Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan

Sichuan, China

Changi Airport

This adventure is: #on the weekend, #far far away, #scenic

Sichuan: Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan

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“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

In this trip, we will visit the beautiful villages along the most beautiful highway, highway 318 of China.  Visit Padacuo National Park, Yading nature reserve also known as the last Shangri-La.  Be a volunteer at Panda research centre at Dujiangyan, visit the historical old towns of Moxi, cross a bridge that is over 300 years old.  Explore one of the lowest elevated glaciers in the China Hailuogou National Park.  Visit the Tibetan towns and monasteries we will pass by.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaXinduqiao in Autumn

We start our 1600km journey from Chengdu to Lijiang.  I have chosen this time because during autumn the changing colours of leaves will make our journey a colourful one with shades of red, yellow, and orange.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaPandas in Sichuan. Photo by Todorov.petar.p is / CC BY-SA 4.0.

We will start our journey to Dujiangyan panda research centre and get up close with the pandas, volunteering for the research centre.  However, to be eligible as a panda volunteer we need to be checked that we have no transmittable diseases to the pandas.  For interested folks, I will send over the tests we need to be screened for.  If you think that is too much of trouble just to get really close to the pandas, we can always just be a visitor and watch the pandas from a distance.  I was there 15 years ago and such screening was not necessary to get close to them, I managed to feed them and even allow to carry a baby panda but I dare not as I thought they were too fragile for me to handle.  Having said that, I think is good that such measures have been in place so that they can be properly protected.  Since we are going during the newborn season, we stand a very high chance to see baby pandas.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaMoxi Old Town

We will make our way to Moxi old town, established since Song Dynasty 900 years ago.  Moxi old town is also the gateway to Hailuoguo National Park.  Along the way, we will aim to visit Shangli old town in Yaan, Erlang Mountain and cross 300 years old Luding Bridge.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaLuding Bridge. Photo by gill_penny is / CC BY 2.0

The next day we will start off early to Hailuogou National Park, exploring scenic spot 3 and 4.  We will be taking the cable car and sightseeing bus to get a good view of the glaciers and the park. 

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaGlaciers at Hailuogou National Park http://www.hailuogou.com/ 

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaHailuogou National Park, photo credits to http://www.hailuogou.com/

We will continue to Kangding where we get to see Tibetan Monasteries, continuing our journey to Xinduqiao.  Xinduqiao is a picturesque small Tibetan town and famous for its plateau pasture scenery, with vivid green grassland, streams, and mountains.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaScenery of Xinduqiao, photo credits to blog.mjjq

The next day we will travel over 400km to reach Daocheng.  We will pass by Yajiang and Litang. Litang town is situated at 4110 metres high, should time permit we can visit Litang Monastery.  Along the way we will pass by its famed green pastures, taking pictures along the way.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaLitang Temple. Photo by utpala ॐ is / CC BY-ND 2.0

 

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaGreen pastures along the way to Daocheng, photo credits to Caroline@mafongwo

The next day we will head to Daocheng Yading.  Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve was first introduced to the world when the famous American adventurer Joseph F. Rock published an article and photographs of Daocheng in the National Geographic in 1928.  There are many things to see in Yading, so to maximize our time and avoid over-exertion due to AMS, we will take sightseeing bus and electric car to reach as many places as possible.  We should be able to see Pearl Lake, Mt. Chenrezig, Luorong Pasture and, Chonggu Monastery.  For those that feel they have no problem with higher altitudes, can take a horse ride or hike up to see Five Color Lake and Milk Lake. The return journey is 7km for this part of the journey.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaRed Forest of Yading photo credits to benbenhu@mafengwo

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaPearl Lake, photo credits to Dianliwenmi

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaYading village, photo credits to Yalee@mafengwo

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaMilk Lake. Photo by Max Pixel is / CC0

We will leave this beautiful place and head to Xiangcheng.  We want to take things slowly so as to minimize AMS.  From Xiangcheng we will travel to Shangri-La county city, made famous by 1933 James Hilton novel Lost Horizon.

