Most of western Sichuan, rich in tourism resources, still remains untapped and awaits the exploration by visitors.
The western part of Sichuan consists mainly of the mountainous eastern margin of the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau. Only a few decades ago, tourism was rare as it was an off-limits area.
However, today, the region boasts some of the international-renowned tourist hot spots including Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong. Every year these locations attract millions of visitors from home and abroad, who are overwhelmed with the breath-taking scenery of the jagged mountains, colorful forests, lakes and waterfalls and the distinctive minority cultures. Yet most of the pristine land remains untouched and unspoiled by man. Intrepid travels have explored its hinterlands and located several potential tourist sites.
We’re happy to provide you a list of interesting places to visit:
Cuopugou Valley occupies a large natural reserve with an area of 900 sq.km in Batang County, which borders on the Tibet Autonomous Region and is an important point on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. The area is noted for snow-capped peaks, grassland, lakes, forests, rivers, canyons, waterfalls, and hot springs. Dotted across its grasslands are wild animals and temples, which give an impressive view with the rugged mountains serving as their background.
Ge’nie Sacred Mountain
The mountain is the third tallest peak in Sichuan Province, with the height of 6,204 meters above the sea level. The dazzling peak with perpetual snow poses a breath-taking sight above the surrounding mountains and the panoramic view features snow-capped peaks, visible glacier trails, vegetation belts, trickles and running streams at the foot of the mountains.
Bamu Seven Lakes
Located in Xiangcheng County in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the area is a natural reserve with streams, hot springs, primitive forests, snow-capped mountains, temples and Tibetan villages. The area abounds in herbs and rare edible mushrooms, as well as rare and endangered animals such as the white-lipped/Thorold’s deer, Asiatic black bear and short-horned antelope. The area is becoming an ecological and cultural tourist destination that integrates tourism, cultural relics and natural resources.
Duopugou (Valley of Waterfalls)
Duopugou lies in the remote Dege County in northwestern Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Year round the picturesque scenery that combines glaciers, virgin forests, alpine lakes and waterfalls attracts visitors to the area.
Rangtang County (Dzamthang County) in Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture is highly regarded for its rich eco-tourism resources encompassing natural scenery, flora and fauna species, diverse folklore cultures and well-preserved old buildings, especially the monasteries.
Zimei Yakou (Zimei Pass) 子梅垭口
The high-altitude pass (4,500 m above the sea level) has been gaining popularity in recent years for its favorable location that provides the best view of the magnificent Gongga Mountain, the tallest peak in Sichuan Province, and is admired by travelers and photographers for the photogenic sights along the road to the place.
Gongga Mountain, which means “the highest snow mountain” in the Tibetan language, towers with an altitude of 7, 556m and crowns the picturesque scenery in the area including alpine lakes, glaciers, forests and grassland.
Bamei Town 八美
Bamei Town is situated in the southeast of Daofu County in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, with the Sichuan-Tibet Highway passing through it.
Since the ancient times, Bamei has been the gateway from Sichuan to Tibet and an important post along the Sichuan-Tibet horse caravan tea transportation route.
Main attractions around the town include the “Stone Forest”, the stretching meadows and grassland, the towering snow mountains and unique buildings in Tibetan villages.
Dang-ling, dubbed as the Wonderland in Hengduan Ranges and Paradise in the World, hides itself in the mountainous areas in Danba County in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and is acclaimed for its breathtaking scenery embracing snow mountains, alpine lakes, hot springs, forests, streams, prairies, rare species and distinctive local folk cultures.
Travel to Dang-ling is highly recommended in October and November since the splendid scenery of autumn’s colors of the forest will provide visitors with an unforgettable memory.
Special Local Products in West Sichuan:
Herbs, white mushroom, matsutake mushroom, Hua Momo (Tibetan moon cake in Daofu County), Tsampa (roasted highland barley flour), Tibetan blood sausage, buttered tea, butter sculpture, wooden wares, carpets and silver articles.
By Dieter Vanonckelen, in cooperation with GoChengdu.cn