In early December I flew to Chengdu in China for a wedding. With seven days up my sleeve I wanted to see anything that I missed out on last time while in China. This time around staying in Chengdu for a week, I learnt to catch the buses with ease, ride a bicycle through the streets and eat loads of food along the way. On my first day in Chengdu I met up with Lily (Roy’s sister) and her good friend Mia who were to be my eating companions. Our first easy stroll of the day was through the local market near our hostel than on to WenShu Monastery on our way there we walked down a tea drinking hot spot. The Chinese love tea, sitting around socialising sipping away at hot green tea, playing mahjong or catching up with a girlfriend. Man, I love China.
Anyway, here is my things to do list for Chengdu.
WenShu Monesesty is a the largest and best preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. You can hear the monks and followers chanting throughout the day. I was luck to see a few of the younger monks play badminton Beautiful year round, during autumn the ginkgo (ginkgo biloba) trees are yellow making the place more magical.
Bicycle riding through the city
Hiring push bikes is an affordable way to get around the city, plus it is loads of fun. Keep in mind during the winter time you will need to have gloves and a beanie to keep warm. Bikes rule the streets of Chengdu, there are bike lanes on all the major streets making it easy to get from one side of the city to the other. The key is to get in the right lane and follow the traffic, when everyone else goes you go. You will see some interesting things on your bike-ride from people over-staking their bike to three people on one. It is a load of fun, so give it a go. We hired bikes from our hostel for only 10RMB for the day.
Panda Breeding & Research Centre
Pandas are the emblem of Chengdu. Lucky for me this is the second time around I have been able to visit the pandas. Our last visit was during the summertime (jun) when the pandas are hot and humid. Second time around in autumn (dec) the panda’s were a bit more energetic in the morning.
All year round the best time of day to visit the panada’s is super early at 8am on opening time. You will have the chance to watch them at their most active before they get fed, then digest and sleep for the rest of the day.
From September you can see baby pandas (3 month old). They baby panda’s are not on display for the whole day so check what times they are out for. If you like cute and fury things, baby panda’s will have you high-pitched and going ohhhhh in no time.
We took snacks to eat during the day, like many tourist attractions the food is overpriced. Panda peanut lollies – they were good. Two packets of chips, cucumber and lime. Both injected with some crazy flavour, smells and tastes, was not my cup of tea, yet they did get eaten.http://www.panda.org.cn/english/ Xiongmao DaDao, Chengdu 58 RMB entry open daily 8am – 6pm 028-83510033
Want to read more about the Panda Research Centre – Click Here
In the heart of Chengdu is Peoples Park a place where the locals go to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life or just to attend their dance class. Saturdays are the busiest day in the park which is well worth checking out. There are many sections of the park from were the ponds are, open square, Monument of the Martyrs and the kids fare ground. Mia and I were having a day of exploring and were lucky enough to do a lap of the park on a pedal-powered monorail buggy. We did some painting, dancing and had a jolly time. It would be easy to people watch for a whole day.
Kuan-zhai Lane & JinLi Lane
Both Jinli Street and Kuan-Zhai lane are new tourist areas of Chengdu which have been built to look like traditional buildings of China. With plenty of gift shops selling over-priced nic-nacs and a food area that would a smile on anyone’s face. I found Kuan-Zhai reasonably priced for gifts to take home – cheapest panda hats around.
Reading signs in China can sometimes put a smile on your face, like these ones below. The Chinese to English translation some how does not always make sense. I can’t wait to go back to China, though I don’t know when that will be.