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Trip Details, Dates, Prices, etc.

An Ultimate Birding Tour to West Sichuan, the Core Area of Kangba Tibetan 
Sichuan Province is becoming a world-renowned destination for its abundant resources of birds and wildlife, particularly the game birds (pheasant, partridge, tragopan, and grouse), parrotbills, rosefinches, warblers. In this trip, we will take you to some top birding sites in Sichuan such as Longcangou National Forest Park (close to Wawu Shan), Balang Mountain, Wolong Nature Reserve to search for some fascinating species from the above-mentioned families.
Our trip will start from Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, which renowned for iconic pandas and famed as the city of gastronomy. Following Chengdu, we will drive west to the wild panda habitat in Xiangling Mountains and start our search for parrotbills and other birds in Longcanggou, then we visit Kangding where we have nice opportunities for Lady Amherst's Pheasant. We will drive further west for Ibisbill and Buff-throated Partridge (Verreaux's Partridge) before visiting Balang Mountain, the pheasant kingdom. Besides birds, the trip will also be highlighted by good chance of spotting mammals like Red Panda, Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel, Chinese Goral, Tibetan Macaque and experiencing authentic ethnic minority culture as we travel to the core area of Kangba Tibetans and Jiarong Tibetans. 

Tour Info Sheet

Highlight BirdsLady Amherst's Pheasant, Snow Partridge, Temminck's Tragopan, Golden Pheasant, Tibetan Snowcock, Buff-throated Partridge, Chinese Monal, Blood Pheasant, White Eared Pheasant, Grandala, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, Ashy-throated Parrotbill, Great Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Golden Parrotbill, Emei Shan Liocichla, Ibisbill, Collared Grosbeak, White-winged Grosbeak, Goldcrest, Giant Laughingthrush, Elliot's Laughingthrush, Slaty Bunting, White-browed Tit Warbler, Chinese Fulvetta, Sichuan Tit, Wall Creeper, Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Red-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Chough, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Common Rosefinch, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Red-fronted Rosefinch, etc.
Numbers of Species to Expect120-150
Ease of Birdingmostly easy birding with a few tricky species
Highlight MammalsRed Panda, Hog Badger, Tibetan Macaque, Chinese Goral, Sambar, Masked Palm Civet, Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel, etc.
Other AttractionsTibetan culture, wild panda habitat, delicate food
Photography Opportunitiesbirding focused but with very good photography chances
Habitats Coveredsubtropical forests, woodlands, snow mountains
Expected Climatemostly comfortable, windy and cold on snow mountains, rain is possible
Physical Requirementsmostly easy, demanding but optional in certain parts
Accommodationvery comfortable
Transportation19-seat van

What makes this trip irreplaceable?

1. This trip covers some of the most popular birding sites in Sichuan including Balang Mountain and Longcanggou National Forest Park. We can expect a great diversity of pheasants, parrotbills, rosefinches, and warblers on this trip.

2. Our experienced guides have guided birding tours in these areas for many times, they have great knowledge about local birds and birding sites with good access to the latest bird info. At the same time, they have rich experiences of guiding birders from different countries and understand clients' needs well.

3. Besides birds, we can enjoy some fascinating mammals like Red Panda. The unique Tibetan culture is also a bonus for this trip.

4. The scenery is breathtaking. The highest places we will visit during this tour are Pamuling at around 4,000m and Balang Mountain pass at around 4,484m, we will see some magnificent snow mountains there.

5. A small group size of no more than 8 birders.

6. Years of working as a local partner for some prestigious western companies specialized in birds and other wildlife.

7. A strong logistic team in the office to ensure our trip goes smoothly and every participant has a comfortable and memorable journey.


Dates & Prices

Dates Booking Status Price Single Supplement Group Size Guide
Apr 8-21, 2023Space Available3,250USD/pax390USD/pax8Local Guide
Slide the sheet to the left to see the full sheet if you are viewing it on your phone or tablet.
The cost includes the following:
1. Private transportation throughout the trip, including airport pick-up and drop-off at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport or Tianfu International Airport.
2. All meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 14.
3. All the entrance tickets for places listed in the itinerary including cable cars and shuttle buses.
4. Hotel stays from the first day to the last day, two clients occupy one twin-bed room on sharing basis at nice 3 or 4 star hotels in big cities and local best guesthouses in remote areas.
5. Bottled water and snacks throughout the trip.

