AGS - SICHUAN, CHINA 2016 - fully booked
Approximate dates: June 9 - 28, 2016 (about 18 days depending on flights)
Leader: Chris Bailes
Price:in the region of £4,450 including flights, Single supplement £520 per person
The tour will start and end in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan. From there we will drive north towards Songpan. After a few days of botanising in this area we will drive west and stay overnight in Hongyuan. Then we will travel south toward Maerkang (Barkam), Danba, Bamei and Kangding. From Kangding we will go south again towards Moxi and then back to Chengdu.
During this tour you will travel to a part of China that has masses of plants and areas that were botanised by the original plant-hunters more then a century ago. The whole route will take you to areas with spectacular views. You will see Lilium regale growing on rooftops on the houses along the Min river as Ernest Wilson saw them. The trip will pass some of the well-known cities as Songpan and Kangding, where Rock and Wilson were once based.
You will cross parts of the Min Shan and Gongga Shan as well a part of the Tibetan plateau with breathtaking colourful flower meadows near Hongyuan, with thousands of yaks. At Huanglong, a Unesco World Heritage Site, you will be able see hundreds of Cypripedium growing at the edges of the turquoise tufa pools.
In this part of China there are many minorities who still wear their colourful traditional dress. At Tagong we will visit one of the finest monasteries with golden roofs with snowcapped mountain peaks as a backdrop.
On this trip you will encounter many different habitats and plants. Around Huanglong you should find at least six different Cypripedium. At other places you will see many Meconopsis species, with Meconopsis punicea in large and smaller forms. The almost back Primula melanantha at the Zheduo pass near Kangding is another highlight. At least 600-700 plant species should be seen.
During this tour there will be no long or steep daily treks, making it suitable for most people. You will travel by air-conditioned coach and accommodation will be in three-star or four-star hotels.