38 Days China Wildlife Tour
Date: May to Oct
Price: Upon Request
Trip Focus: Wildlife+Photography
Status: Open to Booking
Route: Beijing-Xian-Guangyuan-Panda Habitat-Pingwu-Baima-Wanglang-Diebu-Ruoergai-Wolong-Danba-Bamei-Ganzi-Dege-Xinluhai-Litang-Yajiang-Pamuling-Tagong-Kangding-Yaan-Chengdu
Trip Code: W001
Wild China in Photographer‘s eyes
This itinerary is largely designed for a professional photographer who hopes to get as much chance as possible to photograph birds and animals in the wild. The highlights are mostly photographing animals, birds, sceneries, Tibetan houses, and costumes.
Following a list of some animals, birds and flowers you might encounter during this trip.
List of Animals:
giant pandas (very hard to see in the wild), lesser pandas, Sichuan Takin, Moon bear, golden monkey, wild boar, sika deer etc.
Wild Boar/Golden Monkey/Sichuan Takin/Moon bear
List of Birds:
Golden pheasants, Tragopans, Golden eagles, Snow Pigeon, Sichuan Partridge and tits etc.
Red-billed Blue Magpie/Temminck's Tragopan/Golden Pheasant/Hoopoe
List of Flowers:
A variety of alpine flowers will be seen in some places include Primulas, poppies etc
Corydalis acuminata/Primula moupinensis/Kerria japonica/Vitex negundo L. var. cannabifolia
——The Forbidden City
Culture, people & architecture will be best photographing targets in Beijing when you tour the Forbidden City and Summer Palace.
I suggest you stay in Hutong area near Wangfujin, you may some woodpeckers and white-cheeked starlings.
——Mutianyu Great Wall
You may see some birds while hiking along the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
If the weather is good, you can see the sunset in Mutianyu, though it will be quite late to get back to hotel in city, and you need to walk down because the lift or toboggan has been closed by that time.
Forbidden City/Mutianyu Great Wall
Warriors are the most important attraction. But the light inside the museum is a little bit dark. If you have a light tripod, it will be really convenient.
——Xian City Wall
Xian City Wall is the most complete city wall that has survived in China.It is one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.
Terracotta Warrior / Xian City Wall
As a place neighboring Panda Reserve, it has similar animal resources as in Tangjiahe. The density of Giant wild panda in Laohegou is higher than Tangjiahe. Because Laohegou is not a reserve, we have more freedom to go to the depths of the mountains to photograph pandas and other animals if we want.
Panda Reserve is very good place to photograph animals mammals, pheasants and a rare bird called grey-crowned crowtit Rusty-throated Parrotbill, blood pheasant, golden pheasant,Tragopan, spectacled parrotbill, brown parrotbill, Blyth’s leaf wabler, brown dipper, slaty bunting.
For the animals, the reserves is known for pandas, Sichuan Takin, moon bear, golden monkeys, deers, wild boar etc.
——Golden Monkey Reserve
Golden monkey. The sceneries on the way and in the mountains, the villages are also good targets to be photographed.
——Wanglang Nature Reserve
Following are some animal and bird resources you might see in Wanglang: giant pandas, lesser pandas, Sichuan Takin,, Chinese Hazel Grouse, moon bear, macaque, hogbadger, sambar, tufted deer, serow, goral, blue sheep, blue-eared pheasant.
——Jiuzhaigou National Park
Jiuzhaigou is very famous for its beautiful sceneries. Though is also a nature reserve, there are few animals we can see due to large number of tourists each day.
However, inside the park, besides seeing the world-class sceneries, we have lots of opportunity photograph birds, such as white-throated dipper, redstart, Elliot’s Laughingthrush, woodpeckers and mallard. We will spend two days exploring the wonderful park.
Diebu Sichuan Sika Deer reserve is located in the bordering area between Sichuan and Gansu. On the way to the reserve from Juzhaigou, we will see lots of alpine birds like snowfinch, and black-necked crane,fox and wolf.
——Danba Tibetan Village
Here we will see very special group of Tibetans whom the westerners know very little. Danba Jiarong Tibetans, These Tibetan are known for their beautiful costumes and unique architecture which is actually is a combination of Tibetan and Qiang buildings.
While we go from Wolong to Danba, we will pass very important birding place, called Balang Mountain, we will see lots of birds such as rosefinches, snow pigeons, Sichuan partridge.
——Wolong Nature Reserve
Wolong Nature Reserve is the first reserve set up to protect giant pandas and their companions. We will hike to a very old temple to see pheasants and other small birds there. Besides most of animals you see in Wanglang, there are some other animals and birds you may see in Wolong such as eagle owl,white-eared pheasant, snow partridge, Chinese Monal.
