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Chengdu Travel Guide and Tips

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Chengdu, as described in most of the travel books, it is a very "laid-back" city that emphasizes on culture and relaxation. You can enjoy the leisurely life pace of this city in a local teahouse, watching the locals playing cards and majhong. Also, many historical and cultural sites will make you better understand the tradition and long history of Chengdu.

Closely seeing the cute pandas, tasting the authentic Sichuan cuisine, watching the amazing face-changing performances in an local opera house… you will love the trip in this Land of Abundance.

Why visit Chengdu:

1. Giant Panda. Chengdu is the great place where you can see the cute black and white bears up close and personal. With more than 80 giant pandas in Chengdu panda base, you can stroll through the green bamboo groves, meet pandas in different enclosures, watch them munching on bamboo, climbing trees and play fighting with each other, and sleeping, etc.

2. Leisure Life. In this laid-back city, no matter how quick the city develops and how fast-paced the locals move, the consistent relaxed and calm way of life resonates throughout every aspect of Chengdu.

3. Gateway City. For the geographical location, Chengdu is also served as gateway city to nearby attractions, like Leshan Giant Buddha, Mount Emei, Dujiangyan Irrigation System, as well as to Jiuzhaigou, Hongyuan, and West Sichuan. It is also one of the most popular gateway cities to Tibet, no matter transfer by flight or by train.

Chengdu, Home of the Giant Panda

Chengdu is a city of pandas. The lovely giant pandas are the No. 1 reason that people visit Chengdu.

Pandas are used to decorate the city and you can find them in a variety of forms, such as panda hats, panda purses, panda shoes, panda buses, etc.

There are four giant panda bases in and around Chengdu City. You can not only see giant pandas and panda cubs; you can also take care of them as a panda keeper.

China Panda

Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Chengdu: see baby pandas

Dujiangyan Panda Base: experience the giant panda volunteer program

Wolong Panda Research Center: see native panda habitat, and explore panda’s nightlife without tourists.

Bifengxia Panda Base: longer, less-busy programs for panda devotees

Chengdu, a Laid-back City

With a population of 13 million, Chengdu is a large city but with a small town laid-back feel. It is said that the two most important things for Chengdu people are drinking tea and playing mahjong.

It is a routine for local people to drink tea in a teahouse and go to the parks to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The People's Park is where to go for an authentic taste of the Chengdu laid-back lifestyle. In the park, you should not miss is to drink a cup of tea at Heming Teahouse and experience a Chengdu specialty, ear cleaning.

Wenshu Monastery, a hidden Buddhist temple in hustling downtown Chengdu, is a good place to wander. It will take you back in time and offer tranquility amidst the chaos.

Chengdu, a Foodie Destination

You must have heard or tried kung pao chicken, Fish fragrant pork, Ma Po Tofu. Chengdu is, after all, Unesco's first-ever City of Gastronomy.

Chengdu has been a famous foodie destination, where local street food and hot pots abound.

Any trip to Chengdu is incomplete without trying the famous hot pot. See How to Survive a Chengdu Hotpot.

Jinli Old Street is a good place for Chengdu street food. Don’t miss dine-and-dash favorites like spicy, savory Dan Dan Noodles, spicy chicken on a stick, and spicy rabbits heads. See more on Chengdu Food and Chengdu’s Top 6 Special Snacks.

The delicious dishes and authentic restaurants are often hidden in the backstreets. Book a Chengdu Food Tour to find the ones which are normally only found by locals, and experience cooking the most authentic Sichuan cuisine with a local chef.

Gateway to Western China

Potala Palace

Gateway to Tibet

Chengdu is on the east side of Tibet Plateau. There are many ways to get to Tibetan areas from Chengdu: by flight, train, or car. Chengdu is the most surefire way to get into Tibet (especially for flights with more routes than anywhere else).

Once you step foot in Chengdu, you have already started your journey into the mysterious Tibetan world. In Chengdu, you can sample Tibetan food and meet Tibetan people. Just a short bus ride out of Chengdu will take you to many villages that are mostly inhabited by Tibetan people.

Gateway to China's Most Scenic Area — West Sichuan

Beautiful scenery of Jiuzhaigou

The areas to the west of Chengdu offer breathtaking natural scenery. Jiuzhaigou National Park and Huanglong National Park are well-known for their clean lakes, waterfalls, colorful ponds, snowcapped mountains, and gorges.

The Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou travel route is one of China’s most scenic itineraries.

Best Day Tours Outside of Chengdu

Leshan Giant Buddha

Apart from day trips to panda bases, there are several day trip options you can consider if you have one or two more days in Chengdu.

You can get to see the Leshan Giant Buddha which is the world’s largest sculpture of Buddha carved out of a mountain. Pay a visit to Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan Irrigation Project which is one of the world’s cultural heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.


The Best Time to Visit Chengdu

The best periods to visit Chengdu are from March to June, and September to November. There is substantial rainfall during the rainy season (July and August).

Chengdu has a foggy, relatively mild, basin climate. Summers feel hotter, winters feel colder, and the pollution seems worse due to the humidity. However many describe the climate of Chengdu as "pleasant", and it is, compared to the harshness of the surrounding mountain areas you might visit, like Jiuzhaigou and Mount Emei.

Ultimate Chengdu Travel Guide & Useful Articles

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