There is a place in China where you can experience a different side of the country – idyllic landscape, challenging hiking trails, spicy cuisine and pandas. It’s Chengdu and it’s located in China’s Sichuan Province. If you ever make it to the Land of Dragons and you feel like touching and feeding a panda, relaxing or doing some hiking, add Chengdu to your bucket list!
Chengdu is a very wealthy city, sometimes called the “Land of Milk and Honey”. It has the reputation as a very “laid-back” city and it’s extremely peaceful and relaxing, credited with a great nightlife scene and developed western buildings and skyscrapers.
It’s a hot and humid city in summer, whereas winters are freezing. Chengdu is surrounded by breath-taking mountains to the east and sits in the Red Basin.
Chengdu is filled with affordable accommodation options. It offers hostels and hotels which prices start from RMB 40 a night (dorms). I would highly recommend a place called Chengdu Traffic Inn located at No.6 Middle Linjiang Road, Wuhou, a 15-minute walk from Tianfu Square and Chunxi Road Pedestrian Street.
It has a a restaurant, free Wi-Fi and free parking and within 20 minutes you can get from Shawan International Convention and Exhibition Center, whereas Shuangliu International Airport is 18 km away.
Additional feature is sampling a variety of Chinese and Western dishes at the hotel. Breakfast can also be served in the comfort of guests’ rooms!
You can easily reach the city by air – Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is only 20km away from the city centre. It serves flights domestic and International flights daily.
If you prefer, you can take a bus. Bus no.1 operates an express service between the airport and the city centre and it costs only RMB 10. Local buses are definitely the cheapest options to get around Chengdu. A single bus ride costs only RMB 2.
If you travel on the cheap, try to avoid taxis. Most of taxi drivers don’t use meters so you can end up paying much more than you should.
Moreover, train connections are available to most cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming in Yunnan, Chongqing and Xi’an.
Eating and drinking
Most of the food is quite spicy, but you can order mild dishes as well. One of the most common meals in Chengdu is hot pot – a big pot of soup and spices simmering in a hole in the middle of your table. It costs between RMB 50 and 100, but you can share the food with your friends.
Chengdu offers a lot of weird local snack type of food – from dragon prawns, duck neck, rabbit to even dog’s meat. As long as you stick to street food, you should be able to survive in the city for less than RMB 40 a day.
1) Tianfu Square – every evening at dusk you can experience a wonderful water show synchronized to music, bursts out from the square’s fountains.
2) People’s Park – extremely relaxing park, one of the biggest in the city. Here you can mediate, relax or go jogging.
3) Sichuan Science and Technology Museum – filled with interactive exhibits about science and space. Great place to explore with kids.
4) Chengdu Zoo – offers all the typical animals that one might expect in a zoo – from tigers to monkeys and panda bears. The entrance for all day is only RMB 12.
5) Wuhouci Temple – powerful place with breath-taking gardens.
6) Chengdu Panda Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding – take a bus no. 87 or 198 to get here for only RMB 50.This is the biggest facility of this kind in the world, home to some 60 giant pandas. Must-see place when in Chengdu, that’s for sure.
7) Giant Buddha – the Leshan Giant Buddha is 71 metres tall, his shoulders are 28 metres wide and his smallest toenail is large enough to easily accommodate a seated person.