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Sichuan in southwestern China is one of the top tourist regions in China, the capital city - Chengdu is the most brilliant signature all over the world. However, move farther from Chengdu, different terrain, climate and local people creates much more less-known terrific natural vista worthy your explore. Below are Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in Sichuan we specially elected for you, including best UNESCO World Nature or Culture Heritage sites, nature reserves, parks, mountains and other types.
Table of Contents
Five-Flower Lake in Jiuzhaigou National Park
Nuorilang Waterfall in Jiuzhaigou National Park
• 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
• Best Time to Visit: April to November, especially mid to late October
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 days
• Location: Zhangzha Town, Jiuzhaigou County, Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Jiuzhaigou National Park (or called Jiuzhaigou Valley), located about 440km away from Chengdu City, is legendary UNESCO World Nature Heritage displaying glassy lakes, pools, colored waterfalls and magnificent Karst landforms surrounded by primitive forest and snow-capped mountains. Long praised as the “King of Waterscape in the World”, a real “Fairytale World on Earth” and a stunning “Nature Museum” with bio-diverse ecosystem, each year, Jiuzhaigou National Park appeals to numerous witness across the world to verify the masterpiece of nature and explore distinctive Tibetan culture there.
Named after 9 Tibetan villages inhabited in the valley, the park spreads about 70,000 hectare on the edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with an average elevation of 2,000-3,000m. Decorated by over hundred crystal-like lakes, lush forests and touching stories, the park always presents breathtaking sights in each season, being lovely, romantic in Spring, and the most beautiful and multicolored Autumn with the oil painting-like scenery and a authentic “Frozen World” in Winter.
Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve
Milk Lake in Yading Nature Reserve
• Type: Nature Preserve, National Park, Religious Site, National AAAA Tourist Attraction
• Ticket: CNY 146
• Opening Hours: 07:00-18:30
• Best Time to Visit: September to November
• Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 days
• Location: Shangri-La Town, Daocheng County, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Hidden in isolated mountain areas on highland, southwest Sichuan, Yading Nature Reserve wasn’t exposed to outside world until 1928, an Austrian botanist accidentally found it and was astonished by the heavenly parterre where seemed to be the residence for fairies. Saving fascinating pureness and beauty of holy snow-capped three mountains, crystal lakes and rivers, primitive pasture and gorgeous nature around and original Tibetan Buddhism culture, Yading is sacredly honored as “the Last Shangri-La” and “the Last Pure Land on Earth”, attracting massive adventures and photographer to sanctify their eyes and souls. You can hike, and ride horse and even camp to fully immerse yourselves in this eden.
The three famous peaks - Mount Chianrezig, Jambeyang and Chanadorje are kernels of Yading all elevated about 6,000 m, each stands for a saint Bodhisattva in Tibetan language, guarding and blessing the local people. It will blow your mind when you see jewel-like Milk Lake, clear Pear Lake with reflection of surrounding alpines, idyllic Luorang Cattle Ranche with vast grassland...
Recommended Daocheng Yading Tours:
Statue of Samantabhadra on Golden Summit
Wild Monkey on Mount Emei
• Type: World Heritage Site, Taoist Mountains, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Historic Walking Areas, Nature & Parks, Sights & Landmarks
• Ticket: CNY 160 (January 16 - December 14); CNY110 (December 15 to next January 15)
• Opening Hours: all day
• Best Time to Visit: April to October
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 days
• Location: NO. 41 Minshan South Road, Emeishan City, Leshan City, Sichuan
Listed as one of the only two UNESCO World Nature and Cultural Heritage Sites in Sichuan (another is Leshan Giant Buddha), Mount Emei is consistently treated as one of the 4 greatest Buddhist mountains in China, a divine ashram of Manjusri Bodhisattva and an elegant mountain boasting serene natural views. It has four mountains covering about 154 square kilometers. Wanfo Summit - the highest point of Mount Emei has an elevation of 3,099m, and rises sharply from Emei Plain by over 2,700 m.
