The capital of the Chinese province of Sichuan and known as a laid-back city with an emphasis on culture and relaxation, Chengdu is one of China’s most pleasant major cities.
Blessed by plenty of green space and surrounded by verdant countryside, wild national parks and snow-capped mountain peaks, Chengdu presents a far calmer atmosphere than many of China’s other bustling cities. This ensures it’s a rewarding location for a day or two of city living, as well as a jumping off point for the beautiful surrounding nature.
The youthful population, attributed to the many colleges and universities in the city, have created a vibrant nightlife scene, while the city’s iconic culinary prowess is sure to delight visitors – in fact, Chengdu was UNESCO’s first ever City of Gastronomy. Simply wandering the city will see you encountering many colourful temples and striking monasteries, while the teahouse culture will give you ample reason to slow down and take time to relax, much like the local population do.
A trip to Chengdu isn’t complete without experiencing the city’s devotion to the giant panda. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is home to approximately 100 of these treasured creatures, and this world-class research facility is dedicated to the breeding of giant pandas. Starting with just six rescued wild giant pandas, the population of the facility has increasingly grown since it was founded in 1987.
Serious foodies should definitely consider visiting Chengdu – home to fiery, mouth-numbing Sichuan cuisine. Certainly not for the faint hearted!
What to do
- Encounter Chengdu’s famous pandas
- Sample the city’s fantastic street food
- Wander the atmospheric Tibetan Quarter
- Discover the Leshan Giant Buddha
- Visit one of Chengdu’s teahouses
When to go
As with many city destinations, year-round travel is possible and rewarding, though it's best to avoid the city during the rainy season that runs through July and August. The warm and pleasant spring conditions are experienced during the popular months of March through to June, while autumn conditions enjoyed from September through to November are also suitable for discovering Chengdu.