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.
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.