You may have already caught my Travel Guides for Beijing and Xi’an, if not go give them a read. But today, it’s all about what to do in Chengdu, China.
Chengdu, the home of the playful pandas and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorn, was probably one of our favourite places to explore in China. It’s the capital of Sichuan province and provides a great mix of traditional China and modern day culture.
There is plenty to do in Chengdu, but I’ve taken the time to pick my top 6 things to do to help you plan your travels.
Top 6 Things to do in Chengdu, China
Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
As I mentioned, Chengdu is known as the home of the Giant Pandas, so the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is a must-do for your trip. The centre was opened in 1993 to further scientific education and improve public awareness of the protection of these beautiful animals and their environment.
It’s home to about 120 giant pandas, as well as numerous red pandas, and focuses on breeding pandas to grow the population of the threatened species.
I recommend heading along to the base as early in the morning as you can so you can see the pandas when they are most active – breakfast time. If you head to the base in the afternoon, you risk seeing all of the pandas sleeping.
We arrived early on and got to see many active pandas – pandas eating, cubs playing, we even saw one cub push the other cub down a hill which was pretty comedic and drew in quite the crowd. Siblings, ay?
Head on into the red panda enclosures and you can have the little red animals running about your feet and climbing above you in the trees. It is quite something!
Leshan Giant Buddha
Next, is the Leshan Giant Buddha. This isn’t technically in Chengdu, it’s in the closeby Leshan area, but it’s definitely worth a mention. This was a standout trip on our China travels and so one I had to share with you.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site features a 71 metre, stone buddha carved into the hillside. This large structure was completed in 803 during the Tang dynasty and is an impressive sight with its own water drainage system to reduce weathering in rain.
On the steep walk up to the buddha site, you’ll also come across various temples and statues which makes this a worthwhile trip out of Chengdu.
Once at the peak of the buddha, take a look out onto the surrounding view of Leshan where 3 rivers flow together – can you spot them?
We managed to get some incredible drone footage here too, which if you’ve seen my vlog, I forgot to put in. Silly me!
Jinli Ancient Street
Jinli Ancient Street is a commercial pedestrian street, located in Wuhou Memorial Temple, with its buildings embedded into ancient Chinese buildings that were built between 1644-1911.
Walking amongst this 350-metre long street, you truly experience traditional Chinese culture while still being in a modern area full of nightlife, food and folk culture.
Here you can eat local, street food delicacies, watch a Sichuan opera performance or just stroll around the picturesque buildings with their hanging lanterns. It’s also the perfect place to pick up souvenirs for loved ones.
Jinli Ancient Street is a great way to spend an evening or two in Chengdu.
Built in 1911, Chengdu’s People’s Park is located on Shaocheng Road, covering a huge 112,639 square metred area.
There is plenty to see in the park such as the Gold Water Stream where you can take in the scenic views, the Goldfish Island where you can enjoy the nearby teahouses and the fish-filled lake, as well as the Potted Landscape Garden with its multitude of bonsai plants.
If you’re lucky and aren’t caught in the rain like we were, you may also witness some of the park’s performances or be able to take a little rowing boat on the lake.
In many areas of the park, you will also spot large groups of locals dancing their mornings or evenings away to the music. You really get a sense of community as you wander around People’s Park.
Another pedestrian street noteworthy in Chengdu is Chunxi Road. With over 700 shops, it’s one of the busiest commercial pedestrian streets in China. Here you can shop til you drop in the fashion malls, take in all of the bright billboards and lights and enjoy delicious Chinese cuisine.
Wide and Narrow Alley
Wide and Narrow Alley, known locally as Kuanzhai Xiangzi, actually consists of three alleys – the wide, narrow and wide alleys.
Each alley portrays a different atmosphere throughout. Wide alley is an area with Chengdu’s ancient culture where you will find phoenix trees, inns and old tea houses and can experience what life was like in old Chengdu.
Narrow alley is all about slow life in Chengdu. Here you can enjoy a coffee or retail therapy, amongst themed salons and courtyards. Narrow alley is about showcasing the courtyard culture of Chengdu. Think bamboo, vines and traditional lamps.
Well alley is where you can experience modern life. You’ll find multiple pubs and bars, perfect for those after some nightlife, as well as delicious restaurants and food stalls.
So that’s my top picks for a trip to Chengdu, China.
Is Chengdu on your travel bucket list?
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