14 Days Sichuan Wildlife Trip
Date: Jun. 1 & Aug. 18, 2023, 2024, 2025
Price: From 3360USD/PAX
Trip Focus: Wildlife + Photography
Status: Open to Booking
Route: Chengdu-Panda Habitat-Pingwu-Jiuzhaigou-Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve-Ruoergai-Wenchuan-Wolong Panda Base-Chengdu
Trip Code: W005
The southwestern reaches of China are host to a variety of ecosystems teeming with life. In particular, Sichuan province is a well-known destination for wildlife enthusiasts, adventures, photographers, plant buffs and birders. Covering an area of 485,000 square kilometers, Sichuan province has almost all kinds of climates and topographies in China. They provide ideal habitats for different varieties of plants and birds. Thus, this region is renowned for its immense biodiversity, including iconic animal species such as Takin, Golden Pheasant, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey, and of course, the Giant Panda. For this 14-day wildlife safari, our experienced guide will lead you into the most vibrant and picturesque wildlife habitats that Sichuan has to offer. We will leave no stone unturned as we lead you through discovering the natural and cultural beauty of this untamed wilderness.
• Experience a wildlife safari in panda habitats, vast grasslands, and nature reserves.
• Track wildlife such as Sichuan Takin, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey, Black-necked Crane, Tibetan Macaque, Palla’s Cat, Asiatic Black Bear, Tibetan Fox in breath-taking natural scenery.
• Photograph inside Jiuzhaigou National Park which is in the list of World Natural Heritage.
• Search for Sika Deer in Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve.
• Visit Wolong Panda Base for panda cubs.
Introduction to Trip Destinations:
Panda Habitat Wildlife Safari
Jiuzhaigou National Park
Ruoergai Grassland Wildlife Safari
Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve
Wolong Panda Base
How Can We Make This Trip Special?
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Sichuan Wildlife Safari Map
Day 1. Arrive in Chengdu. (D)
The airport pick up. Overnight: Chengdu (Attitude 500m)
Day 2. Chengdu-Panda Habitat. 350km 6h (BLD)
Drive to Panda Habitat. Overnight: Panda Habitat (1,400m)
Day 3-4. Visit inside Panda Habitat. (BLD)
Wildlife safari in Panda Habitat. Overnight: Panda Habitat (1,400m)
Day 5. Panda Habitat-Pingwu. 120km 3h (BLD)
Drive to Pingwu. Overnight: Pingwu (1,200m)
Day 6. Pingwu-Jiuzhaigou. 210km 5h (BLD)
Head to Jiuzhaigou. Overnight: Jiuzhaigou (2,000m)
Day 7. Jiuzhaigou. (BLD)
Visit Jiuzhaigou. Overnight: Jiuzhaigou (2,000m)
Day 8. Jiuzhaigou-Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve. 280km 6h (BLD)
Drive to Diebu for Sika Deer. Overnight: Diebu (2,400m)
Day 9. Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve-Ruoergai. 120km 3h (BLD)
Searching for Sika Deer. Overnight: Ruoergai (3,400m)
Day 10-11. Ruoergai. (BLD)
Wildlife safari around Ruoergai. Overnight: Ruoergai (3,400m)
Day 12. Ruoergai-Wenchuan. 340km 6h (BLD)
Drive to Wenchuan. Overnight: Wenchuan (1,400m)
Day 13. Wenchuan-Wolong (80km, 2h)-Chengdu. 130km 3h (BLD)
Visit Wolong Panda Base before drive back to Chengdu. Overnight: Chengdu (500m)
Day 14. Depart Chengdu. (B)
Airport see off.
Day 1. Arrival in Chengdu. Meals: D
The airport pick up. Based on the time you arrive, we can plan some free city tour programs such as visiting People’s Park to experience the typical laid-back lifestyles of Chengdu or taking you to Jinli Street to feel the bustling shopping street with all types of shops selling unique local souvenirs and food stands offering delicious local take-away food.
Overnight: Chengdu (Attitude 500m)
Day 2. Chengdu-Panda Habitat. 350km 6h Meals: BLD
In the morning, we will drive to Panda Habitat via Qingxi Ancient Village. Qingxi Ancient Village served as an important strategic point in defending Sichuan and trade post between Muslims and Han Chinese in history. With a history of more than 1700 years, Qingxi used to be the county seat of Qingchuan County with a city wall going around the village. The existing buildings inside the Qingxi Village are Ming and Qing dynasties' style. We will spend about 30 minutes exploring this quiet ancient town and feel the harmonious coexistence of Muslims and Han Chinese under the same roof of traditional Chinese architecture.
