"Szu-Ting, from Taiwan and a resident of the US, is as close to being a native as possible with mastery of the language and culture and knowledge of Chinese history expressed through many great stories." - Jane Wicklund, a participant of Discover the Lost Horizon 2012

Trekking the Oriental Alps, a Journey to the Siguniang Mountains

  • Dates: Springs or falls (we welcome inquiry from small groups for customized outings)
  • Duration: 12 days
  • Price: $2500.00
  • Activity: trekking


On the western edge of China’s Sichuan province the topography begins to rise, due to the collision of the earths continental plates, changing from the flat green fields of the central plains to the mountains of the Himalayas -”the roof of the world.” As a result of this dramatic upheaval the vegetation, animal species and cultures change dramatically in a very short distance.

Our journey will explore the essence of this region and focus on the area known as the Oriental Alps.

Our expedition will begin in the busy city of Chengdu, where we will visit historic temples, tea houses, feast on delectable Sichuan cuisine and take in a Sichuan opera. From Chengdu we will travel northwest to the Tibetan town of Rilong, located in the heart of the Siguniang mountain range. Siguniang, which means “four sisters” is made up of four pyramid-like granite peaks standing side-by-side. We will explore the thin alpine air slowly by first day hiking in the Shuangqiao Valley and marvel at the larch forests standing guard at the base of Wild Man Peak. Next we will use local Tibetan horse packers to carry our equipment into the Haizi Valley. We will share tea with indigenous yak herders and learn about their lives as we travel and camp along pristine alpine lakes. Weather permitting, we will also have the opportunity to ascend one of the nearby high peaks. At that point we will return to Rilong and participants with time constraints have the option of returning to Chengdu. Next we will continue with horse support into the magnificent Changping Valley which travels right past the stupendous rock walls of Siguniang’s north face (20,505 feet). We then will cross a high pass and complete our trek by descending the rarely visited Bipeng Valley. A visit to see the endangered pandas and a stroll along the streets of Chengdu will put a perfect ending to this unforgettable adventure.

Inclusions & Exclusions:

Price includes the following: food during the trek, meals in Chengdu and Rilong, all lodging (camping & shared hotel rooms), ground transportation, packhorses and horse packers, group climbing gear & cooking gear, admission to parks, permits, bilingual guide, and Mandarin conversational lessons. The price does not include airfare, checked baggage fees, visa fee, travel insurance, personal gear, immunization, personal snacks, drinks, and gratuity.

Travel Info:

Participants should fly to Chengdu International Airport (CTU) at least one day before the adventure starts. US citizens need to apply a visa to enter China.  More info for US passport holders.

Physical Requirement:

The trek is supported by pack horses and porters.  Participants will carry a day pack during the trek.  A day pack should have water, snack, extra layers, rain gear, personal medicine and other personal items. Any avid day hikers will be able to finish the trip.

Tentative Itinerary:1

Day 1 – All the participants have arrived in Chengdu. Gear check and last-minute gear buy to get ready for the expedition.  A visit to giant pandas at the Chengdu Giant Panda Base in the morning.  Spectacular Sichuan Opera in the evening.

Day 2 – Chengdu – Rilong. It’s a 150-mile car/bus ride and it takes 5-6 hours. The view along the way is gorgeous. Signature features include alpine meadows, alpine lakes, snow-caped mountains, and yaks. Rilong town is at the base of Siguniang mountain range. The elevation is 3,200 meters (10,500 feet). Stay in Rilong for the night.

Day 3 – A tour and selected hikes along the Shuangqiao Valley. This day will help us to acclimatize. The highest point we will be at is 3,840 meters (12,600 feet). Stay in Rilong for the night.

Day 4, 5, 6, 7 -

Option One:

A trek along the beautiful Haizi Valley (Haizi means “lake” in Chinese).  Tibetan pagoda at the alpine meadow where the local Tibetans celebrate their festival and honor the sacred Siguniang mountain.  Countless beautiful alpine lakes: Big Lake, Flower Lake, Rhinoceros Lake etc.  Yaks and wild horses wandering around and sipping clear stream water.  A potential peak ascent near Rhinoceros lake.

Option Two:

Big Sister Peak Ascent (5,355 m; 17,500 feet).  We hike in from the entrance of Haizi Valley.  After the Tibetan pagoda, we hike upwards away from the river.  Camp near a yak herder’s stone house for the first night, base camp of Big Sister for the second night.

Day 8 – 11 – We will start to hike the most class trek in Siguniang mountain range (the trek was featured in National Geographic magazine): the thru trek between Changping Valley and Bipeng Valley. The total distance is 68 miles, and the trek can take 3 – 4 days. The highest point we will reach is 4,668 meters (15,315 feet). Most of the trek is on gradual slope; with a short section (8 miles) of strenuous uphill hike. We budget four days for this trek.

Day 12 – Come back to Chengdu in the evening

Words from Past Participants of Trekking the Oriental Alps:

“Little Po’s leadership and flexibility helped us customize a trip that was perfectly tailored to our desire for both outdoor adventure and cultural immersion.  Her knowledge of the food, the land, and the culture helped us gain access to an adventure that wouldn’t have been possible without her.  I can’t wait until my next adventure with Little Po! She made us feel like we were traveling with an old friend!”  - Sara Hopkins

“LittlePo Adventures by far exceeded my expectations. I was enjoying traveling in China before meeting up with LittlePo Adventures, but once under their care and guidance the whole trip shifted and I felt that I was actually experiencing the people, the land, the food and the customs with a richness unparalleled by any of my previous travel experiences.  Ting Ting and Dave are personable, professional, fun and most importantly flexible, we were not bound by rigid schedules, but rather given options day by day to make the trip our own.  I feel truly blessed to have had the oppurtunity to share a part of my life with LittlePo Adventures, I am forever changed and look forward to carrying our friendships and my connection to China throughout the rest of my days.”  - Kacy Borba

“LittlePo Adventures is exactly that- an adventure that will surpasses any and all of your wants and desires that you could possibly ask for in a trekking journey. The most exciting, authentic, transformative, outdoor travel experience that I have ever had.”  - Thea J Rabb

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  1. LittlePo Adventures reserves the right to change the itinerary depending on the physical conditions of the participants, weather, how well the group acclimatize etc. Safety is the first priority.