Thousands of Flora and Fauna earns the mountain titles of “Kingdom of Vegetation” and “Animal Paradise”. Many wild monkey can be seen taking food from tourists along hiking paths. Beyond that, placid Buddhism is the most charming spirit of Mount Emei, which can be sensed in many ancient temples, Buddha status, stone carving, etc. When planning your 1 or 2-day Mount Emei hiking trip, don’t miss the top temples, including Wannian Temple, Baoguo Temple, Leidongping and Golden Summit.
Shuangqiao Valley in Mount Siguniang
Haizi Valley in Mount Siguniang
• Type: World Natural Heritage, National Geopark, Nation 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
• Best Time to Visit: April-Novbember, especially July-August & October-November
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1-3 days
• Location: Siguniangshan Town, Xiaojin County, Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Stands next to Wolong Nature Reserve, Mount Siguniang (nicknames: Four Sisters/Girls Mountain)) Scenic Area is a UNESCO Nature Heritage site as a notable sanctuary to our “National Treasure” - Giant Panda and a huge national nature reserve, geopark and one of top 10 hiking mountains in China. It is composed of 3 alluring valleys and four overwhelming high mountains (Mount Siguniang - the main peak is the highest peak in Sichuan and the third highest of Heduan Mountains), presenting more than crude and unalloyed nature.
52 snowy mountains with high elevation of over 5,000 m, and plenteous modern glaciers, large-scale primeval woods covered in steep canyons, azure blue sky with drifting fuzzy clouds, you made it and will ultimate surprise to discovery this outdoor secret land, no words can describe the splendors and even you are unwilling to blink miss one sight. Prepare 2 full days for Changping Valley and Shuangqiao Valley - two most popular and beautiful parts. Sightseeing buses are available to help you save your time and energy. It’s also recommended to take the easiest hike to Dafeng and enjoy awe-inspiring landscape at the top.
Recommended Mount Siguniang Tour:
Huanglong Ancient Temple in Huanglong National Park
Five-Color Pool in Huanglong National Park
• Type: World Natural Heritage Site, Nature & Wildlife Areas, , Nature & Parks, Tours & Activities
• Ticket: CNY 170 (June 1-Decemer 15); CNY 60 (December 16-May 31)
• Opening Hours: 08:00-16:00
• Best Time to Visit: June - November
• Recommended Visiting Time: half a day - 1 day
• Location: Songpan County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
About 100 km apart from Jiuzhaigou Valley, Huanglong National Park is the only well-protected plateau wetland in China and a UNESCO Nature Heritage site famed for extraordinary colorful travertine ponds, exotic Karst valleys, lush trees and flowing beaches. Together with diverse plants and animals species in this forest ecosystem, there are wondrous terraced calc-sinter landscape spreading along the 3.6-kilometer long Huanglong Valley like a yellow dragon wriggling in deep gorges.
A one-day visit to Huanglong National Park with knowledgeable guide will avail your curiosity of such water variation. Five-color Pool making up of 693 small ponds is the top and iconic landmark of Huanglong, and the biggest and most impressive dazzling outdoor calcified ponds in the world. Overlooking the winding pools filled with limpid blue water, different colors appears under sunshine and it resembles as if piles of jade plates and a tridimensional oil painting. Don’t miss the strange-shaped stalactites in underground Huanglong Cave and lofty Xuebaoding Mountain (Snow Treasure Summit) afar.
Recommended Huanglong Tours with Jiuzhaigou:
Jiaju Tibetan Village
Local Tibetan Houses in Jiaju Village
• Type: Nature, Villages, Historic Sites & Architectural
• Ticket: CNY 50
• Opening Hours: all day
• Best Time to Visit: All seasons, especially Spring and Autumn
• Recommended Visiting Time: about 3 hours
• Location: 001 Country Rd, Danba County, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Danba (Rongtrak) County in Garze, western Sichuan is favored by lots of synonyms, such as “the Eastern Pyramid”, “Kingdom of Water Towers” and “Beauty Valley”. Except the large number of layered ancient watchtowers, Tibetan houses with unique colors and architecture style are another feature in Danba. Jiaju Tibetan Village is the best example of such type, which was once listed as Top Beautiful Countryside Village in China by Chinese National Geography.
