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Central China
Central China - TravelPuppy.com
Chengdu

This thriving capital of mountainous, unique Sichuan Province sits at the bottom of the Tibetan plateau. Attractions include Tang Dynasty shrines, the house of the famous poet Du Fu, ancient parks and bamboo forests (the last remaining stronghold of the giant panda), an ancient Buddhist monastery and Buddhist temples.

Chengdu is a jump off point for visiting Emei Shan, a well known mountain to which Buddhist pilgrims journey to once a year, and the holy mountains of Gongga and Siguniang. Additionally, there is the spectacular Grand Buddha of Leshan, a 70.7 metre (225 feet) high coloured sculpture carved out of a cliff, so huge that 100 people can fit on its instep, with the Grand Buddha Temple and Lingbao Pagoda at its side.

There is a vast nature reserve n the Jiuzhaigou Ravine in northern Sichuan Province, where one can see giant pandas in their natural habitat. The 6 official ‘scenic spots’ situated among the snowy peaks include Shuzheng, containing waterfalls and 40 lakes of varying colours where boating and swimming are allowed. Further up north, the high concentration of mineral salts in the water at Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) nature reserve has formulated delightfully coloured natural talpatate ponds and rock formations.

Chongqing

Located east of Dazu, Chongqing sits magnificently above the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River. A prosperous city however, not beautiful, it is a natural base for excursions to the Yangtze Gorges, whose most well known stretches are further east with poetic names such as Witches Gorge and Shadowplay Gorge. These natural wonders are scheduled to be entirely submerged by 2009 after the completion of the Three Gorges Dam.

The Dazu Rock Carvings in Dazu County, represent the pinnacle of Chinese rock art.
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