——Dege Printing House
Dege is one of the most important birth place for the Tibetan Civilization and definitely the cultural center for the Kangba Tibetans. We go to Dege largely because of its cultural importance instead of animal resources.
Dege, meaning "land of benevolence" in Tibetan, is derived from the "ten benevolences of the 4 orders" of Tibetan Buddhism. "This is the heart of Tibetan culture," says Se Jia, the director of the Dege Printing House.
——Xinluhai White-lipped Deer Reserve
White-lipped deer, Himalayana marmota,pika and so on.
——Litang, town up in the air
Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and resting on open grassland at an altitude of 4680 m, Litang will leave you breathless in more than one way. This is Sichuan's Wild West, where tall fur hats and silver embossed knives are the on-going fashion rage and where neighboring herdsmen can be seen kicking up a trail of dust at dawn. Tibetan culture abounds here.
Sichuan Pheasant Partridge，blood pheasant， robins，Derby’s Parakeet，rose finches，Tit-warbler, Lady Amherst’s pheasant, white-eared pheasant, giant laughing thrush, streak-throated Fulvetta, white-browed rosefinch, Rufous-vented Tit, forest musk deer, black bear, brown bear, macaque, Tibetan fox, serow. Palas’s fish eagle. Perny’s long-nosed squirrel.
——Ya’an Bifengxia Base
We go there to see pandas. It is very beautiful park where we can have a really nice hike.
Dates and Prices
Day 1 Arrive Beijing
Day 2 Beijing
Day 3 Beijing-Xian
Day 4 Xian
Day 5 Xian-Guangyuan-Panda Habitat
Day 6 Panda Habitat
Day 7 Panda Habitat
Day 8 Panda Habitat
Day 9 Panda Reserve
Day 10 Panda Reserve
Day 11 Panda Reserve
Day 12 Panda Reserve-Pingwu
Day 13 Pingwu- Baima
Day 14 Baima-Wanglang
Day 15 Wanglang-Jiuzhaigou
Day 16 Jiuzhaigou
Day 17 Jiuzhaigou-Diebu
Day 18 Diebu
Day 19 Diebu
Day 20 Diebu-Ruoergai
Day 21 Ruoergai- Maerkang
Day 22 Maerkang to Wolong
Day 23 Wolong-Danba
Day 24 Danba-Bamei
Day 25 Bamei-Ganzi
Day 26 Ganzi-Dege
Day 27 Dege-Xinluhai
Day 28 Xinluhai
Day 29 Xinluhai-Litang
Day 30 Litang -Yajiang
Day 31 Yajiang-Pamuling
Day 32 Pamuling
Day 33 Pamuling
Day 34 Pamuling-Tagong
Day 35 Tagong-Kangding -Yaan
Day 36 Ya'an-Chengdu
Day 37 Chengdu
Day 38 Depart Chengdu
（B stand for breakfast, L for lunch and D for dinner.）
Day 1 Arrive Beijing (D)
Arrival at Beijing International Airport, met by AbsolutePanda Beijing guide and transfer to hotel in the center of the city. Dinner at local restaurant.
Day 2 Beijing (BLD)
In the morning we drive to the Forbidden City to visit the royal palace which houses many treasures of China. We walk into the palace from the south gate, and then spend the morning on a guided tour through this vast and magnificent seat of the emperors’ power.
In the afternoon, we visit the Temple of Heaven where emperors once prayed for a good harvest, making offerings of grain, silk and animals. Constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), its harmonious proportions and bold colors make it a masterpiece of Chinese architecture. The highlight of the Temple of Heaven is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, built without a single nail.
Day 3 Beijing-Xian (BLD)
We drive to the Great Wall and visit Great Wall Mutianyu section. Though the underlying architecture dates from the Ming Dynasty, the original plan for the Great Wall and some of its construction date back to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.). We will take a short and easy hike at Mutianyu and return to Beijing in late afternoon.
In the evening, we take a train Z19 (depart21:24-arrive08:25) from Beijing to Xian.
Overnight: On Train
Day 4 Xian (BLD)
Upon arrival, we will be met by AbsolutePanda Xian guide and we go to Terre Cotta Warriors and spend the morning to enjoy the eighth wonder of the world. It was made to guard the tomb of Qinshihuang, the first emperor to unite China. This major archaeological discovery consists of three underground vaults containing a collection of nearly 10,000 terracotta figures of warriors and horses, each differing in features and facial expressions.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we drive back to Xi’an City. En route, we will visit the Old City Wall or Lesser Panda Pagoda. After dinner, we explore streets in Xi’an.