Jiaju means hundreds of houses in Tibetan. The whole village stretches up and down on the mountain, climbs from lower valley to upper hillside, bizarre Tibetan houses scattered in green bushes. Some lies quietly in the field, some solely stands on mountain cliff, draws a dream-like Utopia with clean river flowing by, snow-covered mountains behind and poetic smoke curving up, etc. Jiaju Tibetan Village is a man-made masterpiece and a outstanding mode of harmonious coexistence between human and nature. Once you get to Danba, Zhonglu Tibetan Village and Suopo Tibetan Village are also suggested to travel with Jiaju, taking around 1 to 2 days for a brief layover. You may try a local home stay to appreciate leisure time and local life when seeing the mountain scenery around.
Verdurous Zoige Grassland in Summer
Tibetan Nomads in Zoige Grassland in Autumn
• Type: Nature & Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas
• Ticket: CNY 80 (for Flower Lake); CNY 65 (First Bend of Yellow River)
• Opening Hours: 07:00-17:00 (Apr. 1-Nov. 30); 08:00-17:00 (Dec.1 - next Mar. 31)
• Best Time to Visit: June-July, September-October
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1 day
• Location: Rd. S209, Ruoergai County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Zoige Grassland (also called Ruoergai Grassland) is the second largest prairie in China after Hulunbuir Grassland in Inner Mongolia and one of China’s Top 3 biggest wetlands. Located at about 3,300 m - 3,600 m above sea level and surrounded by high mountains ranges, the wide fields of green meadow in Summer vividly turns Zoige Grassland a pretty emerald on plateau. Looking for places to escape from the towering urban buildings and crowds? Here has vast prairie together with star-like Flower Lake, soft clouds, blue sky, tranquil peaks afar and picturesque scenery of herds of sheep and cows, which can relax your mind and body and brings you back to the warmest arms of Mother Nature. Try local horse riding and see novel Mongolia Yurts to catch a glimpse of Tibetan local life and culture.
Zoige Grassland is often arranged after a Jiuzhaigou Tour from Chengdu, which usually take a total one week by ride and visit best symbolic attractions along the journey, including Jiuzhaigou National Park, Huanglong National Park, Taoping Qiang Village and so on. Traveling major sites in Zoige with the grassland, Flower Lake, Langmu Temple, First Bend of Yellow River requires two days. You can extend trip to Hongyuan for more prairie scenery and Tibetan Buddhist spots with 1 extra day.
Recommended Zoige (Ruoergai) Tours:
Laojun Pavillion on Top of Mount Qingcheng in Summer
Tourist Entrance of Mount Qingcheng
• Type: Mountains, World Heritage Sites, Religious Sites, Nature & Parks, Sights & Landmarks
• Ticket: CNY 90 (Front Mountain)/ CNY 20 (Back Mountain)
• Opening Hours: March 2nd ~ November 30th: 8:00 to 17:00 /December 1st ~ March 1st: 8:00 to 18:00
• Best Time to Visit: all seasons, especially July - August in Summer
• Recommended Visiting Time: 0.5-1 day
• Location: Qingchengshan Road, Qingchengshan Town, Dujianyan, Sichuan
Mount Qingcheng is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage, one of the top four sacred Taoist mountains in China, the inspiration of Kung Fu Panda 3 and a very popular side trip destination nearby Chengdu. The mountain is recognized as the most secluded site over the world as well as a prefect combination of nature and culture. Besides fabulous nature environment of evergreen old trees, lined path, fantastic view at the top, Mount Qingcheng is eulogized more as the cradle of Chinese Taoism. According to folklore, Zhang Daoling, the founder of Chinese Taoism, created Taoism officially in Mount Qingcheng in Eastern Han Dynasty after visiting Mount Heming in Dayi, then he cultivated himself and became immortal there. Essence and traditions of Taoism are well embodied in all 11 well-preserved Taoist temple on Qingcheng Mountain, including the Jianfu Palace, Tianshi Celestial Cave, Shangqing Palace, etc. Classic architecture style of western Sichuan is another feature of the ancient temples.
