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Sichuan Province Travel Guide

Provincial capital: Chengdu

Population: 90 millions

Geological location: Sichuan Province is located in the Upper Yangtze Valley in the southwest part of the country. It covers an area of 569,000 square kilometers (219,700 square miles) and is bordered by the provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi to the north, Guizhou and Yunnan to the south, the Tibetan Autonomous Region to the west, Qinghai to the northwest, and Chongqing Municipality to the east.

Map of Sichuan Province

Climate: In the eastern basin area and the lower western valleys that are sheltered from cold polar air masses by the surrounding mountains, there are 350 frost-free days in the east, and the growing season lasts nearly all year round. In the west, the sheltering effect of the mountains is evident from the contrast between the perennially snow-capped peaks and the mild weather prevailing in the valleys beneath them.

During the summer, in July, the mean temperature is less than 20 degrees Centigrade in most parts of the west. During the winter, the mean temperature in the west decreases northward from 12 degrees Centigrade in Xichang to minus 8 degrees Centigrade in Qinning.

The eastern rainy season begins in April and reaches its peak during July and August. Annual precipitation reaches about 40 inches annually. Precipitation is lower in the west than in the east. The average total of about 20 inches falls mainly during the summer, and there is heavy snowfall in the mountains during the winter.

Tourism resources: Sichuan has three World Cultural and Natural heritages: the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, the Huanglong Scenic Area, and Emei Mountain with the Leshan Giant Buddha; nine state-class scenic areas, including the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, Qingcheng Mountain, the Sea of Bamboo in southern Sichuan; 11 national forest parks; 40 nature reserves, 44 provincial-class scenic areas. Almost every variety of tourist resources is available here: plateaus, mountains, ravines, basins, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, limestone caves, and even danxia formation.

There is an old Chinese saying that describes the great difficulties that can be encountered in attempting to visit Sichuan province. Today however, with the completion of modern transport facilities and links, Sichuan is now a relatively straightforward province to visit from throughout China.

By Air: Direct flights are available to and from Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan Province) to over 50 cities in China and international destinations including Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. As Chengdu is located in the center of China, a domestic flight from the city to most cities takes less than two and a half hours. The main airport in Sichuan, Shuangliu, is 18 km west of Chengdu. See our transport in Chengdu section for more information about flights, and check out Ctrip's reservation center for flight details and good deals!

By Train: Sichuan also boasts a complex railway network. The biggest problem regarding rail travel here is booking and reserving tickets. It is a good idea to try and book train tickets a few days ahead of schedule whenever possible.

By Bus: From Chengdu, and also between smaller cities and major destinations and sights in Sichuan (Leshan, Emeishan and Jiuzhaigou), the best method of transport is bus. See our transport sections for where you want to travel for more detailed information regarding buses.

By Boat: Sichuan province can also be reached by boat. The major ports along the Yangtze river all serve Sichuan and Chongqing (for the Three Gorges) and can be easily reached by bus from Chengdu.