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South West China and the Pandas of Sichuan

13 days from £3990 per person

Combining two of China’s finest national parks with Chengdu, the home of the panda, this journey introduces and explores the unrivalled natural beauty and wildlife of Sichuan Province. Starting in Chengdu, spend four days in and around the city visiting the archaeological site of Sanxingdui, the world-leading Panda Breeding Centre and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Dujiangyan. Leaving Chengdu, explore the wider Sichuan region. Spend two days exploring the temples of Emeishan and Leshan which is home to the largest Buddha statue in the world, before ending with a memorable two days in the national parks of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong.

Route: Chengdu – Emeishan – Chengdu – Jiuzhaigou National Park – Chengdu

Itinerary Highlights

Explore Chengdu, famous for its culinary delights and world-leading conservation centre dedicated to the research and breeding of the Giant Pandas.

Visit the Giant Buddha in Leshan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest Buddha statue in the world, carved into the face of a cliff.

Admire the spectacular scenery in Jiuzhaigou National Park and in particular the dazzling lake that changes from turquoise to navy blue to emerald green.

Itinerary: South West China and the Pandas of Sichuan

Depart the UK on Etihad Airways flight to Abu Dhabi. (N)
Arrive into Abu Dhabi and connect onto the Etihad Airways flight to Chengdu. Capital of Sichuan Province, Chengdu is the region’s most important city and is famous for its distinctive food culture and links to the panda with two major conservation and research centres dedicated to the creature. (N)
Accommodation in Chengdu: Buddha Zen Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Temple House (or similar)
This morning travel north of Chengdu to the archaeological site of Sanxingdui. Dating to the Bronze Age, the remains at Sanxingdui are now considered as important as those of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. Believed to be the ancient city that was part of the enigmatic Kingdom of Shu and hundreds of objects have been found – some of which are close to 4,000 years old. In the afternoon return to the city and visit People’s Park, the popular House of Tea and Wenshu Temple, the best preserved Buddhist sanctuary in the city. (B)
Accommodation in Chengdu: Buddha Zen Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Temple House (or similar)
After breakfast visit the influential Panda Breeding Centre. Currently home to around 100 pandas, the centre has the largest number of captive pandas in the world. A leading research facility with a focus on conservation and education, the centre was founded in the late 1980s to protect and increase the numbers of this endangered species. Thanks to the help of places like the Panda Breeding Centre, panda numbers are on the increase and it is believed that there are around 2000 pandas now living in the wild. In the afternoon return to Chengdu and explore the ancient atmospheric alleys of Kuanzhai Xiangzi and Jinli. (B)
Accommodation in Chengdu: Buddha Zen Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Temple House (or similar)
Today drive 60kms out of the city to the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda at Dujiangyan where you will join their panda volunteer programme for the day. Clean the panda enclosures, prepare their food and assist in the planting of bamboo and other trees and plants. Time will also be spent at the Panda Centre of Science and Education where you will be able to learn more about these fascinating animals. Return to Chengdu and your hotel in the afternoon. (B) Please note that only those between the ages of 12 and 65 can volunteer at the China Conservation and Research Centre.
Accommodation in Chengdu: Buddha Zen Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Temple House (or similar)
After breakfast drive to Leshan – location of the largest Buddha statue in the world which was carved into the cliff-side more than 1,200 years ago. Take a pleasant walk through the forested Oriental Buddha Park with its temples and statues then continue on to Emeishan. One of the four sacred mountains of China, Emeishan remains a major pilgrimage destination and many of its temples and monasteries date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. (B)
Accommodation in Emeishan: meishan Central Sunshine Shangsai Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Anantara Emei Resort and Spa (or similar)
Today explore Emeishan and the mountain on foot and by cable-car. Highlights include Baoguo Temple with its porcelain Buddha, a cable-car ride to Wannian Temple which is the oldest place of worship on the mountain and Jinding Temple with its spectacular views of the 3,000m Wanfo peak. (B)
Accommodation in Emeishan: meishan Central Sunshine Shangsai Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Anantara Emei Resort and Spa (or similar)
This morning leave Emeishan and return by road to Chengdu where you will stay overnight. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. (B)
Accommodation in Chengdu: Buddha Zen Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Temple House (or similar)
Today transfer to Chengdu Airport and fly to Huanglong. On arrival you will be met and driven to Jiuzhaigou National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jiuzhaigou National Park is famous for the coloured waters of its lake which change from turquoise to navy blue to emerald green. Jiuzhaigou is also home to elusive wild populations of panda and snub-nosed monkey. (B)
Accommodation in Jiuzhaigou National Park: Zhuo Ma’s Jiuzhaigou Homestay (or similar)
Upgrade option: Sheraton Hotel (or similar)
As one of China’s main eco-tourism sites, all transport within the national park is either on foot or by ‘eco-bus’ shared with other visitors. Visit Shuzheng, Tiger and Rhinoceros lakes, the beautiful Five Colour Pond, the Nuorilang waterfalls and the area around Five Flower Lake which many consider to be the most beautiful part of the park. If time permits, also visit the Primeval Forest which is dominated by the majestic 4500m Ganzigongai – the highest mountain in the reserve. (B)
Accommodation in Jiuzhaigou National Park: Zhuo Ma’s Jiuzhaigou Homestay (or similar)
Upgrade option: Sheraton Hotel (or similar)
This morning leave your hotel and take the spectacular drive to Huanglong National Park. On arrival hike through pine forest, passing incredibly beautiful turquoise, yellow and emerald green limestone ponds, to the Ming era Yellow Dragon Temple – location of the Five Colour Lake which is overlooked by the 6,000m Xuebao peak. The hike takes around two hours but it is also possible to take a cable-car to the temple and summit. Later, return to Huanglong Airport and fly to Chengdu. (B)
Accommodation in Chengdu: Buddha Zen Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Temple House (or similar)
Today you are at leisure. Later you will be met and transferred to Chengdu Airport in good time to catch the Etihad Airways flight to Abu Dhabi. (B)
Arrive into Abu Dhabi and connect onto the Etihad Airways flight to the UK arriving in the morning. (N)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Meals unless specified

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

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