Best Cities to Visit in China (II): Chengdu

Best Cities to Visit in China (II): Chengdu

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Best-Cities-to-Visit-in-China-II-Chengdu Best Cities to Visit in China (II): Chengdu

Best Cities to Visit in China: Chengdu

 

If you could sum up Chengdu in three words, it would be tea, pandas and cuisine. The capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu is the most important city in western China and the obvious place from which to explore the surrounding mountains and wildlife reserves. The capital of the ancient kingdom of Shu, Chengdu also has some excellent museums.

 

Best Cities to Visit in China: Chengdu

 

What's here? Pandas are certainly Chengdu's biggest draw, and you can see them outside town in the Breeding Research Base. If you'd rather see them in their natural environment, visit the Bifengxia Panda Base, which is about two hours away. Note that the Wolong Panda Center was damaged in the 2008 earthquake and has not yet reopened.

 

The ancient kingdom of Shu is also a hallmark of Chengdu and there are two excellent archeological museums nearby: the Sanxingdui Museum north of the city, which contains gorgeous Bronze Age artifacts from the 13th century BCE, and the Jinsha Site Museum, which is located in Chengdu itself and contains artifacts that date from 1200–600 BCE.

 

Best Cities to Visit in China: Chengdu

 

Cuisine and tea: It's impossible to miss out on Sichuan (formerly spelled "Szechuan") cuisine, arguably China's most accessible cooking style. Foreign favorites like kungpao (gongbao) chicken and mapo tofu are only the tip of the iceberg – hotpot restaurants, dan dan mian (担担面; Sichuan noodles) and other street snacks (小吃) are also an excellent introduction to this incredibly rich (and spicy!) culinary tradition. 

 

The city is also known for its many teahouses; try out the most famous, Heming Teahouse, in People's Park, or the Shufeng Yayun Teahouse in Culture Park, which stages evening performances. For something a little more low key head to Wenshu Temple, which has an attached teahouse; outside the temple is a renovated old part of town, which is an enjoyable place to stroll. Another site worth visiting is the Taoist Green Ram Temple.

 

Best Cities to Visit in China: Chengdu

 

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