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Birding in Sichuan Tibetan Areas in 2018


The Overview of this trip will tell you the following information.

 I.  Trip Briefing
 II.  Trip Essentials (Price, Guide, Group Size, Difficulty Level, Dates and Length, etc.)
 III.  Trip Map
 IV.  Trip Itinerary
 V.  Inclusions and Exclusions

I.Trip Briefing
This trip covers almost all kinds of habitats in Sichuan, we will visit some very popular birding sites such as Wawushan or Mt. Longcangou, Balang Mountain, Wolong Nature Reserve, Mengbishan, Flower Lake, Baxi Village and Jiuzhaigou, just to name a few here. The closing down of Wawu Mountain has disappointed many birders.  Just in case we still can’t go there, we go to Longcanggou instead, which is located on the other side of Wawu and has similar environment as Wawu. By concentrating on China’s endemics, this 18-day Sichuan Birding trip is absolutely an ultimate chance for endemics in China. Though some parts of this trip are quite strenuous due to climbing or walking in high-elevation areas, we will be rewarded by not only some rare endemics but also the beautiful sceneries and rich ethnic minority culture.

II.  Trip Essentials

• Trip Duration: 18 Days from May 12th to May 29
• Tour Leader: AlpineBirding Expert Guide and A Logisitic Guide

• Difficulty: mostly moderate, demanding on certain parts.

• Number of bird species expected to see during Sichuan Birding tour: 250~300

• Trip Cost: 4100USD.

• Single Supplement:500 USD; 

• Deposite: 300USD

• Trip Size: 2~8 birders.

• Space: ( 8 space available)

 III.  Trip Map


IV.  Trip Itinerary


Day 1 (May 12) Arrive Chengdu. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Overnight: Chengdu    Meals: D

Day 2 (May 13) Morning birding in Sichuan University, then drive to  Longcanggou Nature Reserve. 

Overnight: Local Guest House    Meals: BLD

Day 3-4 (May 14-15) Birding in  Longcanggou Nature Reserve.

Overnight: Local Guest House    Meals: BLD

Day 5 (May 16) Morning birding in the reserve, then drive to Wolong in the afternoon.

Overnight: Wolong    Meals: BLD

Day 6 (May 17) Birding in Balang Mountain, and drive back to Wolong in the later afternoon.

Overnight: Wolong    Meals: BLD

Day 7 (May 18) Whole day birding in Wolong.

Overnight: Wolong    Meals: BLD

Day 8 (May 19) Birding in Balang Mountain in the morning, then drive to Maerkang.

Overnight: Maerkang    Meals: BLD

Day 9 (May 20) Birding in Mengbi Mountain.

Overnight: Maerkang    Meals: BLD

Day 10 (May 21) Drive to Ruoergai and birding on the way.

Overnight: Ruoergai    Meals: BLD

Day 11 (May 22) Birding in Baxi and Huahu Lake.

Overnight: Ruoergai    Meals: BLD

Day 12 (May 23) Birding in Baxi in the morning, then drive to Jiuzhaigou, and birding on the way.

Overnight: Jiuzhai    Meals: BLD

Day 13 (May 24) Whole day birding in Shenxianci.

Overnight: Jiuzhai    Meals: BLD

Day 14 (May25)  Whole day birding in Jiuzhai.

Overnight: JIuzhai    Meals: BLD

Day 15 (May 26) Drive from Jiuzhai to Tangjiahe.

Overnight: Tangjiahe Nature Reserve    Meals: BLD

Day 16 (May 27) Whole day birding in Tangjiahe.

Overnight: Tangjiahe    Meals: BLD

Day 17 (May 28) Drive from Tanghiahe to Chengdu.

Overnight: Chengdu    Meals: BLD

Day 18 (May 29)  Depart from Chengdu. AlpineBirding service ends.

Overnight: /          Meals: B

V.  Inclusions and Exclusions

The cost includes the following.