Overnight: Panda Habitat (1,400m)
Day 3-4. Visit inside Panda Habitat. Meals: BLD
During our stay in a hotel inside the Panda Habitat, our group will be able to explore Giant Panda habitats with great convenience. This scenic reserve is one of the first reserves set up in China to protect wildlife and is one of the most successful reserves set up in China to protect wildlife and is one of the most successful reserves to achieve this goal. It is home to a great variety of species of wildlife including plants, fishes, insects, and amphibians living under the umbrella of Giant Panda protection. We will spend two days exploring different parts of the reserve in search of mammals, birds, and fishes. The animal species we may come across based on our knowledge from past trips include Takin, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey, Asiatic Black Bear, Tibetan Macaque, Golden Pheasant, Wild Boar, Chinese Goral, Reeve's Muntjac, Chinese Serow, Masked Civet, Eurasian Otter, Tufted Deer, Yellow-throated Marten, and Rhesus Macaque. At the end of the day, we can have a night walk around the hotel to search for some nocturnal animals such as Civet Cat and Leopard Cat.
Overnight: Panda Habitat (1,400m)
Day 5. Panda Habitat-Pingwu.120km 3h Meals: BLD
This morning we will depart from the Panda Habitat and drive to another reserve to search for a kind of unique animals called Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. Golden Snub-nosed Monkey has a rich golden brown to golden red fur with a black and golden patch on the back. In Sichuan province, the Minshan Mountain range is home to the largest population of these beautiful and lovely primates. They usually live in high mountainous, deciduous broadleaved and coniferous forests and share the same habitats with Giant Pandas. We will take you to a place where you have the highest chance to see those shy but photogenic animals endemic to China. After photographing the monkeys, we will drive back to Pingwu.
Overnight: Pingwu (1,200m)
Day 6. Pingwu-Jiuzhaigou. 210km 5h Meals: BLD
In the morning, we will leave our hotel and visit Bao’en Temple and nearby local food market before continuing on our drive to Jiuzhaigou. Bao'en Temple is known as "The Forbidden City hidden in mountains". It is one of the largest and the best-preserved ancient architectural complexes of the Ming Dynasty (about 600-year-old) in Sichuan province. It was said the architecture was first built by Wang Xi, a local tribe head in Pingwu as his palace, by imitating the royal Forbidden City in Beijing after paying his visit to Emperor. In ancient China, however, this was regarded as the most serious violation of the law. When Wang got to know that the Emperor was infuriated by his action and the investigation officials were already on the way. He immediately turned this architecture into a temple to pray for the longevity of the Emperor as a way to express his thanks to all the great kindness he has received from the Emperor. That is why this building is called "Bao'en Temple". " Bao'en", in Chinese, literally means to "requite royal kindness". After visiting the temple, we can walk to the nearby food market where local farmers bring their agriculture produce to sell. It is a great place to understand the lives of locals. After early lunch, we will head to Jiuzhaigou, en route, we will drive through another nature reserve called Wanglang Nature Reserve and stop for some scenery shots.
Overnight: Jiuzhaigou (2,000m)
Day 7. Jiuzhaigou. Meals: BLD
Today we will spend the whole day in the Jiuzhaigou National Park, the most beautiful place and most popular tourist destination in the whole of China. As early as in 1992, Jiuzhaigou has been listed as a UNESCO World Nature Heritage Site because of its stunning sceneries and abundant natural resources. Once we get into Jiuzhaigou, we will be amazed by its beautiful virgin forest, magnificent waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, green lakes, numerous birds, and colorful Tibetan villages. You will understand why this place is known as "Fairyland in Tibetan Culture". It is said there are 108 lakes of different sizes in Jiuzhaigou National Park. Local legend holds that these lakes were created when a goddess of the mountains dropped her mirror from heaven to earth. The shattered pieces changed into the stunning lakes we see today.
Overnight: Jiuzhaigou (2,000m)
Day 8. Jiuzhaigou-Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve. 280km 6h Meals: BLD
Today we will head to Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve. We will search for wildlife when we drive through different kinds of habitats for wildlife. At the edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we can search for Blue Eared Pheasant and on the plateau, we will search for local endemic birds such as Black-necked Crane, Ruddy Shelduck and mammals like Himalayan Marmot, Wolf, Tibetan Gazelle, and Sika Deer. The vast Tibetan Plateau we are going to drive through is a very important nomad area in Sichuan province, so we will see lots of yaks and sheep owned by local Amdo Tibetan. After we arrive Diebu, we will drive to the reserve and have our afternoon search in the reserve for Sika Deer.
