Sichuan is one of the largest provinces of China with an area of 485,000 square kilometers and is located in the western part of the country.
The modern name of Sichuan is an acronym that stands for “four chains of rivers and gorges”, so named after the division of the area into four provinces during the Northern Song Dynasty.
The capital of Sichuan Province is Chengdu. It is a cultural and industrial center on the agricultural plain as well as one of the first printing centers in the country. Chengdu has been famous for its luxurious satins, brocades, and lacquered goods since the 13th century.
Population and Climate in Sichuan
Located in the southwest of the country, Sichuan is the gateway to Tibet. In fact, the western part of the province is one of Tibetan population and tourists here can get acquainted with the customs and lifestyle of the Tibetan people.
Another important ethnic group of the province is the Yi nationality, which is also concentrated in the western part of the province.
Sichuan is a province with a fairly vast territory. Its landscapes slope from west to east and its main landforms generally include plains, hills, mountains, and plateaus.
The climate here is mild with lots of precipitation and significant variations in climate.
It is better to choose the right time in advance for tourist trips to different scenic spots and decide on the point where to start exploring the natural and cultural riches of the province.
In general, the most favorable climate is from April to May and September to October. The most beautiful scenery in Sichuan is usually observed during this time. This is especially true during the autumn season, as it is the most beautiful time of the year in the province. July and August are also the peak tourism season in Sichuan, especially on the border with Tibet and the Zheorghai Meadows. At this time, these places are characterized by large crowds of people and prices are much higher.
In addition to the basic landforms such as plains, hills, mountains and plateaus, Sichuan has a wide variety of beautiful landscapes including ravines, basins, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and limestone caves. Some of these have been specially prepared as scenic sites for tourism, such as Jiuzhaigou National Park and the Valley of Musical Scrolls (the name of a type of shell, Trumpet Shell Valley).
In addition, a wide variety of landscapes, coupled with a good climate, nurse a huge number of rare species of plants and animals.
The Hengduan Mountains in the west sprout more than one-fifth of the country’s rare plant species, including the so-called “living fossils” – fir and sequoia.
The mountains are also the promised refuge for more than 50 species of rare animals, among which the big pandas are the most precious.
In fact, 85% of China’s great pandas live in this mountainous area, earning the province a reputation as the “home of the great pandas”. Visitors can get in touch with these cute pandas at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center and Research Center (one of the world’s most important panda research and breeding centers): China’s Bifeng Guoje Big Panda Conservation Center and Research Center.
Sichuan is one of the birthplaces of the Chinese nation and plays an important role in Chinese history. As early as two million years ago, people had already begun their activities in this area; and about 25,000 years ago, a civilization was born here and, subsequently, a highly developed ancient Shu civilization was formed, represented by three masks on piles and a huge number of archaeological finds proving the high development of that ancient people.
With the unification of China by Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di in 221 B.C., the region gradually unified the cultures of the Central Plains as well, which meanwhile continued to develop.
Chengdu, Zigong, Leshan, Yibin, Luzhou, Lanzhong and Dujiar are national historical cities with 40 cultural relics. There are 24 other provincial towns and villages with historical and cultural purposes in the province.
Throughout its prehistory as well as early history, Sichuan and its surroundings have been the cradle of unique local civilizations dating back to about the 15th century B.C., which coincides with the late Shang Dynasty and Zhou Dynasty of Northern China.
The ancient Chinese sources refer to Sichuan as Ba Shu, combining the names of two independent states of the Sichuan Basin, the Ba and Shu kingdoms. The Ba kingdom included Chongqing and the eastern lands of Sichuan along the Yangtze and some of its tributaries.
By now, the province could be divided into four cultural zones: the Ba Cultural Zone, the Shu Cultural Zone, the Panzhihua-Sichang Cultural Zone, and the Western Plateau Cultural Zone of Sichuan. During the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), Chengdu was the capital of the Shu Kingdom. The long history of early advanced civilizations made the area a rich historical heritage, including the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, the Great Buddha of Leshan and the Emeishan Mountains. It also includes such distinctive local attractions as the Sichuan Opera and delicious local cuisine. The Sichuan Opera House is one of the most popular opera halls in the country. The changing faces spewing flames are perhaps its most appealing and mystical feature.
Sichuan cuisine is famous not only throughout the country but also abroad. These dishes are characterized by a spicy and tart taste. Typical menu items include Hogo (Hot Pot), Smoked Duck, Gongbao Chicken, Twice-Cooked Pork, and Mapo Tofu.
Sichuan is located in the upper valley by the Yangtze River in southwest China. Sichuan is the fifth largest province in the country. It borders Gansu and Shaanxi provinces to the north, Chongqing municipality to the east, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces to the south, Tibet Autonomous Region to the west, and Qinghai Province to the northwest. Sichuan was China’s most populous province before the division of Chongqing with its surrounding territories.
