Sichuan Explorer


Sichuan differs markedly from the rest of China, with varying attitudes, cuisine and spectacular landscapes of forest and mountain. Richly endowed with natural and cultural wonders, touring this magnificent province never fails to steal your breath away.

Places Visited

Australia - Chengdu (2N) - Mt Emei (2N) - Mengdingshan (1N) - Dujiangyuan (2N) - Nine Villages Valley (3N) - Mao County (1N) - Chengdu (2N) - Australia

Day 1: Fly to Chengdu
Fly with Cathay Pacific Airways to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, for a two-night stay.

Perth passengers may depart one day earlier.
Day 1: Fly to Chengdu
Day 2: Discover Chengdu
Travel to Leshan to see the Grand Buddha. The 71-metre Buddha, the world's largest and UNESCO World Heritage-listed, is carved into a hillside overlooking the confluence of the Dadu and Min rivers. Completed in the year 803, it is said that the Buddha's presence has calmed the turbulent waters of the river. View the Buddha from the Leshan Buddha Park. A short boat trip will give an even better perspective. Continue to Mt Emei. (B,L,D)
Day 2: Discover Chengdu
Day 3: Explore Mt. Emei
Mt. Emei is the cradle of the Buddhist religion in China with the first temple built here, on its peak, in the 1st century. Pilgrims and tourists mix amongst the lush vegetation and inconspicuous old temples, all admiring the striking and diverse natural beauty of the mountain and its setting. Spend the day soaking up the ambiance and exploring. You'll spend the evening at the foot of the mountain. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Explore Mt. Emei
Day 4: Mendingshan
Travel to Mengdingshan. Explore amongst the vast stretch of tea bushes and take a tour of a plantation, where you'll be shown the whole process of producing tea, from plucking the leaves to brewing the perfect cup. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Pingle Ancient Town
Dating back to the Han Dynasty, Pingle was a stopping point on the Tea Horse Road. Take some time to walk through the maze of teahouse-lined streets before seeing the bamboo forest from above on Jinji Suspended Rope Bridge. Later, drive back to Chengdu. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Dujiangyan Panda Base
Visit one of the world's finest panda conservation centres where you'll gain a real insight into the hard work that goes into caring for and boosting the population of this endangered species. The pandas here are kept in conditions very close to their natural habitat. Later, visit the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, an infrastructure constructed in 256BC and still in use today to irrigate 5,300 square kilometres of land. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Dujiangyan Panda Base
Day 7: Taoist Mt. Qingcheng
Mt. Qingcheng is the most important Taosit Holy mountain in China, it is also a truly beautiful spot with numerous peaks covered with lush greenery and secluded palaces. You'll be welcomed by a Taoist priest at the Old Master Pavilion on the summit of Mt Qingcheng. Take the opportunity to speak to him and learn about his religion. You'll also be shown the art of Chinese painting and handwriting. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Taoist Mt. Qingcheng
Day 8: Drive to Nine Villages Valley
Drive through to Nine Villages Valley (Jiuzhaigou National Park), where you'll spend the next three nights. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Drive to Nine Villages Valley
Day 9: Nine Villages Valley
A national park of ragged peaks, sapphire lakes, abundant forests and rushing waterfalls, the Nine Villages Valley (Jiuzhaigou National Park) is considered one of China's most beautiful areas. Named after the nine typical Tibetan settlements scattered through the valley, the park is a World Biosphere Reserve, full of endemic flora and 140 species of birds. A trip up to the top of the valley to Long Lake, the highest, deepest and largest in the area, offers spectacular alpine views whilst a short walk to the Five-Coloured Lake and Nuorilang Falls showcase some of the valley's most beautiful sights. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Nine Villages Valley
Day 10: Shuzheng village
Visit Shuzheng village, the largest settlement in the park. Spend some time with a local Tibetan family who will give you an insight into daily life in Nine Villages Valley. A lovely afternoon walk takes you from Rhinoceros Lake, passing Tiger Lake ending at Red Lake – an excellent way to really relish the local scenery. You'll pass an old watermill, many prayer wheels and Tibetan prayer flags en route. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Shuzheng village
Day 11: Huanglong Pools
Hundreds of vivid pools in striking colours, formed by thousands of years of mineral deposits, tumble gently down through the bright green forests of the Huanglong Valley. The whole area is studded with waterfalls and hot springs and, as it is relatively undiscovered, is a pleasure to explore. There is an option to take the cable car up to Huanglong Temple at the head of the valley to admire the excellent panoramic views (at your own expense), before you continue to the delightful Mao County by road. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Huanglong Pools
Day 12: Qiang Minority village
The Qiang people are an ethnic minority group in China with a population of about 326,500. Qiang is actually a Chinese word that translates in English as 'shepherds'. Their customs, architectural style, clothing and religious beliefs are far removed from the western world. You will visit a minority village where you'll be joined by a local elder, who will talk through the history and culture of his people. You'll then visit a local family. Later in the afternoon, drive to Chengdu. (B,L)
Day 12: Qiang Minority village
Day 13: Local Chengdu
Spend the day absorbing the culture of People's Park. People watching here is an endless pleasure, from the locals playing mah-jong to the lonely singles looking for love in Matchmaker's Corner. Join them in an exciting square dancing session. Stop at a local tea-house and wander through the historical Wide and Narrow Alleys. In the evening enjoy a delicious Sichuan hot pot dinner and an optional 'face changing' show (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
Day 13: Local Chengdu
Day 14: Depart Chengdu
This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Chengdu airport to board your overnight flight to Australia. (B)

Due to flight schedules, Brisbane and Perth passengers may arrive home on Day 14.
Day 14: Depart Chengdu
Day 15: Arrive Australia
Arrive home today.

Tour prices are per person, twin share

2017

2018

Additional Price Information:

Above prices include airline fuel surcharge and tipping. Subject to change
Standard itinerary flies with Cathay Pacific from SYD, MEL, BNE, ADL, PER & CNS and Singapore Airlines from DRW
Single Hotel Room Option from $660
Land Only (Chengdu to Chengdu) 14 days from $3,460 per person (includes tipping)
Cairns passengers may require a stopover in Hong Kong at an additional cost
Darwin passengers may require a stopover in Singapore at an additional cost
17 Apr 2017 departure coincides with Golden Week celebrations and sightseeing may be affected.
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 1300 318 203. Limited seats denotes 5 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel. Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visa in the price of our tour for Australian passport holders. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call Australia – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 61, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. .
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
 
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 1300 318 203 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.


Secure Your Place for Only $300pp Deposit

Why Book This Tour?

This tour is ideal for those with a reasonable amount of time and who have an interest in learning about a specific region of the country. We have designed this tour to take in key historical, religious and naturally stunning areas of Sichuan. This tour is active and involves walking for long periods which allows you to get the most out of the natural beauty of Sichuan. This tour reaches a maximum altitude of 3,500m at Huanglong Temple

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