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Immerse Yourself In The Nature And Culture Of Ya'an, China

best things to do in ya'an china

If you think Ya'an is just some boring place with old buildings, stop there! Ya'an is a city flourished with the beauty of nature, a rich established history and culture, but also modernized. Backpackers, travelers and photographers are strongly recommended to pay a visit here as there are so many natural wonders here for you to quest after. You will never get bored of this city as there are so many different kinds of activities for you to do, from sightseeing to relaxation to shopping. Plus the entrance fees to the attractions are reasonable, so don’t worry about putting a hole in your pocket. So, put yourself out there by enjoying every moment you spent in the wonderful city of Ya'an.

Read on to find out about the best things to do in Ya'an.

1. Be fascinated by the adorable pandas


Posted by 陈金涛 on Wednesday, 22 August 2012

This is an ideal attraction for families, especially those with kids. The cuteness of the pandas is irresistible; watching the cubs in the nursery will definitely be a highlight of your trip here. You will also be able to get a look at the first twin cubs on the base, birthed by a panda named ‘Guo Guo’.

The pandas in the panda base, which sits in the middle of the large bamboo woods, are growing in good condition due to the great quality of air and water. The panda base is a conservation project merging tourism, research and giant panda breeding with around 80 pandas. It will be an eye-opener for you and your kids understanding the preservation of the pandas which are about to be extinct.

Bifengxia Panda Center

Address: Bifeng Gorges Scenic Resort, Yucheng District, Ya'an 625000, China

Website: Bifengxia Panda Center

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

2. Have a beautiful hiking experience

Posted by Loredana De Sole 太阳 Photography on Wednesday, 11 May 2016

女娲池是碧峰峡最具代表性的景点。 女娲,是华夏的女神,她不仅以纤纤巧手缔造了芸芸众生,更在天塌洪泄之际挺身而出,炼五彩石,引日月针,填缺补漏,至死方休。纵然茫茫岁月的无情风雨也吹不散她英勇执著的补天精神,洗不灭碧峰峡收藏的万古遗踪。传说女娲...

Posted by 风景 大自然的美 唯美[ 圖] on Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The panda base as mentioned before is located in Bifeng Canyon, which is a big mystical nature area for you to explore. There will be an elevator to take you down to the canyon in case you don’t want to walk the stairs. Being in the canyon, with birds chirping, water splashing from creeks and waterfalls, and wind blowing, you can really feel peace. Admire green, varied vegetation, valleys and waterfalls along the way. It will be a beautiful walk with breathtaking scenery in the gorge. The steps are few and are suitable for even old people. You could call this place a summer resort, as the air is chilly and the temperature is just right to cool you down.

Ya'an Bifeng Canyon

Address: Xiali Country, Yucheng District, Ya'an 625007, China

Website: Ya'an Bifeng Canyon (in Chinese)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

3. Traveling back to ancient times

Shangli Ancient Town in Ya'an City, southwest China's Sichuan Province. :)

Posted by Learn Mandarin on Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The shangli ancient town

Posted by Tony Xu on Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Being an important stop on the ‘South Silk Road’ and the transit place for the 'Red Army’ during the Anti-Japanese War, Shangli Ancient Town is enriched with strong history, leaving behind all kinds of historical architecture and buildings. Experience the culture of Shangli Ancient Town while walking into wooden houses in Ming and Qing styles. The two famous ancient bridges; the Overpass in Qing Dynasty and Two Immortals Bridge, and the memorial archways add more history to the ancient town.

Built in 1825 by 3 generations, Han’s Quadrangle has carvings on the building that shows the remarkable skills and talent of the Hans. Stepping into the building is like traveling through a time-machine back to olden days. Over 70 stone carving slogans left behind by the Red Army can now be seen in the town, teaching you more about the history. The surrounding nature like mountains, water, scattered fields and hills will make you fall in love with this town. Food is never absent in a town like this. Marmite Ya’an fish, rice noodles with hot pot beef, source ribs, and dada noodles will satisfy your appetite.