Day 5 Xian-Guangyuan-Panda Habitat (BLD)
In the morning you take Bullet train to Guangyuan, then transfer to and upon arrival we will be met by AbsolutePanda Chengdu guide, we will have free afternoon to explore Chengdu City. If you have interests, we will take you to a local popular hot pot restaurant.
Overnight: Panda Habitat Hostel (LHG)
Day 6 Panda Habitat (BLD)
In the early morning we drive to Zhongwafang. We hike from Zhongwafang toward Shangwafang, we photograph birds including golden pheasants.
Overnight: Panda Habitat Hostel (LHG)
Day 7 Panda Habitat (BLD)
In the early morning we drive to Shangwafang, from where we hike to Lishiyan with a local reserve staff to photograph animals.
Overnight: Panda Habitat Hostel (LHG)
Day 8 Panda Habitat (BLD)
We hike to Heigou to find opportunity of photographing animals, such as Sichuan Takin, bear or golden monkey.
Overnight: Panda Habitat Hostel (LHG)
Day 9 Panda Reserve (BLD)
We drive to Panda Reserve, en route, we make a visit to Qingxi Old town. In the evening, we hike along eco-loop line to photograph wild animals, pheasants and possibly wild pandas around the reception center.
Overnight: Panda Habitat Hotel (TJH)
Day 10 Panda Reserve (BLD)
In the morning we drive and hike toward Motianlin, exploring wildlife and photographing en route.
Overnight: Panda Habitat Hotel (TJH)
Day 11 Panda Reserve (BLD)
Photograph birds and animals in one of the valleys near the reception center.
Overnight: Panda Habitat Hotel (TJH)
Day 12 Panda Reserve-Pingwu (BLD)
Photograph birds and animals along the eco-loop line and we drive to Pingwu. Visit Golden Monkey Reserve.
Day 13 Pingwu- Baima (BLD)
In the morning we make visit to BaoEn Monastery, an over-400 year Buddhist temple known for its architecture, carving and fresco. We drive to Baima Tibetan Village in the morning and visit the village. After lunch in local Tibetan family, we stay in local Tibetan house.
Overnight: Baima Tibetan House.
Day 14 Baima-Wanglang (BLD)
In the early morning we drive to Wanglang Panda Reserve and photograph animals or birds to photograph animals and birds in the wild with a local staff.
Day 15 Wanglang-Jiuzhaigou (BLD)
We spend most of the day photographing in the reserve. In the afternoon we drive to Jiuzhaigou county town.
Day 16 Jiuzhaigou (BLD)
We spend whole day to photograph beautiful sceneries and birds in Jiuzhaigou. Which is one of the hottest destinations and most beautiful places in the world.
Day 17 Jiuzhaigou-Diebu (BLD)
We drive to Diebu County, en route we will spend lots of time photographing birds and possibly some wild animals.
Day 18 Diebu Reserve (BLD)
We will hike to mountain in the reserve to photograph sika deer.
Sichuan Sika deer are stronger and more handsome than those in the zoo. They range from 1.4 to 1.7 meters in length and weigh about 115 to 150 kilos. The deer have long black narrow line on the center of their backs with white spots on either side of the line. Adult male Sika deer grow light brown antlers that are made into a medicine called Lurong. The antlers serve as weapons during the autumn mating season and grow each spring. There are more than 600 Sichuan Sika deer in the Tiebu Nature Reserve, 100 more can be found in Baozuo, which is in eastern part of Ruoergai, and nearly 100 in Baihe Nature Reserve of Jiuzhaigou County. These 800 deer formed the largest wild Sika deer group in the world.
Day 19 Diebu (BLD)
We hike to a local valley to photograph wild animals and birds.
Day 20 Diebu-Ruoergai (BLD)
Half a day hiking around the Tibetan villages to photograph Tibetan villages, people, and birds. After lunch we drive to Ruoergai.
Day 21 Ruoergai- Maerkang (BLD)
We drive from Ruoergai to Maerkang, en route we will be able to photograph black-necked crane, golden eagles and some eagles and vultures.
Black-necked Cranes breeding range includes much of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in China, with a small breeding population occurring in adjacent Ladakh in India.
During the breeding season Black-necked Cranes use high altitude wetlands. Foraging occurs in shallow marshes, streams, and pastures. The cranes winter in lower elevation agricultural valleys where they feed mainly on waste grains. In both breeding and wintering areas Black-necked Cranes are quite tolerant of people and regularly feed near human settlements and domestic livestock, perhaps because local religious beliefs protect them across much of their range. In the afternoon we will drive to Maerkang via Tangke.
