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How to plan a trip to Sichuan?

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Top Reasons to Visit Sichuan

Sichuan always has something attractive to tourists, no matter in China or the world. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, Sichuan Province possesses both abundant historical and scenic attractions which are definitely worth visiting during your trip in China. Add Sichuan on your travel list if you agree with the reasons below, since Sichuan would never let you down.

Picturesque Sceneries

The magnificent sceneries in Sichuan have its own glamour. The complex geological structure and the unique landforms provide an exquisite Sichuan Province to all the tourists in China and around the world. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, the fairyland Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong and Wolong natural reserves, mountains with varieties of views, excellent plateau landscape in Garze, all those marvelous sceneries add more reasons for you to visit Sichuan during your trip in China.

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Charming Culture

Bashu Culture in Sichuan is one of the most important branches of Chinese traditional culture, divided to Ba Culture of Chongqing and Shu Culture of Sichuan Province, which has a profound history of more than five thousand years since ancient China, mysterious and brilliant. The largest amount of Yi ethnic minority inhabitants in Sichuan, along with other ethnic groups, plenty of historical sites, and the exceptional Sichuan Opera, the colorful culture forms a distinctive Sichuan with its irresistible charm for you to discover.

Sichuan Opera

Cute Pandas

It’s well-known that Sichuan is the hometown to giant pandas, the most symbolic feature of China which is no wonder one of the cutest animals in the world. Honored as the living fossil and the national treasure of China, giant pandas have at least lived on the earth for more than 8 million years. The Wolong National Natural Reserve, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, and Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries are all for protecting the rare giant pandas in Sichuan. Go to Sichuan and get close to those cute giant pandas, one will never regret a panda tour.

Giant Panda

Leisure Lifestyle

“Baishi” in Sichuan Dialect is considered to be the most appropriate word to describe life in Sichuan, which means leisure, cozy and good. With a much slower pace of life than other big cities in China, you can relax yourself like people in Sichuan, enjoy a cup of tea in the teahouse where you can also watch a Sichuan Opera performance, or in the Chengdu People’s Park where you can either enjoy the natural sceneries and experience the local life. Sichuan is a perfect place for those who want to slow down and enjoy every minute of life. You’d better not miss it.

Chengdu People’s Park

Varieties of Delicious Food

Sichuan Cuisine, one of the Eight Cuisines in China, has its own exquisite flavor of spicy and hot to tickle your taste buds. There are all kinds of delicious dishes and snacks in Sichuan, such as Hot Pot, the most famous one, Mapo Tofu, the spicy and hot Tofu, Malatang, with various raw ingredients cooked in a communal pot of steaming stock blended with spices, the Tan Tan Noodles and so on, which await to challenge your appetite.

Sichuan Hot Pot

More information about Sichuan facts.

Top Places to Visit in Sichuan


Chengdu is the capital city of Sichuan Province, also the cultural and historical center in Sichuan which wins the reputation of “land of abundance” from ancient times. There are a lot of famous attractions in Chengdu, historical or modern, scenic or cultural, together with panda bases, very suitable for a visit. Historical attractions like Wuhou Temple and Sanxingdui Museum, scenic spots as Qingcheng Mountain and Xiling Snow Mountain, or else go to Jinli Old Street and Kuan Zhai Alley for shopping and eating, try the hot pot, relax yourself in the teahouse and enjoy the Sichuan Opera. Chengdu, a city of leisure, has so many choices for you to appreciate its charm.

Jinli Old Street

Recommended Tour: 4 Days Best Chengdu Tour


Jiuzhaigou, praised as a fairyland on earth which is renowned for its colorful lakes and forests, multi-level waterfalls, as well as snow-capped peaks. With its high reputation and rare karst scenery, Jiuzhaigou Valley is the only natural reserve in China that enjoys the reputation of both the “World Natural Heritage” and “World Biosphere Reserve”. For those who are crazy for waterscape, Jiuzhaigou Valley, Huanglong National Park and Muni Valley will be your best choices. Cultural sites like Songpan Ancient Town and Langmusi Town can also add to your travel list if you want to experience more about Jiuzhaigou.

Huanglong Scenic Area

Recommended Tour: 6 Days Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou Tour


Garze, or Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, is located on the southeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The cultural and historical center Kangding, combines both Tibetan and Han culture, which is famous to the world. Daocheng Yading, reputed as the last piece of pure land under the blue sky, is a paradise for those who are fond of photography, with all the particular characters of plateau you can imagine, grand holy snow mountains, vast meadows, colorful forests and clear blue lakes.

