The Ya’an Bifengxia base draws visitors with its stunning, wild beauty. The base, in Sichuan Province near Ya’an City and Chengdu, the region’s major city, sits in a gorge made up of two valleys. With an elevation ranging from about 2,300 to 6,500 feet (700 to 2,000 meters), the gorge is famous for its lush vegetation - you can find more than 320 species of wild plants here - and its more than 50 waterfalls. There is also a zoo in Bifengxia with about 400 species of animals.
In addition to being known for its proximity to pandas, the city of Ya’an was once the heart of tea cultivation in China and the beginning of the treacherous Tea Horse Road, over which porters transported tea to Tibet and beyond for centuries. Sichuan Province, an agricultural stronghold, is home to many different ethnic groups, including the Yi, Hui, Tibetan, and Miao people, making it an area of diverse cultures and traditions.