CHINA – Chengdu is one of China’s historical cities and the homeland of giant pandas. With a history spanning 2300 years, it is renowned as the “land of abundance.”
Today, Chengdu has evolved into a culturally rich tourist destination.
Indulge in Sichuan Cuisine: A Culinary Adventure
A visit to Chengdu is incomplete without savoring the renowned Sichuan cuisine. From spicy hot pot to flavorful Mapo tofu, the city’s culinary scene is an explosion of diverse flavors.
Explore Chengdu’s flavors through: The Most Delectable Dishes in Chengdu.
Get Up Close with Giant Pandas
Chengdu is home to a renowned giant panda breeding research base. Witness these adorable creatures in their natural habitat and learn about the ongoing conservation efforts.
Official volunteer registration website: www.panda.org.cn/english/
Learn more: Top Giant Panda Bases in Chengdu.
Explore the Ancient Jinli Street
Step back in time as you wander through Jinli Ancient Street. Cobblestone paths, traditional architecture, and a plethora of local snacks make this place a charming destination.
Watch Sichuan Opera
Sichuan Opera is a distinctive form of Chinese opera, with face-changing being its most crucial element. Magical face changes are visible, portraying the invisible emotions of characters in Sichuan Opera.
Admiring the Astounding Architecture of Wuhou Shrine
Show reverence at Wuhou Shrine (constructed in the 3rd century), dedicated to Zhuge Liang, a famous strategist during the Three Kingdoms period. The intricate architecture and serene surroundings are truly captivating.
Visit Wenshu Monastery
Spanning over 48,500 square meters, Wenshu Monastery is an enchanting complex comprising five temples crafted from wood and stone. Established in 1691 on the ruins of an ancient monastery dating back to the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589), it features notable highlights.
Explore the Shuofa Tang Hall adorned with 10 iron statues of guardian deities from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), along with over 100 bronze sculptures of Buddhas and saints from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), crafted from jade, wood, and more.
This location also preserves valuable artifacts such as paintings and calligraphy by renowned Chinese artists, offering a taste of tradition at the tea house within the premises.
Location: 66 Wenshu Yuan Jie, Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan.
Du Fu Thatched Cottage
The expansive Du Fu Thatched Cottage complex in Chengdu covers an area of 24 acres and honors one of China’s most famous poets. It replicates the house where Du Fu lived from 759 to 763, creating over 250 of his famous poems.
Nestled along the enchanting curves of the Huanhuaxi River, the proud complex boasts beautiful gardens, numerous pavilions, picturesque bridges, and pathways resembling a painting.
While not original, most buildings date back to 1500-1800 and underwent meticulous restoration in 1949. The main attraction is the Gong Bu Memorial Hall, showcasing the life and career of Du Fu, including a section in foreign languages.
The small reconstructed house itself, with modest rooms for work, sleep, and a kitchen, opens its doors to visitors. The Hall of Great Poets welcomes tourists to view scenes from his famous poems, including one about the original house destroyed by a storm.
Address: 28 Caotang Road, Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan.
Relax in People’s Park
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at People’s Park, where you can join locals in tai chi exercises, enjoy leisurely tea, or simply relax in this tranquil oasis.
Explore the Giant Leshan Buddha Statue
Begin your journey to admire the Giant Leshan Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Carved into a cliff, this colossal statue is a testament to ancient craftsmanship.
Standing at 71 meters, the Leshan Giant Buddha is directly carved from the surrounding rock, a remarkable feat initiated by a Buddhist monk named Haitong in 713. After his passing, the work was continued by other monks and artists until its completion in 803.
Discover the Beauty of Mount Emei
Mount Emei, home to the Bodhisattva Puxian, is located 160 km southwest of Chengdu and promises a diverse experience. The mountain peak, known as Wanfo Ding, reaches an impressive height of 3,099 meters.
This mountain holds special significance for Chinese Buddhists as one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains, including Mount Wutai in Shanxi, Mount Jiuhua in Anhui, and Mount Putuo in Zhejiang.
Enveloped in mystery and clouds, the origin of the first Daoist temples on Mount Emei dates back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).
