The homeland of China's national treasures-gigantic pandas, Sichuan province has a population of 83 million and is 485,000 square kilometers in size. It is also known as the "Nature Storage", housing approximately 54 endangered species and actively producing an increasing amount of important agricultural crops, such as rice, citrus fruits and ingredient herbs for Chinese medicine. At the same time, the winery and steel industries are rather prosperous in the area. Furthermore, Sichuan has spectacular sceneries to offer its visitors; the beauty of the province enables it to constantly compete with Yunnan province over the title "Shangri-La". In addition, Sichuanese cuisine is considered to be one of the four most reputable cuisines in China, giving tourists all the great reasons to explore the province at once.
The local cuisine can be classified as three different categories: gling spicy, spicy and salty-sour- and- sweet. Some notable dishes are: spicy meat shreds, spicy beef stew, sour pickle fish, tea flavored smoked duck, a couple's beef and lung slices and dan dan noodles in chili and peanut sauce.
Attractions to visit
As the capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu offers a great variety of historical and cultural attractions, as well as star rated leisure hangouts, entertainment and souvenir options to its visitors.
- Wuhou Memorial Temple
The temple is built in the memories and honor of one of China's best political strategist and Prime Minister Zhuge Liang, who lived during the Three Kingdoms period. The attraction is under key state protection and listed as an important cultural relic in the province.
- Wolong Panda Research Base
Getting prepared to learn about the exquisite panda research, and hugging and feeding the playful and cute creatures are just incredibly exciting and joyful for most travelers. Do not miss out this special opportunity to spend time with China's national treasures and get closer to nature!
- Sanxindui Museum
Little is known about the mysterious cultural and religious beliefs of the people of SanXingDui, yet visitors can gain a sense of the culture through intriguing displays of ancient and rare artifacts used in daily life and religious ceremonies. Over 1,000 rare items, such as gold plates, ceramics, seashells, bronze-wares, etc are currently on display; reflecting the important characteristics of Shu culture and civilization 4,000 years ago.
- Dujiangyan Ancient Irrigation Project Venue
This incredible project has reflected the wisdom and superior scientific techniques of Shu Shire, the master engineer of the irrigation system. During the third century, Chengdu had plenty of fertile farmlands and the government wanted to stabilize the amount of agricultural outputs. Shu Shire and his workers had successfully built an irrigation system, which could "drain floods, filter sand and divert water". The system was able to irrigate 0.933 million hectares of farmlands, and as a result benefited the city as a whole.
While at Chengdu, don't miss out the fabulous entertainment show, featuring the amazing tea pouring techniques, Chinese opera, puppet act and the well-known performance of Grimacing (face-changing).
Situated 15 kilometers away from the Dujiangyan Ancient Irrigation Project Venue, the Qingcheng Mountain is rated as one of the four most reputable Taoist Mountain in China. Surrounded by 36 green peaks and different kinds of trees, the area is said to be the origin of Taoism. Zhang Dao Ling (later known as Master Zhang), the founder of the religion, had preached within the region and various temples were built afterwards. Visitors of the mountain can worship Master Zhang in different temples, especially at the Tianshi Cave, which was built as a tribute to him.
Rated as one of the four most sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, Emei Shan has an elevation of 3,100 meters and is approximately 165 kilometers away from Chengdu. Various gorgeous attraction sites and the spectacular sceneries within the area have made Emei Shan one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1996.
Leshan Giant Buddha
Built during the Tang Dynasty, the giant Buddha had taken thousands of labors 90 years to carve. Rated as the largest stone Buddha sculpture in the world, the statue is situated in a "sit" position; furthermore, it is seven meters in height and 24 meters in shoulder width, which is as large as a standard basketball field.
Known as the "Fairyland on Earth", Jiuzhaigou is in fact a 60-kilometer- valley located in the Min Mountain. The valley pursues extraordinary sceneries: spectacular blue lakes, waterfalls, forest and snow-covered peaks, and at the same time surrounded by nine Tibetan stockade villages, thus earning its name "Jiuzhaigou". The area is deeply influenced by the Tibetan culture and is often regarded as the holy valley for the Tibetans.
Also known as the Four Maidens' Mountains, the mountains earned their titles of "The Alps of the Orient" and were formerly four beautiful and sweet ladies, according to local legend. The mountains have elevations of 5,355, 5,454, 5,664 and 6,250 meters respectively, and at the same time surrounded by fabulous sceneries, waterfalls, forests and much more.
- Shuang Qiao Valley
35 kilometers in length, the valley pursues the best sceneries of the Four Maidens' Mountains and is most easily accessible. Do not miss out the Five Colored Mountain (Wuse Mountain); it has been rated the most spectacular site in the valley due to its five different colors: yellow, red, blue, green and white.
- Changping Valley
29 kilometers in length, it is the best place to hike and camp. Surrounded by peaceful waterfalls and dry lakes, nicely constructed pathways and Lama Temples, the area is great for outdoor activities. If you wish to explore the valley thoroughly, consider doing so on a horseback!
- Haizi Valley
Formed by various alpine lakes, the valley is approximately 20 kilometers in length. Since most of them are about 13,650 feet above sea level, the attraction is most suitable for experienced mountaineers to explore.
Xiling Snow Mountain
Covering an area of approximately 483 square kilometers, the Xiling Snow Mountain is 95 kilometers away from Chengdu and 5,364 meters in height. The marvelous steep peaks of the mountain are covered with snow all year round and one can find various kinds of flowers, plants, rare species of birds, waterfalls and overhanging rocks in the region. The gorgeous scenic area has recently developed into a skiing resort that can be comparable to the ones in the European Alps.
Shunan Bamboo Grove
Under key state protection, the 4,667 hectares of bamboo is situated southwest of the Liantian Mountain. The spectacular and breathtaking scenery is best being viewed at the nearby tower from a distance, where you will see a green shadow area known as the "bamboo sea".
Xingwen County is the geological wonderland in Sichuan province. Famous for its stones and caves, the county has become popular among tourists recently.
- Stone Ocean
Although not comparable to the Stone Forest (Shilin) in Yunnan province, the Stone Ocean contains huge collections of stones in different shapes. With some imagination, tourists perhaps can see stones that looked similar to tigers, flocks of sheep, fairies and couples who are deeply in love.
- The Gigantic Funnel
The funnel is actually a humongous oval-shaped trap (looked similar to a large rice cooker), which is located in the center of the Stone Ocean. With a diameter of 650 meters and a depth of 208 meters, it is rated as the largest funnel of nature in the world. A pathway to the funnel is recently built so that visitors are able to stroll around the site much better. If you try shouting there, the echo of your voice would not be heard until a few seconds later!
- Tian Quan Cave
Tian Quan Cave is a remarkable four-level underground masquerade. Only the top two levels are open to visitors, in which a large number of caves can be found. The entrances of the caves are usually wide and the interiors certainly have enough room to build an indoor soccer field.