South Sichuan Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, and local culture and customs in South Sichuan, China. Plan your trip with this travel guide.

Introduction to South Sichuan

Located in the southwestern part of China, South Sichuan is a charming region popular for its natural beauty, unique culture, and delicious cuisine. With stunning landscapes, colorful festivals, and amazing outdoor activities, South Sichuan is a must-visit destination for travelers who want to discover the authentic side of China.

List of Places to Visit in South Sichuan

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Leshan Giant Buddha: The giant Buddha is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the largest stone-carved Buddha statue in the world.
  • Jiuzhaigou National Park: The national park is known for its crystal-clear lakes, multi-tiered waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks.
  • Wuhou Shrine: The shrine is a popular attraction that honors Zhuge Liang, a famous strategist and statesman from the Three Kingdoms period.
  • Hailuogou Glacier Park: The park is home to the world’s lowest altitude glacier, and the scenic area offers excellent views of the glacier and the surrounding valley.

Natural Attractions of South Sichuan: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Siguniang Mountain: The mountain range is famous for its stunning peaks and challenging hiking trails.
  • Emei Shan: One of the country’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, Emei Shan is a popular pilgrimage site and hiking destination.
  • Four Sisters Mountain: This mountain range comprises four peaks, and it is a popular sightseeing and trekking destination.
  • Gongga Shan: Known as the “King of Sichuan Mountains,” Gongga Shan is the highest peak in Sichuan Province and is popular among trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Hiking/Biking Routes in South Sichuan

  • Siguniang Mountain Trek: The trek covers four high-altitude passes and offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks.
  • Emei Shan Trek: You can hike to the summit of Emei Shan for panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.
  • Yading Trek: The trek in the Yading Nature Reserve takes you past three holy mountains and turquoise lakes.
  • Gama Valley Bike Trail: This bike trail is a scenic route that winds past hillsides and rice paddies.

Best Things to Do in South Sichuan: Activities and Tours

  • Attend the Tibetan Horse Racing Festival in Kangding.
  • Explore the ancient town of Shangli and its traditional architecture.
  • Learn about traditional tea culture in Ya’an.
  • Take part in a Sichuan-style hot pot feast.

A Week-Long Itinerary for South Sichuan

Day 1-2: Explore Chengdu and visit Leshan Giant Buddha.

Day 3-4: Trek Siguniang Mountain or Emei Shan.

Day 5-6: Visit Jiuzhaigou National Park.

Day 7: Relax in a hot spring near Chengdu.

Food and Drink Scene of South Sichuan

Must-Try Dishes

  • Mapo Tofu: A spicy Sichuan dish made with soft tofu and minced meat.
  • Dan dan noodles: Spicy noodles with minced pork, Sichuan peppercorns, and peanuts.
  • Kung Pao chicken: Classic Chinese dish that originated in Sichuan province.
  • Twice-cooked pork: A flavorful pork dish featuring slices of meat, green peppers, and fermented black beans.

Local Beverages

  • Ya’an tea: One of the most famous teas in China, Ya’an tea is known for its delicate flavor and aroma.
  • Sichuan Baijiu: A popular alcoholic beverage made from sorghum and wheat.

Where to Stay in South Sichuan: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • The Temple House (Chengdu)
  • Anantara Emei Resort & Spa (Emei Shan)
  • Aden Hotel (Kangding)
  • Labrang Monastery Hotel (Xiahe)

What to Buy in South Sichuan: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Tea leaves and tea sets from Ya’an.
  • Tibetan paintings, rugs, and other handicrafts from Xiahe.
  • Sichuan peppercorns and other spices from Qionglai.

Local Culture and Customs of South Sichuan

  • Tibetan culture heavily influences the region, especially in Xiahe and Kangding.
  • Sichuanese are known for their spicy cuisine and love of hot pot.
  • Tea culture is an essential part of daily life and social gatherings in Ya’an.

Best Time to Visit South Sichuan

The best time to visit South Sichuan is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild, and the scenery is at its most beautiful. The summer is the peak tourist season, and the winter is very cold and snowy.

Do’s and Don’ts of South Sichuan


  • Try the spicy Sichuan cuisine.
  • Visit the Tibetan monasteries and interact with the locals.
  • Learn about tea culture and visit a tea plantation.


  • Disrespect the local culture or traditions.
  • Leave any trash in the wilderness or outdoor areas.
  • Expect everyone to speak English.

Safety and Health

Safety in South Sichuan

South Sichuan is generally a safe place, but it’s always wise to take precautions, especially when hiking or trekking. Be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to weather conditions, and avoid hiking alone.

Health in South Sichuan

It’s important to take precautions with food and water when traveling in South Sichuan. Drink only bottled water, and eat at reputable restaurants.

Getting to South Sichuan: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near South Sichuan

  • Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
  • Mianyang Nanjiao Airport

Bus Stations Near South Sichuan

  • Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Terminal
  • Kangding Bus Terminal

Other Options

  • Taking a train from Chengdu to smaller towns and cities in South Sichuan is a viable option.
  • Private car hire is available for day trips and touring.

How to Get Around in South Sichuan

Public transportation is not always available in South Sichuan, and most major attractions require private transportation. Taxis and private car hire are available for hire, with rates negotiable.

Where to Go Next from South Sichuan: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Chongqing: A city known for its spicy food and stunning scenery. It is located less than a few hours from Chengdu.
  • Yunnan Province: One of the most biodiverse regions in the world, known for its stunning scenery and cultures.
  • Xi’an: One of the oldest imperial capitals of China, famous for its Terracotta Warriors.


A trip to South Sichuan is an opportunity to explore a diverse and beautiful region of China. From stunning natural scenery to unique cultural experiences, South Sichuan offers something for every traveler. Plan your trip with this guide and experience all that South Sichuan has to offer.