National Parks of Sichuan with a Tibetan touch / 10 days
1 Chengdu via Dujiangyan to Mt. Qingchengshan, holy Taoist mountain. Overnight in Qingchengshan
2 Mt. Qingcheng sightseeing, walk the beautiful trails. Overnight in Qingchengshan
3 Qingchengshan to Siguniang Mountains. Overnight in Rilong
4 Siguniang Mountains sightseeing. Overnight in Rilong
5 Rilong to Danba, see watchtowers and Qiang Tibetan minority. Overnight in Danba, home stay
6 Danba via Bamei to Tagong, visit monasteries. Overnight in Tagong
7 Tagong to Kangding, visit monasteries. Overnight in Kangding
8 Kangding to Emeishan Mountain, sightseeing on holy mountain. Overnight in temple on the mountain
9 Emeishan sightseeing. Overnight in Emei town
10 Emeishan Mountain via Leshan to Chengdu, see biggest sitting stone Buddha in the world.
Day 1: Chengdu via Dujiangyan to Mt. Qingchengshan: we start our tour by heading west to Dujiangyan to see the famous water irrigation project, built around 2250 year ago by Qin governor Li Bing. At that time, the Min river flooded regularly, and governor Li built a clever irrigation system which kept the waterways open for military vessels as well as irrigating many hundreds of acres of farm land in the Chengdu plain. After visiting the irrigation works, we continue to the holy Taoist mountain Qingcheng, 70 kilometers from Chengdu City. The green tree cover on the mountain gives it its name. meaning Green City Mountain. We visit the many scenic spots. Taoist master, Zhang Daoling, once held Taoist ceremonies on this mountain and many buildings used for Taoist ceremonies have been well preserved. Qingcheng hosts one of the two Taoist colleges in China; the other one is in Shanghai.
Day 2: Free day to explore the wonderful trains and nature of Qingchengshan. Walk the four hour return trail and see the Jianfu Temple with its many Taoist monks.
Day 3: Qingchengshan to Siguniang Mountains.
Day 4: The main attraction of Siguniang Mountains is its unspoiled natural beauty. The unusual shapes of the mountain peaks are rarely seen anywhere else in the world. The blue sky, clouds and mist, snow peaks, ancient cypress forests, rushing waterfalls, and alpine meadows make this area a nature lovers dream. Mt. Siguniangshan consists of four adjacent mountain peaks. It got its unusual name from a local Tibetan legend that says the four peaks are the embodiments of four pretty girls. Today we go hiking or on horse back in Long-Peace Valley. Here we can see the old cypress path, the Lama Temple, the dry lakes and the waterfalls are peaceful and secluded. Hikers can easily reach Withered-trees (Kushu) Shoal via a plank road built into the cliff. But if you are yearning for the true beauty of Long-Peace Valley, you must take a tour on horseback (surcharge)
Day 5: Rilong to Danba: Today we will arrive in Danba, where the Qiang Tibetan minority lives. We will admire the amazing Danba watch towers. From Danba town you have a view of the steep mountains across the valley. On top of these sheer cliffs, there is a village. Since there is no real road, the villagers climb down once a month by ropes to do their shopping.
Day 6: Danba via Bamei to Tagong: We say goodbye to the friendly Qiang people and go to the quiet Tibetan town of Bamei where we visit the Tibetan Huiyuan monastery. The 7th Dalai Lama once lived here for some years before he was throned in Potala palace. We continue to Tagong where we visit the Tagong monastery and Tagong Buddhism college.
Day 7: Tagong to Kangding: we drive 110 km to Kangding, the last modern town before Tibet. Westwards from Kangding is the pure ” Wild West”. 80 % of population in Kangding is Tibetan. In this special and wonderful town, we visit the Jiangansi monastery of the Nyingmapa sect and the Anjue monastery of Gelukpa sect.
Day 8: Kangding to Emeishan Mountain: We drive east to Emeishan Mountain (also named as Mt. Emei) for sightseeing. This mountain is a holy mountain, ruled by Samanthabadra. We start visiting the mountain with a look at the Baoguo temple at the bottom of the mountain. In this actively used temple we can see many pilgrims offering incense and fruit to the Buddha. After the Baoguo temple we visit the FuHu nunnery.
Day 9: Emeishan sightseeing: we take the park bus up to the Golden Summit bus station. This area at an altitude of more than 3000 meters is an alpine region with beautiful vistas and a special glowing feeling in the air. We then take the cable car up to the Jinding temple. The golden statue of Samathabadra on his elephant greets us from afar. We can go inside the stupa and the temple. The natural scenery is breath taking, it is amazing to be above the clouds! After thoroughly enjoying the Golden Summit, we go down by cable car and bus to the Wannian temple. This temple is the oldest temple on the mountain. There are many monkeys in this area, and it is a good place for hiking. By cable car and bus back to Emei town.
Day 10: Emeishan Mountain via Leshan to Chengdu: 30 kilometers drive to Leshan, the biggest sitting stone Buddha in the world. This Maitreya Buddha is 71 meters high, carved out of a cliff face along the river. We first admire the Buddha from the river by boat. We then go up the mountain to see the Buddha from close by. We also visit the temple on top of the mountain, dedicated to monk Haitong who led the construction of the Buddha in 713 AD. The aim of the construction was that the Buddha would calm the nearby rivers that disturbed the ships. When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. Construction was completed by his disciples ninety years later and it deed indeed calm the waters. We then drive back to Chengdu.