Explore Sichuan on the Chengdu-Ya’an high-speed railway
Cui Xingyu

The last episode of our Scenery along China's high-speed rail took you on an adventure to explore metropolis on Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link. This time, we'll hop on the Chengdu-Ya'an high-speed train and explore some cities in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Chengdu-Ya'an railway refers to the Chengdu-Ya'an segment of Sichuan-Tibet Railway that began operation on December 28, 2018. Stretching 140 kilometers, the railway links two major cities in Sichuan Province, Chengdu and Ya'an, serving as an important hub of the Sichuan-Tibet travel route.

The shortest journey only takes up to an hour with a price of 52 yuan (7.74 U.S. dollars) for a second-class seat. So, let's grab our train tickets and start our tour around Sichuan.

Chengdu West Railway Station

One thing you mustn't miss when you come to Chengdu is to stop by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and say hello to the cute creatures. 

With a natural and healthy environment for pandas, the base offers you an opportunity to get close to the rare animals. You can even feed giant pandas and their cubs under the guidance of the base experts. 

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The base opens from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. all year around with the ticket price of 58 yuan (8.63 U.S. dollars) per person. 

A morning tour is recommended because giant pandas usually nap in the afternoon. Keep in mind that no flash is allowed when taking pictures and there is no feeding unless given specific instructions. 

Wide and Narrow Alley, or Kuanzhai Xiangzi in Mandarin, is a good place to wander around, especially in the evening. As one of the historical and cultural reserves in Chengdu, Wide and Narrow Alley consists of three parallel ancient alleys, named Wide Alley (Kuan Xiangzi), Narrow Alley (Zhai Xiangzi) and Well Alley (Jing Xiangzi). 

Wide and Narrow Alley in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

Wide and Narrow Alley in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

Wide and Narrow Alley in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

Wide and Narrow Alley in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

The Wide Alley and Narrow Alley demonstrate the typical Chengdu folk culture and lifestyles where you can learn about the Sichuan embroidery and Chinese shadow play. The Well Alley, on the other hand, features the modern and diverse life in Chengdu, filled with bustling pubs and nightclubs. 

Wide and Narrow Alley is just 6 subway stations away from the railway station. A night spent here will keep you occupied and entertained.

Dayi Railway Station

After four stations, the bullet train takes you to Dayi County. Dayi is noted for the highest peak of Chengdu, Xiling Snow Mountain. 

Listed as a world natural heritage site, Xiling Snow Mountain not only boasts its natural landscape, but also attracts thousands of visitors for its huge skiing site.

Xiling Snow Mountain in Dayi County, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

Xiling Snow Mountain in Dayi County, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

The icefall at Xiling Snow Mountain in Dayi County, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

The icefall at Xiling Snow Mountain in Dayi County, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

You can visit here all year round for different views. The annual snowy season usually falls from November to the end of March. When you come at that time, the skiing resort should be your top priority. 

If you go during spring and summer seasons, you'll find blooming azaleas across the mountain. There is a bus from the Dayi Railway Station that will take you directly to the resort. The admission fee is 120 yuan (17.86 U.S. dollars). 

Ya'an Railway Station

When the train makes its final stop, it's time to explore another part of Sichuan – Ya'an. Known for its vast natural tourist resources, it is home to two most popular destinations, Bifeng Gorge and Mount Dawagengzha. 

Bifeng Gorge is mostly covered by rich forest. The resort consists of two gorges shaped like a letter "V". Apart from the green plants, valleys, and waterfalls, it also has a giant panda base. 

The Bifeng Gorge in Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo 

The Bifeng Gorge in Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo 

The Giant Panda Base in Bifeng Gorge, Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo 

The Giant Panda Base in Bifeng Gorge, Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo 

Summer is the best season for traveling around the Bifeng Gorge where you can get away from the summer heat and have a water adventure.

Nestled in Baoxing County of Ya'an, Mount Dawagengzha refers to "beautiful holy mountain" in Tibetan language. A 24-kilometer "sky road" was hewed out to cross Dawagengzha through which visitors can appreciate lakes, forests, canyons and grasslands.

Mount Dawagengzha, Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

Mount Dawagengzha, Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

Mount Dawagengzha, Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

Mount Dawagengzha, Ya'an, southwest China's Sichuan Province. /VCG Photo

It also offers a perfect spot for admiring the sunrise in the morning. When standing on the peak, the mysterious sea of clouds and boundless views will immerse you in natural beauty.