6. Simple western breakfast whenever possible.
7. Service charges of a professional and experienced local bird guide throughout the whole trip.
8. China domestic travel insurance.
9. Service of all logistic supports. 
The cost does not include the following:
a. Drinks during meals.
b. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from the client's side or factors beyond the control of AlpineBirding such as natural disasters or governmental policy changes.
c. Discretionary tips to local guides and drivers.
d. All personal expenses such as laundry service.
ANY AIRFARE except those stated in the itinerary.
f. Any program not listed in the itinerary.


Tour Map

Day 1: Arrival in Chengdu, China.
On the first day of the tour, a private guide or driver will meet you once you arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu Airport or Tianfu International Airport. After meeting our guide and driver, you will be transferred to the downtown hotel for one night stay. For people arrive early, we will go for a relaxing birding at a local park near the hotel. 
Day 2: Chengdu to Longcanggou National Forest Park.
We will have a short visit to the Chengdu Botanical Garden before driving to the Longcanggou National Forest Park. Chengdu Botanical Garden has been considered as one of the best city parks for birding thanks to its big diversity of cultivated plants and good forest coverage. We can find some urban and special resident birds here, including Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Chinese Bulbul, White-browed Laughingthrush, Red-billed Leiothrix, Japanese White-eye, Chinese Blackbird, Chinese Grosbeak, Collared Finchbill, Long-tailed Shrike, Fork-tailed Sunbird, Hoopoe, etc. 
Followed the exploration, we will drive on and take a 3-hour journey to Longcanggou area. Upon arrival, we will have some light birding around the guesthouse looking for Ashy-throated Parrotbill, Hwamei, Red-billed Leiothrix, Oriental Greenfinch, etc.
Day 3-4: Longcanggou National Forest Park.
Located on the western edge of the Sichuan Basin, Longcanggou is in the core area of the transition zone between the basin and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The high mountains in this area block the moisture-rich fogs from drifting further onto Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The accumulation of these fog eventually turns into rain, nurturing lush vegetation and the dense subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest on the mountain slopes and making it home to a lot of range-restricted and endemic species. Two brilliant pheasants, namely Temminck's Tragopan and Lady Amherst's Pheasant inhabit here. In the lush bamboo forest of high elevation, we will look for Great Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Golden Parrotbill, Emei Shan Liocichla, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Red-winged Laughingthruhrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Vinaceous Rosefinch, White-throated Needletail, Coal Tit, Fire-capped Tit, Ashy-throated Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Emei Leaf Warbler, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, etc. 
In the broadleaf forest of lower elevation, we will look for Gold-fronted Fulvetta, David's Fulvetta, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Speckled Piculet, Yellow-browed Tit, Yellow-bellied Tit, Black-throated Tit, Sichuan Bush Warbler, Pygmy Cupwing, Black Bulbul, Emei Leaf Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Red-tailed Minla, Blue-winged Minla, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Taiga Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, etc. 
Day 5: Longcanggou to Labahe Nature Reserve.
This morning we will have another chance to search for our targets again before driving to Labahe Nature Reserve. Upon arrival, we will go birding around the hotel to look for some low-elevation species including Red-billed Blue Magpie, White-capped Water Redstart, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Collared Finchbill, Brown Dipper. We may encounter our first mammal, the Tibetan Macaque. Followed dinner at the hotel, we will go out to look for nocturnal creatures such as Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel, Sambar, etc.
Day 6: Labahe Nature Reserve.
Lying deep in the Hengduan Mountains, Labahe is a significant wild panda habitat and by far one of the best places in China to look for Red Panda. The mixed alpine forest and dense bamboo understory make an ideal habitat for Red Panda, though it will still require an amount of hard work and patience to find one. Additionally, Labahe is undisputedly a great birding site. We will walk with all our eyes on the paved road and search both sides and rugged mountains around. We will likely encounter a variety of interesting species including Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Brown Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, Sichuan Treecreeper, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Spotted Nutcracker, Yellow-browed Tit, Fire-capped Tit, Coal Tit, Pere David's Tit, Black-browed Tit, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Chinese Cupwing, Pygmy Cupwing, Ashy-throated Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Golden Bush Robin, etc.
