Chengdu, “Rong” for short, is the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan Province. Chengdu is one of most important centers of trade, transportation, communication and finance in the region. Chengdu has a population of 12,579,000 and has direct jurisdiction over 9 districts, 4 county-level cities and 6 counties.
Chengdu is also a very popular tourist destination. Chengdu is home to many amazing world cultural and historical sites and natural splendid beauty such as the Leshan Giant Buddha, Mt Emei, Jiuzhaigou, Dujiang Dam, and Qingcheng Mountain. In addition, the world’s only Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center is located in Chengdu. In 2007, Chengdu received 42,536,000 domestic tourists and 786,000 foreign visitors. In February of 2007, Chengdu won the title of the Best Tourist City in China.
Sichuan Opera or Chuanju is a type of Chinese opera originating from Sichuan Province around 1,700 years ago. The culture of Sichuan features Chuanju and Chengdu is the hometown of it, while other influential locales include Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hubei and Taiwan.
Bian Lian or face changing, is a traditional and famous dramatic art form in Sichuan Opera. Performers wave their arm and twist their face, causing their painted masks to change quickly. Masks with different colors are meant to reflect one’s inmost feeling and thoughts.
Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Museum
Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage is named for the great poet Du Fu who lived during the Tang Dynasty. The museum is divided into a collections area and a cottage temple which were constructed during the Qing Dynasty. Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Museum is a large museum which houses 36,422 articles related to Dufu.
As one of three significant historical-culture areas of Chengdu, Kuanzhai Lane is made up of Kuan Lane (Wide Lane), Zhai Lane (Narrow Lane) and Jing Lane. The three parallel lanes each have different styles. Kuan Lane, named “Leisure Area,” provides you with various forms of entertainment such as teahouses and restaurants. Zhai Lane is a good place to explore as it’s packed with well-preserved traditional buildings. Jing Lane is the most modernized of the three lanes. Jing Lane is an entertainment area aiming at the local youth so that you can see clubs, dessert shops and other stores here.
Buy Shu Brocade (蜀锦)
With a long history and unique handicrafts to offer, Shu brocades are considered one of China’s best. Since Sichuan is related to “shu”, the brocade is named Shu brocade.
Giant Research Base of Panda Breeding
Giant Research Base of Panda Breeding, founded in 1987, aim to “be a world-class research facility, conservation education center, and international educational tourism destination.”
Jinli Ancient Street
With length of over 1,100 feet, Jinli Ancient Street is packed with various kinds of shops, teahouses, clubs and hotels. Various kinds of delicious but spicy food are sold on this street ranging from high-end restaurant to roadside eateries.
Spring and autumn are the two best times to visit most of regions of China, and Chengdu is no exception. But try to avoid the national holidays such as National Day (Octo.1 to 7) and Labor Day (May 1 to May 3), as it’s very crowded in downtown.
The weather of Chengdu in spring and autumn is mild. Although it can be stuffy in July and August, the attractions nearby the downtown of Chengdu are very ideal places to enjoy some cooler weather.
In winter, it’s a great idea to pay a visit to Xiling Snow Mountain and Longchi Forest Park to enjoy the beautiful snowy landscape. January is the coldest month when the temperature only reaches approximately 40 degrees (5℃)，but you can save money when you travel to Chengdu in winter.
Chengdu attractions include the famous Chengdu Panda Base, a very popular place to see giant pandas! Chengdu boasts many historical and cultural tourist attractions like Sanxigndui Museum, Kuanzhai Lane and Wuhou Temple. Wuhou Temple was constructed in honor of Zhuge Liang (great military strategist during the period of Three Kingdom) set in the southern suburbs of the city.
Chinese Folk Art Form, or Qu Yi in Chinese Pinyin, can be traced back to previous Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE). During the later Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese Folk Art in Chengdu was able to progress and evolve in some ways. During the Qing Dynasty, Sichuan Qu Yi, with distinctive local character, gradually came into being. During the period of the Republic China in 1949, a site was allotted for the performance of Qu Yi. Usually, Chengdu Qu Yi is performed not in large theaters but in tea houses, taverns and even on streets.
Chengdu is one of principal sites in the world where giant pandas live, and they typically draw a large crowd of visitors each day. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, one of the best in the world, is located on Futou Hill, a suburb of north Chengdu. There is a Panda Avenue which connects to downtown area. The base is also home to many other rare and endangered animals such as lesser panda and black-necked crane.
