Chengdu is the famed capital of China’s Sichuan province, and the main gateway to the beautiful province’s natural attractions.
With domestic flights to all major cities in China, Chengdu is undoubtedly the gateway to Sichuan province’s attractions, which includes the great panda sanctuaries and the emerald lakes of Jiuzhaigou.
However, visitors who do not overlook this charming capital will find this an easygoing and laidback place compared to other Chinese cities, with its attractive parks, colourful old streets and traditional tea houses.
Chengdu is the country’s fifth largest city, and has long been Sichuan province’s political, economic and cultural centre since the days of Emperor Shi Huangdi in the 9th century. The city is more than 2,000 years old, and has a long history of producing famous literary and cultural icons.
Chengdu’s top attractions include Wuhou Si Temple, named after Three Kingdoms military strategist Zhu Geliang; Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage which was home to China’s most famous classical poet Du Fu; and Qingyang Gong Temple, a temple dedicated to Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism.
Chengdu is also famous for its teahouse culture, also known as chadian, as a place for socialising, a game of Chinese chess or to while a hot summer’s afternoon away. Explore the alleyways around the city’s temples, which are excellent hideaways for charming little tea shops.
For animal lovers, The Giant Panda Breeding Research Facility is located just 6km northeast of the city centre. It is a great place to see the dozen or so pandas living in their natural habitat, and there is also an excellent museum to learn more about the pandas.