Although the chance is slim, we can have some particular search for giant pandas, they are occasionally spotted in this reserve during the spring mating season. We can pay special attention to the dense bamboo forest for white and black patches while looking for our targets. 
Day 7: Labahe Nature Reserve to Kangding.
We will spend the morning in Labahe to search for our targets again. After that, we will spend the rest day traveling to Kangding.
Day 8: Kangding to Yajiang via Xinduqiao. 
We will spend the morning birding in Kangding searching for Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Barred Laughingthrush, Chinese Babax, White-collared Yuhina, Black-browed Tit, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler. Following that, we drive on to Yajiang. We will drive along streams for some time, we will have several stops to search the riverbank where is a favorite habitat for Ibisbill. Besides, we can also see Brown Dipper, White-throated Dipper, Daurian Jackdaw, etc.
Day 9: Yajiang to Danba via Pamuling (Alt.: up to 4,000m).
We will drive to Pamuling Mountain in the early morning. On the top of Pamuling Mountain, there is a Tibetan monastery. Buddhism has long become part of local Tibetans' daily life which requires people to treat wildlife as equal living creatures as human beings. The belief in Buddhism has turned this place into a paradise for wildlife and an ideal destination for birding as birds here are not afraid of humans. We have good opportunities to see Buff-throated Partridge, Blood Pheasant, White-browed Tit Warbler, Yunnan Nuthatch, Black-browed Tit, Rufous-vented Tit, Grey-crested Tit, Grey-backed Shrike, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, White-backed Thrush, etc. After our exploration in Yajiang, we will drive on to Danba.
Day 10: Danba to Rilong.
After having breakfast at the hotel, we drive to the last and most important birding place on this trip, the Balang Mountain. We will have some stops along the way, particularly at the Yala Mountain area where we can look for White Eared Pheasant, Chinese Babax, Brown Dipper, etc. After that, we will drive on to Balang Mountain to look for Red-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Chough, Grandala, Pink-rumped Roesfinch, Beautiful Rosefinch, Dark-breasted Roesfinch, Common Rosefinch, Streaked Rosefinch, Plan Mountain Finch, Brand's Mountain Finch, White-winged Grosbeak, etc.
Day 11-12: Balang Mountain area (Alt.: up to 4,484m).
We will spend two days birding on this fascinating birding site. Balang Mountain is the first high mountain standing between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau, from the foot to the pass, the elevation rises sharply from 2,000m to 4,500m which provides a wide variety of habitats to support a lot of creatures. The mountain pass, around 4,500 meters, is the highest point we will reach on this entire tour. Around the snowline of the alpine flowstone slope, we will search for the scurrying Snow Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, and Grandala. Other high altitude specialties we could see include Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Golden Eagle, Red-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Chough, Alpine Accentor, Brandt's Mountain Finch, Snow Pigeon, Red-fronted Rosefinch, Rosy Pipit, etc. 
We will also spend some time at the lower elevations around the timberline where alpine meadows and scrubs carpet the snow-covered mountains. We will visit this area several times in search of birds including the endemic Chinese Monal, and White Eared Pheasant, Chestnut-throated Partridge, as well as other birds including Blood Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Chinese Fulvetta, Chinese Rubythroat, Golden Bush Robin, Streaked Rosefinch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Common Rosefinch, Kessler's Thrush (White-backed Thrush), Rufous-vented Tit, Sichuan Tit, Asian House Martin, Alpine Leaf Warbler, Giant Laughingthrush, White-throated Redstart, etc. 
Additionally, we will visit broad-leaved forest and bamboo undergrowth lower down for Large Hawk Cuckoo, Himalayan Cuckoo, Eurasian Nutcracker, Green-backed Tit, Yellow-streaked Warbler, Buff-throated Warbler, Chinese Leaf Warbler, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, Martens's Warbler, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, White-collared Yuhina, Chinese Babax, Chestnut Thrush, Verditer Flycatcher, Daurian Redstart, Slaty Bunting, Yellow-throated Bunting, etc. Golden Pheasant's call can be heard here, but it normally hides in the bush, we may see it with luck.
Day 13: Rilong to Chengdu via Balang Mountain.
We will spend most of the day search for our targets again before driving back to Chengdu. On our last night in Chengdu, we will experience the authentic Chengdu hotpot to bring our wonderful birding experience to a successful conclusion.
Day 14: Departure from Chengdu.
Following a lovely breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport to depart from Chengdu or start your extension in another part of China. The services of AlpineBirding for this trip will end here.


