A May trip to Chengdu and a few of its many wonderful neighbouring regions. But we start with pandas, as you can't visit Chengdu without going to the panda sanctuary.
Getting there early paid off as the 1 to 2 year olds are active this time of day. This guy was about to be thrown off a 2 m ledge by his buddy
The panda is a fine product of evolution, evidenced by their superior climbing capabilities.
Though some of them are actually pretty quick up a tree.
After Chengdu we moved West, into the highlands. In everything but name this area is Tibet: you'll find the same ethnic people, climate and yak meat.
In these highlands, Tagong is a centre for Buddhist worshippers. It is also a beautiful area for hiking, though even at only 3800 meters my sea-level lungs weren't quite up to the job.
After climbing Mt. Emei (not shown here) I made my way up to Jiuzhaigou, about 8 hours north of Chengdu. It is a famous tourist destination for its mountains and beautiful, turquoise waters. Perched on top of a bunch of fault lines and with a lot of glacial activity in the past, Jiuzhaigou serves up plenty of spectacular scenes. This first one made me think of Banff national park in Canada, with deep blue waters and steep, green and grey mountains.
The whole park is a photographer's paradise.