or call 215-247-7486 17-day bus and hiking tour on the Road to Shu between Chengdu and Xi'an All-inclusive land costs meals, lodging, attraction tickets, entertainment, bus rental, tips Flight to China not included You pay for your visa and plane fare USA-China Tea comes with meals: You pay for alcoholic drinks and soda
Optional Tour Extension on your own You can extend your tour with a three-day cruise on the Yangzi
or a three-day stay in Beijing
For first tour
$1,400 due October 1
For second tour
First payment due when we get ten people
Second payment due a month later
$100 reserves your spot on the tour
It will be deducted from the 2nd payment of $1,500
If you drop out, it will be forfeited
If the tour cancels, it will be refunded
Contact me for more information or to sign up
To access photos of the 2013 Road to Shu Tour, click on the link below.
This unique tour visits some of the most famous sites along the old Road to Shu on a 17-day bus excursion as we travel off the beaten track and experience an older, more traditional China. We will hike the beautiful cypress-shaded old flagstone road that once connected Chengdu with Xi'an. All hikes will be leisurely, not over three hours and can be skipped in many cases to enjoy more time in local towns. We will also visit a reconstructed plank road along a gorge in the Jialing River, spend three nights in Langzhong's Old Town in a restored Qing dynasty residence, and visit six towns (Zitong, Wulian, Puan, Jianmenguan, Guangyuan, and Hangzhong) in Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces which are not on the usual tourist circuit. Even though we will be hiking in remote areas, we will still be close enough to town to have comfortable lodgings and marvelous meals which we'll eat family-style at a single table. We'll also visit some famous tourist attractions at the beginning of our trip in Chengdu (pandas) and at the end in Xi'an (terra cotta warriors, city wall, Tang dynasty tomb). Night time excursions include Sichuan opera, Tang dynasty dancing and a traditional puppet show.
The two links in blue below and in the left column will lead you to pages with more information and photos.
To return to this page, click on "2017 Tour," in the headings list in the left column of the page.
View a photo album of the 2011 tour compiled by Wendy Lycan Jackson. Wendy's Album
Day 1, March 13, 2017 Monday – Leave the USA on overseas flight to China
Day 2, March 14, Tuesday – Arrive Chengdu
I will meet you at the airport whenever you arrive. We are going to stay at the Chuangang hotel five minutes from the airport the first night, as most people will be arriving during the evening and night. I will either send you to the hotel in the hotel courtesy van or come back with you in the van depending on the time of other people’s arrival. The van ride takes five minutes. If you arrive in the afternoon, we will have dinner at the hotel.Wine or beer at dinner can be paid with US dollars. We will change money the next day for shopping and for buying beer, wine or soda.
Day 3, March 15, Wednesday – Sightseeing in Chengdu
Our bus will pick us up at the hotel after an early breakfast. We can leave our luggage in the bus as we head to the newly expanded Giant Panda Breeding Research Center, returning to town in time for a Peking duck lunch. After lunch we’ll visit a famous outdoor antique area. Then our bus will take us to the Jinjiang Hotel in time for a rest before dinner at a famous hot pot restaurant on Qintai Road where all the buildings have recently been rebuilt in the traditional imperial style. After dinner we will watch a performance of the Sichuan opera just down the street. You can read about Chengdu in my book, pp. 75-80. We’ll return to our hotel about 10 pm where (if you are still awake) you can enjoy your last opportunity to watch western cable TV programs CNN and BBC.
Day 4, March 16, Thursday – Sightseeing Chengdu& Bus to Langzhong
After a marvelous buffet breakfast at the Jinjiang Hotel, we’ll meet in the lobby for a brief introduction to the Road to Shu. Then we will take our bus to the Temple of the Martial Marquis (pp 90-92) for a stroll around the shady grounds and a tour through a very small Three Kingdoms Museum. The original temple on this site dates from the 6th century and was built to honor the Three Kingdoms strategist, Zhuge Liang and his ruler Liu Bei, who both played an important role along the old road in the 3rd century A.D. We’ll lunch at one of Chengdu's most famous “little snacks” restaurants located in the Chunxi Mall where we will glimpse in passing the new consumer-oriented China which we are soon to leave behind. After lunch we’ll board our bus for a four-hour drive to our next destination, Langzhong (pp. 187-190), one of the best-preserved Old Towns in the country. No cars are allowed in the old city, so we will have to carry our own bags about three blocks to our hotel. Any luggage not needed or purchases along the way can be left on the bus as it will be locked. We’ll arrive in time for dinner at our lodgings, the Zhenjianglou, the former home of a Qing dynasty official which has been turned into a hotel. After dinner we will walk the car-free streets of the old town and enjoy a half-hour foot massage before turning in.
