Horse trekking and wonderful Jiuzhaigou!
From outback to fairyland, this tour will take you deep into the stunning landscapes and Tibetan culture of northern Sichuan. Saddle up and explore the wild Songpan countryside on horseback, heading all the way to the glacier of Mt. Xuebaoding with your trusty steed. Then move on to the myriad colors of Jiuzhaigou where you’ll discover the waterfalls, forests and lakes of Jiuzhaigou Valley and Huanglong National Park.
Minimum adult travelers: 1
Day 1 Songpan arrival
The ancient city of Songpan was an important military and economic hub between Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai provinces. Built during the Tang Dynasty it lies on the Ancient Horse and Tea Trade Route and is a charming city in itself, but the rolling hillsides and surrounding villages are best enjoyed on horseback.
You’ll arrive at Jiuhuang Airport and be transferred to the HuangLong International Hotel in Songpan county about one hour away, where you will overnight.
Day 2 Songpan-Mt.Xuebaoding: 4-5 hours riding
8:30 a.m. Leave Songpan to go and get acquainted with your new best friend, your horse. Once they’ve loaded the pack-horses with provisions, the guides will then help you mount and make sure you can maneuver your trusty steed.
9:00 a.m. You’ll be on your way, leaving via the town’s narrow streets to begin your ascent up the mountain. A steep climb and a fabulous views of Songpan are followed by a ride through green, forested hills, pastures and farmland and in the distance, snow topped mountains behind jade green valleys. Your horse might huff a bit before crossing a small babbling brook but shortly after you’ll reach the crest of a hill.
12:00 a.m. Break for a simple lunch cooked by your guide while taking in the magnificent mountain vista laid out before you.
12:30 p.m. After lunch you’ll descend the hill and explore the local area by foot.
4:00 p.m. Your guides will make camp for the night near the Mineral Spring, unloading the horses and setting up the tents, after which they’ll set to cooking a rustic dinner of local vegetables such as potato or pumpkin.
5:00 p.m. Dinner is served. You’ll dine around the campfire which will keep away the evening chill. Warm blankets and sleeping bags are provided in the tents but in the winter months temperatures drop to -16/17 °C so be sure to take plenty of thermal clothing.
Day 3 Mt. Xuebaoding: 5-6 hours riding
8:00 a.m. Start the day with a hearty breakfast and a cup of hot tea.
9:00 a.m. Saddle up and continue your ascent further into the wild Chinese outback of Mt. Xuebaoding. The tallest peak in the Min Mountain Range (5588 meters high) Mt. Xuebaoding’s peak is covered in snow all year-round and after riding for four or so hours, you’ll reach the magnificent glacier. As the sun rises higher in the sky, so too will the temperatures and as you continue on foot to a height of 4,500 meters, you’ll be able to reach out and touch the ice—you’ll feel like you have conquered Mt. Everest!
12:30 p.m. Break for a simple lunch cooked by your guide or groom.
1:00 p.m. Make your way back down the mountain to base camp.
5:00 p.m. Enjoy dinner by the campfire and a Chinese night cap with your guides before tucking in for the night in your tent.
Day 4 Mt. Xuebaoding to Songpan: 5 hours riding
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. The final day of trekking is a nice and easy descent through the picturesque hills and valleys toward Songpan.
12:00 a.m. Break for a simple lunch cooked by your guide.
3:00 p.m. Arrive in Songpan like a cowboy, riding over the Hanging Bridge tired but still full of adrenalin from the incredible experience you’ve just had in Songpan.
You’re free to spend the evening as you please.
Day 5 Songpan-Jiuzhaigou
8:00 a.m. Depart from Sunjiang Youth Hostel.
10:00 a.m. Arrive in Jiuzhaigou.
Located deep in the Min Mountains on the east of the Tibetan plateau, the Jiuzhaigou Valley is full of incredible landscapes. Crystal clear turquoise pools and cascading waterfalls are found at every turn throughout the densely forested slopes. You’ll take a tourist bus and spend the next couple of hours exploring the Zechawa Valley, returning by foot to take in the sights along the way including Panda Lake, Five Color Lake and Pearl Shore.
1:00 p.m. Lunch
Break for lunch at Nuo Ri Lang Restaurant.
In the afternoon you’ll head to Shuzheng Valley. Take the bus up to Long Lake which reaches 3,100 meters above sea level at its highest point, and Multi-Color Lake.
5:00 p.m. In order to protect the beautiful environment there are no hotels inside the park so it’s time to return to the hotel.
6:00 p.m. Dinner and overnight at the Jiuzhaigou Gesang hotel.
Day 6 Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong
7:00 a.m. After breakfast at the hotel you’ll be driven to Huanglong via the scenic Mt. Xueshanliangzi (4200m).
10:00 a.m. Arrive at Huanglong National Park.
Stunningly beautiful, within the reserve fascinating limestone landscapes dotted with temples and monasteries abound. Known as Se’ercuo in Tibetan, or “golden lake”, it’s easy to see why local Tibetans believe the colorful terraced pools of Huanglong to be a sacred tribute to Mt. Xuebaoding that towers above.
10:30 a.m. You’ll take the cable car up the hill to save your breath for the high altitude at the top and within the park where the best scenery is found. A 2 km walk will take you to the pools.
12:00 a.m. Break for lunch in the park. As there are no restaurants, your guide will prepare a light lunch of snacks.
12:30-3:30 p.m. Walk down the mountain taking in the beautiful forest and lake views along the way.
3:30 p.m. You will be transferred to the airport for departure
5:00 p.m. Arriving to the airport