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" panda trio sichuan china 2011 "
by chensiyuan -
licensed under CC BY
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Chengdu is China's fifth-largest city, but in contrast to some other urban centres, it has managed to preserve an atmosphere that evokes a sense of history. Founded over 2,000 years ago, it may be the only major city in China to have remained in the same location and still bear the same name. The highlight of Chengdu is the People's Park, where you can get a glimpse into everyday life as locals gather to sing, take exercise, relax and share a drink at one of the bustling tea houses.
Of course, for most the main reasons for any visit to Chengdu is to see the the famous Panda Research & Breeding Centre, close to the city. Far from being a zoo, the ongoing conservation efforts made here are respected the world over and are crucial to the sustainment of the species. The inhabitants (including red pandas) have large areas in which to roam and play, designed to replicate their natural habitat to encourage breeding. We visit in the morning to see the pandas at their most active, particularly the young babies.
A short drive south of Chengdu leads to the Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest carved stone Buddha in the world.
乐山大佛 by kevinmcgill
The mind-boggling Leshan Giant Buddha is located around 90 miles south of Chengdu and so makes the perfect extension to a visit here.
乐山大佛 by kevinmcgill
Carved in a sitting position into the cliff face over the course of 90 years, the Giant Buddha of Leshan is a mind-boggling 71 metres tall (its ears alone measure seven metres high) and nearly ten metres wide. Also known as Dafo, it was finally completed in 803, at the confluence of three major rivers and looking out towards the sacred Mount Emei. Visitors can take boat rides along the river and walk from its huge toes, past its three metres long finers, all the way up to its eyeline. From here it is possible to appreciate the astonishing detail of the sculpture, with over 1,000 separate coils on its head.
From Leshan it is a short drive to the nearby sacred Mount Emei.
Emei shan view by Cory M. Grenier
The sacred Mount Emei is just a short drive from Leshan and a three and half hour drive from central Chengdu.
Emei shan view by Cory M. Grenier
The nearby Mount Emei (Emeishan) is one of four sacred Buddhist mountains in China. Spread throughout are many elaborately decorated monasteries, pavilions and temples, connected via a combination of cable cars and picturesque (though steep) walks. The mountain is a cultural monument, brought to life by a local expert guide, who will share with you the fascinating tales hidden here and help fend off any overly eager monkeys of course.
The Golden Summit, reachable in a day via buses and cable cars, stands over 3,000 metres above sea level, which means that upon reaching it, you are often rewarded with a mesmarising (and disorientating) view over the sea of clouds below.
13 Nights from
Our classic tour through China's essential highlights. Visit the Great Wall near Beijing, see pandas and the Terracotta Army up close and cruise through su…
Day 1 - Welcome to Beijing
Day 2 - Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven
Day 3 - Great Wall & Ming Tombs
Day 4 - Beijing Summer Palace
Day 5 - Xi'an city tour
Day 6 - Terracotta Army & Big Goose Pagoda
Day 7 - Transfer to Chengdu & visit Jinli Street
Day 8 - Panda Research Center & Sanxingdui
Day 9 - Transfer to Guilin & visit the Reed Flute Caves
Day 10 - Li River Cruise
Day 11 - Transfer to airport for flight to Shanghai
Day 12 - Highlights of Shanghai
Day 13 - Maglev Train to airport
16 Nights from
Cruise down the Yangtze River and see China's most iconic sights; adorable pandas, the Forbidden City and Great Wall, the Terracotta Army, futuristic Shang…
Day 7 - Transfer to Guilin & visit the Reed Flute Caves
Day 8 - Li River Cruise
Day 9 - Transfer to Chengdu
Day 10 - Panda Research Center & Sanxingdui
Day 11 - Jinli Street & transfer to Chongqing
Day 12 - Ghost City & Shibao Zhai Temple
Day 13 - Qutang & Wu Gorges
Day 14 - Three Gorges Dam
Day 15 - Highlights of Shanghai
Day 16 - Maglev Train to Airport
22 Nights from
Journey across China and back to culturally-rich cities and storybook landscapes. Marvel at the Terracotta Army and Great Wall and see a giant Buddha and a…
Day 5 - Bullet Train to Xi'an
Day 6 - Xi'an City Tour
Day 7 - Terracotta Army
Day 8 - Transfer to Tibet
Day 9 - Jokhang Temple & Drepung Monastery
Day 10 - Potala Palace, Norbulingka & Sera Monastery
Day 11 - Transfer to Mount Emei
Day 12 - Mount Emei tour
Day 13 - Leshan Giant Buddha
Day 14 - Panda Research Center
Day 15 - Transfer to Longsheng
Day 16 - Longji Rice Terraces
Day 17 - Li River Cruise
Day 18 - Hiking or cycling in Yangshuo
Day 19 - Transfer to Shanghai
Day 20 - Highlights of Shanghai
Day 21 - Shanghai at leisure
Day 22 - Suzhou's Classical Gardens
Day 23 - Return flight to UK
China Family Tour
14 Nights from
Our specially designed family tour to China's most iconic sights. Visit Beijing's Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army, then get up close…
Day 2 - Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven
Day 3 - Great Wall of China
Day 4 - Day at Leisure in Beijing
Day 8 - Transfer to Mount Emei
Day 9 - Mount Emei tour
Day 10 - Leshan Giant Buddha
Day 11 - Chengdu at leisure
Day 12 - Panda Research Center
Day 13 - Fly to Beijing
Day 14 - Return flight to UK
A multi-award winning luxury hotel, located in the heart of Chengdu, on the site of a former imperial palace.
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