Chengdu is the Provincial capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China, and is rated these days as one of the top destinations in China for international tourists. This is because Chengdu is not all about cuddly giant pandas and tongue-burning spicy food. You can do those things in Chengdu, and rightly so, but few people realize yet how much more there is to this amazing ancient city than just bears and peppers. Chengdu has a unique charm all of its own that has taken it from a virtually unknown city in terms of tourism to one of the best tourist destinations in Asia. And for those heading up to the Tibetan plateau, Chengdu is also the most popular departure location for both train and flight.
Top Places to visit for Chengdu tour
Chengdu has a wealth of attractions and places to visit around the famous Chengdu Plains and the Sichuan Basin, in which this fabulous city lies. To help you have an super-excellent Chengdu tour, here we listed several places for you:
Chengdu Giant Panda Research and Breeding Center
Located in the northwestern suburbs of Chengdu, the Chengdu Giant Panda Research and Breeding Center is the first of the four panda centers in Chengdu. Opened in the 1980s with just six rescued pandas, the center is now the main research base for breeding and releasing giant pandas back into the wild, with a stunning history of success stories. You do not have to do the panda thing when in Chengdu, but you will probably kick yourself later if you don’t. And who can resist these beautiful cuddle creatures? Tours run from just inside the gates that take you around the center’s various habitats by vehicle, or you can hire a personal tour guide with bike to take you around at a much more leisurely pace.
Chengdu Wuhou Shrine
The famous Wuhou Temple in Chengdu lies in the south of the city, and is the only shrine in the country that was built to honor both the Emperor and his first minister in one place. Built in the time of the Three Kingdoms in China, the shrine was constructed by the Shu Emperor sometime in the late 3rd century BC. The site contains the tomb of the Shu Emperor, Liu Bei, as well as the temple of his main minister and famed Shu politician, Zhuge Liang. The Wuhou Shrine comprises of three separate sections; the Relics Section, the Garden Section, and the Ancient Jinli Street, now one of the most popular streets in Chengdu for souvenirs and local handicrafts.
Du Fu Thatched Cottage
Located in the west of the city, around 2km from the famous Wuhou Shrine, lies a unique monument to one of China’s greatest poets, Du Fu. Known as the Du Fu Thatched Cottage, the site is not only a beautifully sculpted garden, but also contains an exact replica of his former home in Chengdu. Born in Henan Province in 712 AD, Du Fu escaped the An-Shi Rebellion by fleeing to Chengdu, where he stayed for four years and composed more than 240 poems. These amazing poems are now considered to be a part of the national heritage of China and are marked as “precious national treasures”. The temple on the site of the original cottage was built in the time of the Northern Song Dynasty, sometime between 960 and 1127 AD, and has been kept renovated and restored repeatedly over the centuries in honor of the most outstanding person in Chinese literature.
Day Trip to Leshan Giant Buddha
If day trips are not really your thing, then this one may surprise you. To the south of the city on the confluence of the Dadu and Minjiang Rivers, lies one of the most amazing statues of Buddha in the world. Known as the Leshan Giant Buddha, this amazing statue is around 71 meters in height, which is around 233 feet tall. And this Buddha depicts the Maitreya or Future Buddha, the one yet to come some 30,000 years after the knowledge of Buddha has disappeared from the world. The largest single Buddha statue in the world, this amazing monument to ancient architecture was actually carved out of the rock of the cliff in the 8th century. Tours run daily from the river docks to take you down the Minjiang River by boat to the site of the Buddha.
Day Trip to Dujiangyan Irrigation System
Possibly the oldest irrigation system in the history of the world, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System is classed as the “Honored Treasure of Sichuan”, and still plays an important role in the draining of floodwaters from the fields and irrigating the farms, as well as providing water to more than 50 cities across Sichuan Province. Located in the northwest of the city, the ancient technological irrigation system dates back to the 3rd century BC, and has been doing its important task for more than 2,300 years. The system was built to reduce the flooding from the Minjiang River, and to provide a permanent water source to the fields and the city all year round, and has stood the test of time, as well as the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake with barely a scratch.
If you are planning a trip to Chengdu, then the pandas and the delicious food are a must for this amazing city. The original home of Szechuan cuisine, which is renowned the world over, Chengdu is an important transport hub in western China, and has more things to see and do than one could manage in a month.