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Located in southwestern China, Sichuan Province is in the transition zone between Yangtze River Plain to the Qinghai Tibet Plateau, and the rapid change of the steep terrain has created the mountainous lush highlands in the west with an average altitude of more than 3000 meters, while in the middle and the east, there are basins and hills. Due to this, the mysterious Shu culture and religious beliefs of Taoism and Buddhism were cultivated here and many fairyland-like sites were discovered.
With comfortable temperature and beautiful fall foliage, Sichuan presents itself with countless breathtaking sites and cultural wonders. Below are the top attractions we specially selected for your Sichuan Trip, including best UNESCO World Nature or Culture Heritage sites, nature reserves, parks, mountains, glaciers, and other types.
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Golden Gingko Trees in Sichuan University
Chengdu Anshun Bridge at Night
Autumn is the best season to visit Chengdu. As a city of Gingko, Chengdu turns yellow as the city marches into September. You can see them almost everywhere, streets, parks, universities, attraction sites, etc. Chengdu people like to find places with beautiful ginkgo scenes and take pictures there with their friends and families. One of the most popular spots is in the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. It will be open to the public during its annual Gingko Festival. People's Park also attracts a lot of fans when the ginkgo adds more charm to the already pleasant environment, and the ginkgo trees in Qingyang Palace and Daci Temple around Taikoo Li are in perfect harmony with the ancient architectures. Besides the downtown area, you can also go to the closet snow-capped Mountain, Xiling Snow Mountain to see the fall foliage and have a ski experience in the late autumn.>>Chengdu Autumn Travel
Wuhuahai Lake at Jiuzhaigou
Shuzheng Lakes at Jiuzhaigou
• Type: World Heritage Site, Natural Park, Geopark, Nature Reserve, National AAAA Tourist Attraction
• Ticket: CNY 169 (April 1-November 15) & CNY 80 (November 16-March 31 next year) (sightseeing bus excluded)
• Opening Hours: 08:00--17:00
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 days
• Location: Zhangzha Town, Jiuzhaigou County, Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
As the top attraction to visit in autumn, Jiuzhaigou National Park, aka Jiuzhaigou Valley is located in Jiuzhaigou County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, northwest of Sichuan Province, about 440km to Chengdu. Autumn is the most beautiful season of Jiuzhaigou Valley with greenish and blueish clear lakes and ponds, white waterfalls, surrounded with multicolored forests on the backdrop of blue sky and it is just like a land out of the fairy tale. You can just hike and enjoy the stunning scenery and take photos, and try the local Tibetan food and costumes. Having endured the Sichuan earthquake, Jiuzhaigou national park had been closed for years for natural restoration and it has been reopening to the public, and you can travel Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu by bus, which takes about 8 to 10 hours, or you can take a direct flight to Jiuzhaigou airport with one hour’s duration.>>Jiuzhaigou Autumn Travel
Huanglong Ancient Temple in Huanglong National Park
• Type: World Natural Heritage Site, Nature & Wildlife Areas, , Nature & Parks, Tours & Activities
• Ticket: World Natural Heritage Site, Nature & Wildlife Areas, , Nature & Parks, Tours & Activities
• Opening Hours: 08:00-16:00
• Recommended Visiting Time: half a day - 1 day
• Location: Songpan County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
As an unmissable sister site of Jiuzhaigou National Park, Huanglong National Park, or Huanglong Valley is only about 40 km to it and the two sites are usually traveled together. Huanglong Valley is a 7.5 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers wide gentle-slope valley on the Xuebao Peak (Xuebao Snow Mountain). Vast yellow travertine landforms exist in the valley, and look like a yellow dragon. This is how the valley gained the name as Huanglong (Yellow Dragon). The most famous site in Huanglong Valley is the five-color pool, which is located at the altitude of 3,576 meters, is a group of colorful travertine ponds, covering more than 21,000 square meters. The ponds here are well-arranged, very similar to the Rice Terraces seen afar.
Mount Emei in the Dusk
Meandering Road Crossing the Fall Forest of Mt Emei
• Type: World Heritage Site, Buddhist Mountains, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Historic Walking Areas, Nature & Parks, Sights & Landmarks
• Ticket: CNY 160 (January 16 - December 14); CNY 110 (December 15 to next January 15)
• Opening Hours: all day
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 days
• Location: NO. 41 Minshan South Road, Emeishan City, Leshan City, Sichuan
Autumn is the best time to hike on Mount Emei Mountain with a comfortable temperature and beautiful scenery. "In in the mid-autumn, the moon rises from Mount Emei, with its shadow flowing along the PingQiang river", Li Bai, a famous ancient Chinese poet known by the Chinese household, once praised Emei Mountain. It is one of the four famous Buddhist mountains in China, and the only UNESCO World Heritage Site among them (the other three mountains: Mt. Wutai, Mt. Putuo, Mt. Jiuhua). It is only about 156 km to Chengdu city and can be reached by bus and intercity high-speed bullet train from Chengdu. Hiking in the beautiful fall foliage, feeding the wild monkeys, bathing in the hot spring at the foot the mountain, getting to learn the Buddhist culture by visiting the temples, you will enjoy the best side of Mount Emei in autumn. Besides, You can also travel Mount Emei with the nearby Leshan Giant Buddha as most travelers did.>>Mount Emei Autumn Travel
Danba Tibetan Village in the Early Autumn
Jiaju Tibetan Village in Autumn
• Type: Nature, Villages, Historic Sites & Architectural
• Ticket: CNY 50
• Opening Hours: all day
• Recommended Visiting Time: about 3 hours
• Location: 001 Country Rd, Danba County, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
As a small county in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Danba is reputed as one of the “Top 6 Most Beautiful Countryside of China” with Hundreds of Ancient Watchtower clusters. It is about 315 km away from Chengdu. In autumn, the weather here is very cool and the whole world of Jiaju Tibetan Village is going to put on its glamour “colorful robe” which other seasons can not compare with. Fall Leaves turn yellowish, orange, scarlet, with green trees and inlaid erecting outstanding Tibetan watchtowers among the fall foliage. It is highly suggested to spend 1 or 2 days in Danba to slow down your life pace and experience the Jiarong Tibetan culture.