During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it marked a pivotal change, transforming into a prominent pilgrimage site for Buddhists with over 200 temples. Despite the passage of time, about 20 temples and monasteries still exist, testifying to the rich spiritual heritage of the mountain.
Admire the Jianmen Pass
For adventurous travelers seeking to explore culture, the Jianmen scenic route is an unmissable destination from Chengdu along the ancient Shudao, known as the Shu Road.
Though this round trip spans over 300 km, it’s a highly worthwhile experience, whether you’re traveling solo or as part of a smaller group with regular guided tours departing from Chengdu.
This stunning route will lead you to the Jianmen Pass, renowned for its steep slopes, surrounded by a landscape of approximately 72 peaks, along with numerous historically and culturally significant sites. Highlights include the Old Plank Road, Thousand Buddha Rock, Douchui Mountain, and Huangze Temple.
However, the true gem of this journey is the meticulously reconstructed gate—a precise replica of the original. This gate played a crucial role in protecting the route during the Ming Dynasty and for many centuries thereafter.
Location: Jiange County, Guangyuan, Sichuan, China.
Embark on a Journey to Mengdingshan Tea Plantation
No visit to Chengdu is truly complete without a trip to an authentic tea plantation.
Situated among the oldest tea-growing regions in China, Mengdingshan is just a 2-hour journey from the city, making it an easily accessible day trip.
While enjoying picturesque landscapes, the plantation tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the world of tea. Here, you can gain a deeper understanding of different tea varieties and their significance in Chinese tradition and culture.
It’s a chance to appreciate not only the natural beauty of the area but also the rich heritage of Chinese tea production.
Find Serenity at Qingcheng Mountain
Nature enthusiasts will find solace on Qingcheng Mountain, a peaceful peak adorned with lush forests and Daoist temples. Long hiking trails offer breathtaking panoramic views.
Qingyang Palace: Daoist Treasure in Chengdu
Located within walking distance from Wenshu Monastery, Qingyang Palace is a significant Daoist temple in Chengdu. This historical site has deep roots dating back to the 7th century during the Tang Dynasty.
Over the centuries, various parts of the temple have been constructed, rebuilt, and restored, making it an attractive site to explore.
Notable highlights include:
- Eight-Trigram Pavilion: The most remarkable architectural feature in Qingyang Monastery is the Eight-Trigram Pavilion. It stands out with its unique octagonal shape, large glass dome, and intricately carved dragon-adorned columns. A visit to this pavilion is a must for its architectural beauty and cultural significance.
- White Goats: Qingyang Monastery is home to famous white goats originating from Beijing. These statues hold cultural and historical significance and are a tourist attraction.
- Daoist Artifacts: The temple houses a significant collection of important Daoist artifacts. Exploring these relics provides a profound insight into Daoist culture and practices.
- Tea House: If time permits, consider visiting the tea house within the premises. Enjoying a cup of tea here can be a gentle and culturally enriching experience.
Address: 9 West Section 2, First Ring Road, Qin Tai Lu, Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan.
Great Mosque of Chengdu: Significant Islamic Heritage in Chengdu
The Great Mosque of Chengdu, located in the central West City district of Chengdu, is one of China’s most important Islamic sites with a history dating back to the 18th century.
Despite significant damage during the Japanese air raid in 1941, the Great Mosque continues to be a prominent landmark known for its unique blend of traditional Chinese and Arab-influenced architecture.
- Architectural Fusion: The uniqueness of the Great Mosque lies in its architectural fusion, blending traditional Chinese design with Arab influences. The mosque’s white walls are adorned with colorful accents, creating an eye-catching exterior.
- Prayer Hall: The Great Mosque boasts a spacious 16-meter-long prayer hall adorned with original tiles. It serves as a central place for worship and reflection.
- Courtyard: An attractive central courtyard enhances the mosque’s aesthetic appeal and provides visitors with a tranquil space for contemplation.
- Gates: The Great Mosque has two gates as part of its architectural ensemble.
- Library: The mosque features a library containing many volumes of the Quran printed in both Arabic and Chinese. This collection adds historical and educational significance to the site.
To determine the precise construction date of the Great Mosque, look for the column with the plaque stating “Year 7 of the Qianlong Reign” – a historical milestone indicating the mosque was established in 1742.
Address: 80 Yongjin Road, West City District, Chengdu.