Ancient Water Project
Dujiangyan is a great water project in ancient Chinese history. It is located on the Min River, near Chengdu. Before the completion of Dujiangyan, the people living along the river had been severely plagued by flooding over the years, so Li Bing was appointed to build Dujiangyan to protect people from rising water. The Dujiangyan irrigation system contains three main construction including Yuzui or Fish Mouth Levee, Feishayan or Flying Sand Weir and Baopingkou or Bottle-necked Channel. Fish Mouth Levee resembles the mouth of fish and divides the Min into an inner and outer rivers. Flying Sand Weir plays the role of a sluice, draining sands and regulating the water. Bottle-necked Channel, the final part of the system, distributes water to farmlands.
Sichuan Cuisine is one of the four famous cuisines in China, and Chengdu as the capital of Sichuan Province is the best place to taste local, authentic Sichuan Cuisine. The predominant ingredient in food here is chili. If you are a chili-lover, try some of Chengdu’s spiciest food laced with chili from top to bottom.
What to Eat in Chengdu
Dan Dan Noodles
Dan Dan Noodle is a classic dish in Chengdu. It consists of spicy sauce containing preserved vegetable, chili oils, minced pork and scallions. The most famous of all noodles is Chen Baobao’s Dan Dan Noodles which was sold by vendor named Chen Baobao in 1841.
Clear Noodles in Chili Sauce (川北凉粉)
Clear Noodles in Chili Sauce has a long history originating at the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is made from rice and peas after being hulled. Ground peas into powder, filter the dregs, precipitate, and then dewater. After this process, it is heated and stirred into paste and put into basin or plate.
Braise Pork Guokui (卤肉锅盔)
Guokui is the name given to flat breads that are baked, and then split and stuffed with pork. The Braise Pork Guokui in Lao Huang Cheng includes many kinds with different ingredients such as chicken, beef and vegetables.
Mao Xue Wang
Mao Xue Wang is a Szechuan classic. About 70 years ago, a butcher in Ciqicou Old town sold the pig’s innards at a very low price and his wife thought it was pity so that she decided to stew these innards adding ginger, pepper and cooking wine and sold in a stall. By chance, she put some blood in it and found it was quitedelectable. With this, present-day Mao Xue Wang comes into being.
Chen Mapo Tofu
Mapo Tofu is a popular dish from Sichuan Province. It is a combination of tofu set in a spicy chili and bean-based sauce. Chen Mapo tofu can be dated back to 1862. This dish gained popularity due to a fact that the tofu was cooked by a chef with pockmarks on her face, known as “mapo”in the Chengdu dialect.
Where to Eat in Chengdu
Yi Pin Tian Xia Food Street
Yi Pin Tian Xia Food Street was built by a cooperation of the government of Chengdu City and the Jinniu District government. It is a food street which does a good job of representing true Chengdu food culture. Taking up an area of over 300 mu, this street is packed with many famous restaurants and hotels.
Yangxi Line is a very famous food street in Chengdu. There are many well-known restaurants on this street such as Shunfeng Fat Beef, Nantaiyue, Rongxingyuan, Happy Old Home, Red Apricot, Grand Ronghe and more.
Funan New Street
Next to Yangxi Line, Funan New Street: there are about 20 hotpot restaurants runs various kinds of hotpots.
Jinli Ancient Street
Jinli Ancient Street is a very popular street among tourists and locals. You will find a lot of famous local snack food at low prices. It offers regional and fairly affordable street food.
Chongqing Qinma Hotpot
Address: No.34 of Qingjiang East Road Telephone: 87338887
Re Peng Jing Hotpot
Address: No.88 of Bingjiang Road Telephone: 86667878
Address: No.3 of North Xian Road Telephone: 87683328
Chen Mapo Tofu Shop
Address: West Yulong Street, Liberation North Road, Temple Road, Wuhou Telephone: 028-86754512
Address: Qintai Road 1 Telephone: 028-86120576
Blue Sea Restaurant (The 2-story restaurant)
Add: #113 Yikuan Rd. Chengdu Tel: 87045474
Add: #18 Zongfu St. Chengdu Tel: 86711446
Old Canton Township
Address: Shu Rd # 518 Telephone: 028-87522688
Lion Chengdu, Sichuan Pavilion
Address: Double Forest Road 55 Telephone: 028-84350988
Chengdu is not only a paradise of delicious food but also an ideal place for shopping. Here there are various kinds of craftsmanship such as Lacquer Ware, Qingcheng silk carpet, Shu brocade, etc.
