Clouds permitting, it's just a 40-minute flight from Chengdu, the tree-shaded jumping-off point in Sichuan Province nestled near some of the major germinating sites of China's civilization 3,000 years ago.

Boardwalks circuit the little lakes and reedy creeks, and the buses stop to let parties of trippers stroll at their own pace. Then they queue to catch another and continue on.

Continue reading original article by Edward Hoagland on NationalGeographic's site.