Daocheng Yading

Furthermore, Mt. Gongga, Mugecuo Scenic Area and Hailuogou Glacier Park may give you a great natural view as well. You can also go to Danba Village to experience the Danba culture, or Seda Wuming Buddhist Academy for the traditional Buddhist culture in Garze.

Seda Wuming Buddhist Academy

Recommended Tour: 9 Days Western Sichuan Photo Tour


Leshan, situated in the southwest of Sichuan Province, possesses two world heritage sites, Leshan Giant Buddha and Mt. Emei. Leshan Giant Buddha is the biggest and tallest stone Buddha statue in the world, while Mt. Emei is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, both are worth visiting if you are interested in Buddhism culture or beautiful scenic views.

Leshan Giant Buddha

Recommended Tour: 6 Days Sichuan Tour to Leshan & Mt. Emei

Read more about Sichuan Attractions.

Best Time to Visit Sichuan

Weather in Sichuan varies from different areas, the eastern part is warm without extreme cold days, while the western part is cold with no summer times. Due to the particular geological conditions in Sichuan, it’s hard to tell which season is the best time for a visit, since you may have varieties of views from each period of time in different areas, all depends on places you want to visit. Information below may help you with your Sichuan travel plan.

Place Best Time to Visit Rainy Season
Chengdu March to June; September to November June to August
Jiuzhaigou September to October July to August
Garze June to October  June to August
Daocheng Yading October June to August
Leshan Spring and Autumn June to August



Better to avoid these periods since the price for hotel and transportation may be higher and it’s crowded everywhere.

  • Late Jan. or early Feb. (Chinese Spring Festival)
  • First week of May (Labor Day)
  • First week of October (National Day)

Autumn of Daocheng Yading

Read more about Sichuan Climate & Weather.

How to Get to & Get around Sichuan

By Plane

There are airports in Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou and Garze, for Leshan, you can take train or coach from Chengdu.

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, important in both middle China and southwest China, is one of the largest eight regional hubs in China which is accessible to reach from 131 cities in China and 78 international destinations.

Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport, or Jiuhuang Airport, located in Songpan County, Sichuan Province, is available from main cities in China like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Chongqing. Since it takes more than 10 hours from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou by bus, more people choose to travel to Jiuzhaigou by air.

Kangding Airport, a civil airport in Kangding of Sichuan Province, is the third highest altitude airport in the world with an average altitude of 4242.56 meters above the sea level. You can only take planes to Garze from Chengdu and Chongqing, but it’s very convenient to transfer to these two cities from most of the cities in China.

By Train

After continuous hard work of railway construction, Sichuan has become an important transportation hub in the southwest China. Both high speed train and normal train are available to Sichuan. And since Chengdu is the largest transportation hub in Southwest China, you can take trains from most of cities in China to Chengdu and transfer to your destination, convenient and fast.

By Highway

Sichuan has the longest highway in western which ranks the second in China. There are main highways like Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Sichuan-Qinghai Highway, Sichuan-Yunnan Highway, connected to different parts of China.


Get around Sichuan

There is no train to Jiuzhaigou and Garze, you can take plane or bus from Chengdu. There are regular travel buses between Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou - Huanglong, Daocheng Yading, Mt. Emei, Leshan, Kangding, Dujiangyan, Mianyang, and other scenic areas.

More about transportation in Sichuan.

How Many Days to Stay in Sichuan

Since there are a great deal of tourist destinations in Sichuan, it’s really hard to tell how long you have to stay in Sichuan Province. Actually, it all depends on your time and places you want to visit the most. Moreover, those attractions have their different views for the four seasons, that’s why some tourists visit Sichuan for second or even three times. Generally speaking, you may need 2 or 3 days for each place for the main attractions.

Hailuogou Scenic Area in Garze

Sincerely suggest that writing down your must-go destinations and pay attention to the best time to each place before you make a schedule. Topchinatravel will be so pleased to help you with your personal Sichuan tour if you find it too complicated to make a plan by yourself.


Recommended Sichuan Tours:

8 Days Highlight Sichuan Tour
9 Days Western Sichuan Photo Tour

Tailor-made your personal Sichuan Tour: Free Online Tailor-made Tour


Read more details about Sichuan tours.

What to Eat in Sichuan

Sichuan Cuisine, one of the four traditional cuisines with Chinese characteristics, and one of the Eight Cuisines in China, enjoys a great honor among Chinese citizens and tourists around the world. There are many kinds of Sichuan dishes, based on a wide use of all varieties of materials, changeable flavoring, and the peculiar ways of cooking along with the special flavor of spicy and hot, which consist of a distinctive Sichuan Cuisine. Despite of the local features, Sichuan Cuisine also combines the specialties from all parts of China, no matter southeast or northwest. With the perfect use of food materials and their creative innovation, Sichuan Cuisine has become more and more popular among people.


