One of the many cities that I have visited in China is Chengdu. Chengdu is known for having the worlds largest panda population. Over 80% of the giant pandas in the entire world live in the Sichuan province, where Chengdu is located. The region is also known for its spicy foods, in particular hot pot and barbecue, but there is more to the city than hot pot and pandas.
Temple of Marquis Wu
2331 Wuhouci Street
One of the best things about Chengdu is that you can experience Tibetan culture in the city. The Temple of Marquis Wu or Wuhou Shrine, is in the Tibetan Quarter. You can take a stroll around the streets and see traditional Tibetan crafts and then follow the monks into the temple to take in the culture.
Are Tibetan Restaurant
234 Wuhouci Street
Just next to the temple, you’ll find Are Tibetan Restaurant. The food is all Tibetan, with Tibetan beer and the interior feels really homely. I had the tofu and it was really good.
Chengdu Art Gallery
59 Zijishi Street
The art gallery at the top of Kuan and Zhai Alley has some really unique Chinese art, in particular, Sichuan art. It is a combination of traditional and modern, with some interactive displays and local artists creating in the gallery.
Kuan and Zhai Alley
This area is traditionally Chinese, but it is a little bit touristy. It’s worth a look around, and you can see the traditional crafts and grab some local street food. Inside the alleys, you’ll find Shu embroidery, local teas, local artwork and lots more traditional craft items.
Shufeng Sichuan Opera House
23 Qintai Lu
Whilst in Sichuan, you should visit the opera theater to watch the Sichuan Opera. The show is really unique to the area. It has lots of different parts to it, from shadow puppetry, dancing, acrobatics and the famous mask changing performance. I couldn’t get my head around how they change the masks, it’s so fast! Definitely something not to be missed. You should buy tickets earlier in the day, as they tend to sell out fast, and make sure you arrive at the park early to get good seats.
Since I live in China, whenever I see a good western restaurant, I make sure to visit. Burger Augustine has Australian beef burgers, with loads of different toppings and they even do cheese sauce.
Half and Half
Just down the road from Burger Augustine, you’ll find Half. Their slogan is ‘Half drunk, half sober’ as they sell beer and coffee. The coffee they sell is carefully sourced and they make it by measuring out the beans and then use a drip filter machine. As for beers, they had over 15 on tap when I went, some local and some international. The staff were really nice too, offering me samples of the different beers so I could choose the one I liked best.
Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base
Whilst you’re in Chengdu, you should go and see the pandas. They’re most active in the morning so I’d get up early and go. The subway station closest to the base is called Panda Avenue, and then from there you get a panda shuttle bus for 10 minutes. Pandas are such cute animals and they’re funny to watch, but I think you only need a couple of hours at the base to see everything.
8 Xiaonan Street
In all Chinese cities, the centre seems to be based around a park. People’s Park in Chengdu was the nicest one I’ve seen yet. There was loads of floral displays, rivers and bridges, with the locals dancing and singing all around the park in the performance spaces.
1 Jindong Road
iBox is a small creative retail area, with a few shops and cafes. They’re all a bit different to the usual Chinese shops and cafes, and it’s such a good area to people watch. There is a skate park there too, and I saw a few photo shoots going on in the area, including what looked like a wedding shoot!
That Vintage Shop
Shuinianhe South Street, U37 Creativity Storehouse
That Vintage Shop is exactly how you would imagine a proper vintage shop to look like. The interior features old wallpaper and the shop is packed with old trinkets, books, jewelry and clothing. There was some vintage Dior, Chanel, Gucci, YSL – you could find anything you’d ever need here. The owner was so helpful too, showing me some of the pieces and telling me about the store, he also spoke fluent English.
Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong is the drinking area in Chengdu, and there’s so many bars and clubs in the area. No matter what you’re after, you’ll find it in Lan Kwai Fong.
Chengdu is really multicultural, and still holds onto its strong Chinese heritage whilst welcoming in western influences. If you’re traveling China, it should be on your list of cities to visit. I’ve also got posts on Shanghai and Ningbo, if you want to see more of China.