Sichuan Tourism Recovers

Sichuan's rich scenic and cultural tourism is making a strong comeback after the devastating earthquake of May 2008. Sichuan has long been known as "the land of abundance". The original meaning referred to its rich agriculture, but can also refer to the abundant tourist attractions in this beautiful province.

Many of Sichuan's main tourist attractions were unaffected by the earthquake. Beautiful Mount Emei with its rich Buddhist tradition, Jiuzhaigou Valley Nature Reserve with its many multi-level waterfalls and colorful lakes, Huanglong scenic and historic interest area with its diverse forest ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls, and hot springs, and the Giant Buddha at Leshan were all undamaged.

Sadly, the world-famous Wolong Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center was severely damaged in the earthquake and the pandas were relocated to the Ya'an (Bifengxia) Reserve for safekeeping. The other main giant panda center, Chengdu Panda Center, wasn't affected by the earthquake and never closed.

Mount Qingcheng, the birthplace of Taoism was partly damaged and Tianshi Cave, home of the Yellow Emperor Temple, which was seriously damaged, has been restored to its former glory and reopened to the public. Restoration of the nearby Fulong Temple will be completed this month (July) and Erwang Temple will follow soon afterward.

Despite being near the epicenter of the earthquake, the world's oldest, still operating irrigation project – Dujiangyan – built in 256 BC, suffered only minor damage to the famous "fish mouth" levee and this has been repaired.

The teahouses of the capital, Chengdu and other cities are again full of local residents and visitors relaxing over pots of Jasmine tea. For a nominal 5 RMB charge for the tea, customers can sit all day chatting or daydreaming in this most traditional Sichuan way.

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