Area: 485,000 sq km Population: 87.26 million (as of 2007) Capital city: Chengdu Local time: +4 hours to Moscow time
Geographically the province is part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the west and the Red Basin (or Sichuan Basin) in the east. The Yanzi River flows through the Sichuan Basin and thus reaches eastern China.
For the most part, the province is inhabited by the Han people (the Chinese themselves), but also in some of its autonomous districts are compacted Tibetans (the Yi people), the Hei minority and the Qiang people.
Giant Buddha Statue in Leshan
The Leshan Big Buddha is a 71-meter-high stone statue built during the Tang dynasty. The statue was carved from a rock located at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers near the city of Leshan in southern Sichuan Province. The rock itself is called Emeishan – it is one of the four sacred rocks of Chinese Buddhists (along with Putoshan, Utayshan and Jiuhuashan). The mountains and the area in which they are located are of World Cultural Heritage status.
The Great Buddha of Leshan began construction in 713 at the initiative of a Chinese monk whose name was Haitun. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the stormy waters that plagued the ships along the river. When the question arose about stopping funding for the project, the monk is said to have gouged out his own eyes to prove his true piety and sincerity.
After his death, construction still stalled due to insufficient funding. It wasn’t until some 70 years later that the so-called tzedushi (the office of governor general in medieval China) decided to sponsor the project and it was eventually completed by a disciple of Haitun in 803.
Aba Prefecture Located in central northern Sichuan, it is both a Tibetan and an autonomous Qiang county.
Ganzi Prefecture In the west of Sichuan Province, is a Tibetan autonomous region.
Southern Sichuan Includes Liangshan Prefecture, which is part of the Yi Autonomous Region, as well as Panzhihua Prefecture.
Eastern Sichuan Includes the provincial center of Chengdu and other major cities in Sichuan Province.
Cities of Sichuan Province
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province with a 2,000-year history. The southeastern part of the city is surrounded by small mountains, with Campania Chengdu in the northeast. As of July 2013, the world’s tallest building, the New Century Global Center, was built in just three years in Chengdu. Standing 100 meters high, 400 meters wide and 500 meters long, the building houses shopping plazas, 14 movie theaters, offices, hotels, a skating rink, Paradise Island Waterpark, an artificial beach under a huge LED screen, a pirate ship, a Mediterranean village mirage, an artificial sun that shines 24 hours a day and a parking area with 15,000 parking spaces.
Dege is a city that holds the stunning library of Tibet.
Ganzi is an upland Tibetan city that is the starting point for exploring the monasteries of Tibet.
Kanding is a guide city to the Tibetan region in western Sichuan Province.
Lanmusi is an amazing Tibetan city, located right on the border between Gansu and Sichuan provinces. There you can enjoy horseback riding, views of two Tibetan monasteries and explore the site of the “Heavenly Burial”, one of the religious practices common in some provinces of China and autonomous regions of Tibet.
Leshan – famous for its rock-engraved, world’s largest Buddha statue.
Songpan – a small camp town at the foot of the mountain, serving as a guided tour of the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
Xiangcheng – located along the main highway into Yunnan.
Xichang – famous among tourists for its mild climate and natural scenery. In the summertime the city enjoys cool, invigorating breezes, and in winter the weather is warm enough, in addition it is sunny almost every day.
The municipality of Chongqing is administratively divided, but culturally and historically it is still part of Sichuan Province.
Attractions in Sichuan
Dinosaur Museum Big Buddha Turquoise Lake Emishan Mountain Jiuzhaigou Valley Jiuzhaigou National Park Panda Research Center Baogo Monastery
This site contains Sichuan attractions – photos, descriptions, and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Sichuan, where to go, and where to find popular and interesting places in Sichuan.
The largest museum of its kind in Southeast Asia. Located 9 kilometers from the town of Zigong (Sichuan), in the area Dashanpu. This is one of the largest places in the world where dinosaur remains were found.
Today the museum, opened in 1987, is a large 3-story building of bizarre shape. The total area of museum exhibits exceeds 65,000 square meters.
There are three big thematic exhibitions in the museum. The first one is about the history of dinosaurs’ evolution and gives a general idea about the life and development of giants on our planet.
The second part is the restored dinosaur skeletons found in Dashanpu. Some of them are very well preserved. The most interesting exhibit is a completely preserved skeleton of a dinosaur that lived about 175 million years ago. It was more than 10 meters tall and weighed 4 tons.
The third exhibit is located directly on the site of dinosaur bones findings. Here you can see how the search is conducted and even touch the remains of ancient lizards.
Leshan’s main attraction is the world’s largest Buddha statue carved into the rock. It is located in the Linyunshan Mountains. The statue is 71 meters tall – only the index finger is 8 meters long. Its construction began in 713 and lasted 90 years.
