IFLY tips Chengdu
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Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (3 hrs)
When in Chengdu, of course you have to visit this Panda breeding centre. This is a beautiful park just outside Chengdu where you can watch the National Symbol of China and the symbol of the WWF. In the park you can watch how one of the most endangered species on earth lives and how scientists try to keep the species alive. It is a World Natural Heritage site.
The Giant Panda Museum, along with satellite museums in the Research Center and Panda Hospital provides 7,000 m2 of educational space to foreign and domestic visitors. You can walk around in the nature. You’ll get a map of the park with explanation in English. The entrance fee is 58 Yuan per person. You can take a picture with a real panda if you like. It’s expensive, 1000Yuan, but every penny goes to the breeding centre.
The centre is located at No.26, Panda Road, Northern Suburb, Chengdu. The easiest way to go there is by taxi. Here you can get more information about the park.
Chengdu by bicycle (½ day - 1 week)
Chine is Bicycle country number one in the world, so you should discover Chengdu the Chinese way, by bike. Bike China offers several bike tours, through whole China, even to Tibet. But if you like to start ‘light’ and like to discover just Chengdu, go for the Chengdu 1-day cycling tour. During the tour you will visit both the new and the old city and the countryside. A stop at the Museum of Industry is also included.
A tour costs between $20 and $30 depending on the amount of bikers. You can rent a bike only as well and bike around yourself. But we suggest you take a guided tour as the guides know the most beautiful places in the city.
Click here for more information about this tour and the other options of Bike China.
Giant Buddha Leshan (1 day)
Chengdu is located in a basin and surrounded by mountains, so the city is often suffering from air pollution. That’s why it’s nice to do some sightseeing out of town. A great thing to see is the Giant Buddha in Leshan, 2,5 hours drive outside Chengdu. You can go there by express bus from Xin Nan Men bus station in the centre of Chengdu. A bus ticket will cost you 47 Yuan.
The Leshan Giant Buddha was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. It’s the largest sitting Buddha with 71 meters.
The opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm. The admission fee is 170 Yuan for both the Buddha Park and the Giant Buddha. From Shan busstation in Leshan you can take a shuttle bus to the park for only 5 Yuan, or you can take bus 13 for only 1 Yuan per person.
You can also take a boat tour on the river along the statue. Therefore you have to go to the Baxiandong Dock next to the Buddha Park. The boat ride costs another 70 Yuan. In summer when it’s very sunny we suggest you do this in the afternoon, for better light conditions to take pictures.
Huanglongxi Ancient town (1 day)
Huanglongxi Ancient town is an old town with deep tradition on construction style of West Sichuan. It is situated about 50 kilometers from Chengdu.
The Qing Dynasty style buildings here are well preserved and attract many filmmakers to shoot exterior views. It has become well known for old temples in like Zhenjiang Temple, Chaoyin Temple and Gulong Temple. The typical streets and and courtyards from ancient Sichuan are very attractive.
For 20 Yuan you can take a boat as well at the Huang Long Xi River. The boat will bring you to a monastery with a giant Buddha. The boat tour, including visit to the temple will take about an hour.
There are many organized tours but they will charge you about 300 to 500 Yuan. A good way to go there yourself from Chengdu is by bus. You can take a bus from Xin Nan Men bus station in the centre of Chengdu. The bus ride is approximately one hour and costs only 10 Yuan and the entrance to the village is free. The bus goes directly to Huang Long Xi. From there you can easily take a bus back to Xin Nan Men. The tour is best done as a day trip. Leave early morning and come back in the afternoon.
Emei Mountain (1 day)
If you go to Leshan Buddha, you could make your trip a combination with Emei Mountain. This is only half an hour drive by bus from Leshan Buddha.
The mountain is, with its 3000 metres, the highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. Emei is a mountain with over 60 temples and monasteries.
The mountain's history has been recorded for over 2000 years, during which time a rich Buddhist cultural heritage has accumulated. Atop the Golden Summit, which is 3,099 meters high, one can enjoy the sunrise, seas of clouds, the Buddha's halo and the sunset glow. On a clear day, for sure you will get some breathtaking views.
Wenshu Monastery (1-2 hrs)
Wenshu Monastery, located at 15 Wenshu Yuan Street north of the city centre, is the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu.
Cultural relics are the highlights of Wenshu Monastery. Since the Tang and Song dynasties, over 500 pieces of painting and calligraphy by celebrities have been stored here. In the Sutra-Preservation Pavilion, many famous handwriting exhibits, paintings, and artwork are restored.
In addition to its cultural relics, Wenshu Monastery is famous for its exquisite garden and solemn halls. Tourists and locals can enjoy tea in the Tea House while listening to music by folk artists. There is also a vegetarian restaurant inside the complex.
The entrance fee is 5 Yuan. The opening hours are from 8 am to 6 pm. It is allowed to take pictures, but have respect for the monks living inside the monastery.
People’s Park (2-3 hrs)
In the heart of the centre, nearby Tianfu Square, you will find People’s Park, or Renmin Park. This is a great place where local people love to spend their spare time. Often this park is home to many festivities and activities. You can walk around in the park or rent a rowing boat, but the most important thing to do is drink your tea at one of the teahouses in this park.
It’s great to have your tea like the locals do. Pick your choice of tea, take a bamboo seat and with your thermos you can poor yourself a tea over and over again while you enjoy the view on a pond, beautiful garden and hundreds of Chinese enjoying their tea. And if you really want to act like a local, you should play cards or Mahjong at the table.
The entrance to the park is free. The opening hours are from 6.30 am to 10 pm, but best time to go there is in the afternoon. You can enter the park from Jin He Lu street. It is also in walking distance of Kuan Zhai Xiang Zi Alley.
Chinese Theatre (1½ hr)
One thing you have to do in China is visit a Chinese Theatre. A wonderful theatre where you can see a daily show is Jinjiang Stage. You will see different styles of Chinese Theatre. The show is a mix of Chinese music, Chinese dance, Sichuan opera, puppet show, comedy opera, hand shadow show, spitting fire and the world famous Changing faces.
Jinjiang Stage is located at 54 Huaxing Zheng Street, nearby Chunxi walking street in the heart of the centre. There is a daily show at 8 pm to 9.30. There are three different types of tickets: 260 Yuan for a VIP-ticket, 180 Yuan for an A-ticket and 120 Yuan for a B-ticket. But we suggest a VIP-ticket so you can see it all very well, especially the changing faces.
Reservations can be made by phone: 028-86620019 or 028-86610320.
Qingyang Temple (1-2 hrs)
The most important Taoist temple in China is Qingyang Temple. The temple was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a period when Taoism was flourishing. Most of the parts of the temple that remain in existence are restorations from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The entrance fee to the temple is 10 Yuan and the temple complex is open daily from early morning till 5:30 pm. It is conveniently located in the northwest part of Chengdu at 9 W 2nd Section, 1st Ring Road, Chengdu.
Common travel tip:
It's easy to walk around in Chengdu. Public transportation is a bit hard to use if you can’t read Chinese. Only busses for long distance are useful.
In Chengdu it's cheap to take a taxi, but make sure you have a map or note with your destination written in Chinese to show to the driver. Otherwise you might not arrive at your destination.
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Language of the world
Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Chengdu.