We will then visit Padacuo National Park, famous for its well-preserved primitive landscape, misty lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, streams, brooks, rare plants and animals.  Since we are spending 1 day here we should be able to see Bita Lake, Militang, and Shudu Lake.  We will hop on sightseeing buses to get to scenic spots.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaShudu Lake. Photo by Charlie Fong is / CC BY-SA 3.0

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaScenery of Pudacuo National Park, photo credits to Pudacuo National Park

Finally, we will make our way to Lijiang flying back to Chengdu and finally head back Singapore.  Along the way, we will visit Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Let's get up close with pandas in Sichuan starting at Sichuan, ChinaTiger Leaping Gorge

 

Things to bring 
1) Head Lamp
2) Outdoor Attire (long pant recommended) 
3) Trekking Shoe. NO slippers for trekking
4) Warm clothing
5) Insect Repellent
6) Slippers
7) Warm clothing
8) AMS pills

Important Note:

This trip will experience big swings of altitudes and therefore without much hiking, some may experience AMS.  As such we will move slower and try not to rush things.  We will go as high as 4500 metres, averaging at over 3000 metres.

I have chosen the best time to visit this part of China, the leaves turning red but we can’t predict weather accurately.  So it is possible that we may not experience its full beauty that I am hoping for.  Having said due to the popularity of this season, hotels can be limited in some places.  We, therefore, must confirm quickly.

I have used S$1 to RMB5 as the exchange rate.  Should the RMB depreciates SGD I will refund the difference, should RMB appreciates againist SGD top up is required according to the exchange rate changed

Price is yet to be confirmed

Itinerary

Day 1

1045 hrs: Meet at Changi Airport and leave for Chengdu
1720 hrs: Arrive at Chengdu, overnight Chengdu

Day 2, travelling distance of 100km

0800 hrs: Breakfast
0800 hrs: Leave for Dujiangyan
0900 hrs: Arrive at Dujiangyan and proceed to volunteer briefing
1630 hrs: Leave for Chengdu, overnight Chengdu

Day 3, travelling distance of 334km
0700 hrs: Breakfast
0800 hrs: Leave for Yaan, Erlang Mountain, Luding, taking pictures along the way

1600 hrs: Arrive at Moxi Old Town, overnight at Moxi Old Town

Day 4, travelling distance of 109km
0700 hrs: Breakfast
0730 hrs: Head to Hailuogou National Park, taking cable car, visiting scenic spot 3 and 4
1400 hrs: Leave Hailuogou National Park for Kangding, taking pictures along the way
1600 hrs: Arrive at Xinduqiao, overnight at Xinduqiao

Day 5, travelling distance of 436km

0700 hrs: Breakfast
0800 hrs: Leave for Yajiang, Litang, and Daocheng, taking pictures along the way
1700 hrs: Arrive Daocheng, overnight Daocheng village

Day 6, travelling distance of 73km, highest altitude at 4950 metres
0700 hrs: Breakfast
0745 hrs: Leave for Daocheng Yading
0830 hrs: Head to Yading Nature Reserve, hop on sightseeing bus of Yading, start visiting 
1800 hrs: Overnight at Shangri-La village or Yading village

Day 7, travelling distance of 183km

0800 hrs: Breakfast
0900 hrs: Leave for XiangCheng, taking photos along the way 
1800 hrs: Arrive at XiangCheng, overnight at Xiangcheng

Day 8, travelling distance of 203km

0800 hrs: Breakfast
0900 hrs: Leave for Pudacuo National Park Area
1800 hrs: Overnight Shangri-La town

Day 9, travelling distance of 40km

0800 hrs: Breakfast
0900 hrs: Leave for Pudacuo National Park
1800 hrs: Overnight Shangri-La town

Day 10, travelling distance of 176km

0800 hrs: Breakfast
0900 hrs: Leave for Tiger Leaping Gorge
1630 hrs: Arrive at Lijiang International Airport
1800 hrs: Arrive at Chengdu
2310 hrs: Leave for Singapore

Day 11

0410 hrs: Arrive Singapore