The head of the seated Buddha is at the level of the top of the mountain, and his feet touch the river. All the proportions of the human body have been skillfully rendered and even the face of the Buddha has managed to convey an expression of calm and kindness. Next to the statue, on the south and north walls, more than 90 stone images of bodhisattvas have been carved.
In 1996, the Great Buddha of Leshan was inscribed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Catalogue.
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The Jiuzhaigou National Park is located in eastern China in Sichuan Province. Its name translates as “valley of nine villages”. This park is famous for having more than a hundred lakes and the water in them is crystal clear green, blue, and turquoise in color because all of these lakes were formed by melting glaciers. In 1992, the park was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and in 1997 it was declared a biosphere reserve.
Jiuzhaigou is located in the highlands, and because of the abundance of water and elevations, it produces many not only lakes, but also waterfalls that amaze tourists with their views.
On the shores of these lakes and throughout the park there are more than a hundred species of animals. The forests here are mostly mixed type, they are especially beautiful in the fall, when they are colored in yellow, orange and red. Among the plants here you can find numerous bamboos, rhododendrons and others.
Coordinates : 33.25562800,104.24391700
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Mount Emeishan is considered the place of the eternal abode of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra. This mountain, along with the other three, is a sacred mountain for Chinese Buddhists.
The first Buddhist temple on the mountain was built in the I century. It was called the “Temple of the Ten Thousand Years. The most valuable monument of the temple is a statue of the sacred Bodhisattva Samantabhadra on an elephant, made in the IX-X centuries. By the twentieth century on the mountain there were already more than 100 temples, but most of them were damaged during the “Cultural Revolution. Until today, about 20 temples remain, which can be reached by cable car and two trails. Hiking to the top will take 2-3 days.
Now Emeishan Mountain is very popular with Chinese pilgrims. Their number is so great that tourists are allocated and rented special rooms in temples for overnight stays.
Next to the mountain is the tallest statue in the world, the Great Buddha of Leshan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Coordinates : 29.73181200,103.36083400
Jiuzhaigou Valley is famous for its mesmerizing mountain scenery and blooming meadows. Besides the natural beauty, there are several pristine mountain lakes and old villages that have become popular tourist spots.
The valley is located in the north of Sichuan Province in the amazingly beautiful national park reserve. The length of the valley is fifteen kilometers.
For a long time there are nine villages in the valley, and the most touristy ones are Heie, Shucheng, and Dzechawa.
Locals in these villages offer to see how various handicrafts, utensils, and more are made. You can buy the items you like in the souvenir shops, and small cafes will offer you to try traditional Chinese dishes.
Coordinates : 33.02478500,103.98834200
Jiuzhaigou National Park
Not far from the Chinese province of Xichuan, there is a place of indescribable beauty. Such colors, such pictures, such views can be seen only on well-processed photos. But the national park Jiuzhaigou – a very real place where people come from all over the world to see with their own eyes the incredible wonders of Asian nature.
This place is called the Valley of Nine Villages, as it is home to nine Tibetan settlements. The park is famous for its multi-level waterfalls, valleys, and lakes. The most popular places here are Panda Falls, Swan Lake, Grass Lake, and the Ancient Forest.
This national park looks most amazing in the fall, because the local forests put on a yellow-red color, which, together with the bright blue and green waters of the local lakes, is a stunning picture. This is the corner of harmony with nature and with yourself.
Panda Research Center
Watch the leisurely panda bears by visiting the Panda Research Center in Chengdu. The pandas live in spacious enclosures where natural conditions are recreated for them, with rooms for feeding, sleeping, and treatment. The older bears are released into the wild.
Because these animals reproduce slowly, they are in danger of extinction – which is why Chinese scientists have taken them under their protection. It is believed that no more than 1,000 individuals live under natural conditions. A large panda sanctuary is located 150 km from Chengdu.
Coordinates : 30.73246700,104.14609900
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The Baogo Temple (Bauguo Si) is located in the sacred mountains of Eme. Although there are other Buddhist temples in these mountains, Baogo is considered the most striking example of local Emean architecture.
Baogo was formed during the Ming dynasty. Construction began in 1573, but construction was slowed by the opening of the gates of the monastery in 1620. In the mid-eighteenth century, the monastery was reconstructed, the result of which has survived to this day.
Baogo Temple can boast sights with a rich history. One of them is a statue of a sitting porcelain Buddha, more than 600 years old. Another attraction is a seven-meter bronze tower on which are engraved thousands of images of Buddha and ancient sutras.
The most popular attractions in Sichuan with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Sichuan on our website.
More Sichuan attractions.
Huanglong Area, Sichuan (Chengdu), China Pearl Falls, Jiuzhaigou, China Leshan Buddha Statue, Sichuan (Chengdu), China Nine Village Gorge, Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan (Chengdu), China Chengdu Museum, Sichuan (Chengdu), China Dujia Yan Water Reclamation Site, Sichuan (Chengdu), China