We will arrange one of our best local guides for this trip who has rich experiences of guiding tours in this region. The following are some of our best local guides.

Philip He

As a half Kangba Tibetan, Philip is the main founder of AlpineBirding and is native of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He has a deep love for his Kangba Tibetan heritage and the land where he was born and raised. Philip's career has gone from mining technician to a teacher, then a translator, and finally to a guide and tour operator. As a professional working in this field for more than 20 years, Philip believes travel is an art and a process of sharing and discovery. Each trip is a unique artistic work created with knowledge and expertise based on the resources available and the interests and tastes of travelers. To help more people to gain a lifetime birding and traveling experience, he established AlpineBirding with aim to bring his professional, fun-filled tours to more people who are eager to explore birds and other beautiful attractions in China. 


Bella Zhang

Bella, the director of AlpineBirding, graduated from Sichuan Agricultural University with a Bachelor's Degree. She joined AlpineBirding in early 2016 and became the director of AlpineBirding in 2018. She was born and grew up in a Bai ethnic family in Yunnan Province which boasts of the largest number of bird species in China. Her interests toward birds started with her observation of a Long-tailed Minivet in her mom's garden at a very young age. As she grows up, the interests and love toward birds become stronger and stronger. Because of that, she found AlpineBirding before graduation and joined the company for further learning of birds. Bella has guided a number of birding trips in cooperation with AlpineBirding guide in the past years, her passion, readiness to help and detail-oriented attitude have won her lots of praise from our clients.


We don't have a report available for this tour at this stage, please feel free to email us, we are more than happy to answer any of your questions and share the latest bird information with you.



