Welcome to Chengdu in the Sichuan region of China or better known – the Panda capital of the world! Here we had our first taste of China and honestly fell straight in love with the country.
When To Visit
The rainy season typically falls between July and August so it’s safe to head there in the months before and after (March to June and September to November). We headed to Chengdu in early June and couldn’t recommend it enough.
Just note if you are Australian (please check your local countries visa requirements for others) you will have to organize a visa at the Chinese consult, as of writing this article it cost us $110 each.
Things to do in Chengdu
Visit the Giant Panda Centre
You have come to the Panda region, now your first stop needs to include seeing them. At the breeding research base you can see both giant and red panda’s including babies and adults eating way too much bamboo.
Visit Little Alley, Big Alley (Wide and Narrow Alley – Kuanzhai Xiangzi)
… and try not turn it into a tongue twister. Here the alley itself is an exhibit as you see traditional Chinese buildings dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD). There’s plenty of good food on display, local buskers and is just worth the trip out to see some of Ancient China.
Explore the Underground Shops at Tianfu Square
If you plan to pick up some supplies or do some shopping then it’s worth heading into the city to see the underground shops at Tianfu Square. It’s not until you head up a skyrise to look at the ground below you to see that the shopping square is designed to represent a ying and yang. Also look out for the statue of Mao in front of the museum.
Visit the Leshan Giant Buddha
If you want to see the largest stone seated Maitreya in the world then come see the Giant Buddha who is 71 meters high. This World Heritage site must be seen in person to truly see the scale of this incredible construction.
Get your ears cleaned at the People’s Park
These experts are more than happy to stick their long needles into your ears whilst you sip on tea at the open air tea house. These old chinese guys will ensure your ears are squeaky clean by the time you have finished your drink.
See Wenshu Temple
This monastery is a buddhist temple built during the Sui Dynasty (605-617). Here you will see over 200 statues of Buddha molded in copper, bronze, jade and iron. If you came to China to experience some history and culture, you will find it here.
Check out our experience exploring the city of Chengdu…
Where to stay in Chengdu
You’ve come to the Panda region, you’ve seen the Panda’s, you might as well stay at the Panda Hostel. Yes there are some luxurious hotels around the area but here we saved a bunch of money that was put straight towards eating the local cuisine.
What to eat: A Local Hot Pot
Known as the Chuan cuisine in China this style of food is world famous for its spicy-hot flavours. When we sat down to try a local vegetarian hot pot we had no idea what we were in for. It’s hard to explain but your mouth literally goes numb from the sensation of the food.
Think fondu cross spicy food where you have a wide array of vegetables and dishes that you place into the boiling hot soup. You can’t go to Chengdu and miss trying this traditional dish.
Something different: Volunteer with Giant Panda’s
The main reason we headed out to Chengdu in China was to volunteering with Giant Panda’s. Here we spent a week feeding, caring for and looking after these endangered animals. We highly recommend you think about this option when planning your trip to the Sichuan region.
Where in China should we head to next?
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