Songpan

Songpan (松潘; Sōngpān) is a small town in northern Sichuan. The city is mostly used as a base-camp for exploring the nearby national parks and Tibetan Villages, and is additionally visited for its existing remnants of the old city.

Get in

By bus

There's a bus station at the North end of town, a few blocks north of the North gate of the wall. The bus station serves major locations in Sichuan, as well as locations in Qinghai, and can also connect to Xiahe in Gansu, via Tongren and Hezuo. There are also buses to/from Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve and Huanglong National Park. The place can take on a very touristic flair in the summer months overrun with bus loads of foreign and Chinese tourists arriving eager to spend their money on fake nicknacks and souvenirs, give or take the odd cheesball picture.

Get around

You can easily visit the town on foot, but there are a plethora of tricycle taxis if you get tired. Motor cycles and horses can take you for longer trips.

See

Do

Buy

There are dozens of shops in Songpan that sell locally made crafts including colorful textiles, silver jewelry, Tibetan hats, and fake antiques. Bargaining is a must. To get the best price on silver products go to the far southern end of the main street where a number of silver smiths are located. You might get the opportunity to see a silver smith hammering away on a new piece. The prices in these shops are dramatically cheaper than stores just up the block. One product you should not buy are the many furs for sale. The skins for sale have been poached in China or in neighboring countries. Asia's wildlife is quickly disappearing as China's appetite for illegal animal products increases. Please don't contribute to this crisis.

Eat

No shortage of small restaurants, Tibetan and Chinese, in town.

Drink

There is not much nightlife in town. To have a beer, simply visit a restaurant.

Sleep

Budget

Splurge

There are a couple of (relatively) upscale hotels in town and one or two just north of the Bus station. They are mostly aimed at Chinese tourists, but word on the street is that they're pretty nice.

Stay safe

Beware of altitude sickness if travelling here straight from the Sichuan Province lowlands.

Connect

Internet

There is an internet bar located just across the southern most bridge. If your heading south the internet bar is immediately on the right after crossing the bridge down a few steps along the river. It is ¥6 for one hour.

Supposedly SongPan horse trekking now has a small internet bar. Emma's Kitchen has a computer with internet.

Go next

From the bus station located in the north of the town there are buses to Chengdu (11 hours), north to Zoige and Langmusi (5 hours) on the border of Gansu province, and to Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve (2 hours) and Huanglong National Park.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, September 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.