AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Pandas and Buddhas of Sichuan

Pandas and Buddhas of Sichuan

Pandas and Buddhas of Sichuan Overview

Pandas and Buddhas of Sichuan A tailor-made journey to Sichuan to marvel at its craggy landscapes, delicious food, Tibetan culture and pandas! Get up close and personal with this renowned animal at the heart of the Bifengxia centre. Visit the largest Buddha in the world at Leshan and climb the sacred Buddhist Mountain Emei.

We recommend this tour as an extension to your China adventure.

Touring style: private with driver and professional English speaking guide

Best Time to visit Chengdu; March to June with pleasant spring weather and September to November. The rainy season is usually in July and August, with occasional storms.

Day 1: Arrival in Chengdu

On arrival, you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

In the evening we suggest that you try some of the specialities of the region and its famous food. Try mapo doufu, a traditional Sichuanese dish comprising of fresh tofu, minced beef and soy served with a sauce of garlic, peppered oil and Sichuan peppercorns.

Overnight in Chengdu

Day 2: Chengdu touring

Take a walk in the People’s Park, where the locals practice Tai-Chi, Kung-fu, sword dance, meditation, dance and gymnastics.

Today, you will visit the archaeological site of Sanxingdui, where hundreds of objects dating from as early as 2000BC have been found. These include pottery, jade sculptures and statues as well as a collection of masks and a “divine tree” made of bronze unique to China.

Return to Chengdu for a visit to the Wenshu Temple, the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu that still boasts a large number of worshippers.

Overnight in Chengdu.

Distance and journey time:

Chengdu city – Sanxingdui (approx. 50 km): 1h

Day 3: Meet the Pandas

You will leave early for Bifengxia, located 145km from Chengdu, taking around two and a half hours. Upon arrival, you will take the elevator to the heart of the gorge. Walk from here through crystal-clear rivers, luxuriant greenery, and the steep cliffs of the gorge carved out by waterfalls.

Arrive at the Centre that boasts slightly fewer than 100 pandas, making it the largest centre for pandas in captivity in the world. Pandas’ nourishment comes almost exclusively from bamboo which they eat throughout the entire day, consuming up to 40kg a day.

After your visit, return to the park entrance by one of the park buses and transfer back to your hotel.

Overnight in Chengdu

Distance and journey time:

Chengdu city – Bifengxia (approx. 145 km): 2h30

Day 4: The Buddha of Leshan

Leave early for Leshan to visit the largest Buddha statue in the world, carved into the side of a cliff more than 1200 years ago to calm the anger of the Min River, which had inflicted floods upon the locals and mariners.

The Giant Buddha, as it is commonly known, measure in at 71m (231ft) high and 28m (92ft) wide. You can get up close to its face to admire its 7m (23ft) long ears while taking the stairs down will take you near to the toes, which alone measure 8.5m (28ft) high.

Alternatively, you can also admire the Giant Buddha from the Min River, on board a boat.

Take a short walk through the Oriental Buddha Park, dotted with small temples and thousands of small statues.

Journey on to Emeishan for overnight.

Distance and journey time:

Bifengxia – Leshan (approx. 200 km): 3h15

Leshan – Emeishan (approx. 45 km): 1h

Day 5: Emeishan

Emeishan is one of the four sacred Buddhist Mountains of China and is still a major place of pilgrimage today. Most of its temples and monasteries date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties and they are linked by more than 50km of stairs and mountain pathways. Proceed to the Baguo Temple, located outside the heart of a beautiful garden and is known for its porcelain Buddha.

Drive by car and take the cable-car to the Wannian Temple which is the oldest temple on Emei Mountain. There you can admire a bronze statue of Puxian on a white elephant that weighs more than 62 tonnes.

Take the cable-car to the Jinding Temple, a majestic golden palace covered with glazed tiles and surrounded by marble railings.

Overnight in Emeishan

Day 6: Departure to Chengdu

Today you will return by road to Chengdu to continue your China adventure.

Distance and journey time:

Emeishan – Chengdu (approx. 165 km): 3h

Find out more about the Pandas and Buddhas of Sichuan