West Sichuan Alpine Flowers Safari


In this trip we are going to show you a great diversity of endemic alpine flowers in western China, where lots of botanists have visited from middle of 19 century and introduced a great number of flowers back to European countries.Numerous books have been published about this land of treasure. Lots of names have been given to these places you are going to visit, such as Shangri-la, hotspots for biodiversity, paradise for photographers and corridor of ethnic minorities in China. These places are scattered in the unknown corners in the west of Sichuan Province. It is the core area of the Hengduan Mountains Range which has been listed as one of 26 hot spots for biodiversity.
In this magical land, we will see spectacular snow-capped mountain peaks, deep valleys, rushing rivers; dense virgin forests, lush grasslands, and numerous alpine lakes. Thanks to the complex landform and diverse climates, huge gap in altitude in these places, we can enjoy rich plant species, especially the beautiful alpine flowers. Every summer, the mountain slope are decorated with a gigantic carpet of colorful wild flowers, dominated by the genera of Rhododendron, Primula, Gentiana, Lilium, Meconopsis, Pedicularis and different Corydalis. Over 100 years ago, many western botanists have been attracted by these gorgeous flowers, overcame numerous difficulties and came all the way from their hometown to this area in search of these flowers and managed to bring them back to Europe. With the great improvement of roads and means of transportation, now these treasure land hidden in the mountains and only touched by few western adventurer are accessible to general flower lovers.
Though this is trip focusing on endemic flowers, we actually will be able to see much more than flowers. The places covered by this trip have the most authentic ethnic minority culture, world-class natural scenery and a great number of endemic birds and mammals in China including the famous Giant Panda, known as the best ambassador of China and symbol of peace in Chinese history.

 

Highlights

Balang mountain: Balang mountain is one of the best places alpine flowers and endemic birds. It is located in Wolong Nature Reserve only about 2 hours driving distance from Chengdu. Every year from June to August, the mountain slope is covered with a nature-made carpet of different blooming flowers. Here we can see over 5 kinds of Meconopsis, and many species of Primula, Pedicularis, Corydalis and numerous others.

Four Sisters Mountain: Known as the Oriental Alps, Four Sisters Mountain is very famous in China for its breath-taken views, the unique group of Tibetan people called Jiarong, and most important for us, the paradise for flowers.The abundant species of alpine flowers and birds decorated the meadows attract lowers of flower-watchers, birders, photographers from different countries to this place.

Mt. Zheduoshan: As a nature geographic barrier to demarcate the Kangba Tibetan and Han Chinese, Mt. Zheduoshan provides different habitats for the growth of alpine flowers at different elevation due to the elevation gap from mountain foot to mountain pass. The large alpine meadows and alpine screes are the ideal places to search for wild flowers.

Yajiageng: As great place to search for the mountain flowers, Yajiageng is little known to most flower-watchers outside China. It is in this area, the famous plant hunter called Wilson found Meconopsis integrifolia here for the first time about one hundred years ago. The spectacular red rock screes coming down from the Gongga mountains are additional attractions for any one coming to this area.

Yading: Located in southwest of Sichuan ,Yading is known as the 3 holy snow-capped mountains of Chenresig, rising to 6032 meters, Chana Dorje and Jampelyang, which both rise to 5958 meters,with forested valleys, clear rivers, glacier-fed lakes and abundant wildlife between them.The first westerner to see the area of Yading was the famous American botanist and explorer Dr. Joseph Rock. The issue of National Geographic about Rock’s expedition gave the world its first pictures of the incredible beauty of the Yading area.

Mt. Emei: As world nature and culture heritage site listed by UNESCO since 2013, Mt. Emei boast of extremely abundant plant species in Sichuan, with 3700 species of higher plants in 150 square kilometers,including large number of endemic species. Mt. Emei is also one of the four holy Buddhist mountains .