Overnight: Diebu (2,400m)
Day 9. Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve-Ruoergai. 120km 3h Meals: BLD
We will spend the morning in search of Sika Deer today. After breakfast, we will drive you to Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve where local Tibetans and Sika Deer coexist peacefully together for hundreds of years. The beautiful Tibetan villages scattered on the mountain slopes with farmlands around them are always the best places where we can start our search for Sika Deer and get some excellent shots of the mountains stretching out in distance. The beautiful conifer forests on the top, the Tibetan villages in the middle part of the mountain and their cattle graze in the bushes around the village farmlands. It will not be difficult to spot small Sika Deer herds from those bushes, always not far away from those grazing cattle. In lots of places in China, we always face the conflict between conservations and local villagers. People here provide the best answer, people and the wildlife can coexist together harmoniously and peacefully. After Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve, we will head back to Ruoergai County and continue our search for wildlife on the plateau again en route.
Overnight: Ruoergai (3,400m)
Day 10-11. Ruoergai. Meals: BLD
Ruoergai is a paradise for wildlife thanks to its vast land size of 10,436 square kilometers and a variety of habitats including well-protected forests located around the edge of the plateau, wetlands, and lakes. Those different habitats are home to a good number of wildlife species such as Palla's Cat, Himalayan Marmot, Upland Buzzard, Lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, Blue Eared Pheasant, Black-necked Crane, Saker Falcon, and Blood Pheasant. In the following two days, we will focus on our search for wildlife in different habitats for target species.
Overnight: Ruoergai (3,400m)
Day 12. Ruoergai-Wenchuan. 340km 6h Meals: BLD
After leaving Ruoergai, we will head to Wenchuan via Songpan Ancient Town which used to be a military garrison station in Tang Dynasty due to its strategic location. Songpan was an important post for Tea-and-Horse Trade Route between Han Chinese and Tibetans. Due to its proximity to the Muslim areas in western China, Songpan also has a significant number of the Muslim population. It is a place mingling with Tibetan, Han Chinese and Muslim culture. After Songpan we will drive along Minjiang River to Wenchuan, going through the only Qiang ethnic minority area in China.
Overnight: Wenchuan (1,400m)
Day 13. Wenchuan-Wolong (80km, 2h)-Chengdu. 130km 3h Meals: BLD
In the early morning, we will drive to Wolong Panda Base (Wolong Shengshuping Panda Base) before we drive back to Chengdu. Wolong Panda Base is located within panda habitats and has the best natural temperature for the pandas. This panda base was relocated here after the 2008 Earthquake with donations from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Because it is relatively far away from Chengdu, there are many fewer visitors here so it is an excellent place for people who want to see active panda cubs with fewer crowds and better backgrounds. After seeing pandas at different ages here, we will drive on to Chengdu.
Overnight: Chengdu (500m)
Day 14. Depart Chengdu. Meals: B
On the final day of this tour, our team will escort you to the airport in Chengdu so that you may board your flight on time. This will conclude the scheduled itinerary for this tour.
1. If you need help in arranging a flight to Chengdu from Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, or the trip out of Chengdu, please feel free to contact us.
2. This trip ventures into a remote area that features high altitude. Follow the advice from your doctor on altitude sickness before deciding to join this trip. In some events, high elevation can cause severe health complications for those with cardiovascular diseases or other poor cardiopulmonary function.
3. If you prefer a better chance for searching Red Panda, here is a Three-Day Extention Tour for your reference:
Day 1. Chengdu-Labahe. 230km 4h
Day 2. Labahe.
Day 3. Labahe-Chengdu. 230km 4h
Dates & Prices
Jun. 1 to Jun. 14, 2024,2025
Aug. 18 to Aug. 31,2023, 2024,2025
Email us for tailor-making a tour according to your time.
The AbsolutePanda team works hard to provide the highest quality tour experiences at a fair price. However, after working in the travel industry for more than 20 years, our team knows that no two travelers are alike in terms of their travel style, personal interests, choice of guides and preferences in restaurants and hotels. For AbsolutePanda, our client’s satisfaction is a top priority. To meet the needs of different clients and ensure they enjoy a trip suited to their preferences, you are welcome to email with specific requests ranging from trip themes, guides, the quality of vehicles, accommodations, and restaurants. Our group trip price has the following includes and excludes below.