Shangli Ancient Town

Address: Yashang Rd, Shanglizhen, Yucheng Qu, Yaan Shi, Sichuan Sheng, China

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

4. Entering nature's paradise

A post shared by Echo Wong (@echo.meow) on Apr 11, 2017 at 7:16pm PDT

Dongla Mountain Shenmu Base is made up of towering old trees, plateaus, meadows, and a well-preserved old-growth forest with JinShan Forest Nature Park taking up some part of it. Mountain roads and wooden bridges are built for you to make your way more easily. Other than that, you will also see a stupendous view of the Tibetan shepherd’s grazing cows, sheep, mules and horses and even pigs in the wild, hillside meadow. If you come in November, you will see the magnificent view of red autumn leaves spread all over the forest.

There are not many man-made facilities, so the whole mountain is very well preserved. Dongla Mountain Shenmu Base sits at the altitude of 2,300 m (7,545 feet) to 4,300 m (14,107 feet). Therefore, people with altitude sickness are advised to bring along an oxygen tank or not go up at all.

Dongla Mountain Shenmu Base

Address: Qiaoqi Country, Baoxing County, Ya'an 625705, China

Website: Dongla Mountain Shenmu Base (in Chinese)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

5. Shop for some memories for you to keep

Source: Photo by user Noetica used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

야안 아주랑교 (雅州廊桥) : 상리고진에서 40분 이동하여 도착하는 아주랑교는 청의강(靑衣江)을 가로 지르는 길이 240m의 야안(雅安)을 상징하는 대표적인 고건축물로 밤이면 다리 위에 야시장이 열린다. 야안에는 차마고도(茶馬古道) 천장공로(川藏公路)의 시발점을 상징하는 조각상이 있다.

Posted by 원트래블 on Saturday, 18 December 2010

Yazhou Gallery Bridge, sitting across Qing Yi River, is the landmark of Ya'an and the biggest, longest bridge in the country. The three-stories of retro-architecture involve coffee shops, restaurants, tea shops, handbags, clothing, leather goods, wood carvings, bakeries and more. Bring some souvenirs back from here to paint a memory of your trip to Ya'an. Although it looks retro on the outside, the inside is quite modern. The scenery at night is splendid with the embellishment of the lights on the bridge, and the romantic sunset view. You can also overlook Ya'an city from the bridge.

Yazhou Gallery Bridge

Address: North and South Coasts of Qingyijiang, Yucheng District, Ya'an 625000, China

Website: Yazhou Gallery Bridge (in Chinese)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

6. Learn the history of one of the best historical sites and admire the spring water

Posted by 侯惠齡 on Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Posted by 侯惠齡 on Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bury yourself in the history of White Horse Spring if you are one of those history lovers. Filled with ancient carvings and stone structures, White Horse Spring has existed since the Tang Dynasty. There are spring stones with horse and dragon reliefs and carvings of the words ‘Long Dong’ (meaning dragon cave). White Horse Spring is famous for its geyser, with a ​water temperature of 15°C (59°F) the whole year long.

As the spring water gushes out, it gives off a horse hoofing sound and flows through the two sides of the corridors. Depending on your luck, the phenomenon happens several times a day or not at all. In the back of the spring, there sits a temple with a backdrop of the forest. The chilling temperature of the spring makes it a great summer resort.

White Horse Spring

Address: Shangli Country, Yucheng District, Ya'an 625000, China

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

7. Treat yourself with a warm, hot spring spa

Zhougong Mountain

Posted by Amrouso Leng on Tuesday, 2 October 2012

As we all know, a hot spring is very beneficial to our health. Mt. Zhougong Spa Park contains eight types of mineral elements that are advantages to our health, for increasing our immune system, treating insomnia, improving our joints, treating high blood pressure, endocrine dysfunction and much more.

The quality of the water meets the Medical Hot Mineral Water Quality Standards of China. In the park, there are different temperature hot spring pools that meet​ the needs of different individuals, so choose wisely. Mt. Zhougong Spa Park is surrounded by mountains and nature, where you can smell the fresh air and enjoy the scenery while submerging in the hot spring pool.

