Wanglang Nature Reserve - Nearby Activities and Sights
Leaving from Chengdu, a circle route with amazing mountain scenery and several natural and cultural attractions makes a wonderful 5 day to two week trip. Some eco-tour groups have visited this area and others are planning visits.
The town of Pingwu offers a rest from the noise and dust
of many Chinese cities and is visited by few foreigners. A fifteen-minute
walk takes you from one side of the city to the other along streets mainly
occupied by people and pedicabs, with only a few motorized vehicles. In the
city center is a 500 year-old Buddhist Temple that was saved from damage
during the Cultural Revolution when far-sited residents turned the temple
into a propaganda center for the Cultural Revolution. A muezzin at the city
mosque calls faithful Muslim worshipers to prayer. At night the streets are
filled with residents slowly strolling through the quiet streets. There are
hotels and plenty of restaurants serving local specialties.
Baima Villages - Traditional dress is common.
Along the valley leading to Wanglang Nature Reserve are several Baima villages. Baima homes are still built using their ancient architectural style and many of the Baima people wear traditional dress. Two of the villages offer simple lodging and traditional food. The Baima are a very attractive and lively people - they love to sing and dance and are warm and welcoming hosts.
Comments from members an eco-tour group that visited the Baima villages in the summer of 2000:
“It was a lovely, fantastic experience.”
"It was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it."
"The people were warm and hospitable."
"I was honored to participate."
"It was very entertaining. I enjoyed the participatory dance."
"The roast goat gave a festive feeling."
"The food was the best of the entire trip, delicious."
"I appreciated eating and drinking traditional foods and dishes."
“The Baima made me feel very much at home.”
One also hears them singing just for the joy of it.
Jiuzhaigou National Park
Jiuzhaigou National Park is stunningly beautiful - roaring waterfalls, amazing clear, aqua-blue lakes, alpine mountain peaks, serene valley, and traditional Tibetan villages and religious sites. May and September are beautiful times to visit to see the rhododendrons blooming and the incredible fall colors - and to avoid the crowds. June, July, August, and the Spring and Fall week-long holidays are the busiest times for this popular destination.
A bus system takes visitors on the 50 km of paved roads in the park from the park entrance at 2,000 meters (6,000 feet) up the three main valleys of the park. You travel along stunning mountain and water vistas, guarded by 4,000 meter (13,000 feet) peaks. Sites include the entrancing Primeval Forest, the glacially formed Long Lake at 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), water wheels grinding barley and sending prayers to heaven, prayer flags wishing travelers good luck, and the historic Zaru Temple. Boardwalk paths beckon visitors to get off the roads and walk along the stream and waterfalls. Roads in the smaller side valleys, tempt you to walk a few miles and see traditional Tibetan villages where people still grow corn, barley, and vegetables in their small, private fields. Simple lodging is available in Tibetan hotels in the park and many modern hotels provide lodging in just outside of the park.
Huanglong National Park
The drive to reach this small park is an incredible high altitude trip to the clouds. At the park, a series of tufa (calcium carbonate) formed terraced ponds lead several kilometeres up a scenic mountain valley. Boardwalk and stone paths lead visitors along ponds to Tibetan Buddhist temples that grace this holy site. Xuebaoding Mountain, 5,588 meters (17,000 feet), the highest peak in the Min Shan Mountain Range, stands at the head of this sacred valley. Lodging is available at the small village in the park.
Songpang is an old walled town with many Tibetan inhabitants. Most of the city walls are gone but the impressive gates remain. It is located in a high mountain valley at an elevation of 3,000 meters (10,000 feet). Tibetan guides lead horse treks through emerald-green valleys, dotted with charming Tibetan villages, to high glacial peaks and soothing hot springs. There are many hotels in Songpan.
Horse treks go from Songpan into nearby mountain valleys past traditional Tibetan villages.
Published by Wanglang Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, China.
Last updated January 22, 2001. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org