Chengdu is is the capital city of Sichuan and the economic center of southwest China. It’s one of the largest cities in China. The centre is Tianfu Square with the Mao statue. At night, moving fontains ‘dance’ to the music with coloured lights. In the middle of the Tianfu Square is the central metro station. The main shopping street is Chunxi Road. Another main shopping street (crossing Chunxi Rd) is Qingnian Road. Both streets are pedestrian zones.
Shuangliu airport has two terminals and belongs to the main airports in China. Location is 18km southwest of the city. The official taxirank is outside where taxis line up. If people approach you on the square for a ride don’t go with them. A taxi to downtown Chengdu is about 60-100 Yuan. Taxi’s to the airport are 10 Yuan higher because of the toll road. Local buses which are waiting next to the taxis are only 2 Yuan. The airport shuttle bus is around 10 Yuan.
The main station is the North Train Station, 4km from the city centre. Metro line 1 connects the railway station with the city centre. A train journey to Beijing takes between 26-32 hours. Travel time to Xian is about 16 hours. To Chongqing is only 2.45 hour with the high speed train. It is possible to go by train from Chengdu to Lhasa, Tibet. Besides a China visa you will need a permit to visit Tibet. This permit can be purchased in Chengdu travel agencies.
Parks & Wenshu Monastery
Chengdu is wellknown for the parks and tea houses. Most of them are free. Wenshu monastery is is the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. It’s in an old neighborhood and has a nice relaxing garden with some ponds where you can drink a bowl of tea in the shadow of the trees. Other popular parks are Jinli Street, Renmin Park and Baihuatan Park.
Bars, cafe’s, terraces and danceclubs are located along the river near Jiuyanqiao Bridge. This area is called ‘pub street’. On the other side of the river is the Shangri-La Hotel with Mooney’s Bar. Irish cafe “The Shamrock Bar” is in No.15 Renmin NanLu. Jinli Street is a very popular area for Chinese tourists. There are restaurants, shops and some cafe’s. Little Bar (rockmusic) is in 47 Yongfeng Road.
In Chengdu there are numerous restaurants and stalls on the street serving cheap local food. The food in Chengdu is spicy and hot. One of our favourite places is the new IFS mall. Here you can buy Chinese food and drinks in a clean environment for normal prices. Another good place is a hall with restaurants near Wangfujing Mall (opposite Chunxi Road north section). Here you will find authentic Chengdu & Sichuan food. Beer can be bought outside in one of the small shops. Good Western and Asian restaurants are located in international hotels such as the Shangri-La, Sheraton and Crowne Plaza Hotel. Western fastfood is around the Wangfujing Mall, Tianfu Square and opposite Garden City Hotel.
Downtown Chengdu has many shoppingcentres, malls and stores for clothing, shoes, electronics, groceries, jewelry items and food. The main shopping street is Chunxi Road. This is a pedestrian street with several zones. In one of the side streets of Chunxi Road is the huge shopping centre Kowloon Plaza. This building has 11 floors with hundreds of small clothing stores. In the north section of Chunxi Road is the Wangfujing Mall. Around this shopping mall are several Western fastfood restaurants. Just 200 meter from Chunxi Road is the IFS mall. The large French Carrefour supermarket is on the corner of Daye Road/Jinxing Road next to the Garden City Hotel.
Personal hotel reviews
We stayed in the following hotels with a price range of 300-750 Yuan. Our best experiences were with the 3-star Holiday Inn Express Gulou, 4-star Tibet Hotel and 5-star Haiyatt Hotel (excellent location).
Holiday Inn Express Gulou, Haiyatt Hotel, Sichuan Hotel (West Building), Youke Hotel, Tibet Hotel, Garden City Hotel, WenJun Mansion Hotel, Minshan Hotel.
Giant Panda Bears
The province Sichuan is well-known for the giant panda bears. The Panda Breeding Center is 10 km from downtown Chengdu. The best time to come is around openings time (8.00) because the panda’s will get their food between 8.00 and 9.00. The panda cubs are in that time very lively and play with each other in the playground. After 10.00 more tour groups will arrive at the park and most panda’s are also sleeping then. A taxi to the Panda Center is about 35 Yuan. You can make pictures and video of a panda cub sitting on your legs. The price for these pictures is outrougeous: 1000 Yuan for about 1-2 minutes. I didn’t count the people but i estimate that at least 30 people made a picture of themselves with the panda cub between 9.30 and 10.30 including our daughter.
There are several bus stations in Chengdu.
From Xinnanmen Bus Station, No. 57, Linjiang Road depart buses to Jiuzhaigou, Leshan and Emeishan. Wugui Bridge Bus Station has buses to Chongqing. Chadianzi Bus Station has services to scenic spots in the west and north of Sichuan.
The Dujiangyan Irrigation Project
Dujiangyan is a water conservation works, built around 256 BC, and about 55 kilometer from Chengdu. It’s listed as a World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. The Anlan bridge is one of the attractions: 500 meter long and made from rope and wood, it hungs above the river.
Xiling Snow Mountain is a main ski resort in China. Distance is 120km from Chengdu. With the bus it takes 2.5 hours to get there.