Day 5, March 17, Friday –Sightseeing in Langzhong
After breakfast in our hotel, we'll explore the old town, visiting the local market and eating dumplings for lunch. In the afternoon we'll visit the Huaguang Tower for a bird's eye view of the old town, and then view it from the Jialing River on an excursion boat. We'll return to our hotel for a rest before dinner at the Du Family Courtyard House (p.190), which we will tour before dinner. After dinner we will walk down to the river to see a traditional puppet show.
Day 6, March 18, Saturday – Sightseeing near Langzhong
After breakfast in our hotel, our bus will take us across theJialing River and up to the top of the mountains which overlook Langzhong to visit the White Pagoda for a bird’s eye view of the old city enclosed in a curve of the river. Then the bus will drop us off farther down the mountain near the Zhuangyuan Cave Pavilion for a pretty short hike through this complex and then through the grounds of the Tang Dynasty Great Buddha Temple, culminating in a long flight of steps down to the river, where we will catch a local ferry boat. Our bus will meet us on the other side, returning us to our hotel for a late lunch. After lunch there will be free time to explore the old town on your own and do some shopping. Dinner will be at our hotel.
Day 7, March 19 Sunday – Langzhong and Bus to Zitong
After breakfast at our hotel, we'll load our bags on the bus and then spend the morning visiting the Zhang Fei Temple, where a famous Three Kingdoms hero is buried, and the Civil Service Hall, where civil service exams were held in imperial times (pp. 194-198). After a dumpling lunch, we will return to our bus for a three-to four-hour ride to Zitong through some beautiful countryside, arriving at our hotel in time for dinner.
Day 8, March 20, Monday - Wulian Hike & Explore Puan’s Old Town
After breakfast at our hotel, our bus will take us for a half hour drive along the Green Cloud Corridor, a highway built over the old road and still shaded by the ancient cypress trees which once lined the road (pp 100-105). Our bus will drop us off in the hills outside of Wulian (pp 133, 135-6, 138-9). Here we will take a short hike down the hill into town on the only stretch of the old flagstone road that was spared by the highway construction. The hike will be very leisurely as we will pass an interesting grave and several farmhouses so it will probably take two hours even though it could be done in 30 minutes. We’ll eat lunch in Wulian, then continue to drive north along the Green Cloud Corridor to our next destination, Puan, (pp 106-111), arriving in about 45 minutes. After getting settled in the Jiange Hotel, we’ll walk a few blocks to the old section of town to see the old gate with a bit of city wall on either side, the old bell-drum tower, and some of the old wooden houses which still line the original narrow street, now paved over but never widened (pp 116-117). Dinner at our hotel.
Day 9, March 21, Tuesday– SwordGatePass
After breakfast our bus will take us north on Route 108 to Jianmenguan, a 45 minute ride (p 118). Along the way we’ll stop at the Green Cloud Corridor (pp 145-146) where a special fenced in section of the old road is lined with more than 100 ancient cypress tress some over a thousand years old. Our bus will then take us farther north into Jianmenguan (pp 140-142) where we will have lunch in one of the local restaurants that specialize in excellent doufu dishes. At the restaurant we will meet Miss Li, a local lady who speaks only Chinese, but who is very familiar with the old road. She will accompany us for the next three days. After lunch Miss Li will show us her apartment and rooftop garden and we will spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the newly renovated Sword Gate Pass (pp 147-150) which has been much improved by moving the highway that once passed through it into a newly built tunnel. We will return to Puan for dinner at our hotel.
Day 10, March 22, Wednesday -Liangshan Hike
After breakfast at our hotel, our bus will take us south of Puan on Route 108 to Liangshan were the old road is preserved all the way into Puan and. We will hike the road lined with beautiful cypress for about three hours, returning halfway instead of going all the way into Puan. Miss Li will remain in town with anyone who prefers to skip the hike. Our bus will take us back into Puan for lunch. After lunch we will visit the Hemingshan Pagoda (pp 122-123) with the option afterwards of walking down the hill on the old road back into Puan or returning to town by bus. Dinner at our hotel.
Day 11, March 23, Thursday - Hanyang Hike
After breakfast our bus will take us north again on Route 108 until we reach Hanyang, a half-hour ride out of Puan. We will disembark here and hike south back toward Puan along one of the prettiest remaining stretches of the old flagstone road which is lined with more than 400 old cypress trees and winds its way past small villages and along the crests of hills with long views into the valleys below. We will hike for three hours which will involve some climbing of stone steps up hills, but with lots of rest stops and climbing will be intermixed with many level and downhill stretches as well. After a picnic lunch, our bus will meet us to take those who would rather continue to explore Puan with Miss Li back to the hotel. The bus will take those of us who want to continuing hiking to a stop farther along the trail where we can pick up the end of the hike for two more hours. After the hike our bus will pick us up and return us to the hotel for dinner.