This standard price is based on a minimum of four travelers. That means the trip size is at least four persons per group unless it becomes a customized trip for private clients.
The cost for four pax group:
The cost includes:
1. Vehicles listed on the trip. A nice private vehicle including the cost of fuel and tolls, airport pick up and drop off;
2. An English-speaking wildlife guide for the whole trip;
3. A local ranger in Panda Habitat;
4. Meals listed above as BLD;
5. Bottled water and snacks;
6. Entrance charges listed in the trip;
7. China Domestic Travel Insurance;
8. Hotels listed on the trip.
The cost excludes:
1. Alcoholic drinks during the meal;
2. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from client-side or factors beyond the control of AbsolutePanda such as natural disaster and governmental policy change;
3. Discretionary tips to the guide and driver;
4. All personal expenses, such as laundry service or for personal shopping;
5. Train ticket or airfare to and out of Chengdu;
6. Any program not listed in the itineraries;
7. Entrance fee, car rental, or meals during your free time trip;
8. Single supplement.
The price is based on occupying one room with two beds for two clients in the hotels. The hotels we picked for this trip are based on our years of running quality trips. If you prefer to use a private room or we can not find a person who is willing to share a room with you, you will need to pay the single supplement.
3. Experienced Wildlife Guides
• Bella: A fluent English speaker, Bella is a knowledgeable wildlife guide, birding expert and is well versed in Chinese food and local culture.
• Philip: A local guide born in the Sichuan Tibetan area with fluent English and basic Japanese, Philip is an exceptional photographer and had guided many Snow Leopard safari trips since 2017. As a wildlife guide, Philip also has a keen interest in Buddhism, birding, and Chinese cuisine.
• Shay: Shay is among the first group of professional bird guides with an academic background of ornithology. By now, he has successfully guided many avid birders and wildlife photographers from different countries including Norway, Britain, the US, Sweden, Israel, and Thailand.
• Cory: Cory is a plant expert and photo guide of AbsolutePanda. As a native of Chengdu, the place where he was born has beautiful mountains and abundant plant resources. Since his childhood, he has been deeply attracted by the beauty of nature and spent a lot of time exploring nature in the mountains surrounding his hometown. After many years of learning purely out of interests, Cory has accumulated rich knowledge about plants, mammals, and mountains. As a successful plant photographer, Cory has photographed more than two thousand species of wildflowers. His knowledge and passion for plants and photography will make your trip unique and enjoyable. With him as your plant and photography guide, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of the nature presented like a roll of traditional Chinese painting unveiled by Cory with his findings and stories behind those beautiful flowers.
To AbsolutePanda team, our clients' overall satisfaction with their trip is the top priority. We can create a different option to make it easier for you to choose a tour that fits your style and budget. We feel it is difficult for our clients to enjoy this trip without the help of a guide. If you prefer to travel in a different style than the option we've provided here, please feel free to contact us.
For travelers who hope to tailor-make the day programs with their specific travel preferences in mind (transportations, hotels, exclusive privileges, and famous local experts), tailor-making a tour is the best way to ensure your desires are met. Please contact us with your specific needs and we will make an itinerary based on your expectations. Once you confirm, we work out the cost and send it to you. Please feel free to ask any questions to learn more.
Please note that this trip requires a high level of expertise on natural knowledge, we will block our best natural guides for the dates selected for this trip. For people who hope to customize this trip or hope to take it as a private trip, please be aware that good nature guides are very limited in China and are not always available, especially during our busy season from April to October. If you have an on-planning trip, please contact us as early as possible so that we will block the date of our expert guide for you.
When you put your trust in our team, we are certain to help you enjoy an unforgettable travel experience in China!
AbsolutePanda firmly believes travel is an art. To ensure every trip with us is a great travel art for our clients, the AbsolutePanda team does all we can to consider every possible detail. The choice of hotels is an essential part of making a great trip. After many years of running a travel business, we have built up our network of cooperative hotels at different levels. We understand people are different in the choice of hotels when they travel. If you hope to use some specific hotels, please feel free to let us know, we are delighted to book it for you at a competitive price for you to make the hotel choice better meet your taste, budget and travel style. We can either reserve a hotel with competitive price for you or simply include the hotel into your trip cost if possible. You are welcome to contact us and tell us your requests, we will do our best to create the best travel itinerary for your private use.