Anshun Bridge: A Breathtaking Landscape in Chengdu
Undoubtedly, the Anshun Bridge stands out as one of Chengdu’s most charming architectural gems. This stunning structure spans the Jin River and has become an iconic landmark for the city.
Although the current bridge is an authentic replica built in 2003, its history can be traced back to its predecessor, first constructed in 1746 and later destroyed by a devastating flood in 1947.
This picturesque bridge is particularly enchanting when visited at night, as it is illuminated along with the surrounding cityscape. Apart from its aesthetic appeal, the Anshun Bridge serves as a convenient pedestrian crossing over the wide river.
Additionally, the bridge hosts one of Chengdu’s most renowned restaurants, providing diners with the opportunity to enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Address: Binjiang East Road, Tanjiang District, Chengdu, Sichuan.
Explore the Science and Technology Museum of Sichuan
Located in a modest building, the Sichuan Science and Technology Museum is a hidden gem for those interested in science and technology, offering a unique Chinese perspective on these subjects.
With an impressive exhibition space spanning 60,000 square meters across five floors, this museum is a significant attraction that requires a bit of walking but provides rewarding experiences.
What to expect:
- Diverse Exhibitions: The museum boasts around 600 exhibitions covering various themes, from ancient agricultural techniques and land use to China’s contributions to the space race, robots, and airplanes.
- Dujiangyan Irrigation System: Don’t miss the dedicated exhibition area for the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, a vital part of China’s history and agriculture. It provides valuable insights into this attraction that you can explore firsthand.
- Sichuan Museum: Adjacent to the Sichuan Science and Technology Museum is the Sichuan Museum, a sizable facility with captivating displays of ancient pottery and Buddhist art collected from the region.
- Sichuan Cuisine Museum in Chengdu: If time allows, consider visiting the Sichuan Cuisine Museum in Chengdu. Here, you can immerse yourself in the world of Sichuan cuisine through engaging exhibitions and even participate in exciting cooking classes.
Address: 16 Renmin Middle Road Section 1, Luomashi, Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan.
Explore Chengdu’s Skyline Marvel: West Pearl Tower
In the ever-growing landscape of prosperous Chinese cities, towering skyscrapers have become iconic symbols of development and modernity.
Chengdu, a city following this trend, proudly features the prominent West Pearl Tower, standing at 339 meters in its bustling commercial district.
A marvel of the future: Nestled next to the Tianshui River, the West Pearl Tower is a sight to behold, resembling something out of a sci-fi realm. Since its completion in 2004, this architectural masterpiece, the tallest building in Chengdu, has captured the hearts of visitors far and wide.
Multifaceted appeal: The West Pearl Tower offers various experiences. Visitors are drawn to the observation deck, providing panoramic views of Chengdu’s urban landscape.
As the city’s highest restaurant, it not only offers delectable cuisine but also provides a unique dining experience as the revolving restaurant ensures a constantly changing panorama.
Cultural insights: In addition to the sweeping views, the tower also houses an art exhibition room.
Here, you can explore engaging exhibits on traditional Chinese art, photography, and calligraphy, providing a deeper understanding of Chengdu’s rich cultural heritage.
Address: 96 Mengzhuiwan Road, Thanh Hoa District, Chengdu, Sichuan.
Immerse Yourself in Chengdu’s Tea Culture
Partake in the traditional tea ceremony and learn about the significance of tea in Chinese culture. Chengdu’s tea houses are perfect places to engage in meaningful conversations.
Stroll Through Chengdu’s Ancient Alleys: Kuan, Zhai, and Jing Xiangzi
Exploring the historic lanes tucked away in Chengdu’s old city has become one of the city’s favorite activities.
These pedestrian-only alleys, characterized by their narrowness and absence of vehicular traffic, offer a fascinating journey back in time, providing a glimpse of Chengdu before industrialization and automobile dominance.
Two of these charming alleys, Kuan Xiangzi (Wide Alley) and Zhai Xiangzi (Narrow Alley), boast a rich history dating back to the 17th century during the Qing Dynasty when they were used as garrisons.
Today, these ancient alleys, along with the more recent addition of Jing Xiangzi (Well Alley), have been meticulously restored to their former glory. They stand as vibrant testimonies to Chengdu’s dynamic history and cultural heritage.
