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Western Sichuan — the Most Scenic Area in Sichuan

western sichuanWestern sichuan

If we had to use three words to describe western Sichuan, they would be nature, beauty, and simplicity. Western Sichuan is the most beautiful area in Sichuan Province. It has unique geographical features and special ethnic cultures.

If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city and want to return to nature, this is a wonderful place to visit.

Where Western Sichuan Is Located

abaAba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

Western Sichuan now refers to the area west of the Chengdu Plain, namely the areas on the Tibetan Plateau: Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture and Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture: Aba is about 400 kilometers away from Chengdu. It has one city and 12 counties. Popular tourist destinations include Wolong Panda Center, Mount Siguniang, Jiuzhaigou, and Huanglong.

Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture: Ganzi is about 718 kilometers away from Chengdu. It has one city and 17 counties. Popular tourist destinations include Kangding, the capital city, Daocheng, and Danba.

pray flags in GanziMount Gongga in Ganzi

Western Sichuan is loved by hikers, photographers, and nature lovers. There, you will enjoy the original beauty, appreciate unique architectural styles, and experience Tibetan culture.

Top Attractions in Western Sichuan

Western Sichuan has many characteristic ethnic villages and beautiful natural landscapes. We have listed the most popular attractions in western Sichuan below.

Jiuzhaigou National Park

jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou National Park is located in Jiuzhaigou County, in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. Its beauty is a gift from God, without any artificial changes.

All who have been to Jiuzhaigou are overwhelmed by its beauty. Colorful forests, crystal clear lakes, magnificent waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and rare blue ice make Jiuzhaigou a fairyland.

Daocheng

daocheng

“I want to go there with my sweetheart to see the clear blue sky, the snowcapped mountains, and the golden meadows, to experience an autumn fairy tale.” A Chinese romantic drama movie, I Belonged to You, made Daocheng a desirable romantic place to visit.

As early as 1928, the Austrian-American explorer Joseph F. Rock visited Daocheng and captured its beauty, printing pictures of it in the National Geographic magazine and making it known to the world.

Kangding

kangding

This is an ancient plateau city that lets you experience the strong Tibetan culture. Kangding is the capital city of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Tibetan-style buildings are scattered on the banks of a river where you can hear melodious folk songs and watch folk dances.

There are majestic snowcapped mountains, crystal clear lakes, green forests and fields, and hot springs. The ocean monsoon winds its way up the mountains, bringing abundant rain and clouds to the area.

Wolong National Nature Reserve

wolong

Wolong is located in southwest Wenchuan County, in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. It is the third-largest national nature reserve and the largest nature reserve in Sichuan.

It has the most complex natural conditions and the largest number of rare animals and plants. It mainly protects the natural ecosystem for alpine forest areas in western Sichuan, pandas, and other rare animals.

Mount Siguniang

mount siguniang

Mount Siguniang is close to Wolong National Nature Reserve. It is regarded by local Tibetans as a sacred mountain. Mount Siguniang is a series of four peaks.

Legend has it that four beautiful and kindhearted girls transformed into four tall, beautiful mountains to protect their beloved pandas and to fight against a fierce beast. It is a great place for hiking.

Seda

seda

Seda is part of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and is home to the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world.

Tens of thousands of tiny red houses sprawl across the hills around the central prayer halls, like a spiritual shanty town glimmering in the bright, fierce sunshine of the Tibetan plateau.

The thin air adds to the otherworldly feel of the place.

The Best Time to Visit Western Sichuan

kangdingKangding glassland in summer

Western Sichuan lies on a high plateau: there is a long winter and a cool summer, although there is lots of sunshine. July to October is the best time to visit western Sichuan.

Summer and autumn are the most colorful seasons in western Sichuan.

God seems to have inadvertently thrown his palette there: there are colorful forests, hundreds of thousands of flowers covering the mountains, a blue sky, white snowcapped mountains, clear lakes, and a vast green grassland.

jiuzhaigouJiuzhaigou in autumn

The average temperate in summer is about 18°C (64°F) and it averages 15°C (59°F) in autumn.

The sunshine is strong there, especially in the afternoon. You’d better wear a long-sleeved shirt and trousers to protect your skin.

There is a large temperature difference between the daytime and nighttime — you will need to wear a coat at night. Read more about Sichuan Weather.

How to Get to Western Sichuan

Chengdu is the best gateway to explore western Sichuan. There are two ways to get to western Sichuan from Chengdu: by airplane and by road. The railway leading to western Sichuan is under construction.

road in western sichuanHaving a private vehicle is convenient to travel in Western Sichuan.

Chengdu has direct flights to Jiuzhaigou, Kangding, and Daocheng. Each journey takes about 1 hour. The other way is to travel by road. Long-distance buses run between Chengdu and western Sichuan.

You can also hire a private car. This is more convenient but communication is a big problem for foreigners. We recommend booking a private tour. The roads to some places in western Sichuan are remote and bumpy. A comfortable vehicle and a local English-speaking guide are helpful.

Altitude Stress

Western Sichuan has an altitude of about 3,000 meters. You may be a little uncomfortable when you are used to living at a low altitude.

You can first go to a relatively low altitude to get used to the environment, such as Jiuzhaigou, Kangding, and Danba. If you're still worried about altitude sickness, you can take some medicine in advance.

Explore Western Sichuan with Us

our guests'phote taking in western sichuanTour Western Sichuan with us!

Are you interested in western Sichuan and its breathtaking scenery? Once you visit western Sichuan, you will love it. It shows you a different aspect of China — original and passionate, pure and romantic.

We can put your desires into practice. Tell us your needs and interests, even if it’s just a few thoughts, and we will tailor-make your trip. You can see our recommended western Sichuan tours for inspiration: