Some of the tour highlights:
- A unique tour to the wild Red Pandas in one of Sichuans spectacular mountain areas
- Good chances of encountering other mammals such as Sichuan Deer and Sambar. Sometimes the Giant Panda is seen here…
- Mammals have their best coats at this time of year, preparing for the cold winter
- Good chances for seeing high-altitude birds such as Great and Fulvous Parrotbills, local Rosefinches, Fulvettas, Yuhinas, Bush-Robins, Laughingthrushes and Accentors
- Tour leader Staffan Widstrand will provide photographic advice in a small like-minded group
- Local Chinese nature photography guide
- All necessary permits
- Remember – we’ve always been there before!
After a successful scouting trip the itinerary for the Valley of the Red Pandas is complete. Wild Red Pandas are the main attraction and this is probably the best place in the World to see them at fairly close range. Red Pandas are unusually abundant in this magnificent nature reserve.
At this time of year they come down from the montane forests to browse the berries growing on vines in large solitary trees. This makes the Pandas fairly easy to locate and approach.
Photographer and China expert Staffan Widstrand is our tour leader. He is also CEO of the great Wild Wonders of China initiative. Staffan has considerable knowledge of China, local sites, wildlife and photography under the prevailing conditions.
Staffan will hold photo talks, view participants images and provide positive criticism. He will also be at hand for providing necessary help and photo-coaching.
Sichuan is also known for interesting, good food. No one will go hungry! Accommodation in a shared double room, in mid-class hotels and above, with en-suite bathrooms.
The tour is six days, an extension tour to the unique ”Roof of the World expedition”, which is an expedition you surely will not want to miss!
You can never be sure about nature, weather and wildlife, but there are very good chances of encountering the animals mentioned above.
However, in China things can change quickly, which you have to be well aware of when traveling here. Closed areas can be opened, and vice versa. Regulations can be changed with just a days notice. For a successful tour you must be prepared to have a flexible attitude.
3rd – 8th November 2020
1 990 €
(398 € registration fee)*
Number of participants
Last date to register
16th July 2020
From arrival day 1 to Chengdu Airport (CTU) to departure Day 6 from Chengdu Airport (CTU): share in double room, transfers, full board, trips according to itinerary, water, tea/coffee and available non-alcoholic beverages with meals, certain photo tuition and guidance. All necessary permits and administration. Guides and drivers.
Single room fee
Price does not include
Flights to and from Chengdu Airport (CTU) (NB! Contact us before you book flight tickets), tips, visa for China, insurance (check so that home transport/ambulance flight in case of accidents/illness is included), cancellation insurance, alcoholic beverages and personal items. Extra bagage fees on flights. All other costs not covered under Price includes.
We stay at a comfortable mid-class hotel or better, with en-suite bathroom.
Full board from dinner day 1 to breakfast day 6. Breakfast often supplied as a picknick box. Lunch and dinner at or by the hotel. All in order to maximize time in the field, and spend the time with the best animal activity and lighting outdoors. We eat well. The tour is suitable for vegetarians. Let us know if you have specific food requirements.
Chengdu Airport (CTU), China. The tour starts and ends here.
The main focus of the tour is photographing mammals, birds and landscapes. For mammals and birds, long telephoto lenses are best. The longer the better, as some animals keep their distance despite several years without hunting. Around 200-500 mm or 150-600 mm are good, as are prime lenses of 500 or 600 mm. To increase focal length of a shorter telephoto lens, you can use a teleconverter or a camera with a DX-format sensor.
Telezoom lenses of about 70-200 mm or 80-400 mm also provide the chance for a variety of images. A wide-angle or normal lens for landscape and people should also be packed.
If you have access to two camera bodies it is good to have both. Tripods can be useful, but do not have to be of the heaviest or most stable kind.
Temperatures around this time of year in the Sichuan mountains vary from about +10 to a few degrees below freezing. Mostly strong sunlight, but rain/snow can occur at this time of year.
Rain and windproof coat and trousers, rain poncho, maybe a down jacket, thermal wool underwear, waterproof hiking boots, windproof hat, gloves, cap, sunglasses, sun cream for skin and lips (at least factor 30-50) several pairs of woolen socks, favorite sweets, a thermos, torch, ear plugs, spoon, pocket knife, warm indoor slippers.
We travel by minibus and the short (max. half day) hikes are often in steep terrain, on roads and paths. Vehicles are not equipped for wheelchairs. Contact us for more details, so we can discuss solutions depending on your level of mobility.
*Conditions of payment
The registration fee is paid by invoice upon registration. This tour has special terms and conditions that differ from our regular terms and conditions in that final payment is made 90 days before departure.
Passport and visas
To enter China, most nationalities require visa. Apply for your visa in good time! Passports must be valid at least six months from return date, upon visa application. You will receive a necessary invitation from the Chinese travel agent, that must be handed in together with your passport, for visa application. It is important that you find out what visa rules and regulations apply for you. Passports are required for airline check-in.
Contact your insurance company for information on travel insurance and cancellation insurance. We recommend that you have insurance that covers medical transports both domestically and for home journey. As this tour is to very remote places it is of utmost importance that you consult your insurance company about medical flights/home transport in the case of illness and/or injury.
All people in reasonably good health and shape will be able to take part in this extension tour. If you have any heart or respiratory conditions, or other conditions that might become severe at high altitudes, you should seek medical advice before making a decision about participating on the tour. Contact your doctor for advice and vaccinations.
Group and language
Our tours are open for all nationalities, and the group may be international. Our tour leaders speak Swedish and English.
Day 1 (3rd November) (Dinner)
Arrival at Chengdu airport (CTU) in the morning and further transport by bus a couple of hours to Laba He nature reserve in the Sichuan province, and our comfortable hotel for the coming days.
Day 2-4 (4th-6th November) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
These days will be spent focusing on finding Red Pandas. However, the reserve hosts so much more, a beautiful valley in autumn colours, with Sambar and Sichuan Deer and a number of high-altitude birds (e.g. Giant Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, local Rosefinches, Fulvettas, Yuhinas, Bush-robins, Laughingthrushes and Accentors) that inhabit the beautiful lichen and moss clad cloud-forest trees in the Bamboo zone.
Day 5 (7th November)
(Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Morning trip to the reserve followed by bus trip after lunch to Chengdu where we check in to a comfortable hotel.
Day 6 (8th November)
Morning transfer to Chengdu international airport (CTU) for trip home.
Despite putting a lot of energy into following our itinerary for this unique expedition to the Roof of the World, there might be times when it is impossible, due to circumstances out of our control. Flexibility and adaptability are two key factors to a successful and enjoyable tour. Participants are expected to be prepared for an adventurous and not too comfortable tour through the wild, sparsely populated, high altitude, culturally varied areas. We will be on foot for shorter hikes, up to half a day, which in combination with high altitude and cold temperatures requires a high level of motivation.