One of the greatest things about doing an internship in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu, is not only do you have access to a vibrant cosmopolitan Chinese city with a really exciting business climate – but you will find some of the most beautiful places in China are just on your doorstep. Here are the InternChina Chengdu office’s top 4 escapes from the city;
Jiu Zhai Gou
The ‘Nine Village Valley’ is surely one of the most breath taking places in China. This UNESCO world heritage site in the North East of Sichuan is high up on the Tibetan Plateau spanning over 180,000 acres. It is famous for it’s snow-capped mountains, waterfalls and the amazing azure blue lakes – they say mineral deposits in the earth give the water it’s otherworldly blue and purple hues.
The valley was originally home to nine Tibetan villages, seven of which are still there; which make great places to stop and try some Tibetan treats like yak meat jerky and salty yak milk tea in between hikes. As is the case when travelling anywhere in Sichuan, the journey to Jiu Zhai Gou isn’t easy – it is normally a ten to fifteen-hour bus ride on bumpy mountain roads. But this one journey definitely worth braving the service station toilets for. It isn’t to be missed! InternChina run a trip here at least once a year!
How long do I need? You will need at least 3 days. One to travel there, one to explore the valley and one for the journey back to Chengdu.
How do I get there? There are 2 busses from Chengdu; one leaves Xinnanmen Bus Station at 8.00am daily and the other option is to travel from Chadianzi Bus Station, which departs at 7.20am, 8:00am, 9.00am and 4.00pm. There is a high speed train currently being built from Chengdu, but this will not be open for another few years.
How much does it cost? Around 300rmb for the bus tickets 100rmb for a private room in a hostel 310rmb entry to the valley (200 with a student card)
Kangding & Tagong
Kangding is a city nestled in a valley high up in the autonomous Tibetan region of Ganze. Historically Kangding marked the border between Tibet and China – so has a rich culture combining Tibetan customs with influences brought in from Han Chinese traders. The city is quite unlike any other place we have visited in China – it is cut in two by a raging river, and as you walk through the winding streets, mountains tower over you from all sides littered in colourful prayer flags.
From the city centre you can climb PaoMa mountain and visit temples and beautiful Buddhist stupas. Kangding also makes a great base to explore the surrounding area; stunning grasslands cans be reached by hiking 3 hours or so from the city – and Tagong, a beautiful Tibetan settlement is a few hours away by car. On returning to the city, every evening in the main square there is a big community dance with hundreds of people in colourful Tibetan clothes taking part. Kangding is a very unique and very beautiful excursion.
How long do I need? You need a day to travel there, as the journey is 10-15 hours by bus, a day to explore Kangding and a day for the return journey – however we recommend going for at least 4 days, to allow you to visit Tagong and some of the other settlements nearby.
How do I get there? A bus leaves Xinnanmen Bus station every hour from 7:00 to 14:00 daily. You can also fly from Chengdu to Kangding airport, which is one of the highest airports in the world!
How much will it cost? The return bus journey from Kangding will cost you 260RMB – plane tickets start from 300rmb each way. There are some great hostels in Kangding which cost only 45rmb a night for a shared room. A private driver can be hired for 400rmb a day take you to Tagong.
4 Sister Mountain
This mountain is the highest peak of the Qionglai Mountain range in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Western Sichuan. This mountain range is known as the ‘Alps of Sichuan’ and when you arrive, the snow-capped mountains dotted with fir trees make you feel very far away from dusty Chengdu! The area is great if you enjoy mountain climbing – and for the brave, ice climbing – but is breathtakingly beautiful even for the casual hiker.
A good place to base yourself is in the town of Rilong, which is lively with plenty of hostels – and it is a good gateway to the 3 valleys; Chanping ( a day long hike), Shuangqia (easy and quite touristy) and Haizi (for the more seasoned hiker/climber). The real beauty of the 4 Sisters Mountain range is you may very well have it to yourself – because it is difficult to reach and still relatively unknown, you can enjoy the stunning scenery without being poked in the back with someone else’s selfie stick – bliss!
How long do I need? 3 days. Two for travelling and one to explore.
How do I get there? There is a daily bus to Rilong from Chadianzi bus station at 6.30am.
How much will it cost? A return bus fare is roughly 170rmb and a private room in a hostel is 120rmb. Entrance tickets to the valleys varies between 60-90rmb depending on the season.
If you don’t have 3 days to spare from your internship in Chengydu, there are also a few very beautiful daytrips. Just an hour away on the new bullet train lies one of China’s most famous Taoist mountains, Qingcheng Shan.
This mountain has been the subject of many famous writers and painters, one claiming it is ‘the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven’. It certainly isn’t secluded now, but does offers beautiful hikes which lead you to temples, caves and palaces – some of which date back to the Jin Dynasty! It makes for a very peaceful mini getaway!
How long do I need? Just 1 day!
How do I get there? You can take bullet trains from Chengdu Railway Station to Qingchengshan Railway Station. Then take bus no. 101 to Mt. Qingcheng (Front Mountain). You can also take a regular bus from Xinnanmen Bus Station or Chadianzi Bus Station to Qingchengshan.
How much will it cost? The entrance ticket for the mountain areas are 90rmb + 20rmb or so for entrance to caves and palaces. The high speed train ticket is just 15 kuai each way!
Would you like to experience some of these beautiful places? Then apply for an internship in China here!