People in Sichuan like to use condiments like chili, garlic, cinnamon, dried orange peel, scallion etc. in order to make the food more delicious. Those dishes are famous and popular among all kinds of Sichuan dishes, such as the Mapo Tofu, stir-fried Tofu in hot sauce, the Sliced Beef & Ox Tongue in chili sauce, the Kung Pao Chicken, a dish of spicy diced chicken with peanuts in it, the Spicy Boiled Fish and so many other delicious dishes.

What we have to mention the most is the Sichuan Hot Pot, which is no wonder a symbolic food in Sichuan with a great reputation. Well-known for its spicy and hot flavor, traditional Sichuan Hot Pot use a big pot filled with soup, spicy oil and other ingredients, you can dip different kinds of raw meat of thin slices and fresh vegetables you like in the hot pot and enjoy the excellent flavor in Sichuan.


Best Things to Do in Sichuan

Except for those famous attractions, the Hot Pot, Sichuan also provides tourists other chances to have a better experience. The distinguished Sichuan Opera, the mysterious Face Changing Performance, the music opera in Chengdu, all those will help you get closer to Sichuan culture. It’s a leisure way to relax yourself by choosing a comfortable tea house to drink a cup of tea and enjoy a Sichuan Opera show.

Tea House

Really love pandas? Good news here is that it’s available to apply for the Panda Volunteer Program in Dujiangyan Base from Topchinatravel, if you want to have a closer contact with the cute giant pandas, where you could have the chance to hold those lovely babies and feed them. That will no doubt to be the best experience of your trip in Sichuan, as well as in China.


Where to Stay

►In Chengdu, if you want to stay closer to Chunxi Road and Wenshu Temple, choose your hotel around Tianfu Square. If you prefer the environment around Jinli Street and Wuhou Temple, pick one in Wuhou District. It’s convenient to many attractions from both areas.

►In Jiuzhaigou, you can choose a hotel near Jiuzhaigou Valley, it’s convenient to both Jiuzhaigou Valley and Huanglong Scenic Area. The altitude of Huanglong Scenic Area is much higher, some tourists may get altitude sickness. Also, you can stay in Songpan Ancient Town or Chuanzhusi Town.

►In Garze, it depends on places you want to visit in Garze, Doacheng Yading, you can either stay in Daocheng county or Yading Village, for your visit in Daocheng Yading. And you can also stay in Kangding and Xinduqiao Village, or near Hailuogou.

Xinduqiao Village

►For Leshan, you can spend one day in Leshan city to visit the Leshan Giant Buddha and then transfer to Emei Mountain. If you want to watch the sunrise on the golden summit, you’d better choose a hotel on the mountaintop. If not, you can either book a hotel in the downtown or at the foot of Mt. Emei, near Baoguo Temple.

Golden Summit of Mt. Emei

Sichuan Travel Tips

What to Prepare

  • Get ready for your Visa, and do remember your passport.
  • Prepare for your SIM card to make sure the internet use in China.
  • Take some medicine with you for emergency use, especially if you are easy to get altitude sickness.
  • Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and hats for the strong ultraviolet ray.
  • Don’t forget your umbrella and rain gear during the rainy seasons.
  • Be aware of the changeable weather in Sichuan, pack suitable clothes, windproof jacket and thick coat are suggested, outdoor clothing will be good.

What to Know

  • Read some basic information about Sichuan and China so that you could have a better experience there.
  • Choose a good time for most of attractions you want to visit may help you get a wonderful experience during your Sichuan trip.
  • Respect the ethnic cultures, local customs and religious beliefs of people in Sichuan.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits, drink plenty of water, it may help you to have a more comfortable trip.
  • Most of food in Sichuan are spicy and hot, don’t force yourself even though you’ll miss the best eating experience here.

Basic Chinese You Might Need

Chinese Pinyin English
你好 Nǐhǎo Hello/Hi
再见 Zàijiàn Bye/See you
谢谢 Xièxie Thank you.
不客气 Búkèqi You’re welcome.
对不起 Duìbùqǐ Sorry
请问卫生间在哪里? Qǐngwènwèishēngjiānzàinǎlǐ? Excuse me, where is the restroom?
多少钱? Duōshǎoqián? How much?

Learn more about Survival Chinese Phrases.