China travel guide

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China Travel Guide

Explore Sichuan and Chongqing

Explore Sichuan Sichuan and Chongqing are located a thousand kilometers across China's southwest, encircled by mountains. This region has been for a long time a rebel land, differing from the rest of China in everything from food to politics and inaccessible enough both to donít pay attention to central authority and to provide refuge for those fleeing it. Sichuan and Chongqing share a common history including the recent division (1997) on this zone. The area splits into very different geographic halves: a densely populated eastern plain, and a mountainous remote west.

In the east, hills surround the fertile Huang-ho basin, is the resident of around 110 million people, one of the China's most densely settled areas. A subtropical climate and fertile plains help to produce permanent green fields turning out three harvests a year, a bounty which has created an air of easy affluence in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, and the southern river towns of Zigong and Yibin.

Elsewhere, tourists have the chance of joining pilgrims on Emei Shan in a hike up the holy mountain's forested slopes, or of sailing down the Yangzi from Chongqing , industrial powerhouse and terminus of one of the world's great river expeditions. You will also realize that the influence of Buddhism has become part of the landscape: most notably at Leshan , where a giant Buddha sculpted into riverside cliffs provides one of the most evocative images of China; and farther east at Dazu , whose marvelous procession of stone carvings has extraordinarily escaped desecration.

In contrast, the west is dominated by heights of Tibet; a wild, thinly populated land of snow-capped mountains. To the northwest, you will find Aba Grasslands, while south is cloaked in the impassable greenery of cloud forests.

Close to Chengdu, there is a opportunity to see giant pandas at Wolong Nature Reserve, while traveling north towards Gansu takes you through ethnic Hui and Qiang heartlands past the vivid blue lakes and fine-looking mountain scenery around Songpan and Jiuzhai Gou. Due west are the bounds of Tibet, including Hailou Gou Glacier lying in the foothills of Gongga Shan , Sichuan's highest mountain, and mainly Tibetan towns like Kangding .

Explore Chongqing Traveling to this region is still difficult and uncomfortable, despite of the new roads and better vehicles. Rail lines are limited by geography - construction was an enormous mission. Chengdu was linked to the national network since 1956 - and most people use the train only for travel beyond regional boundaries; the most useful internal route is along the Xi'an-Kunming line, which runs southwest from Chengdu via Emei Shan and Xichang.

The climate is warm and wet in summer and cold in winter, with the west and north regularly covered under snow for three months of the year.

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