Chengdu

City Overview

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, which is known as the "Heavenly State" (Tian Fu Zhi Guo). The city is famed for its cuisine, defined by the spicy Sichuan peppercorn, which flavours hot-pot dishes and other regional specialties. Being the natural habitat of cute giant pandas, it is located in the west of Sichuan Basin and in the centre of Chengdu Plain. It covers a total area of 12.3 thousand square kilometres with a population of over 11 million.

Benefiting from Dujiangyan Irrigation Project which was constructed in 256 B.C., Sichuan Province is reputed as "Tian Fu Zhi Guo", literally a place richly endowed with natural resources. Chengdu, as the capital, is extremely productive. The Min and Tuo Rivers, two branches of the Yangtze River, connected to forty other rivers, supply an irrigation area of more than 700 square kilometres (270.27 square miles) with 150-180 million kilowatts of water. Consisting of abundant mineral resources, the land is extremely fertile.

Weather

The average mid-winter temperature (January is the coldest month) lies between 38 degrees Celsius, while the average summer temperature (July being the hottest month) lies between 2229 degrees Celsius. Average precipitation (strictly rainfall) for the Chengdu Plain is 1000 mm (about 40 in), which is almost double the amount of precipitation in the Hengduan Mountains to the west. The best periods to visit Chengdu are from March to June, and September to November. There is substantial rainfall during the rainy season (July and August).

Transportation

Chengdu Shuangliu Airport is the forth-largest airport in China. There are more than 60 scheduled flights to the major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Zhangjiajie, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Lhasa, Chamdo, Xiamen, Guilin, Kunming, Haikou. The international and interregional flights include those to Hong Kong and Bangkok. The Airport is 20km from the city center, around 35 minutes' drive.
Chengdu is the most important transport hub in southwestern China. There are trains running between Chengdu and the major cities of China, such as Beijing, Xi'an, Kunming, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Urumqi, Shanghai, and Lanzhou.

Dining

Sichuan has historically been known as the Land of Abundance, in reference to the fact that the fertile province produces a vast amount of the country's food. This 'abundance' is reflected in Sichuanese food, which is famous across China for its diversity of flavour and sophistication. 

If there's one thing Sichuan people do well, its food, and nowhere is this more evident than in the province's capital Chengdu, where "a dozen restaurants can be found on every street". Whether you're looking to try some traditional hotpot or a simple noodle lunch, or fancy a break from the local oily fare, there's something for everyone in Chengdu.

Shopping

Chengdu provides tourists with a number of convenient shopping opportunities, offering a wide range of Chinese and Tibet-style "souvenir items" from traditional Chengdu (Shu) brocades and embroidery to art objects (mostly replicas, some antique), and Tibetan-style and more traditional Chinese ornaments and souvenirs. Brocades usually silk brocades are one of the most popular "souvenir items" among tourists, as they are not only quintessentially Chinese, but also have high intrinsic value. The age-old brocade style developed over the aeons in the Chengdu area is the Shu brocade style. The Shu brocade style is one of the four justly famous brocade styles of China, the other three being Hunan, Cantonese and Su brocade styles.

Popular art objects include: silk prints with literary-, landscape- and calligraphic motifs; bamboo and ivory carvings; porcelain; and jade. Popular ornaments include Tibetan-style jewelry items such as highly colorful beaded bracelets and necklaces (sometimes also worn as a head adornment), tassels and more traditional jewelry such as earrings, pendants and bracelets made of precious metals such as gold, silver and copper. Souvenir items range from postcards and key-ring trinkets to the aforementioned art objects such as wood and ivory carvings.

Nightlife

Traditionally, Chengdu has been a city of active, culturally involved people who are fond of music, art and theatre (mainly Sichuan Opera). The Sichuanese also have a long tradition of dining out, visiting tea houses and shopping at large, open-air markets. Today, though, much of this is being replaced by Western-inspired shopping malls, upmarket restaurants, night clubs, bars and a plethora of KTVs (Karaoke).  However, many Chengdu traditions still remain. Hotpot is Sichuan's signature dish, and late at night, amongst the KTVs, you will also find a large number of late-night hotpot venues still open at 3 am.

Highlight Attractions

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda

This is the biggest facility of this kind in the world. Due to habitat destruction and other reasons, the giant panda is maybe the most famous endangered animal. It is home to some 60 giant pandas, but also has some red pandas and a colony of black-necked cranes. The pandas are basically on display for tourists but views are much closer than is possible at most Western zoos. A small museum and a cinema screening related documentaries is also available. A restaurant and souvenir-stalls top off the tourist installations. The best time to visit is in the morning when pandas are most active. Pandas sleep during the hottest time of the day. Feeding time is around 8:30-9:30 (depending on the time of year). It is recommended to arrive as early as you can and you can also pay to take a photo holding a baby/young Panda.

Dujiangyan Irrigation System

Dujiangyan is an irrigation infrastructure built in 256 BC during the Warring States period of China by the State of Qin. It is located in the Min River in Sichuan, China, near the capital Chengdu. Modified and enlarged during the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties, it uses natural topographic and hydrological features to solve problems of diverting water for irrigation, draining sediment, flood control, and flow control without the use of dams. Today the system comprises the Weir Works, located at an altitude of 726m, the highest point of the Chengdu plain 1km from Dujiangyan City, and the irrigated area.

Mount Qingcheng

Mount Qingcheng is a famous Taoist mountain, one of the places where Taoism originated. The mountain became UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.  Mount Qingcheng featured in Kung Fu Panda 2, DreamWorks' fifth most successful movie. In Kung Fu Panda 2, the gate of Mount Qingcheng was stealthily grafted in the Valley of Peace. The Mount Qingcheng range towers above the Chengdu Plain, and the Mingjiang River flows down one of its slopes, creating a scenic area that covers 200 square kilometers. The mountain range has 36 peaks, and its tallest peak is Laoxiao Ding, at an elevation of 1260 meters above sea level. The peaks stand in a circle like a great wall protecting the city. Trees grow luxuriantly on the mountain, creating greenery all year round and giving it the name Mount Qingcheng.