The scenery in Tangke is also great, known in China as the first bend of Yellow River.
Day 22 Maerkang to Wolong (BLD)
Drive from Maerkang to Wolong. Most of our time today will be spent on Mengbi Mountain to photograph birds.
Day 23 Wolong-Danba (BLD)
Drive to Balang Mountain we will have good chance to photograph lots of alpine birds such as snow pigeon, rose finches and a varieties of pheasants.
Day 24 Danba-Bamei (BLD)
Photograph the unique Danba Tibetan village, known as the one of most beautiful places in China. We drive along the scenic Yak Valley, we can get a majestic view of Yala Sacred Mountain, the most important holy mountain for local Tibetans. En route we will also make visit to Huiyuan Monastery, a lama temple built for Dalai Lama and related to three dalai Lamas.
Day 25 Bamei-Ganzi (BLD)
Drive to Bamei to Ganzi, en route we will visit Daofu Tibetan villages know as home to Tibetan architectures.
Day 26 Ganzi-Dege (BLD)
In the morning we make a visit to Ganzi Dajin Monastery, and then we drive to Dege. Dege, meaning "land of benevolence" in Tibetan, is derived from the "ten benevolences of the 4 orders" of Tibetan Buddhism. "This is the heart of Tibetan culture," says Se Jia, the director of the Dege Printing House. "If you want to go to the heart of the Tibetan religion, you go to Lhasa and places like the Potala Palace. But Dege is the heart of the culture." It seems a bold claim considering that the entire county of Dege has only 61,000 residents, but it is hard to argue when monks travel for a week to get here. Dege Printing House is the largest traditional press in Tibetan parts of China, and it stores an estimated 70 per cent of the Tibetan literary heritage. Like so many other cultural relics in western Sichuan, it is a testimony to the way Tibetan traditions have survived a difficult half-century.
Day 27 Dege-Xinluhai (BLD)
In the morning we make a visit to Dege Printing House, which is the oldest and largest of its kind in whole Tibetan area. Then we drive from Dege to Xinluhai Nature Reserve to photograph white-lipped deer and their companions.
Day 28 Xinluhai (BLD)
Whole day photographing in Xinluhai Nature Reserve.
Xinluhai Lake (Yilhun Lhatso in Tibetan) is located 11 km from Manigange just at the foot of Quer mountain. The lake, with an altitude over 4040 meters, is formed by the effects of glaciation, and measures 15 meters at its deepest point. This lake is a sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists, as the many stone piles and prayer flags suggest. In 1995 the 190 sq km region was established as a national nature reserve for white lip deer.
The white-lipped deer is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau in China. It is a large deer, weighing up to 230 kg (500 lb). It is generally found in high hills and mountains covered with a mosaic of forest, rhododendron, and meadows. High, open pastures are preferred, usually above 3500 m (11,500 ft) up to the limit of vegetation above 5000 m (16,400 ft). Grasses comprise most of its diet.
Day 29 Xinluhai-Litang (BLD)
We drive from Xinluhai to Litang via Xinlong.
Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and resting on open grassland at an altitude of 4680 m, Litang will leave you breathless in more than one way. This is Sichuan's Wild West, where tall fur hats and silver embossed knives are the on-going fashion rage and where neighboring herdsmen can be seen kicking up a trail of dust at dawn. Tibetan culture abounds here. Markets are filled with yak-skin coats, wooden and silver teacups and brightly colored woven cloth. 'Tashi delek', the Tibetan greeting, is more commonly used than 'Ni Hao' and traditional stone and dirt homes fill the northern half of the town. The Litang International Racing Festival in every 1st-7th August is the grand celebration of the grassland.
We will have a nice hot spring in Litang in the afternoon.
Day 30 Litang -Yajiang (BLD)
We drive from Litang to Yajiang. We can also photograph some birds and Tibetan houses on the way.
Day 31 Yajiang-Pamuling (BLD)
We drive to Pamuling Reserve.
On Mount Pamuling, Tibetan monks have put the famous sacred mountains in the Tibetan region under complete protection. The place has become the easiest site in China to see wild blood pheasants and buff-throated partridges roaming around.
We stay in local Tibetan families and photograph pheasants in the reserve.
Day 32 Pamuling (BLD)
Full day photographing pheasants and animals there.
Day 33 Pamuling (BLD)
Full day Photographing pheasants and animals there.
