Long Weekend Getaways: A Little Farther From Chengdu

Long Weekend Getaways: A Little Farther From Chengdu
By Michael Webster , eChinacities.com

The long Mid-Autumn weekend coming up provides a chance to get away and relax for just a little bit longer. These Chengdu weekend getaways will provide a change in scenery,an increase in air quality and recharge your batteries for the winter.

Yibin Bamboo Forest

Yibin Bamboo Forest宜宾竹海View In Map
One of the most memorable scenes from the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is when Chow Yun Fat and Zhang Ziyi float after each other through a forest of ultra-green bamboo trees in a battle of kung-fu masters. The Yibin Bamboo Sea, close to the southern border of Sichuan, is where those scenes were filmed. The whole area is filled with bamboo, but there is an actual site you can visit for an 85 RMB entrance fee. The park is large enough that if you want to see all the sites, which include waterfalls, lakes and a monastery carved into a cliff,you may want to hire a driver and get out for hikes and pictures. Most hotels offer a driver/sightseeing package for the Bamboo Sea.

Remember to sample the local food while you are in Yibin. They make a special hot sauce which is used to cook their big bowls of meats and veggies; it makes a unique and delicious dish. Also, Yibin is famous for Yibin Ran Mian, (宜宾燃面) a kind of noodles that after tasting, you'll be willing to walk all the way to Yibin just to satisfy your next craving.

Add: 20km south of Changning County in Yibin City
Tel: 0831 498 0888
Opening hours: 08:00 -18:00 
Getting There: Bus from Xinnanmen Station (About 4 hours.)
Price:85 RMB park entrance fee per person
Accommodation: 50-600 RMB per night 

Photo: xiwenquan.com

Huashuiwan International Resort Scenic Area 花水湾风景区View In Map
The government of Dayi has decreed the area shall eventually be a resort destination of international standards. Over the past year a huge push has been enforced in order to develop this idyllic mountain area into a popular tourist destination. The Xiling Snow Mountain has always drawn a fair crowd of Chengdu people who want to see the mountain’s little bit of snow;now the resort area has a bit more to offer in the way of bars, restaurants, shops and horseback riding. The resort’s major hotels boast of their hot-springs, so pack your swim trunks. Weather permitting, the Xiling Mountain also offers hot air balloon rides where they basically take you straight up and then back down, but it’s a great picture opportunity.

Add: Dayi County, Chengdu
Tel:028 8839 1001
Opening hours: 09:00-01:00
Getting There: Bus from Xinnanmen Station (About 2 hours.) 33 yuan.
Accommodations: 160-1600 RMB per night

Photo: 7sc8.com

Pingle Ancient Town平乐古镇View In Map
The so-called “Ancient Towns” tend to vary in authenticity and historical significance. Pingle is certainly one of the better choices in that respect. The town dates back to the Han Dynasty and claims a stopping point on the historic silk road. A good way to divide this trip is to take a day for wandering about and around the old town itself, being sure to stimulate the local economy by purchasing at least one of every hand-made souvenir and delectable edible treats that the vendors shove in your face. Then take another day for checking out the scenic areas nearby. They have their own Bamboo Sea, Lugou, as well as the Huajiu Scenic area which is about 4 km away. Huajiu has some decent hills to hike as well as scenic areas with water. Li Plantation is also worth checking out as it is the family residence of a famously wealthy landlord from the Qing Dynasty and it provides a good indication of how the Sichuan upper class lived under the Qing emperors.

Add: Southwest part of Qionglai City, Sichuan Province
Tel: 028 8878 1080
Opening hours: All day
Getting There: Bus from Xinnanmen Station to Qionglai (16 RMB, about 2 hours). From Qionglai, take one of the many mini-vans to Pingle (another half hour).

Photo: asiaexplorers.com

Jiuzhaigou 九寨沟
Now that the airport is available in Jiuzhaigou, it's worth considering this location for your weekend getaway from Chengdu. The previous vomit-filled ten-hour bus ride one-way made it impossible to do Jiuzhaigou in a weekend. However, now it's a quick plane ride from Chengdu Shuangliu's local terminal. Jiuzhaigou has some of the most breathtaking natural scenery you will ever see in your life, thus you will miss out if you leave Sichuan without enjoying its most phenomenal natural wonder. The airport is both a blessing and a curse in this regard; the greatest draw for the Jiuzhaigou scenic area is its beauty and increasing the number of tourists will gradually erode at its untouched splendor.

But don't you worry about that for now. Make sure you go through the Jiuzhaigou valley, see the multi-colored lake which displays the most vibrant and vivid colours you will ever see in natural water, the Nuorilong waterfall which is 300 meters wide and 20 meters high, and of course the Huanglong Scenic Area which is a UNESCO world natural and cultural heritage site. You really need to visit Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong on separate days, which will make for a much better, long weekend trip.

Getting There: Plane from Shuangliu (950-1200 RMB one-way ticket) or Bus from Xinnanmen (141 RMB, 8-10 hours)
Accommodation: Holiday Inn, Sheraton and Intercontinental are new hotels in Jiuzhaigou, however there are less expensive places available, all ranging from 100-4000 RMB per night.

A trip to any of these destinations would provide a welcome diversion from city life for a few days. Sichuan is very blessed with an abundance of natural beauty in addition to the concrete metropolises of their urban centers. So when the traffic and congestion are too much to bear, get out of the city for a few days and see some colour.  

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Keywords: Weekend destination Sichuan Chengdu weekend getaways weekend trip Sichuan Province Chengdu getaways


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