Shaanxi & Sichuan Sample Itinerary
Arrive Xian and check in to your hostel just inside the Old City walls. Spend the afternoon exploring the neighbourhood where calligraphy and painting studios abound as well as making your way to the Muslim Quarter, nowadays a touristy area with food and craft stores which is always vibrant and busy.
Early evening is the best time to enjoy the locals making the most of the outdoor spaces around the outside of the City walls so make time to take a stroll – you will see everything from mah-jong, table tennis and basketball to choirs, dance groups and martial arts.
Head up on to the Old City walls where you can either walk or cycle the circumference enjoying the views over the old and new cities.
Then take the metro to the history museum which has a very good and informative display of the various Chinese dynasties.
Finish your day by heading out to the Large Wild Goose Pagoda to soak up a festive atmosphere and then see a daily light and sound fountain show in the park in front of the pagoda at 9pm.
Catch an early morning bus out to the main attraction of the area – the Terracotta Warriors. There are three pits open to see, all are covered by a building and are partially excavated, with the largest pit showing over 2,000 highly detailed and totally individual warriors lined up in row upon row.
That evening take the overnight sleeper train to Chengdu.
Arrive in Chengdu around midday and make your way to your hostel. After settling in, spend the afternoon taking in the sites around the city. The Taoist Temple in the centre of town is especially interesting or, if you or the kids need a break from cultural stuff, you could visit the world’s largest building – the Global Centre - which includes a large shopping mall, an ice-skating rink, a games centre with things like dodgem cars and a remote control car track plus an indoor pool complex with water slides, a surfing area and a huge wave pool with a sandy beach.
Take the bus to the Panda Research Centre where you will have the opportunity to see these gorgeous creatures eat and play. There are pandas at all stages of development and, if you are really lucky, you will get to see baby pandas in the nursery.
Enjoy a free afternoon to explore more of the city.
Leave the city behind for Juizhaigou National Park. The bus trip there will take you through deep valleys with hydro dams and spectacular rivers before winding its way up to a height of 2,500 m to the Tibetan dominated region the park is situated in.
Spend the night within the park in a Tibetan homestay.
Use the morning to look around the village with its Buddhist shrine and Tibetan prayer wheels as well as cover off any more of the park that you had not seen the previous day.
In the afternoon, take the bus to Songpan where you will check in to your accommodation and have the rest of the day to explore the small town.