1. Transportation throughout the Sichuan Birding trip, include airport pickups and drop off at Chengdu International Airport.
2. Meals in local popular restaurants labeled as BLD in the itinerary.
3. All the entrance tickets for places listed in the itinerary including cable cars and shuttle buses.
4.Hotel stays from first day to the last day, nice 4-star hotels in big cities and local best in local places .
5.Bottled water,seasonal fruits and snacks throughout the trip.
6. Western breakfast whenever is possible .
7. Service charges of Sichuan Birding Tours include the fees of a  professional English-speaking birding guide.
8. China domestic travel insurance.
9. Basic tips to the serving staff , guide, driver and hotel bellmen.

The cost does not include the following.

a. Any expense of personal nature such as laundry.
b. During Sichuan Birding Tours, extra charges due to change of itinerary from the client side or other factors are beyond the control of AlpineBirding.
c. Any flight tickets to the place where our trip start and from the place where our trip ends .
d. Expenses for visa application.

This birding trip is made for avid birders and the most classic birding trip in Sichuan. As one of the most diversified province in China in terms of topography, bird habitats, climates and ethnic culture, birding in Sichuan is always one of the most rewarding birding trips you could have. Besides tons of endemic birds, you will see stunning sceneries on the edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, rich ethnic culture from Jiarong Tibetan, Anduo Tibetan, Qiang and Hui ethnic groups as well as the beautiful flowers in late spring. As locals, we will not just share with you the wonderful birds, but also the rich and diverse travel resources you have interests.

Trip Itinerary:

Day 1(May 12) Arrival at Chengdu Airport, city birding.

Overnight: Chengdu    Meals: D

With a history of about 3000 years, Chengdu is the provincial capital of Sichuan Province. The special location and nice environment here made this city an important site for birding. Each year during migration time, lots of rare birds including Blackthroat have been spotted on their way to the mountains in western Sichuan.Depend on your time of arrival and your personal interests, we can arrange some easy birding in local parks or city exploration.

Day 2 (May 13) City Birding in Chengdu, in the afternoon, we drive to Longcanggou Nature Reserve.

Overnight: Local Guest House    Meals: BLD

In the morning we will first take a walk in the park near your hotel to search some local endemic birds such as White-browed Laughingthrush, Spotted Dove, Chinese Blackbird and Black-capped Night Heron.  Then  we drive you  to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. You can meet the pandas there and the good environment inside the base also makes it a good habitats for birds. In the afternoon, after having lunch at a local popular restaurant we will continue driving to Longcanggou .


White Eared Pheasant   Red-billed Liothrix   Vinaceous Rosefinch


Day 3-4(May 14th-15th) Birding in  Longcanggou Nature Reserve.

Overnight: Local Guest House    Meals: BLD

The close down of Wawu Mountain serval years ago has disappointed lots of birders. Before the reopening of this important site, we may to use this reserve to replace Wawushan. In the very early morning, we start from our hotel.  Located in the another side of Wawushan, the reserve has basically all the birds you can see in Wawu Mountain including Silver Pheasant, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Temminck’s Tragopan, Emei Shan Liocichla, Huamei, Golden-fronted Fulvetta, Golden-breasted Fulvetta and Grey-hooded Parrotbill. We will spend two days there searching for parrobills, fulvettas, laughingthrushes and babblers.


Collared Grossbeak   Grandala   Chinese Monal


Day 5(May 16) Morning birding in the reserve, then drive to Wolong in the afternoon.

Overnight: Wolong    Meals: BLD

Today we drive back to Chengdu and then further drive on to Wolong by the new road which was just open to public in October of 2016. The opening of the road has greatly shortened the driving time in this day and increased the birding time. Upon arrival at our hotel in Wolong, we can start some birding around our hotel in search of some nice birds such as Golden Pheasant, Slaty Bunting, Chinese Babax, and Chinese Fulvetta, etc.

Day 6-8(May 17-19) Birding in Balang Mountain, and drive back to Wolong in the late afternoon.

