by how wonderful of a cook you are. Take this training home with you and astonish your friends and family by serving home-cooked dishes that rival those of the Chinese restaurant around the corner.
Private Tour: Chengdu Sightseeing and Panda Center
Meet your guide at your hotel in the early morning and travel by private vehicle to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, about a 40-minute drive away. Walk around the non-profit research and breeding facility to observe giant pandas in all stages of development. You’ll appreciate enclosures that simulate their natural environment and meet the expert staff who care for them. Be sure to take some photos of these endangered species — as well as red pandas — eating bamboo, sleeping and playing.Spend approximately 3 hours on a guided tour with China’s most beloved creatures before a 30-minute drive to Zhaojue Temple, en route to downtown Chengdu. This 7th-century Zen monastery, considered a model for many Asian Buddhist temples, was reconstructed during the early Qing Dynasty. Take in the beauty of the tranquil waterways, groves and pavilions as you stroll amid the extensive grounds. After a vegetarian lunch at Zhaojue Temple, drive to People’s Park, the most popular park in Sichuan’s capital city. Here, you’ll find locals who gather to play chess or music, row boats on the lake or dance together. Visit the Match Corner, where older parents meet and post their unmarried children’s resumes in the hopes of making a match with a future son- or daughter-in-law. If you’d like, you can also try an ear cleaning and massage (own expense) before relaxing at one of the many teahouses located in the park. Afterward, walk across the street to visit downtown Chengdu, including the Kuan-Zhai Lane area. Although the name literally translates to 'Wide-Narrow' Lane, both Kuan and Zhai lanes exist as narrow alleyways. Along with a third lane, Jing, these three parallel alleyways are recognized as one of Chengdu’s three historic conservation districts. Stroll down the visually pleasing pedestrian thoroughfare for a glimpse of Qing-style quadrangle homes nestled between fashionable cafés, nightclubs and clothing boutiques. Before your guide delivers you back to your hotel by private vehicle, stop by local street vendors for a snack dinner and sample what local specialties are available around Kuan-Zhai Lane!