Day 12, March 24, Friday – Bus Ride to Guangyuan and School Visit
After breakfast we’ll head north to Guangyuan, stopping along the way to visit a famous old bridge just outside of Jianmenguan. Mr. Chen, the local librarian, will meet us in Guangyuan at a local tea house Then he will join us for lunch in a lovely hot pot restaurant. After lunch he will accompany us to a local pre-kindergarten school where the children will sing for us and we’ll sing for them as best we can manage. Mr. Chen will then give us a tour of his very modern condo. Then we will head to our lodgings at the newly remodeled Fengtai Hotel, a lovely Chinese-style building complex located on a small island in the South River.
Day 13, March 25, Saturday – Sightseeing in Guangyuan
After a very nice buffet breakfast at our hotel, our bus will take us north along the Jialing River to visit the site of a famous ancient plank road (pp 176-80) which once stretched along the side of a cliff above the river. A long section of the original plank road has been reconstructed by inserting new wood into the old holes. We can walk along this rebuilt road and then also see the road from the river on a small boat. Our tour will end with a cart ride through the Tiger’s Mouth, a section of half-tunneling blasted out of the solid rock in the 1930s in order to run the highway along the cliff. A new highway has been built farther inland, leaving the old highway as a tourist area with no cars. Our bus will then take us to a nearby town for lunch and a visit to the Thousand Buddha Cliff, once one of the most treacherous spots along the Road to Shu. It is also a famous site of early Buddhist carvings and has recently been improved by rerouting the highway that once passed right next to it. Dinner at our hotel.
Day 14, March 26, Sunday – Sightseeing near Hanzhong
After another nice buffet breakfast, our bus heads north to Hanzhong (pp 206-213, 224-226), arriving in time for lunch at our hotel where we will sample Hanzhong's unique version of little snacks. In the afternoon we will visit the Hanzhong Museum which has the best exhibit in China on the Road to Shu (pp 215-217). Here we will see how the sites we will visit on Day 15 have been altered by the dam and by the new highway construction. Dinner in our hotel.
Day 15, March 27, Monday – Bus to Lintong via Zhang Liang Temple
After breakfast at our hotel, our bus will take us north along the Baoye branch of the old road (pp 233-248) which at first follows the pretty Bao River (pp 224-241). We’ll stop just north of Baocheng to briefly view the site of another plank road that is now submerged under the man-made lake formed by a huge dam (pp 224-25). Next will make a brief detour west to visit the beautiful and remote Zhang Liang Temple, then spend the remainder of the day traveling north through the Qingling mountains, exiting them as we cross the Wei River onto the flat plains on which Xi'an is located. We will spend the night in Lingtong at the Tanggong Commercial Hotel about 90 minutes outside of Xi'an.
Day 16, March 28, Tuesday - Qianling and Princess Yong Tai tombs
After breakfast at our hotel, we will visit Qianling, a famous Tang dynasty tomb site and as well as a nearby loess cave house (p. 303), returning to our hotel for lunch. After lunch we will visit the underground Tang dynasty tomb of Princess Yong Tai) and return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 17, March 29, Wednesday –Terra Cotta Warriors
After breakfast, our bus will take us to the rest of the way into Xi'an and then continue on to the famous on-site excavation of the 7,000 Qin Dynasty terra cotta warriors and horses(a UNESCCO World Heritage site, p 303.) This will be a two- to three-hour ride, so we will first check into our hotel near the excavation site and have lunch. After lunch we will spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the three excavation areas and the excellent museum. Dinner at our hotel.
Day 18, March 30, Thursday – Xi'an Site Seeing
After breakfast our bus will take us into Xi'an where we will be staying at the Skytel Hotel inside the walled city near the south gate. After lunch at our hotel, we will browse the local shops near the gate and visit the nearby city wall (pp 304-305) for a stroll along the wall, returning to our hotel for a rest before our dinner at the Shaanxi Grand Opera House which includes a multi-course dumpling dinner and a show of Tang Dynasty dancing (p 300).
Day 19, March 31, Friday – Xi’anBellTower and Muslim Quarter
After breakfast at our hotel, we will visit the 14th century Bell Tower (305-6) and then there will be free time to shop on your own in the maze of small alleys in the nearby Muslim district which sell some interesting local handiwork amongst the tourist souvenirs. For lunch we will sample a local lamb specialty called yangrou paomo at the Tongshengxiang Restaurant (300). After lunch there are two options. Option 1) Return to Chengdu to take advantage of United's direct SanFrancisco-Chengdu flight by bullet train if the line is completed as projected or by plane if it is not. The train or plane fare is included in the price of your trip. Option 2) Fly home out of Xi'an. The bus will take you to the airport for your flight but you must schedule it after 5 pm. to take our bus. For earlier flights you will have to hire a cab or take a local bus. Those returning to Chengdu will stay in the same hotel near the airport and eat dinner there as well.
Day 20, April 1, Saturday – Fly Home
After breakfast, we will take the hotel shuttle bus to the airport for our flight home. As we gain a day on the way home, with good connections we will arrive home on the same day.