With a population of more than 14 million people and stretching over an area of 12,000 km, Chengdu is one of largest city in the world! When I first arrived in China I was amazed by the culture shock. It isn’t the furthest I have ever travelled however it is the most different place I have ever been. As a tourist here there is so much to see and do. Some in the centre of the city and some over in the area of Chengdu.
1. The Panda Sanctuary
This is in the centre of the city and accessible by bus, taxi and the metro. Taxi’s in the city are supposed to use the meter but as soon they see that you are a tourist they will jack up the price, you should pay no more than 50 RMB to get here. While moving around the city centre, the metro is the best option. The sanctuary is used to keep giant pandas and red pandas safe from the issues with deforestation and because pandas are so lazy that they don’t want to mate.
There are over 150 pandas here and if you visit around Autumn then you may see some baby pandas. Entry cost is around 60 RMB and is open all year round. Hostels and hotels in Chengdu often run day trips to the sanctuary making it even easier to get here so a must do.
2. Huang Long Xi
This is an ancient town in Shuangliu, about an hour away from Chengdu city centre. There is a bus from Xinnaamen bus station in Chengdu which only costs around 15 RMB. Huang Long Xi has been around for over 1700 years and is a beautiful place. There is a river that runs through the centre of the town, all the kids play in it.
There are also lots of stalls throughout the town, selling things from food to wood work, hand crafted items and pets. It is in a beautiful area with amazing structures and really worth a visit.
3. Leshan Giant Buddha
Leshan is about 120km away from Chengdu but assessable by train, car and bus. On the train it takes about an hour and a half for around 50 RMB. This spectacular statue is 71 metres high, built in 803AD in order to slow down to rivers. It took 90 years to build. You can see the statue from the river in front of it or by climbing the path up to the head. The Buddha’s fingers are 8.3 metres long (so about 4 and a half of me). Really amazing to see.
4. Mount Emei
Mt. Emei is 3099 metres high and in the West of Sichuan. It is in Emeishan which is not far from Leshan. This mountain is a natural beauty and home to many monks.
The path up to the summit is long and hard work. It takes 2 days to hike up to the top area before a cable car to the summit but this is the best way to see all the nature. The mountain is home to monkeys which are nice to see but don’t get too close as they have a tendency to get aggressive.
The accommodation on the mountain are the monk’s temples. They only charge a small fee but with payment you get a bed, dinner and breakfast. There are also buses up the first part of the mountain and a cable car to the summit. At the summit there are a few amazing temples. Also the bed of clouds is a spectacular phenomenon just below the tip of the mountain. Worth a visit even if you only have one day just to go straight to the top but climbing this mighty mountain was so rewarding.
5. Sichuan Cuisine
Food is a huge part of Chinese life and culture. I asked the locals before what cuisine they like best and they all said Sichuan. One young lad said that he wouldn’t go on holiday because then he couldn’t get this local food. The reason it is so famous and popular is the Sichuan pepper or numbing pepper. My favourite way they cook these peppers is in a Hot Pot. This is a pot of boiling water which turns red with the spice. You then cook food in the water, such as meat and vegetables. When in Chengdu there are thousands of Hot Pot restaurants and you haven’t really experienced Sichuan culture until you have eaten this.
About the author
My name is Rob and I am a pub chef that turned into a traveller. My site is a travel and food blog. Where I will share my stories, advice and some recipes I have picked up on my way. I will share my past adventures, leading up to my present ones and look into the future possible ones. Read my posts, look at my photos and follow me. www.pubcheftotraveller.com