Overnight: Wolong    Meals: BLD

We will spend these two days birding in the most facinating birding site in China. Balang mountain is the highest mountain standing between Sichuan Basin and Qinghai Tibetan Plateau. It serves as a demarcation line ethnically and in terms of topography with rich flora and fauna resources. So besides seeing different birds here, you can also see lots of alpine plants, especially flowers. Our search for alpine birds starts after we cross the mighty Balangshan Pass and will spend a while around the summit which, at just over 4500 metres, is the highest point we’ll reach on the entire tour.Here we will search for scurrying Snow Partridges and Tibetan Snowcocks, and Grandalas. Other high altitude specialties could include Lammergeier, Red and Yellow-billed Chough, Alpine Accentor, Brandt’s Mountain Finch and Red-fronted Rosefinch. We will also spend some time in lower elevations, searching for birds in Wolong town such as Golden Pheasant, Spotted Forktail, and Slaty Buntings. On the last day of our birding time in this area, we will drive on to Maerkang after spending another morning on the Balang Mountain searching for birds we have missed in the previous days. In the afternoon of 19th day, we drive on to Maerkang, the capital of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.


Lammergeier   Black-necked Crane   Upland Buzzard


Day 9 (May 20) Birding in Mengbi Mountain.

Overnight: Maekang    Meals: BLD

Standing between Xiaojin County and Maerkang, Mengbi Mountain is another important birding site during this trip. The big elevation differences, well-protected virgin forest, abundant flora resources and being free of dwellers here have made this site a paradise for birds including the endemic birds like Chinese Monal, Buff-throated Partrdige, Sichuan Jay and Chinese Grouse. In the early morning, we drive  to the top of the mountain standing at 3900 meters above the sea level. From the top we either hike or drive slowly down to different elevation to search for birds. We spend whole day birding in different elevation of the mountain looking for birds such as Sichuan Jay, Crested Tit Warbler, Chinese Fulvetta, Crimson-browed Finch and Three-banded Rosefinch, and Blood Pheasant.

Day 10 (May 21) Drive to Ruoergai and birding on the way.

Overnight: Ruoergai    Meals: BLD

From today on, we will enjoy different view of topography. Once we leave our hotel and drive towardd Ruoergai, the high mountains on the both side of the road will become lower and lower, and eventually become small hills. We’ll stop in the forest area that borders the Tibetan plateau and  search for birds such as Songar Tit, Durian Jackdaw, and White-browed Tits, and Plain and Elliot’s Laughingthrushes. Once we get into the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, we will have good chance to see the important summer breeder, the Black-naped Crane. We will stop in a couple of places to search for waterbirds along the river, raptors that breed here and other endemic birds.

Day 11-12(May 22-23) Birding in Baxi and Flower Lake.

Overnight: Ruoergai Meals: BLD

We will spend most of these two days searching for birds in different habitats. As the largest wetlands in Sichuan province, Ruoergai Grasslands have been famed as lung of Sichuan. Each year millions of migrant birds come here and spend their summer breeding in this place. The scarce of human population, abundance of lakes and the huge number of grazing animals provide enough food resources and turn this site into a paradise for birds and birders. The mountains with virgin forests at the edge of the plateau provide good habitats for forest birds such as Chinese Grouse, Blue Eared Pheasant, Snowy-browed Laughingthrush and White-browed Tit Wabbler. On the day 13, after searching birds in the forest, we will drive on to neighboring county Jiuzhai Nature Reserve.


Firethroat   Blue Eared Pheasant   Golden-breasted Fulvetta


Day 13-14(May 25-26) Whole day birding in Jiuzhai Area.

Overnight: Jiuzhai Meals: BLD

Jiuzhai, a hidden treasure in the Min mountains of western China, has become a very important tour destination because of its beautiful lakes, well-protected forests and colorful Anduo Tibetan people. Listed as world heritage in 1992, this site now has become one of most popular tour attractions in China. For birders, this site is equally attractive not only by its colorful lakes but also by the rich bird diversities and some star birds such as Rufous-headed Robin. Our birding in this area is by no means restricted to the park, we will take you to some private birding sites for some nice birds in this area. 

Day 15(May 26) Drive from Jiuzhai to Tangjiahe.