What to Buy in Chengdu
Shu Brocade is one of four famous brocades in China. With the history of over 2,000 years, Shu Brocades can be traced back to the Han Dynasty. A poem of Yang Xiong in Han Dynasty thought celebrated the beauty of Shu Brocades, for example. It is very colorful and soft. Brocades can cost you about 100RMB to 300RMB.
Sichuan is an important place for producing lacquer wares. Lacquer wares produced in Chengdu features smooth and shining surface and exquisite shapes. The main lacquer wares include screen, replica of cultural relics and works of art. The price of a lacquer ware usually ranges from 80RMB to 200RMB.
Qingcheng Silk Carpet
Qingcheng silk carpet are made from raw and spun silk. It is hand-knitted according to traditional processing techniques. With numerous different styles, the carpet is characterized by a smooth surface and high resilience. It is not only a very excellent export product but also makes for a great souvenir. It costs about 100RMB to 300RMB to buy a Qingcheng silk carpet.
Silverwares have been made in China with a very high degree of detail since ancient time, which can be judged from the articles unearthed from Mausoleum of Wang Jian, king of the Shu State (300s BCE). Chengdu silverware is made from very thin and fine threads of silver, which can be as thin as a strand of hair. On this thin silverware, beautiful patterns are carved. The price of silver ware is usually between 150RMB and 300RMB.
Bamboo over porcelain Ware
Bamboo-over-porcelain ware is a unique craftwork, fabricated by weaving bamboo filaments over porcelain. Chengdu bamboo over porcelain can be dated back to the late Qing Dynasty. The bamboo is processed into pliable bamboo filament used to weave. The price of a ware is 80RMB to 300RMB.
Where to shop in Chengdu
Chunxi Road is a contiguous shopping district in Chengdu. The road is packed with more than 700 shops including large shopping mall, supermarket, street stalls, modern cafes and public squares. With a history of 85 years, Chunxi Road is the most famous commercial street in Chengdu. Named in 1924, Chunxi Road was once a narrow alley connected with Zou Ma Street, creating a straight path leading from north to south. Many famous restaurants are located on Chunxi Road. Here you can also try very authentic Sichuan food.
Zongfu Road Walking Street
Zongfu Road Walking Street is the largest walking street in southwest China. On this street, cars, and bicycles are not allowed. On both sides of road is packed with modern buildings which contain various kinds of shops, supermarkets and shopping malls.
Chengdu Luo Ma Shi
Luo Ma Shi area is located at the crossroad of Chunxi Road and Zongfu Road. Many street vendors sell elegant and delicate souvenirs and small handicrafts. Many old-timey bookstores and architecture are in both Chinese and European styles.
Yan Shi Kou
Yan Shi Kou is located at the center of Chengdu City. Yan Shi Kou is a famous shopping zone which enjoyed its reputation since Qing Dynasty. It is packed with not only stores and shops but also various restaurants and eating houses.
Shopping Malls and Department Stores in Chengdu
Carrefour-Guanghua Branch Address: No.99, First Section, Second Ring Road Carrefour-Grand World Branch Address: No.10, Xinguang Road, New District Carrefour-Qingshi Bridge Branch Address: F/2-3, Fortune Plaza, No.6, Daye Road, Jinjiang District Phone: 028-86700069 Carrefour-Babao Branch Address: No.1, Babao Street Phone: 028-86254735
Wal-mart-Jiaoda Road Branch Address: Jiaoda Road, Jinniu District Phone: 028-8760667 Wal-mart-SM Branch Address: SM Commercial City, No.29, East Second Section, Second Ring Road Phone: 028-84312323 Renmin Department Store Address: No.19 DongYu Street Telephone: 028-86653388
Pacific Department Store
Address: No.12 ZongFu Road Telephone: 028-86653388
Wangfujing Department Store
Address: ZongFu Road, JinJiang District
RenHe Spring Department Store
Address: 19 South RenMin Road, Section 4 Telephone: 028-85232109