Yohay Wasserlauf / Western Sichuan
Wonderful Birding trip with AlpineBirding
On November 2019 we had an amazing birding trip to Sichuan area with AlpineBirding.
We went for 6 days to Wolong, Longcanggou and Labahe, and thanks to Shay, our guide, we manage to see many beautiful birds in an incredible scenery.
One of the highlights were 4 different Red Pandas that gave us amazing view!!!
You can't go wrong with AlpineBirding and I can highly recommend to travel in Sichuan and china with them, and I hope to do that again myself.
Yohay Wasserlauf / Western Sichuan October 13, 2019
Alice and Silas / Balang Mountain Excursion
The Birds of Balang Shan
My husband and I are just returned from an amazing and very professional Birding Tour by Alpine Birding in the Wolong Preserve/Balang Shan area; Western Sichuan Province. Gorgeous forests and alpine landscapes, the dividing line between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai Plateau. Awe-inspiring views!
We had a 1 1/2 day experience, all inclusive with a private driver (to and from and during the location), delicious meals and snacks and water provided, a room for the overnight stay, and our extraordinary Birding Guide Shay who showed and instructed us on far more birds than we could've hoped to see had we been on our own! He generously shared his superior equipment and bird identification field guide, and went above and beyond our expectations in stopping at many many locations to look for birds! We were impressed by his knowledge of bird identification and his deftness of scoping! Attention to detail was one of the hallmarks of our experience; We felt very well taken care of:)
While our trip was of necessity a simple overnight/daytrip, I highly recommend a longer excursion; We will definitely do another AlpineBirding tour in the future:)
Alice and Silas / Balang Mountain Excursion May 25, 2019
Esther and Rick / Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Awesome fun birding in Tibet
We decided to visit Tibet for birding and contacted Alpine Birding for itinerary recommendation. The suggested routing is interesting and their staffs were highly efficient in arranging the land transfer and accommodation for us.
Philip, our guide is an exceptionally competent knowledgeable birder and photographer. He was quick to spot the birds and seemed to know all the best spots to see them. He was eager to help us to get a good spotting on different spectacular feather creatures through our binoculars. Even though many of the birds were well hidden and moving from tree to tree, he would quietly tracked their movements and swiftly showed us the direction.
Through his passion, we were able to see the winter migratory birds in Tibetan region. We were successful at seeing flocks of impressive species, such as the Black-necked Crane, Himalayan Monal, Tibetan Eared Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Lord Derby’s Parakeet, Snow Pigeon and some waterfowls. All these could never have even glimpsed on our own.
Philip was a great birding companion, he has given us a great deal of information concerning the behaviours of those birds that we have encountered. We felt at ease with him as he patiently showed us the specific cues in bird photography. He even offered his professional telephoto lens to us to enhance our photos presentations which obviously was the icing on the cake.
We place a very high value on the professional guide we had in Philip especially because of the high altitudes in our birding trail. The tour was well thought out and executed. He is reliable and will deal with all details in advance. Hot tea and snacks are always available which were soothing and recharging when the outdoor temperature was freezing. The pace was comfortable and we never felt rushed or inadequate during birding. Philip always concern about our responses to the environment and would refine the itinerary according to our physical conditions and preferences.
We have experienced a safe and enjoyable Tibetan Plateau birding tour and see a different facet of Tibetan nature. The landscape was breathtaking, it was such a pleasure to see stunning snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, forests and wild animals throughout the whole adventurous trip. Besides, we have tried stone claypot chicken hotpot (shiguoji), the soup was super delicious and welcoming especially after a long excursion.
All in all, the entire tour was full of positive experience and invaluable memories. Philip is superb and well acquainted with the nature ecosystem. We really appreciated the time he took to share with us about the birdlife, local culture and no need to mention the tremendous photos we took. We will never forget this fabulous experience and feel so fortunate to see all these wonderful flying creatures under his guidance. Certainly, it was clear that how much he loved what he does and we did learn a lot in this trip.
We cannot recommend his services enough and have no hesitation in recommending Philip for his birding skills, his determination to find beautiful birds and his pleasant character.
If you have any interest in birds or even just want to take a walk through some incredible forest or wildlife related travel with a guide there to teach you something new, this is the company for you! We think you will be as pleased as we have been and want to go somewhere new as soon as you return home.
Esther and Rick / Qinghai-Tibet Plateau February 03, 2019
Claire and Michael / Southwest China (Sichuan & Yunnan)
Several Very Good Weekend Trips in Sichuan and Yunnan
My wife and I are serious birders from the US. During 2018, we lived in Thailand for a work assignment, and had the opportunity to do several weekend trips up to China to go birding with Alpine.
We had successful and memorable outings in Zixishan (Yunnan), as well as Balangshan and Longcanggou (Sichuan), picking up specialties such as Alpine Accentor, Lammergeier, Black-headed Mountain-Finch, Blood Pheasant, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Elliot's Laughingthrush, Giant Laughingthrush, Golden Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Snow Partridge, Snow Pigeon, Tibetan Snowcock, Verreaux's Partridge, White Eared-Pheasant, White-capped Redstart, Chinese Bamboo-Partridge, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Gray-faced Liocichla, Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Red-tailed Laughingthrush, Temminck's Tragopan, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, Godlewski's Bunting, and Yunnan Nuthatch, in addition to many others.
Even without the birds, Balangshan has the most inspiring mountain vistas we've ever seen.
Bella and her team arranged for comfortable transportation, lodging, and very experienced guides. But the best additional benefit was the food - our guides always took us out for the best local lunches and dinners - it will be very difficult to return home and have Sichuan food now, knowing how it pales in comparison to the real Chinese food in China...
Bella and Alpine were also very responsive and attentive to our overall satisfaction, and when we suggested some things that could be improved, they were happy to accommodate us. It was much appreciated.
We recommend Alpine Birding as a great way to see some of the most incredible birds found only in one of the most beautiful regions of Asia.
Claire and Michael / Southwest China (Sichuan & Yunnan) May 29, 2018
Mathieu W / Northwest Sichuan
Birding in Sichuan
Arrange a birding / hiking trip in northwestern Sichuan. Our guide Parus Yang was a good guide with excellent ornithology knowledge. We saw despite not the best season lots of birds and mammals.
Accomodation which was arranged was fine.
Mathieu W / Northwest Sichuan June 19, 2015
Roy Atkins / Custom Birding Trip in Sichuan
Hi, Philip
I have been busy answering e-mails and writing text for our newsletter and other things since getting back as lots of things needed doing - but things already calming down again.
Thank you for your kind words and can I also say it was a complete pleasure working with you too, the words I said on our final evening were all completely from the heart and I can honestly say that the combination of you and Parus made for an excellent experience from the wildlife and cultural perspective. The guests were all telling me how much they enjoyed the holiday and how much your input made the holiday for them. To have someone who could explain and point out aspects of Chinese culture as diverse as architecture, food, religion, day to day life and more was just fantastic. I would say with hand on heart that this was one of the best trips I have led and for that I have you to thank
I am also very aware that you had a huge amount to think about during the trip – timing the travel days to arrive at a sensible time while still giving us time to enjoy a few stops along the way is not always easy and you did it very well indeed. Organising our evening meals and breakfasts in the field and so much more is all time consuming and needs thinking through and again you did a fabulous job. In fact the trip simply worked very well indeed and I feel very privileged to have worked with you and visited your wonderful country. 

I think the itinerary we chose was superb and clearly both the Terracotta Warriors at the start and pandas at the wend were both extremely popular.
 ——Roy Atkins, a professional Bird Guide from UK in Custom Birding Trip in Sichuan in 2015
Roy Atkins / Custom Birding Trip in Sichuan May 20, 2015
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