British Airways is launching direct flights from London to Chengdu in September, and Jon Baines Tours has added two cultural tours to the region that both take in the ancient city of Chengdu and allow visitors to learn more about its history, culture and people.
The Trail of the Tea Horse (from September 12-29) travels from Chengdu on a journey to Tibet and Everest Base Camp on the Trail of the Tea Horse, via the ancient trading towns of Dali, Lijiang and Zhongdian. Highlights include visiting Tiger Leaping Gorge, where the Yangtze River forces its way between jagged mountain peaks; a visit to the
sacred lake of Yamdrok-tso in Tibet; and spending two days in Lhasa, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
Prices lead in at £3,880 including flights, meals, accommodation and a tour guide.
A Journey Along the Yangtzetour option, from October 11-27, has also been added. In Chengdu, guests can explore the spice and art markets, enjoy a hot pot (a special lunch), and visit Wushan monastery, the Dazu Grottos, the panda breeding programme and the giant man of Leshan.
The tour is led by The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) professor Hugh Baker, who provides commentaries throughout.
Highlights of the tour include visiting Shanghai and learning about its colourful past; visiting the famous gardens and silk workshops of 2,000-year old Suzhou and watching contemporary designers working with ancient techniques; and taking a four-night cruise along the Yangtze River.
The ground-only cost of the tour is £2,940, excluding flights, visas and transfers.
For more information see http://jonbainestours.co.uk