The capital city of the southwestern part of China's Sichuan province, Chengdu is known for its Giant Panda Research Base and its fiery cuisine, defined by the spicy Sichuan peppercorn. Pandas are not the only reason why you should add Chengdu to your list, its peaceful vibe and hidden monasteries will leave you mesmerized.
The Chengdu plain is known as the ‘Land of Abundance’, owing to its abundant natural resources. It is an important commercial, cultural and transportation center in western China.
This Panda capital of China is a perfect pick for your next vacation.
Best time to visit Chengdu: The best time to visit Chengdu are the months of March to June and September to November. The weather is pleasant during this time for the perfect holiday. The weather in other cities of Sichuan are much different from the weather in Chengdu.
Let us take a look at the various seasons round the year to help you plan your trip better.
Spoken Language in Chengdu:
Visa and Immigration for Chengdu: If you’re an Indian passport holder travelling to Chengdu, then you are required to apply for China tourist visa - L visa. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of your travel with one blank page.
Complete and submit the China Transit Visa application form along with a coloured passport photo or you can even choose to submit the application to the Consular’s office personally. The normal time taken to process the visa is around 2-3 working days in express service, however you can also opt for a rush service at an extra fee.
How to reach Chengdu:
Alternatively, you can also rent a car or a bicycle to see the city at your pace.
There is a magnificent bridge called the Anlan Cable Bridge crossing the Minjiang River, the most scenic place of the whole project. This majestic architecture is a must visit.
Lao Ma Tou Hotpot offers one of the most authentic Sichuan hot pot experiences. Behind the ornately decorated temple-style façade, patrons are served massive, boiling pots of spicy broth with exotic ingredients. The atmosphere here is what the Chinese would call re nao (literally “warm and noisy”) – cheerfully loud and quite casual.
The dishes at Qin Shan Zhai are based on ancient Chinese medical principles. Items here are intensely flavourful, be sure to try the seared mountain yam, marbled pork with green beans, and delicate double-boiled soups. Along with the delectable cuisine, you will also enjoy the lovely restaurant garden and pond.
Enjoy Sichuan comfort food at this lovely neighborhood restaurant in Chengdu. Their must try items include, pork belly steamed in lotus leaves, spicy mapo tofu, and pork ribs served with pickles. The restaurant is family friendly and a must visit for a relaxed experience.
This tiny yet exclusive restaurant offers delicacies with the finest Chinese ingredients and techniques. The restaurant is known for its 25-course dinner and every dish is beautifully presented in custom-made china, highlighting its unique flavors.
Chengdu boasts of its local products and fine traditional handicrafts. Your trip will be incomplete without collecting some souvenirs including, Shu brocade, embroidery, lacquer wares and Chinese tea from this land of abundance! Here is a list of top shopping streets in Chengdu.
Chunxi Road: This is the most famous commercial street in Chengdu, offering a variety of apparels and shoes from local and international brands for the shopaholics in you. It is not only Chengdu’s fashion centre but also popular for its wide array of delicious snacks and various street foods.
Qintai Road: Qintai Road is considered as the most famous jewellery and antique street in Chengdu. The buildings along the whole street comprehensively display the Han dynasty way of life, music and dance, and other local customs.
Jinli Street: A walk in Jinli street will take you back to ancient China. The Ming and Qing dynasty architectural works which line the street are a treat for the eyes. The street is filled with traditional artisans and has various Sichuan snack shops, chopstick shops, teashops and others reflecting Chengdu’s special folk custom.
Chengdu has a lot to offer. During the day, you can enjoy your time watching giant pandas or relaxing at teahouses. During the evenings, check out the night clubs and karaoke clubs of the city. Some of the best night clubs in the city are listed below.
The Beer Nest: Its modest interiors give the place a western feel and the place offers a wide selection of beer.
Little Bar: This place was once the heart of Chinese rock and roll and is worth a visit if you are a rock music enthusiast!
The Muse: This bar is a perfect combination of western and Chinese styled bars. Do remember to wear your dancing shoes before you hit this place. You can dance to your heart’s content till the sun comes up!
Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu Shangri-La Chengdu offers rooms with a splendid view of the Jinjiang River and the city. The hotel rooms are well-equipped with all modern amenities, and even has a luxurious ballroom to delight its guests.
The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu offers sweeping views of Tianfu Square and the Chengdu skyline. This luxury hotel is a perfect mix of modern convenience with traditional grandeur and features a modern fitness center, an indoor swimming pool, a yoga studio, sauna and steam facilities, swimming pool and spas.
Fraser Suites Chengdu Fraser Suites Chengdu is located close to key commercial buildings and departmental stores. The hotel lies between the Central Business District and Tian Fu Square and provides comprehensive range of facilities including pool, gym, sauna rooms, restaurants, business centre and a playroom for children.
Sofitel Chengdu Taihe Located in the city centre, this luxury hotel offers a picturesque view of the Jinjiang River. The hotel boasts of 162 luxury rooms and 100 suites in a combination of French and Chinese elegance. A 20-minute drive from the hotel will take you to Chengdu International Airport.
People's Park: This park is touted to be the city’s oldest public park and is home to many important monuments, including the Railway Protection movement monument. It was built in 1911 by the Qing dynasty. It is a comprehensive park which combines preservation of heritage with entertainment.
Sanxingdui Museum: This archaeological museum located on the banks of the Jian river, opened up for the public in 1997. The museum displays the ruins of ancient Shu, a kingdom which existed over 4000 years ago. This place is a must visit if you wish to know more about the Sichuan culture and history.
There is no dearth of destinations near Chengdu to checkout. From Chengdu, you can plan a day trip to Mt. Emei and a visit to UNESCO sight Leshan.
Leshan Giant Buddha: Standing 71 meters tall, this is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world. It was carved out of a cliff nearly 1,299 years ago and faces Mt. Emei. The rivers, Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi flow below the statue’s feet. It is located nearly 3 hours from Chengdu.
Jiuzhaigou park: This is China's most famous natural park, located in the Sichuan province. You can reach this place under an hour and there are various homestays and hotels to plan your stay near this park. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and the highlights include, the Jiuzhaigou valley with its emerald and turquoise crystal lakes, mesmerising waterfalls, traditional Tibetan villages and towering peaks.
Chengdu is not just about Pandas and spicy cuisine! You will be amazed to know that the earliest form of paper money was created in Chengdu. Let’s go back to the days when people had to carry heavy coins to make a purchase. Merchants were quick to understand the problem, leading to the invention of paper money, which is widely popular across the world now.
Chengdu is also home to the tallest building in China. The New Century Global Centre is 100 m tall and houses conference rooms, a university complex, offices, a cinema hall and even a pirate ship.
With its excellent geographical location and beautiful natural landscape, a trip to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, will give you memories for a lifetime.