As you wander through these alluring alleys, you’ll encounter numerous traditional shops, workshops, and restaurants lining the cobblestone streets.
These alleys also feature over 20 courtyards, many of which have been converted into captivating public spaces where you can relax while enjoying a meal or a drink.
Remember to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a traditional tea house—a quintessential Chengdu experience. Moreover, this area is home to some important religious sites, including Wenshu Monastery and Daci Temple.
Address: Upper Changshun Street, Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.
Visit West Huanglongxi Ancient Town
Start your day trip to West Huanglongxi Ancient Town, located just an hour from Chengdu, providing an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the charm of ancient China.
This popular tourist destination allows you to reverse time and experience life as it once was, with well-preserved architecture dating back to the 14th century Ming Dynasty.
Among the many highlights of your visit, you’ll have the chance to explore intricate temples from the Ming and Qing dynasties, observe a working water mill, and marvel at an impressive covered bridge.
On your journey, you’ll come across numerous traditional shops, craft workshops, restaurants, and teahouses. Additionally, you can enjoy a beautiful riverside walk exclusively for pedestrians, enhancing the town’s quaint atmosphere.
Experience Chengdu’s Nightlife
As the sun sets, Chengdu comes alive with the vibrant scenery of its bustling nightlife. From trendy bars to traditional tea houses, there’s always something for night owls to explore.
Day Trip to Dujiangyan Irrigation System
Venture beyond Chengdu for a day trip to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, an ancient engineering marvel that transformed the agriculture of the region.
Built around 250 BCE, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System is located near the town of Guanxian on the upper reaches of the Minjiang River.
Wangjiang Pavilion Park: Home of Poet Xue Tao
Wangjiang Pavilion Park, renowned as the residence of poet Xue Tao from 769-834, boasts an impressive 30-meter high River-viewing Tower built in 1889.
The park features a famous ancient fountain with a history dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), where Xue Tao is believed to have taken water to create her unique red paper for writing. The fountain still bears her name today.
The park also houses various architectural structures dedicated to Xue Tao, including the Poetry Immersing Tower (Yinshi Lou), Paper Washing Pavilion (Wanjian Ting), and Earthware Washing Tower (Zhou Lou).
A beautiful bamboo forest, featuring 140 different bamboo species—Xue Tao’s cherished plant—adds to the allure of the site.
Address: 30 Wangjiang Road, Chengdu City, Sichuan.
Yongling Museum – Eternal Mausoleum
Yongling Museum, also known as the Eternal Mausoleum, is a notable preserved historical site of the royal tomb of Wang Jian, who ruled the Shu Empire from an early age until his death in 918.
Located in the northwest of Chengdu, the 15-meter high architectural structure with 14 impressive archways opened to the public in 1942, serving as a museum.
The museum is organized into three halls, with the central hall containing the intricately decorated coffin of the emperor.
Noteworthy highlights of a visit to Yongling Museum include the finely crafted stone statue of Wang Jian and intricately carved stone wall paintings depicting 24 musicians—a unique and valuable representation from the Tang Dynasty.
Address: 10 Yongling Road, Jinniu District, Chengdu, Sichuan.
Nestled in the ancient town of Xindu, just 18 km northeast of Chengdu, the Baoguang Monastery, or Baoguang Temple, is a fascinating destination worth visiting.
Originating from the Han Dynasty, spanning from 24 to 220, this expansive complex includes over 20 meticulously preserved architectural structures, all built in 1670.
Among the architectural wonders, you’ll discover an opulent monastery, five temples, and 16 beautifully landscaped courtyards, stretching across approximately 20 acres.
One of the most remarkable features is the 13-story Sarira Pagoda, a rare gem that has remained intact since the Tang Dynasty, flourishing from 618 to 907.
The monastery also proudly houses a series of archaeological artifacts, including a stone tablet adorned with 1,000 relief sculptures of Buddha, dating back to 540. Additionally, the temple grounds are adorned with over 500 larger-than-life clay statues, dating from the Qing Dynasty, spanning from 1644 to 1911.
Address: 210 Baoguang Ave Middle District, Xindu District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.