Grazing Horses at Daocheng Yading
Red Marsh of Daocheng Yading
• Type: Nature Preserve, National Park, Religious Site, National AAAA Tourist Attraction
• Ticket: CNY 146
• Opening Hours: 07:00-18:30
• Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 days
• Location: Shangri-La Town, Daocheng County, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
located in the southwestern part of Sichuan Province and about 860km away from Chengdu, Daocheng Yading is highly regarded by lots of international visitors as the “Soul of Shangri-La” and also the “Last Shangri-La” for its mysterious charm and amazingly pastoral happiness. It is praised above the moon as “the Last Pure Land on Our Blue Planet” with its superb landscape kingdom with pure white holy snow mountains, ice glaciers, dense forests, vast grasslands, challenging valleys, glittering lakes, grazing cattle, etc. The best time to visit Daocheng Yading is from the middle of September to the middle of November, and you can appreciate the splendid autumn scenery of Yading Nature Reserve in dazzling colors of red, orange, yellow and golden against the white snow mountains and blue sky. Also, during October, it is best to enjoy Sangdui Red Grass and the golden poplar forest.
Recommended Daocheng Yading Tours:
Mount Siguniang in the Dusk
Haizi Valley in Mount Siguniang
• Type: World Natural Heritage, National Geopark, National Reserve of China
• Ticket: CNY 80 RMB (Shuangqiao Valley); CNY 70 RMB (Changping Valley); CNY 60 for (Haizi Valley)
• Opening Hours: about 07:00-15:30 in Summer and Autumn, and 07:30-15:00 in Spring and Winter
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1-3 days
• Location: Siguniangshan Town, Xiaojin County, Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Mount Siguniang, or called Siguniangshan or Four Sisters Mountain, is located in Xiaojin County, Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China, about 205km west away from Sichuan’s capital city Chengdu. The best time to visit Mount Siguniang (Siguniangshan) is in October and November when the skies tend to be clear in autumn and the surroundings are dressed by varicolored autumn leaves. After its discovery in the 1980s, Mount Siguniang is known for its steep peaks, breathtaking natural scenery, and abundant species, entitled as the “Oriental Alps”, “A Sacred Mountain in the East”, “China’s National Scenic Area”, “China’s National GEO-Park”, and “World Natural Heritage of Habitat of Giant Panda in Sichuan”. This amazing land encompassed with over 52 snow-capped peaks, valleys, meadows, and lakes and forest, including its most-famed four mountains and three valleys.
Bipenggou in Autumn
Bipenggou Valley in Late Autumn
• Type: Nature Reserve, Mountains and Lakes
• Ticket: CNY 70 (tourist bus and battery cart not included)
• Opening Hours: 7:00-16:00
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1 day
• Location: Putou Town, Li County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Located in northern Sichuan, about 200km away from Chengdu, Bipenggou Valley, aka Bipenggou National Park, is a natural reserve with a full length of 35km and a width of 4km, including virgin forest, plateau lakes, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, streams and waterfalls as well as primitive meadows. People regard it as the beautiful shadow of Mount Siguniang. When autumn comes, the colored foliage in Bipenggou Valley attracts thousands of travelers flock into to have an adventurous hike to the peaks and valleys, bath in the hot spring here, and experience Tibetan and Qiang People's Life and Culture.
Jinhouhu Lake of Dagu Glacier Scenic Area
Snow-Capped Mountains Seen from Dagu Glacier Cableway
• Type: Glacier, Nature & Parks, Forests
• Ticket: CNY 60 per person (Nov. 26 to May 4); CNY 60 (May 5 to Nov. 25); Sightseeing Bus: CNY 70; Cable Car: CNY 180
• Opening Hours: 08:00-15:30
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1 day
• Location: Sandagu Village, Luhua Town, Heishui County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province
Located in Heishui County, northwest of Sichuan, about 300 km to Chengdu, Dagu Glacier is the youngest glacier which is located in the lowest altitude and closest to the city area, and you can take the highest cable car in the world at the glacier area. To get to the glacier area, you need to take a sightseeing bus, passing through Jinhou lake (Golden Monkey Lake), Fangsheng lake, Dagu lake, Lingyun waterfall, Hongshipo Slope, and reach the glacier. Autumn is the most beautiful season to visit Dagu Glacier Scenic Area with varicolored forest with snow-capped mountains and glaciers standing behind, just like the scenery in Jiuzhaigou. Autumn brings all kinds of colorful leaves, the reddish, the orange, the dark green, and the golden yellow, etc. At the same time, due to the fall temperature, it is not that cold like in winter but enough for the mountain to put on snow again. Sometimes, you can even encounter monkeys seeking food from you.
Besides the attractions mentioned above with seasonal differences, Sichuan has so many wonderful scenic sites to visit in any season you like. As the hometown of pandas, you can go to visit the panda bases in Sichuan, have a volunteer experience, and even feed the pandas. If you are interested in Buddhism, you can make a trip to Leshan and appreciate the majestic Giant Buddha there. If you are a museum-goer, visiting the museums and getting to know the “Shu” Culture from the solemn Jinsha Site Museum to Sichuan Cuisine Museum and make Mapo Tofu and panda buns...
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >