Liangshan Travel Guide

Liangshan Facts

Chinese Name: 凉山彝族自治州 (liáng shān yí zú zì zhì zhōu)
Population: 4,286,000 
Area: 60,423 square kilometers (23,329 square miles)
Location: in southwest Sichuan Province, southwest China
Administrative Division: 15 counties (Yanyuan, Dechang, Huili, Huidong, Ningnan, Puge, Butuo, Jinyang, Zhaojue, Xide, Mianning, Yuexi, Ganluo, Meigu, Leibo); 1 autonomous county (Muli Tibetan); 1 county-level city (Xichang)
Area Code: 0834
Zip Code: 615000
GDP (2018): CNY 148 billion (USD 22.4 billion) 
Nationalities: Yi, Han, Tibetan
Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture is situated in southwest Sichuan Province between the northern Hengduan Mountains on the east edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and the Sichuan Basin. It borders Leshan, Yibin, Ya’an and the Ganze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the north within the province, and is bounded on the east, west and south by Yunnan Province. As human intangible cultural heritage, Torch Festival attracts many travelers. At the same time, travelers cannot miss Mountain Luoji, Mt. Lushan and Lugu Lake.

Liangshan Attractions - Things to Do

 Qionghai Lushan Scenic Area: Located in the south of Xichang city proper, Lushan Mountain was once a religious site where Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism co-existed in harmony. The age-old cypress forest and the Earthquake Stele Forest at Guangfu Temple are both wonders of this resort. The tranquil Qionghai Lake at the northeast foot of Lushan Mountain is the second largest freshwater lake in Sichuan province. The scenery around the lake is different in each season and each is special. 

 Lugu Lake: Situated at the border between Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, two thirds of the lake is located in the Yanyuan County in Sichuan. Over eight thousand 'Mosuo' people (a part of the Naxi ethnic minority) live there, keeping the customs of the primitive matriarchal clan. It is said they are the only matriarchal clan in the world.  

 Other Scenic Spots: Luoji Mountain, Xichang Satellite Launch Center

How to Get to Liangshan

Xichang Qingshan Airport is 13.5 kilometers (8 miles) away from the city center and 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Currently, passengers can take flights to major cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guiyang, Wenzhou, Xiamen and more than 22 cities in China. Airport shuttle bus connect downtown and airport.

Transportation from Chengdu to Liangshan is very convenient. Take the government seat of the prefecture, Xichang for example. If you fly, it will take about 50 minutes; if you take the train, it will take about 10 hours. Regular buses are another choice. From Xichang, visitors can get buses to other counties in the prefecture.



Situated in the subtropical monsoon climatic zone, Liangshan has distinct dry and wet seasons during the year. Liangshan weather in the winter-half of the year is dry and temperate, and it seldom rains.  In the summer it is usually rainy and cloudy. The annual average temperature is around 16-17℃ (60.8-62.6℉). The temperature can vary greatly during the day but only slightly over the course of the year. Because of the geography, fast and frequent weather changes can be encountered during a single journey. The prefecture is rich in sunlight. The sunshine in winter attracts tourists from all over.

Winter and spring are the best times to appreciate sunny weather and clear sky here. It is rainy in summer and autumn, and about ninety percent of the year's rain falls in summer. Actually, the summer is cool and it usually rains at night, therefore, visitors can also choose to come in summer. For those who are interested in the traditional Torch Festival of the Yi ethnic minority, plan to visit Liangshan in early or mid-August. Every year around the twenty-fourth day of the sixth lunar month, this grand carnival is held, accompanied by dancing flames all night long. 

Liangshan Travel Tips

 History: Before the central government of the Qin and Han dynasties set up administrative organizations in the region two thousand years ago, the area was inhabited by Qiongdu tribes. The Liangshan Yi Autonomous Region was established in 1952 and later became an autonomous prefecture.      

 Physical Features: The northwest part of the prefecture is high in elevation with mountains and highland making up over ninety percent of the land. Most of the mountain peaks are more than 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above the sea level. The distance between the lofty peaks and deep valleys reaches 5,633 meters (18,481 feet), constituting a unique topographic landscape of plateau and savanna in the dry-hot river valley of Liangshan.     

 Local Highlights: Dongba Culture is an old ethnic cultural form descended from the Naxi people through the Dongba Religion (the ancient religion of the Naxi ethnic minority) and recorded by Naxi Dongba scriptures. Dongba Culture includes hieroglyphics, scripture, painting, music, dance, religious instruments and ritual. Eya Naxi Ethnic Township is the heart of the Dongba Culture. Liangshan is the largest compact community of Yi in China with more than 1.7 million people. In isolated areas in the depths of the mountains, the open marriage of the matriarchal society is still adopted by some tribes, such as the Mosuo tribe in the Naxi villages of Lugu Lake region. Xichang is spoken of as the 'moon city' of the county, because the moon in the city is the best for admiring.  The moon appears to stay in the sky longer in Xichang than in any other place in China.

 Special Local Products:
Snacks: Tuo Tuo Rou (Big Pieces of Meat), Guo Tie Ru Bing (fried dairy cake pieces)
Fruit: apple, megranate, orange
Herbs: Liangshan bitter buckwheat
Handicrafts: lacquer wares of Yi ethnic minority

- Last updated on Mar. 03, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on Liangshan Travel
Asked by schoy from MALAYSIA | Mar. 02, 2020 18:35Reply
Getting to Atule'er village from Chengdu by train
How can I get to Atule'er village from Chengdu by train? I read somewhere that I need to take a train from Chengdu Railway station to Xichang. I couldn't find any information from Xichang to Atule'er village.
Any help and advise are welcome. Thank you
Answers (2)
Answered by Kenneth from CAPE VERDE | Mar. 03, 2020 16:51

At Xichang, you should take a coach from Xichang East Coach Station to Zhaojue County. After arriving, hire a private car or take a taxi to the village.
Answered by SCHOY from MALAYSIA | Mar. 03, 2020 17:59

Thanks for the reply. Have a wonderful day ahead,
Asked by Shari from AUSTRALIA | Mar. 30, 2019 21:02Reply
Is it possible to go to Atule'er village for a 1 day (or overnight) trip from Chengdu?
I would like to see the village, climb the ladders to next village etc.
Answers (1)
Answered by Wyatt from RUSSIA | Apr. 09, 2019 18:25

Well, I am afraid that one day is not enough. You'd better stay one night in the village and go back to Chengdu in the next early morning.
Asked by Lily from CHINA | Dec. 12, 2018 23:44Reply
How do I get to Sichuan liangshan from shanghai? Please do help.
Answers (1)
Answered by Tina from SINGAPORE | Dec. 13, 2018 18:49

First, take the bullet train from Shanghai to Chengdu. Then go on taking the train from Chengdu to Xichang.

Or you can take the plane from SH to Chengdu and then from Chengdu to Xichang but it may be expensive than taking the trains.
Asked by Arturo from SPAIN | Aug. 23, 2016 14:29Reply
Chengdu to Xichang and Xichang to Lugu Hu
Dear Travel China Guide

I like your website very much. It is very informative. It is the best !!

1) How long it takes from Chengdu to Xichang?
2) Is better to go Chengdu-Xichang by train or by bus? I look and trains arrived at night times. Is that correct?
3) How long it takes from Xichang to Lugu Hu?
4) At what time is bus from Xichang to Lugu Hu?
5) The bus from Xichang to Lugu Hu passes through Muli? Can I stop to Muli and then continue to Lugu Hu?

Thanks and best regards
Answers (2)
Answered by Narad from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 27, 2016 03:27

1 & 2. You are suggested to take the direct train from Chengdu Railway Station and get to Xichang Railway Station. The train schedules are from 07:21 to 17:28. The duration is about 11 hours. Soft sleeper costs CNY223, hard sleeper costs CNY148 and hard seat costs CNY78.
3 & 4. You can take the coach from Xichang Tourist Passenger Transportation Center and arrive at the lake. As I know, the only bus schedule is at around 07:50. It takes around 7 hours.
5. I'm afraid that it doesn't pass through Muli. If you wanna go there, you can also take coach from that bus station. The buses depart at 07:40, 08:20, 08:40 and 09:20.
Answered by Arturo from SPAIN | Aug. 27, 2016 07:16

Hello Narad. THanks for the informative reply
Asked by tan from THAILAND | Aug. 04, 2016 12:07Reply
How can I go to Miyaluo, Bipeng and Taoping Qiang village?
I have limited budget and want to take a public transport. Is there any way to visit these three places in 2 days?

Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Dave from GERMANY | Aug. 05, 2016 03:30

Dear Tan, both Bipeng Valley and Taoping Qiang Village are within Miyaluo Scenic Area. Will you start from Chengdu? If yes, take a direct bus to Miyaluo from Chadianzi Bus Station. The buses depart at 8:10 and 10:30, and the fare is CNY 74 or 87.

I am afraid that there is no public transport within the scenic area. You may share a van with others, or hike to Bipeng Valley, and then to Taoping Qiang Village. You can cover them within 2 days. Have fun! :)
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