Day 34 Pamuling-Tagong (BLD)
Drive from Pamuling to Tagong Grassland.
Tagong Grassland is located at northwest of the Kangding city in the Kangba area, the Grassland is flat and wide, and it is very beautiful close to the God Mountain Yala.
Tagong Temple, a well-known landmark of the Sakya (Flower) Sect, was built during Qing Dynasty. In 1265, Phagspa, who was granted the title of Grand State Tutor by Kublai Khan, stopped here on his way back to Tibet from Beijing, and presented the temple with a statue of the Buddha. Ever since then, the temple has had a special place in the hearts of local Tibetans.
Day 35 Tagong-Kangding -Yaan (BLD)
Drive from Tagong to Yaan via Kangding, the prefectural capital of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. , en route we can get a very good view of Gongga Mountain Peak if the weather is good. After lunch in Kangding town, we will explore some streets in Kangding.
Day 36 Ya’an-Chengdu (BLD)
We will visit pandas in Ya’an Base of China Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in the afternoon we drive to Chengdu.
Day 37 Chengdu (BLD)
In the morinig we pay a visit to Chengdu Panda Base. After lunch we will head to Leshan Giant Buddha. Then come back to Chengdu.
Day 38 Depart Chengdu (B)
Depart Chengdu and flight back home. Our wild animal-photographing tour end.
China Wildlife Safari Map
1. What means of transportation will we use on this trip?
For our tour, transportation will vary from high-speed bullet trains to a chartered van driven by a professional driver. This will be helpful as the tour itinerary is especially long and will cover a lot of territories.
2. What level of accommodation will we have on this trip?
As we are traveling in a big city or a more remote area of China, the accommodation throughout this trip will vary. We make it our priority to provide our clients with good quality accommodation available.
3. What endangered species do we expect to see on the tour?
On this tour, we anticipate encountering several species that are under the protection of the Chinese government. These include animals such as the giant panda, red panda, golden snub-nosed monkey, and Sichuanese takin.
4. Will we see wild pandas on this tour?
While Sichuan is known as the Chinese province with the most substantial portion of the wild panda population (80%), it should be noted that spotting a wild panda is exceptionally rare. While visitors to Sichuan have seen these animals in places that we will visit on this trip, we feel your best chance to see pandas will be during our visit to the panda research and breeding bases in Sichuan.
5. What cultures will we interact with on this trip?
Throughout this itinerary, we will visit Tibetan communities in western Sichuan. This specific region of what is considered culturally Tibetan is often referred to as “Kham,” and the people are known as Khampa Tibetans. We anticipate stopping at destinations that hold significant value to Tibetans everywhere such as the printing block archives in Dege as well as some local temples and monasteries. Additionally, while we stay in Xi’an, we will have the opportunity to visit the famous “Muslim street” in town.
6. What is the likelihood of spotting the animals specified in the itinerary?
Southwestern China is comprised of a wide array of different habitats, teeming with a wide variety of different animal species. With animals ranging from the lumbering Sichuan Takin to the agile snub-nosed monkey, there is something for everyone. As is the truth with every animal safari, we cannot guarantee we will see any of the animals on the itinerary; however, we are confident that you will experience success in our search.
7. Will altitude become an issue on this trip?
While it is true that some parts of Sichuan are located at exceptionally high altitudes (i.e Litang), our team is experienced at guiding foreign clients in this region. We are confident that our plan to acclimate your group to the elevation gradually will help you avoid any symptoms of altitude sickness.
8. Will we use the assistance of local guides?
AbsolutePanda features a diverse team of guides from both the local region (Sichuan) as well as other parts of China. For instance, we will utilize the assistance of local experts during our stay at the panda natural reserve and our visit to the snub-nose monkeys.
9. Can you provide some more information on the high-speed bullet train?
China has one of the most effective high-speed railway systems in the world. These trains are not only comfortable but rival airfare in their ability to get passengers to their destination promptly. We enjoy utilizing the train system for this tour to minimize the overall price as well as providing you the spectacular opportunity to watch the landscape shift from the window of a train.
10. If I have dietary restrictions, will that be a problem for your team to accommodate?
Our team is experienced at making sure all of our client’s needs are met. If you or anyone in your group has specific requirements for food, we are happy to accommodate your needs.
11. What certifications does your team have in the event of an emergency?
Our staff has been trained with the necessary skills of the Red Cross for an emergency.
12. Does the AbsolutePanda team offer transportation to and from the airport?
With AbsolutePanda, convenience is a top priority when serving our clients. This tour itinerary includes pick-up and drop-off services.