Sichuan is the second largest province in China, with an area of 485,000 km², and a population of 87,250,000. The province is located in the southwest of the country, in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
Sichuan province lies in the Sichuan Basin, and it is surrounded by the Himalayas, Qinling range to the northeast and mountain areas of Yunnan to the south. The capital of the province is Chengdu.
Tourism in Sichuan
Sichuan has always been attractive for tourists, both foreign and domestic tourists. As one of the shifted destinations in China, Sichuan, despite its abundance of landforms like plains, hills, mountains and plateaus, Sichuan Province enjoys a wide variety of beautiful landscapes including ravines, basins, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and limestone caves, etc. But also Sichuan tour can offer many historical and cultural museums for those with an interest in Chinese history and development.
It is an excellent destination for travelling even with children mainly because Sichuan is the home of Giant Pandas.
Before going to Sichuan tour, it’s good to know what to expect on your trip.
These are all things that are good to know before you fly to a magical country filled with beauties and breathtaking views.
Travel tips for Sichuan Tour
First, you will have to apply for a Chinese visa, and for applying, you will need a passport that has at least six months of remaining validity, and a copy of the passport first page where the personal information is and the photo page if it is separate. Because you will be travelling to China as a tourist, you will need to apply for “L” visa.
You can submit your application to the Chinese Embassy in person or using the agent, but note that you may need to go in person to the Visa Office to have an interview with a consular officer.
The fees that you should pay are $140 for U.S citizens, and if you are not a U.S citizen, the costs are from $30 to $90 depending on the type of visa that you want to apply. The processing time is about four days.
All over China, there is available internet, but The Great Firewall of China blocks all access to Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube, so sending an email can be challenging in China without Virtual Private Network.
Sichuan Tour Operators
There are several Sichuan Tour operators that have all the destinations or attractions for your next Sichuan tour, however, it is recommended to research all of them in order to get the best deal for your trip. Make sure you choose a tour operator who offers to take care of your documents, travels and offer a local guide for a more interesting visit in Sichuan
Best time to go on Sichuan tour
The weather in Sichuan is different in lowlands, on the plateau and in the south area, before you travel, you should pay more attention to the climate of your destinations of your Sichuan Tour.
Generally, the best time to go on Sichuan tour is in spring and autumn. The best months to visit are February and March and July to October.
Summer is sweltering, in July the temperature can reach 29C in the lowlands, and up to 17C on the plateau. In the south of the province, the temperature can go up to 26C.
Autumn is rainy season in Sichuan lowlands and southern area but is with strong sunshine on the plateau. Winter is warm in Sichuan lowlands and also the southern area, but a little cold on the plateau. In January, the temperature may go up to 8C in the lowlands, -9 C to 3 C on the plateau, and 8 C to 13C in the south.
What to visit during your Sichuan Tour
Many of the places and attractions in Sichuan province are UNESCO World Heritage sights, and it is more than sufficient proof that your Sichuan tour will be one of the best journeys.
Whenever I choose a tour for the next trip, I always prefer it to be appropriate for children too.
Chengdu, as the capital of the Sichuan province, offers many attractions for the tourists. Chengdu is a famous cultural and historical city with a great history of over 3,000 years. The most visited location in Chengdu is the three major Giant Panda Bases: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, The Wolong National Natural Reserve, and Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries.
Visiting one of the parks where are the Pandas, and you’ll have the best day spent close to these fluffy cute animals on your Sichuan tour.
While you are in Chengdu, you can not miss the opportunity to attend the Sichuan Opera.
The visit to the opera is one of the best experiences on this trip. Unlike Western opera where all visitors are in formal dress, here it is quite different. Guests enjoy sitting in the chairs of the chairs in a relaxed atmosphere while seeing the stunning performances of the artists.
Also, you can visit some of the museums in Chengdu, such as Sanxingdui Museum, and learn more about Sichuan history.
Leshan is located in the southwest of Sichuan Province, and it is about 110km from Chengdu. Many of the travel agencies for Sichuan tour includes visiting Leshan, because of The Giant Leshan Buddha and Mt. Emei.
The Leshan Giant Buddha is also known as Lingyun Giant Buddha, and it is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world.
Mount Emei is located 7 km southwest of Emeishan City, 38 km from Leshan Giant Buddha. It is one of the four sacred mountains in China. Mt. Emei is stretching about 200 km from south to north, and the main scenic spots on the mountain include Baoguo Temple, Wannian Temple, Fohu Temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Heilongjiang Tunnel, Hongchun Platform, Xianfeng Temple, Jiulao Cave, and Xixiang Pond.
Visit Jiuzhaigou County
You don’t have to be a passionate nature traveller to visit the Jiuzhaigou. Noone didn’t remain indifferent to the magical beauty of this region, especially the Jiuzhaigou Valley and Huanglong National Park.
Jiuzhaigou County is located in the western Sichuan, about 500 km from Chengdu.
Jiuzhaigou Valley is a fairyland with snow-capped peaks, fantastic scenery with turquoise lakes, beautiful waterfalls and various birds and animals. If you are planning to go on Sichuan tour, do not miss to visit the Jiuzhaigou Valley.
Huanglong National Park is another incredible place that you can not miss during your journey in Sichuan province. It’s a World Natural Heritage site thanks to its colourful ponds, snowy mountains, deep valleys, and dense forest.
Sichuan is also famous for its cuisine, and you must try some of the delicious and spicy dishes.
Traditional and famous Sichuan Dishes that you should try on your Sichuan tour are:
- Kung Pao Chicken is made from diced chicken, dried chillies and peanuts.
- Mapo Tofu is made with tofu, minced pork or beef, chillies and Sichuan pepper.
- Sichuan Hotpot is a stew of meat and vegetables cooked in a simmering pot of soup stock. It can be roughly divided into two types, spicy and not spicy. But with dozens of condiments, it also has hundreds of different flavours.
- Water-Cooked Meat is made with dry chillies and some meat slices (pork, beef or fish) that have been starched with egg white, as well as plenty of vegetables.
There are so many dishes that are worth to eat, especially if you like spicy and hot food. In Sichuan province, you can find a lot of street food, which is also very delicious.