Aba Travel Guide

Discover the rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes of Aba. This comprehensive travel guide includes tips on where to stay, what to eat, and how to get around Aba.

Introduction to Aba

Located in Sichuan, Southwest China, Aba offers a unique experience to travelers looking for a cultural and natural adventure. Aba is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region and has a mixed population of Han and Tibetan people, which give the region a unique cultural identity.

The stunning natural landscapes of Aba attracts nature enthusiasts from around the world. The region also has several culturally significant heritage sites, including temples, monasteries, and museums, making it an ideal destination for history buffs and spiritual seekers alike.

List of Places to Visit in Aba

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Jiuzhaigou Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its crystal-clear waters and stunning natural landscape. The valley is home to nine Tibetan villages and several Buddhist temples, including the famous Zharu Temple. Visitors can experience Tibetan culture and explore the beautiful natural surroundings.

Huanglong National Park

Huanglong National Park is known for its colorful pools, which are formed by calcite deposits. The park is also home to several temples and monasteries and has several scenic hiking trails.

Sertar Buddhist Institute

The Sertar Buddhist Institute, also known as Seda Monastery, is a renowned Tibetan Buddhist monastery hidden in the hills of Aba. Visitors can witness the daily life of more than 40,000 monks and nuns who reside and study there.

Langmusi Monastery

Langmusi Monastery is a picturesque Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on the borders of Sichuan and Gansu provinces. The monastery has beautiful views of the surrounding valley and is an excellent spot for meditation and spiritual contemplation.

Natural Attractions of Aba: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Mount Siguniang

Mount Siguniang is one of the most scenic destinations in Aba. Located in the Qionglai Mountains, Mount Siguniang has several hiking trails for visitors to explore. The mountain range consists of four peaks, with the highest peak reaching over 6,000 meters.

Four Maidens Mountain

Four Maidens Mountain is named after the four peaks that resemble the shapes of four maidens standing together. The mountain range is located on the border of Sichuan and Gansu provinces and has several scenic hiking trails.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Aba

Aba has several hiking and biking routes that take visitors through its stunning natural landscapes. The most famous route is the trek around Mount Siguniang, which takes around three to five days. Other popular routes include the Yading Nature Reserve, which takes around five to seven days, and the trek from Huanglong to Jiuzhaigou, which takes around two to three days.

Best Things to Do in Aba: Activities and Tours

Visitors can enjoy several activities while visiting Aba, including:

  • Trekking
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Hot springs
  • Rafting
  • Paragliding
  • Tibetan dance and music performance

There are several tour operators in Aba that offer guided tours of popular destinations and activities.

Week-Long Itinerary for Aba

Day 1: Arrive in Chengdu and drive to Aba Day 2: Explore Jiuzhaigou Valley Day 3: Hike around Mount Siguniang Day 4: Visit Sertar Buddhist Institute and Langmusi Monastery Day 5: Drive to Huanglong National Park and explore the park Day 6: Enjoy outdoor activities, such as rafting or hot springs Day 7: Depart Aba

Food and Drink Scene of Aba

Must-Try Dishes

Aba is known for its hearty and savory Tibetan cuisine. Must-try dishes include:

  • Zanba: roasted barley flour, which is mixed with hot water and eaten as dough balls.
  • Yak meat dishes: stewed, roasted, or steamed yak meat is a staple of Tibetan cuisine.
  • Butter tea: salty tea made from yak butter and Pu’er tea, making it rich and creamy.
  • Tibetan noodles: homemade noodles, similar to spaghetti, served with yak meat or vegetable broth and seasoned with chili and garlic.

Local Beverages

Aba has several locally produced beverages, including:

  • Tibetan wine: made from highland barley, Tibetan wine has a distinct flavor and is commonly served at Tibetan festivals and ceremonies.
  • Butter tea: a traditional beverage in Tibetan culture, butter tea is a must-try for those visiting Aba.
  • Yak butter beer: made from barley and fermented yak butter, this beer is known for its unique flavor and cultural significance.

Where to Stay in Aba: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Aba offers several accommodation options, including guesthouses, hostels, and hotels. Some recommended options are:

  • Seda Baima Hotel: located near Sertar Buddhist Institute, this hotel offers modern amenities and comfortable rooms.
  • Jiuzhai Rujia Hostel: located in Jiuzhaigou Valley, this hostel offers dorm rooms, private rooms, and camping options.
  • Huanglong Howard Johnson Hotel: located near Huanglong National Park, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and stunning views of the surrounding mountain range.

What to Buy in Aba: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Visitors can buy several souvenirs and local products while in Aba, including:

  • Tibetan handicrafts: such as jewelry, thangkas, and prayer flags
  • Highland barley products: such as roasted barley, barley wine, and barley snacks
  • Tibetan medicines: traditional Tibetan medicines, made from natural ingredients, are available at local markets

Local Culture and Customs of Aba

Tibetan culture and customs have a significant influence on the region’s identity. Visitors should be respectful of local customs and follow dress codes while visiting temples and monasteries. The local language is Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese is also widely spoken.

Best Time to Visit Aba

The best time to visit Aba is during the autumn months, from September to November, when the climate is mild, and the foliage is at its peak. Spring is also an excellent time to visit Aba, from March to May, when the region is lush and green. Winter is not recommended for travel in Aba, as the weather can be harsh and some attractions may be closed.

Do’s and Don’ts of Aba


  • Respect local customs and dress codes while visiting temples and monasteries.
  • Try local Tibetan cuisine and beverages.
  • Learn some basic Tibetan phrases and greetings.
  • Take care of the environment and pack out what you pack in.


  • Touch or take photos of religious artifacts without permission.
  • Wear revealing clothing while visiting religious sites.
  • Speak loudly or disrupt religious ceremonies.
  • Give money or gifts directly to monks or nuns.

Safety and Health

Safety in Aba

Aba is generally safe for foreign visitors. However, visitors should take precautions when traveling to remote areas and consult with a reputable tour operator. Pickpocketing can be prevalent in crowded markets and tourist areas, so visitors should always be aware of their surroundings.

Health in Aba

Visitors should consult with their doctor before traveling to Aba and ensure that they have all necessary vaccinations. The high altitude of the region can cause altitude sickness, so visitors should ask their doctor about medication to help with symptoms. It is also recommended to drink only bottled or boiled water and to bring any necessary medications with you.

Getting to Aba: Transportation Options and Logistics

Aba is accessible by both air and land transportation.

Airports Near Aba

The closest airport to Aba is Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport, which has frequent flights to several major cities in China.

Bus Stations Near Aba

Aba has several bus stations that connect to major cities in China. The most popular bus stations are the Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station and the Jiuzhaigou Bus Station.

Other Options

Visitors can also book private car transportation or join a guided tour.

How to Get Around in Aba

Visitors can get around Aba by bus, taxi or join a guided tour. Most attractions are located within a few hours of each other by car, and many tour operators offer transportation services as part of their packages.

Where to Go Next from Aba: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Visitors can explore several other destinations in Sichuan and nearby provinces, including:

  • Chengdu: the capital of Sichuan province, known for its spicy cuisine and giant pandas.
  • Emei Shan: a sacred Buddhist mountain with several monasteries and temples.
  • Leshan Giant Buddha: a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a massive Buddha statue carved out of a towering cliff.


Visiting Aba is a unique and unforgettable experience. From the breathtaking natural landscapes to the rich cultural heritage, Aba has something for everyone. With this travel guide, visitors can make the most of their trip to Aba and discover this hidden gem in Southwest China.