 

Tour guide: Cory
Cory Li,co-founder and manager of Wildflora, is a super fan of nature especially for flowers. His passion about nature grows from the beauty of greens in the little boys’ eyes. As a native of Sichuan Chengdu, he has spent a lot of time exploring nature in the mountains nearby his hometown. During his study in Sichuan University, he has begun to participate lots of outdoor activities like hiking and mountain climbing, and started to study flora by teaching himself. After graduation, he even spent more time in the wild than in the office exploring wild flowers in Sichuan and neighboring provinces with other nature lovers. He himself has photographed about two thousand wild flowers species. He even found several new distribution of some endemic species, and even some new species of plants jointly with some other nature lovers. He loves to share his findings and stories behind the photos with other nature lovers on internet and has lots of “flora fans” in southwest China, though he never expected becoming famous out of this, he just enjoys sharing the beauty of those lovely flowers with others.
After years of exploration, Cory found that southwest China is a paradise for naturalists. The more he see, the more he feels like to explore. So he decided to quite his job as a chemical engineer and became a full time flora explorer. He wants to take people to find the beauty of those nature spirits, work on nature education for Chinese students, and help with the conservation of those endangered species.

 

Some alpine flowers we may see in the trip:

1. Meconopsis racemosa

2. Meconopsis lancifolia

3. Meconopsis punicea

4. Meconopsis integrifolia

5. Meconopsis quintuplinervia

6. Paraquilegia microphylla

7. Chionocharis hookeri

8. Saussurea medusa

9. Primula involucrata subsp. yargongensis


D1 Arrive at Chengdu International Airport, met by WildFloraTour Cory and transfer to your hotel. Meals: D
D2 In early morning we depart from Chengdu, visit Chengdu Panda Base to see pandas at different ages, the icon of China and also the city Chengdu. After lunch we drive to Wolong Nature Reserve.We search for flowers around here and adapt to altitude. Overnight in Wolong Town. Meals:BLD
D3 Drive to Balang mountain. We will look for alpine flowers in alpine meadow and screes. Include about 4 kinds of Meconopsis, and a great variety of Primula, Pedicularis, Corydalis plants and so on. Overnight in Rilong town. Meals:BLD
D4 We will hike in Haizigou valley. Explore the snow capped mountains, lakes, alpine flowers. Overnight in Rilong town.Meals:BLD
D5 Leave Rilong town to explore the Jiajinshan mountain, finding the unique Meconopsis here.Overnight in Xiaojin county.Meals:BLD
D6 Leave Xiaojin to Kangding. Along the way we will go through Danba, Yala, Bamei,Zheduo mountain and enjoy flowers.There are also landscapes of canyons ,snow peaks ,grassland . Overnight in Kangding.Meals:BLD
D7 Leave Kangding to Yajiageng pass. Search for alpine flowers. Yajiageng is also famous for red rock screes. Overnight in Kangding.Meals:BLD
D8 Kangding to Yajiang County. We enjoy the landscape and flowers along the way,search for alpine flowers at Mt.Zheduo Pass. Overnight in Yajiang.Meals:BLD
D9 Yajiang to Daocheng Shangri-la Town. Enjoy the wonderful scenery on the way and look for flowers. Overnight in Shangri-la Town.Meals:BLD
D10 We are going to visit Yading Nature Reserve. Hike in the beautiful path to enjoy snow-capped peak and flowers.Overnight in Daocheng city.Meals:BLD
D11 Fly from Yading Airport to Chengdu. Overnight in Chengdu.Meals:BLD
D12 Drive to Emei Mountain. Afternoon we visit Emei plant Garden. Overnight in Emei.Meals:BLD
D13 We take sightseeing bus to Leidongping. Take cable car to the top of Emei . Afternoon we drive back to Chengdu. Overnight in Chengdu.Meals:BLD
D14 Depart from Chengdu. WildFloraTour service ends.Meals:BL

 

Here is itinerary map:


 

Tour Essentials

Trip Duration: 14 days from Jul 5th to Jul 18th
• Tour Leader: Cory and a logistic guide
• Difficulty: mostly moderate, demanding on certain parts.
• Number of flower species expected to see during the flower safari tour: 250~300
• Trip Cost: 3500usd/pax • Single supplement:500 usd/pax • Deposit: 400usd/pax • Trip size: 2~12 person

The cost includes the following.
1.Transportation throughout the west Sichuan flower safari , include airport pickups and drop off at Chengdu international airport.
2.Meals in local popular restaurants labeled as BLD in the itinerary.
3.All the entrance tickets for places listed in the itinerary including cable cars and shuttle buses.
4.Hotel stays from first day to the last day, nice 4-star hotels in big cities and local best in local places .
5.Bottled water,seasonal fruits and snacks throughout the trip.
6.Western breakfast whenever is possible .
7.Service charges of west Sichuan flower safari include the fees of a professional English-speaking flower guide.
8.China domestic travel insurance.
9.Basic tips to the serving staff , guide, driver and hotel bellmen.