If you need help with hotel booking in other big cities of China at different styles and luxury levels (International-brand Hotels, Local Brand Hotels, Economical Hotels), please feel free to email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. How does the ecosystem or wildlife differ between the prairies and panda habitats?
Many of the regions we will visit can be classified into two biomes: highland prairies and mountainous temperate forests. While we travel through the panda habitat in Sichuan, most of the local ecosystems will be typical of the temperate forests, while the majority of the Tibetan Plateau will consist of prairies. In prairies of Ruoergai, many of the animals will include Himalayan Vulture, Yak, Plateau Pika, Himalayan Marmot, Black-necked Crane, and so on. During our time in Panda Habitat, we can expect to see Takin, Tufted Deer, Chinese Goral, Golden Pheasant, Asiatic Black Bear and perhaps even Red Panda and Golden Sub-nosed Monkey.
2. I thought northern Sichuan was affected by an earthquake. Are the attractions there open to the public?
A great deal of reconstruction was done after the 2008 Earthquake. Now there is better infrastructure has been built in the earthquake-hit areas. Now we can get to those places at a much faster speed on much better roads. These areas were once closed to the public but have since reopened to guests.
3. What is there to do in Jiuzhaigou?
Jiuzhaigou is famed as one of the most beautiful natural attractions in southwest China and the World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1992. This park is not just famous for its stunning water scenery, it is an excellent place for birds as well. Our nature guide will help you enjoy the beauty of this fairyland possibly making your travel most memorable and enjoyable.
4. What are the chances we will see a wild Sika Deer?
During our visit to Tiebu Sika Deer Nature Reserve, we will have a better chance of spotting this animal than anywhere else in China. We had lots of trips to this area. Our guide is extremely familiar with this place. Our clients from our past trips had taken many good photos of wild Sika Deer during their trips with us.
5. What indigenous communities can we expect to encounter during this tour?
In this trip, we will drive through a significant number of ethnic minority communities, for example, Qingxi for Muslims, Jiuzhaigou and Ruoergai for Amdo Tibetans, Pingwu for Baima Tibetans, and Maoxian for Qiang communities.
6. Can you tell me more about the hotel accommodation at the Panda Habitat?
The accommodation in the Panda Habitat is located in the middle of the mountainous temperate forest in northern Sichuan. The closest community is roughly half an hour's drive. The hotel is very nice with a beautiful background. Staying in this hotel provides us great convenience and flexibility in searching for animals in the surrounding wilderness.
7. Will we see wild pandas on this tour?
The chance is small but it is possible. Panda encounter has been almost recorded every year in the reserve, some times people photographed panda roaming on road. You never know. Due to the small population and their unique lifestyle, it is extremely difficult to spot a panda in the wild. The biggest value of this trip is that we get a full understanding of a panda habitat by our visit with good chances to photograph different animal species who share the same habitats with panda.
8. Are any of these animals dangerous?
Animals like Wild Yak, Takin and Asiatic Black Bears can pose a real threat to guests. Don't worry, our guides are experienced at mediating a healthy distance between you and any animals we encounter. In most cases, we will also be watching these animals from the safe vantage of a van.
9. Will there be opportunities to purchase local souvenirs during this tour?
As we travel through Tibetan communities, there will be many opportunities to purchase keepsakes from local vendors. Our guides are happy to help.
10. Are there any optional extensions or additional activities for this trip?
There is an optional extension that will have a good chance for searching Wild Red Panda, here is a Three-Day Extention Tour for your reference:
Day 1. Chengdu-Labahe. 230km 4h.
Day 2. Labahe.
Day 3. Labahe-Chengdu. 230km 4h.
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The best travel company I have ever worked with.
Where to begin? I am an international tour leader. This team is our partner company, and for the last 5 years, they have proved time and time again to be by far the best, most meticulous, detail-oriented, experienced, and honest company I have ever encountered. These guys get it- travel is an art. They are focused on the experience, not the profit, and this is very rare in China. The founder, Philip, is one of the top birders and nature experts in Sichuan and is well respected throughout the province and beyond for all of his efforts to support local culture and conservation of wildlife. He is from a remote Tibetan region and understands how to operate in the wild, unexplored regions of china- the real china. He is an excellent teacher and judge of character and has built an amazing team of loyal guides who cannot be topped. If you travel with these guys, you have made a wise decision.
Date of experience: May 2017
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Videos & Photos
Sichuan Wildlife Safari Video
Sichuan Wildlife Safari, from Panda Habitat to Tibetan Plateau.
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Asiatic Black Bear
Golden Snub-nosed Monkey
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