Visiting: Sichuan, Yangtze River
Tour Duration: 14 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 10 people
Specialty Categories: Photography and Videography Boating and Sailing
Season: March - December
Airfare Included: No
Featured in this fast-paced tour are the colorful autumn scenery and other natural wonders of the Jiuzhaigou Valley's untouched wilderness and the Tibetan scenic area of Huanglong guided by an expert local photographer, giant panda sanctuary at Wolong Nature Reserve with special arrangements for photography, Sichuan capital city of Chengdu, Mt. Qingcheng and the ancient Dujiangyan irrigation system, the giant Buddha at Leshan, Daoist Mt. Emei, famous Dazu Rock Carvings, historic Chongqing, and a Yangtze River cruise across the new lake in the scenic and through the locks of the giant new dam on the Yangtze.
Day 1: Chengdu/ Jiuzhaigou. Morning flight from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou (Valley of Nine Villages) in Sichuan's Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. This afternoon we take the environment friendly bus with other tourists to have a glance at the valley. The next two days will be spent exploring the scenic areas of Jiuzhaigou with its 114 highland lakes by private chartered bus and escorted by an expert local photographer.
Day 2: Jiuzhangou. Our first stop, Mirror Lake, is located at the mouth of Ri Tse Valley. As indicated by its name, the lake has a mirror-like flat surface onto which every object - flowers, grasslands, forests, as well as distant mountains - are reflected. A walk by the lake will explain a local saying - that birds fly in water while fish swim in the sky.
The Pearl Shoal Waterfall - named after the sight of the gushing waterfall that creates fine beads of pearl-like water drops, is a further 1.2 km (0.75 mi) down the Ritse Valley, while the Five Colored Pond is located at the lake front along a non-surfaced road. The multi-colored pond is an enchanting sight; the water takes on a faint blue color from deadwood and leaves underneath its surface, while in other parts it is darker because there it is surrounded by surrounding trees and mountains.
Day 3: Jiuzhaigou. After visiting the Panda Lake, the Primeval Forest and countless other waterfalls and lakes in Jiuzhaigou, one cannot agree more with the old Chinese saying, which goes: "just as one will find it worthless seeing a mountain after he has already visited the Yellow Mountain he will also come to the conclusion that every lake is dull after he has seen the lakes in Jiuzhaigou".
Day 4: Jiuzhaigou/ Huanglong/ Mao County. Today is a long journey with around six hours driving. After breakfast drive 140km (87 miles) to Huanglong in Songpan County. This journey passes beyond several imposing mountains to reach the valleys of Huanglong, a scenic area through which a stretch of river from the summit of Minjiang Mountain flows down like a yellow dragon.
After photographing in Huanglong, continue the drive 70km (43 miles) to the charming Tibetan town of Songpan. Lunch, explore, and photograph in Songpan, featuring relics of its past as a walled city marked with lines of banners standing along the mountain with scriptures written in Tibetan. From Songpan the drive is 150 km (93 miles) to Mao County for overnight stay at the 4 star Mao Xian International Hotel.
Day 5: Mao County/ Wolong. Early in the morning, drive south 185 km (115 miles) to the Wolong Nature Reserve with a stop on the way for lunch and to visit the Jiang people of Taoping village. Upon arriving at Wolong, there will be ample opportunities to photograph the Giant Pandas until sunset.
After dinner, one of the senior scientists at the reserve will talk about pandas, their habits, and how the Chinese government has succeeded in arresting the decline in panda population and in protecting the natural habitat of the panda to ensure its future survival. Overnight at the 4 star Wolong Hotel.
Day 6: Wolong/ Dujiangyan. More photography of the Giant Pandas in the morning and a visit to the highly informative panda museum. After lunch, drive east 70km (43.5 miles) to Dujiangyan Irrigation System, a project started in the 3rd century BC to re-channel the Min River into irrigation canals. This ambitious project has contributed to the prosperity of the Chinese civilization in the Chengdu Plain. Accommodation for the night at the 4 star Yinghe Dynasty Hotel or comparable standard hotel.
Day 7: Dujiangyan/ Leshan. This morning, drive south 162 km (101 miles) by expressway south to Leshan. Photograph the Leshan Giant Buddha seated overlooking the Min River. Overnight in Leshan at the 3 star Shanwan Hotel or comparable standard hotel.
Day 8: Leshan/ Mt. Emei. Photograph the Leshan Giant Buddha again in the morning. After lunch, make the one hour drive to nearby Mt. Emei where a chair lift whisks to the top of Mt. Emei in time for sunset. Overnight on the mountain.
Day 9: Mt. Emei/ Dazu. Photograph sunrise from atop Mt. Emei. After lunch, descend by chair lift from Mt. Emei and drive to Dazu for overnight at the 3 star Dazu Hotel.
Day 10: Dazu/ Chongqing. Morning in Dazu to photograph the Dazu Rock Carvings. During the stay in Dazu the Buddhist Grottoes at the Beishan and Baodingshan archaeological sites will be covered. The grotto art of Dazu, with Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian influences, is comparable to the other great cave sculptures of China at Datong, Luoyang, and Dunhuang. Following lunch, drive 85km (53 miles) to Chongqing for some photography in the city, then following dinner, board deluxe twin-bedded, private bath, Yangtze Pearl cruise ship.
Day 11: Yangtze River. The cruise down the Yangtze River departs Chongqing 9am Wednesday morning.
Day 12: Yangtze River. In addition to photographing the ever-changing perspectives from the ship on the journey through the grandeur of the river's famous Three Gorges, shore excursions will be made along the way to include a round-trip excursion by small boat up the Shennong Stream through the "Little Three Gorges".
Day 13: Yangtze River. Another highlight will be an excursion to the newly completed Three Gorges dam at Sandouping. All meals aboard ship.
Day 14: Yangtze River/ Wuhan/ Shanghai. Disembark from cruise ship and drive to Wuhan for flight to Shanghai in late afternoon. Dinner this evening at the Lu Bo Lang Restaurant in Old Town for a farewell "Awards Banquet". Overnight accommodation in Shanghai at the Sofitel Hotel located near the historic Bund. The photo tour ends.
- Entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary;
- Meals as listed in the itinerary: B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner;
- Personal Guide and Driver + Private car/ van for Private Transfer and sightseeing
- Domestic flights (economy class) or trains as listed in the itinerary;
- Domestic airport taxes;
- Service Charge and Government Taxes;
- Luggage Transfers between airports and hotels.
- Entry or Exit China International transportation;
- Visa Fees;
- Excess Baggage Charges;
- Personal Expenses;
- Single Room Supplement;
- Gratuities, Tips to guides or drivers.