Overnight: Tangjiahe Nature Reserve  Meals: BLD

Today is our another driving day, we will climb another mountain called Rododendron Mountain. Some birding stops will be definitely necessary for us to add to our list and relax our legs from long ride. If you have interests in seeing some old Chinese architecture, we can take you to a monastery where you will see some marvelous wood-carvings made about 400 years ago. A local land lord made it his private minor forbidden city by imitating the architecture of Forbidden City after paying a visit to real forbidden city in Beijing. He immediately turned it into a monastery when he was told that his intension was exposed and investigation minister sent by the Emperor is on the way. This architecutre has survived from several strong earthquakes happened in this area including the very recent one.   

Day 16(May 27 Whole day birding in Tangjiahe.

Overnight: Tangjiahe  Meals: BLD

We will spend whole day birding in Tangjiahe Nature Reserve. The reserve is the best place to search for mammals such as Takin, Tibetan Macaque, Golden Monkey, Reeve's Montjac's Deer, Tufted Deer, Chinese Goral and even Black Bear. The reserve is also a very good site searching for Golden Pheasant, Temmininc's Tragopan, Koklass Pheasant and Tawny Fish Owl.


Rusty-breasted Tit   Crimson-breasted Woodpecker   Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush


Day 17(May 28) Drive from Tanghiahe to Chengdu.

Overnight: Chengdu  Meals: BLD

Morning birding in the reserve and we drive back to Chengdu in the afternoon. We will have several stops on the way for some short birding.

Day 18(May 29)  Depart from Chengdu. AlpineBirding service ends.
Depending on your time of departure, we can arrange some birding in local parks in Chengdu.

Overnight:/              Meals: B

Following are some of the feedbacks we have got from our clients we had served.

‘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

'Dear Philip, lily and Jiawei,
We are all noww safely back home and Ihave had time to produce my trip reoprt for the wonderful bird tour that you arranged for us. I attach the docuemtns here for your interest - you may use them and adapt them any way you wish if you need to.

 It was a great experience seeing China - the birds, travel, culture, sceerny with you. You did an absoluteyl first rate job in all respects - some of the best service and professional arrqngements and leading of a tour in my 40+ years of experience worldwide to 100 countries and over 300 tours organised and led.

 Thank you all - I will certainly promote your services to my friends and colleagues and hope your business prospers as it deserves. If I can be of any help do let me know.

 Very Best Wishes ' 
 ——Peter Robert and Pia, Peter Rober, a professional bird guide from UK, in Custom Trip in 2013


'Hi Philip
Thanks also for this trip, you were very friendly and professional.

I’ll go to Brasil next week for birdwatching and mammals.'

 ——Michel Watelet,Private Birding Trip in 2013


'Dear Philip,
  Despite the hassles, it has been a very joyful journey! We have had countless happy moments and excellent views of birds many rare birds. Thanks for the excellent arrangements. Looking forward to have chance to bird with you and your colleagues again.
  Yes we indeed need to produce appropriate documents in order to claim insurance. To simplify matters, we will draft a sample letter to you, so that you can reprodue several copies of it, one for each member of the group, with the individual's name and identity appear in the letter. The draft letter should be ready within the next few days. Thanks.
 ——KC Lee from Hong Kong, Custom Winter Birding in Tibet in 2014 and 2015.



'Dear Philip and Jiawei
Thank you very much for your email and hope that you got back safely to Chengdu yesterday. We got back home a couple of days ago, but work is already busy! I hope that you had a good time surveying future opportunities near Chongqing.
We had a really great time with the three of you, and talking on the way home we rated the day hike at Zhuque (along with the Great Wall) as our best day in China. The birding was better than expected there, especially with Jiawei working extremely hard to lure species out with calls - his (and your) knowledge was fantastic and I owe you for about 10-20 species that I would not have found myself. The scenery was excellent, and also the food - this was the lasting memory of the trip we had with you. We also learnt so much about China and its culture, and are indebted to you for this. I think my bird highlights were the Rosefinches and Crested Ibis. I've yet to start editing my photographs.
One thing is for sure though, that I will be back in China for a real birdwatching holiday at some stage in the future. Especially with those direct flights to Chengdu.
Many thanks once again for all of your hard work.'
——Richard and Carol who went birding with AlpineBirding in August of 2013


Hi Philip,            
How are you? This is to tell you we had a great tour to Sichuan, everything was well organized and special thanks to Jay who did a great job!’

