Explore Sichuan’s rugged Tibetan region on horseback!
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 Jiuzhaigou (Jiuhuang) Airport and be transferred to the Sunjiang Youth Hostel 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-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’ll then head to the airport for departure according to your flight schedule.