The Top Things To Do And See In Sichuan

The Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha | © CPA Media Pte Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Kelly Cunningham

Known for its spicy cuisine and friendly people, Sichuan is definitely one of the most popular provinces to visit in China. Home to energetic cities like Chengdu, breathtaking natural parks and wondrous wildlife, the region is highly ranked for cultural and historical significance, and is a place of vibrancy and importance in the largest country in the world. Here’s our definitive guide to the 10 best things to do and see whilst in Sichuan, China.

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Jiuzhaigou Park

Jiuzhaigou national park reserve

This natural park is easily one of the most beautiful in world. Lush, green forests in the spring and summer transform into an array of bright colors in the fall, and eventually give way to a winter wonderland of snow-covered branches. Though it’s hard to say which attraction in the park is the best, Dragon Lake, Pearl Shoal and Nuoriliang Waterfall are some of the most popular and most breathtaking. Shuttle buses in the morning transport guests to the farthest spots in the park, and the vehicles also make several stops at the attractions along the way. A stroll through the stunning area here should not be missed however, and with two incredible paths and over 72,000 hectares of beauty, visitors should plan on spending two days here to make the most of the experience.

Chengdu Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum

This site is the former home of the famous Tang Dynasty Poet, Du Fu. According to history, the poet lived at this site for four years to avoid the An-Shi Rebellion, and during this time he wrote over 240 revered poems. The cottage has been renovated over time but still retains elements of Du Fu’s original dwelling, as well as the additions of Qing Dynasty architecture and a large, flourishing and vibrant garden. The historical and cultural importance of this site definitely elevates it as a must-see site in Sichuan.

Baoguo Temple Ancient Architecture Museum

Located halfway up the remote valley of Lingshan, this temple is over 970 years old. There are plenty of accommodation options for those wishing to stay overnight in the temple, and visitors can make reservations at nearby hotels and hostels as well. The elegant design of the temple, combined with the bright green vegetation of the mountain, makes any trip here a peaceful and relaxing experience. The site is an active temple for practicing Monks, making it an ideal spot for adventurers who seek to learn more about Buddhism and the culture surrounding the religion.

Leshan Buddha

Leshan Buddha, Completed During the Tang Dynasty

This stone statue carved during the Tang Dynasty stands 71 meters high at the converging point of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers. Travelers can view the Leshan Buddha during a river tour, where boats float down the river and pass the sculpture, or during a hiking expedition, where groups pass along the top of the cliff as well as scale the feet of the Buddha. The Leshan is the largest stone Buddha sculpture in the world, and has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1996; don’t miss it!

Chengdu Panda Research Base

Giant panda at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, Sichuan

The largest facility dedicated to protecting both the giant panda and the red panda, the Chengdu Panda Research Base was founded in 1987 when six pandas were rescued from the wild and given shelter here, and has since flourished into a facility which houses 83 giant pandas. Newborn pandas as well as full-grown adults can be viewed within several habitats throughout this well-maintained park. In addition to the many panda enclosures, the park also has several red panda facilities, a lake for swans and koi fish, and a large garden.

Dujianyan Irrigation System

Considered by many historians to be one of the most vital infrastructures for a developing society, the Dujianyan Irrigation system was built in 256 B.C.E, and is still in use today. It is responsible for irrigating over 5,300 square meters of land, and vitally helps to prevent floods in the area. Visitors can also see the Two Kings Temple located on the riverbank here.

Jinli Pedestrian Street

One of the many famous ‘snack streets’ in Chengdu, Jinli stands out for its overall atmosphere of fun and vibrancy. Visitors can enjoy elegant candy creations and traditional Chinese snacks here, and can relax at the many bars and restaurants dotted along the walkway. In addition to the food, the traditional Qing Dynasty architecture is one of the reasons this place was named a ‘Top Ten City Commercial Pedestrian Street’ in 2006. Over 500 meters long, Jinli can easily provide a full evening of activity for those who wish to snack and shop all night long!

Mount Emei

Emei Mountain, China

Mount Emei’s cultural significance stems from its importance in Buddhism. Considered to be the first place where Buddhism entered China, the oldest temple here dates back as early as the first century C.E. The vegetation, ranging from pines to subtropical evergreens, is another factor contributing to the natural beauty of this site. Guests can take in this scenery as they hike and visit over 30 ancient temples scattered along this famous mountain.

Sanxingui Museum

This archeological site is located west of Guanghan city, and is a spot which marked a key discovery for the ancient Shu people. Sanxingqui translates to “three star piles” in English and represents the three earth mounds at the site. Discovered by a peasant digging a ditch in 1929, this lucky discovery lead to the excavation of over 1,000 cultural relics. The museum provides tours in both English and Chinese for guests who want to learn about the history surrounding the artifacts that were uncovered here.

Huang Long

This national park is renowned for its cascading waterfalls and lush, verdant vegetation. Literally translating to “yellow dragon”, its name comes from the color of the river’s calcite deposits and its enormous size. The park also has snowcapped mountains and forests, and is home to endangered species like the giant panda. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992, and major attractions here include Red Star Rock, Sigou and Danyun Gorge.

By: Kelly Ann Cunningham

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