Sichuan lies in the heart of China and its variety of nature is incomparable to any other region of the world. Huge canyons, hilly lands, rivers, glaciers, grasslands, waterfalls, hot springs, alpine lakes and basins make the province as much unique as its ethnic minorities of Tibetan, Qiang and Yi. The sparely populated north and west are crisscrossed by 80 rivers and contain many national parks like Jiuzhaigou, with impressing alpine scenery and turquoise lakes. The holy Mount Emei and the Giant Buddha at Le Shan made Sichuan also popular for Buddhist pilgrims. The eastern part is more populated and location of its vibrant capital Chengdu. It is one of China’s fastest growing cities and reflects the free-spirited nature of Sichuan people. The liberal way of thinking and the world-renowned spicy food make Chengdu one of the most interesting cities in China. It is also the native home of the Chinese Giant Panda and has the only panda reserve in the world.