The cost does not include the following.
a.Any expense of personal nature such as laundry.
b.During west Sichuan flower safari, extra charges due to change of itinerary from the client side or other factors are beyond the control of WildFloraTour.
c.Any flight tickets to the place where our trip start and from the place where our trip ends .
d.Expenses for visa application.

 

 


1. How about your flower guides, are they professional enough?

The world only becomes so colorful just because of the existence of so many different things. We hold great respects toward all the other companies in the world, but we want to show our specialties accumulated from many years of running trips. As a local company, we have our own advantages about local flowers and local culture. We want to build up our own team of professionals. The growth of our professional team will not only bring direct benefits to our customers in a way that they can travel in cheaper price at the same trip quality but also will exert positive impacts on locals in terms of protecting environments, appreciating local flowers and knowing better of local resources. We care about your enjoyment of the trip and we will do everything we can to ensure your full enjoyment of your trip and realize the best value of each penny you have paid to us.

2. How difficult is this trip?

The difficulty of this trip can be labeled from easy to moderate. Most of times,we will search for flowers on the roadside or the forest/alpine meadow near the main road. There are some optional hikes along the trails, but it is optional and very few. The most difficult part of the trip is that we will be in the elevation areas in most of the time, the highest place we will go is around 4500 meters above the sea level. Consult your doctor if you have never been to high elevation area before.

3. How about the food? Is there aways western food avaible?

For this trip, western food is extremely scant. Because we need to go to very remote areas of China, we have to eat in lots of local small restaurant either Sichuan restaurant or even Muslim restaurants. Though the size of those restaurants are generally small but the food from the restaurant is quite tasty.

4. Can WildFlora help me to get Chinese Visa?

Yes, we can provide necessary documents needed for your visa application. Once you confirm to participate our trip, our staff will help you with this.

5. Do I need vaccination for this trip? Do I need bring medicines?

We think it is unnecessary you can also consult your personal doctor for suggestions. Yes, you’d better bring your own medicine. Though we have lots of pharmacies in China, all the medicines are explained in Chinese. The pharmacies in remote areas are very small and do not have many choices. So the best way is to consult your doctor and bring some medicines in case of needs.

6. What kind of flower watching gears do I need to bring?

We will bring a camera , you need to bring your own cameras. We will also print a checklist for each of our trip participants. Unless we specify in our itinerary, we do not camp in our trips but in some trips, we have to stay in local family guest house which is quiet basic, if you want to bring your own sleeping bags, you can bring.

7. What does WildfloraTour trips include and exclude?

Please read the inclusions and exclusions given in the same page where you find the trip cost.

 

8. Do we need special permit to go Tibetan areas?

In Sichuan you don’t need permit because literally, you don’t need permit to go to Tibetan area outside Tibet Autonomous Region. But we need to be prepared that we may have to change our itinerary if some temporary measures are taken in certain place due to outbreak of some unexpected things. For the permit to Tibet, WildfloraTour will apply for you. WildfloraTour will do its utmost to ensure smooth operation of the trip and fully enjoyment of our clients. But Tibet is very special place. There are lots of factors are beyond the control of WildfloraTour. We reserve the right to change the itinerary if there is any policy change that make our visit to Tibet impossible.

9. How is the weather like in July? What do we need to bring?

Though July means coming of hot weather in most of the world, for Tibetan area it is different. Due to high elevation, the morning in some places are still pretty cold, can be as low as zero degree, especially when we are searching flowers in mountain passes.

10. Are there any special requirments on visitors from WildfloraTour when travelling in Tibetan area!

WildfloraTour hold great gratitude toward our clients and will always do our utmost to create best memories for our clients. We respect the different view you have on sensitive issues, once you get into China, please always hold your views to yourself and strictly abide the laws of China.