Home of the Giant Panda
The capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, Chengdu's history dates back to at least the 4th century B.C., when it served as capital for the Shu Kingdom. Artifacts from that dynasty are the focus of the Jinsha Site Museum. The city is also home to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a conservation centre where visitors can view the once endangered Giant Pandas in a natural habitat.
Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Chengdu.
The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
These adorable black and white bears live in temperate-zone bamboo forests of Sichuan. One of Chéngdū’s most popular attractions, this reserve 18km north of the city centre is the easiest way to glimpse Sìchuan’s most famous residents outside of a zoo. The enclosures here are generally large and well maintained. Home to nearly 120 giant and 76 red pandas, the base focuses on getting these shy creatures to breed.
The Leshan Buddha
Standing 71 metres tall this is the worlds largest Buddha statue, and according to a local saying “The mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain”. The statue’s location is most striking – carved out of a cliff face by an 8th century monk called Haitong. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, an excursion to this site is a must for those spending more than a day in Chengdu.
Try Sechuan Hot Pot
Unesco's first-ever City of Gastronomy, the food in Sechuan, and Chengdu in particular is famous for it's spiciness, and the must-try dish is a Hot Pot. This dish is a social one to be enjoyed with others, where a dish filled variously spiced broth is set in the middle of the table, surrounded by a selection of bowls containing various ingredients, for you to cook in the 'Hot Pot'. Don't worry if you are not too keen on spicy food, the central dish can be divided into sections of differing spiciness, you just have to remember which is your favourite!
Situated in Tianfu Square, the vast Chengdu Museum, has many themed exhibition halls, including a History and Culture Display of Chengdu on the 2nd and 3rd floors, Recent Historical Period and Folk Customs in the 4th floor and Puppetry and Shadow Plays of China in the 5th floor. Packed with historic and cultural relics of the city's past, the two 'Puppetry and Shadow Plays of China' galleries on the top floor, exhibiting excellent examples of the art from across the country, are a must
A selection of our tours to Chengdu
China Group Tour Nature
Essential Plus Panda
12 day tour from £2,448
This Essential Plus Panda tour visits the Giant Pandas in their natural habitat, Zhujiajiao and the must-see cities of Beijing, Xian and Shanghai.
China Group Tour Cruise
Private: Cruise and Panda
15 day tour from £2,947
For those with more time in China the Cruise and Panda tour means you can combine the golden route of Beijing, Xian and Shanghai with a Yangtze Cruise and Giant Panda visit.
China Group Tour Culture
Memories of China
15 day tour from £2,998
Cruise the Li river, see Pandas in Chengdu and visit the remarkable West Lake
China Group Tour Rail
Private: China Rail Discovery
15 day tour from £2,947
There are now many bullet trains in operation in China, which provide an interesting way to see more of the countryside and scenery away from the big cities.