Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a local family in the Sichuan Province. Experience their traditions on New Year's Eve as you write spring couplets, do crafts, and make dumplings with your host family. As the festivities continue throughout the week travel to Dujiangyan and Mount Qingchen to visit World Heritage Sites. Partake in festivities in Luadai Ancient Town where performances and games take place to celebrate Spring Festival. Round out your journey with a visit to a street banquet, the Giant Panda Research Base, and the Wenshu Temple. Enjoy this festive week long journey through China!
Celebrate Chinese New Year & experience local traditions
Explore Dijiangyan & Mount Qingcheng, both home to World Heritage Sites
Partake in Spring Festival activities in Luodai Ancient Town
Enjoy Sichuan cuisine at the Guanghan Street Banquet
This morning, you set out to purchase gifts for the family who will be your host this evening. It is customary to purchase toys for the kids and food, fruits, or flowers for the family. After lunch today, meet up with your host family to celebrate the New Year in a traditional way. You may spend your time writing spring couplets, doing crafts, or making dumplings with the family.
In the evening enjoy a Chinese New Year's Eve dinner while watching the Spring Festival Performance and other programs on TV, as is the tradition in China. Join the family in playing mahjong or card games. A cup of Baijiu (Chinese white liquor) is also a customary celebratory drink. At midnight, the family sets off fireworks and the entire city becomes a lit up spectacle. After the last of the fireworks, drive back to your hotel for a night's rest.
Today drive 1.5 hours north to Dujiangyan city to enjoy the festivities in the ancient town section. Also visit its irrigation system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to its construction in 256 BC. Explore this irrigation system built on the Min River and learn about the methods used to complete this massive feat. This man-made marvel, created to bring water to the once dry Chengdu Plain, has made this Sichuan region one of the most fertile and productive regions in China to this day. Still in use, the system irrigates millions of acres of land around the Chengdu Plain.
After lunch, go to nearby Mount Qingcheng, the early residence of one of the Taoist founders and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Qingcheng's path is lined with temples and sanctuaries and is a great retreat from the bustling city life. Spend several hours on the tranquil mountain route, enjoying the peace of the natural surroundings. Hike for about 2 to 3 hours today before heading back to Chengdu.
Today drive to nearby Luodai Ancient Town, the largest and best preserved Hakka town in China. Here the people put all other activities on hold and the town becomes a bustling and lively scene of performances, games, and other activities to celebrate Spring Festival. Observe and participate in the festivities this morning.
This afternoon drive back to Chengdu to the Wuhou Temple and its bustling Spring Festival fair. This centuries-old temple has been built together with other existing structures and the final existing renovation dates back to 1682. Join the crowds to taste delicious snacks and food, wander around the beautifully decorated grounds, and watch performances with the locals.
Today drive about an hour and a half to Guanghan where a traditional banquet will be underway on long tables on the street! Any passersby, local and foreign alike, are welcome to join to celebrate the Spring Festival, and the Sichuan cuisine does not disappoint. Thank your hosts before returning to Chengdu this afternoon to visit Remnin Park. Here you find comfortable tea houses for leisure and can learn how to play mahjong in the park. This game is one of the most popular events in the Sichuan province and is quite easy to learn but difficult to master.
This evening, enjoy a face-changing show in Chengdu, a traditional aspect of Sichuan opera and a fascinating spectacle to watch.
Day 6: Giant Panda Research Base & Wenshu Temple
This morning visit the Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu. See the many giant pandas and possibly even baby cubs with pink bodies and little fur.
Next go to Wenshu Temple, the oldest and largest in Chengdu. Here on the 7th day local people from many faiths (not just Buddhists) go to the temple to ask for a good blessing for the New Year. Opt to ask for your own blessing if you like. Drive back to the Chengdu airport for your flight on to your next destination.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!