——Laurens Steijn, Birding with  AlpineBirding in June of 2014


Dear Phillip He,

We are a Thai couple (sat behind a driver of a big car) who have
joined a Thai birding trip to Sichuan during 29-April-9 May 2012.We
would like to thank you again for your excellence friendship and
guiding us to the new species of birds on the highland of Sichuan.

After we came back to Thailand, we both and all of our friends just
said that we all were truly had a great time in China and this was one
of our best birding trips so far. Hope that we could have a chance to
return back to Sichuan or other areas of the great China again (of
course to be travelling and birding with you).

Please keep on contacting us and just let us know if you have a plan
for visiting Thailand in the future.

Best wishes,
Chairatna & Weranut Nilnond


——(2012 Birding Trip in Western Sichuan)

1. How about your bird guides, are they professional enough?
All our bird guides are carefully chosen and have rich experiences of guiding westerners. Most of them are full time bird guide of AlpineBirding. Their specieties  in colleague are always involved with ecology, they have strong interests in birds and have guided lots of birding trips for AlpineBirding. They know the birds, birding sites and culture aspects of the places you are going to visit very well. To be honest, because English is not official language in China, our guide can't speak fluent English as the bird guide from western countries, their knowledge on birds and cultural aspects of places you are going to visit is excellent..

2. How difficult is this trip?
The difficulty of this trip can be labled from easy to moderate. Most of times,we will search for birds on the roadside or the forest near the main road. There are some optional hikes along the trails, but it is optional and very few. The most difficult part of the trip is going to the high elevation areas, the highest elevation we will go is around 4500 meters above the sea level. Consult your doctor if you have never been to high elevation area before.

3. How about the food? Is there aways western food avaible?
Because most of times, we need to drive to the field before day break so as to make good use of golden hours for birding in the moring, so breakfast is always easy and in the field. We will bring some snacks, coffee, hot water, cakes and fruits. So very few times, we will have breakfast in our hotel. For the lunch, it is similar, we always have picnic lunch in the field to save time. While dinner is always in a good restaurant near our hotel or in our hotel if the hotel also provide good food. Sichuan food is one of the four most famous food in China. In our past trips, the absolute majority of our clients enjoy the food. However once we get out the the main cities like Chengdu, it is very hard to find western food restaraunt.

4. Can AlpineBirding help me to get Chinese Visa?
Yes, we can provide necessary documents needed for your visa application. Once you confirm to participate our trip, our staff will help you with this.

5. Do I need vaccination for this trip? Do I need bring medicines?
Generally Sichuan is very safe destination. You don't need. The best way is to consult your personal doctor for suggestions. Yes, you'd better bring your own medicine. Though we have lots of phamacies in China, all the medicines are explained in Chinese. So the best way is to consult your doctor and bring some medicines in case of needs.

6. What kind of birding gears do I need to bring?
We will bring a swarovski spotting scope and A Field Guide to the Bird of China, you need to bring your own binoculars. We will also print a checklist for each of our trip participants. Unless we specify in our itinerary, we do not camp in our trips but in some trips, we have to stay in local family guest house which is quiet basic, if you want to bring your own sleeping bags, you can bring.

7. What does AlpineBirding trips include and exclude?
Please read the inclusions and exclusions given in the same page where you find the trip cost.

8. How do you compare your trips with birding trips provided by other world famous birding companies?
The world only becomes so colorful just because of the existence of so many different things. We hold great respects toward all the other companies in the world, but we want to show our specialties accumulated from many years of running trips. As a local company, we have our own advantages about local birds and local culture. We want to build up our own team of professionals. The growth of our professional team will not only bring direct benefits to our customers in a way that they can travel in cheaper price at the same trip quality but also will exert positive impacts on locals in terms of protecting environments, appreciating local birds and knowing better of local resources. We care about your enjoyment of the trip and we will do everything we can to ensure your full enjoyment of your trip and realize the best value of each penny you have paid to us.

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Christmas and the Year 2018 are just around the corner! At this special moment, we would like to send our best wishes to you and your family: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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