Mt. Zhougong Spa Park

Address: Zhougong Riverside of Kongping Country and Liba Country, Yucheng District, Ya'an 625000, China

Website: Mt. Zhougong Spa Park (in Chinese)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

8. Brace yourself for the most splendid view you will ever see


Posted by Man Wong on Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Posted by iPanda on Monday, 8 August 2016

There are two options for you to reach this mountain, by foot or by car, depending on your stamina. Either way, the view will not disappoint you. Having the praise of ‘China’s largest scenic lookout platform’, its name, Cattle Back Mountain, is made famous by the peak cliffs with huge boulders that resemble a cattle head, and its slender ridge that looks like a cattle’s back. On the mountain top, you get a tremendous view of various mountains such as Emei Mountain, Four Ladies Mountain and Er Lang Mountain.

There are also two ways to camp, either in the tent inn provided, or setting up your own tent, but that is only advisable to do during autumn and summer. The former is preferable during winter as you can set a camp fire inside to keep you warm. The tent inn has two types; one contains two wooden beds and blankets, the other one can accommodate 4-5 people inside. Be overwhelmed by the sunrise and sunset; a view of a ​sea of clouds; snow mountains; and the milky way at night. This is a must-go to place at least once in your lifetime.

Cattle Back Mountain

Website: Cattle Back Mountain (in Chinese)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

9. Surround yourself with the fragrance of tea leaves

Posted by Chengdu Hi-Tech on Saturday, 1 April 2017

Posted by Dididadi Peng on Sunday, 3 April 2016

The history begins with a Taoist, Wu Lizhen, who planted tea on the top of The Holy Mountain of the world’s tea culture, Mend Ding Mountain. He became the ‘ancestor of tea planting’. From Tang and Song to Qing Dynasty, the production of Meng Shan Tea was at its peak as it was chosen as an ancient imperial tribute to the emperor and also to worship heaven and ancestors.

The perfect time for you to visit would be in April when the weather is good and the tea leaves are at their best. The lush tea garden is distributed from east to west in the middle part, which is about 80 m (262.5 feet) to 1,000 m (3,280.8 feet) above sea level. The upper part is full of broad-leaf and needle forest, which is especially beautiful during spring and summer. The main peak of Meng Ding is covered by ancient ginkgo trees. During summer, autumn and spring, you get to see a foggy, painting-like view among the peaks and the valley from the mountain top. Whereas winter is full of hanging ices glistening among the fog. There are also attractions like Tiangai Temple, Imperial Tea Garden, Ganlu Stone House and more here.

Meng Ding Mountain

Address: Mengdingshan Town, Mingshan County 625102, China

Website: Meng Ding Mountain (in Chinese)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

10. Catch the astonishing views in all four seasons

Posted by 颜宇阳 on Saturday, 5 November 2016

Posted by 颜宇阳 on Saturday, 5 November 2016

At Dongla Grand Canyon Scenic Area, you get to see different kinds of scenery throughout the year. In summer, run freely in the wide grassland or explore the canyons. In autumn, bury yourself in a mountain of red leaves, from incandescent-red to lightning-gold. In spring, smell the osmanthus fragrance in the full-blooming of osmanthus forest. In winter, the mountains are covered with snow and the flow of the waterfall becomes icy.

For the adventurer who says ‘YOLO’ and the highly-skilled photographers, this is the kind of place you would want to explore. Just so you know, Dongla Grand Canyon Scenic Area has the world’s largest osmanthus area. So, get your gears ready and make your way up to this magnificent piece of god’s creation.

Dongla Grand Canyon Scenic Area

Address: Longdong town, Baoxing County, Ya'an city, Sichuan Province, China

Website: Dongla Grand Canyon Scenic Area (in Chinese)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ya'an, Sichuan, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ya'an, Sichuan, China

Plan ahead, don't regret it!

Now that you know the marvels of Ya'an, jot down and plan your itinerary​, and don’t be repent of losing out on any of the things you want to do, which should most definitely include the items on this list!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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