High speed train or private driving are both convenient to transfer from Chengdu to Mount Qingcheng. While in Dujiangyan, it’s recommended to make 1-day in-depth Panda tour by being a panda nanny, closely see the cute Giant Pandas and make meaningful contribution to this rare animal, and visit the Dujiangyan Irrigation System to learn ancient wisdom changing local life and history. Nature lovers can spend half a day on the Back Qingcheng Mountain, and the Front Mountain with the temples are more advised.
Red Rock Shoal in Hailuogou Valley
Spectacular Galciers in Hailuogou Valley
• Type: National Nature Reserve, National Geo-park, National Forest Park, National AAAAA Tourist Attraction
• Ticket: CNY 90 (Tourist Sightseeing Bus & Cableway excluded)
• Opening Hours: 08:00-14:30
• Best Time to Visit: November - next April
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 days
• Location: Moxi Town, Luding County, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Lies at the east hillside of Mount Gonggar, and eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Hailuogou is a national park wildly known for the low-altitude modern glaciers, highest ice waterfall in China, huge ice caves, bridges and large area of primitive woods and ice-carved peaks. Many natural miracles, ultimate scenes of ice and red stone slides are well-preserved inside the park, such as the 14.7-kilometer No.1 Glacier - the longest among all 71 glaciers of Mount Gonggar, the Dabing Waterfall with a height of 1,080 meters - the tallest and most dramatic glacier waterfall in China, incredible glacier tongue spreading 6 kilometers through virgin forests in the Hailuogou Valley and mysterious red shoal flowing miles. It’s nothing sort of a “Crystal Palace in Ancient Myth”, where ice lakes, mountains, stairs, trees and various ice phenomena can be seen every where.
It takes about 4.5 hours’ driving from Chengdu to southwest Hailuogou, pass through Ya’an. 1 day is suitable for a brief glacier camps visit or a short hike trip through major spots. Or, you can spend 2 days traveling in a slower pace, stay 1 night in Moxi Ancient Town and see more glacier sights in Hailuogou.
Recommended Hailuogou Tours:
Bipenggou Valley in Late Autumn
Winter Scenery in Bipenggou Valley
• Type: Nature Reserve, Mountains and Lakes
• Ticket: CNY 70 (tourist bus and battery cart not included)
• Opening Hours: 7:00-16:00
• Best Time to Visit: September-November (Autumn)
• Recommended Visiting Time: 1 day
• Location: Putou Town, Li County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan
Titled as a National AAAA Scenic Spot and a national ecotourism demonstration site, Bipenggou Valley, core region of Miyaluo Nature Reserve, enjoys high reputation of being “Little Switzerland in Western Sichuan” with all year around stunning snow-capped mountain reflected in peaceful lakes. It is also one of the most ideal domestic destinations to appreciate red leaves in colorful Autumn. Facing Mount Siguniang in the south, it is called a lovely shadow of Mount Siguniang where virgin forests, spectacular mountain waterfalls and glacier, cloud and mist floating among grotesque peaks harmoniously form a chromatic canvas. It’s truly a hidden gem to please your eyes as well as a nice outdoor entertainment for hiking, polar expedition, skiing, etc.
Drive northwest about 3 hours from downtown Chengdu, you can get to Li County to visit Bipenggou Balley via Dujiangyan and Wenchuang. 2 days are suitable for such a trip, and Taoping Qiang Viallge and Ganbao Tibet Village are convenient to drop by en route. Stay overnight in Li County, and get to Bipenggou Valley (with an average elevation of about 2015m-5666m) next morning to enjoy a full day hiking and sightseeing trip. Scenic buses are available to save time and energy but hiking offers best views and experiences to discover tremendous step-by-step.
Except the above mentioned, Sichuan has so many scenic spots to glut your eyes and fill your memory. If you are nature lovers, you can make a trip to Mount Gonggar - the King and the highest mountain of Sichuan in Kangding, Niubeishan - China’s best viewing platform and photography place in Ya’an, visit Dagu Glacier - the youngest, largest and lowest glacier in the world in Heishui, Ngawa Prefecture, or fulfill rural dram in Xinduqiao in Kangding, enjoy summer coolness in Shunan Bamboo Forest in Yibin...
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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 >