|Climate chart (explanation)|
Chengdu is on the edge of the fertile plains of the Red Basin in China's Sichuan Province. Due to its agricultural wealth, Chengdu is sometimes called the "Heavenly Land of Plenty". The Funan River bisects the city, although boat traffic, common until the 1960s, has all but vanished.
The Chengdu administrative area is home to more than 14 million people, with about 10 million of them in the Chengdu urban area. Chengdu has the reputation as a very "laid-back" city that emphasizes culture and relaxation. As a result of this and much green space, it is ranked one of the most livable mega-cities in China. It is credited with a good nightlife scene, and contains many new western style buildings in the large city center.
Summer weather is hot and humid, as the city is surrounded by small mountains to the east and sits in the Red Basin. Furthermore, an hour to the west lie the foothills of the mighty Tibetan Plateau and the fabulously scenic mountains of west Sichuan.
The city is famous for its lack of sun, so don't come expecting to get a sun tan. The city is foggy most of the year and typically warmer than coastal cities.
1 Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU IATA) (20 km (12 mi) southwest of Chengdu center). One of the main air hubs in China. It serves flights from most major cities in China, many smaller cities within Sichuan, and some international destinations including Amsterdam Schiphol, Bangkok (BKK), Hong Kong, Osaka, Phnom Penh, Kuala Lumpur, New York City (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seoul (Incheon), Melbourne and Singapore.
Ground transportation options include:
- Metro Line 10 runs from the airport (separate stations at Terminals 1 and 2) to Taipingyuan, where you can transfer to Metro Line 3 and 7, and from there to other Metro lines.
- Airport Shuttle buses operate between the airport and the city center, costing ¥10-15. The main line #1 stops at the Air China airline office in a side street just off Renmin Nanlu (2. Section) opposite to the entrance of the Minshan Hotel. There are three other routes but the service is not as regular or frequent, ask at the ticket desk outside the Arrivals lounge. The last bus leaves the airport around 1AM.
- Taxi fare from the airport to the city center averages ¥45. There is no extra charge for luggage or additional passengers. When going from the city to the airport, add an additional ¥10 to cover the toll on the Airport Expressway. If you intend to take a taxi from the airport, head for the domestic arrival area and exit the terminal where you should see the official taxi stand where you can queue for marked, green-and-yellow or blue-and-yellow taxis. Usual advice applies when distinguishing between official and fake taxis; if a person is too enthusiastic about getting you into their vehicle, you may have to pay more. Use your common sense.
Chengdu Station, North Railway Station, and Chengdu North Station
Be aware of the three names. The station you can see today in the north of the city is officially called "Chengdu Station (成都站)" and that's the name printed on the ticket. However, locals usually call it the North Railway Station (火车北站) or Chengdu North Station (成都北站), and the name of the adjacent metro station is Chengdu North Station. The real and official Chengdu North rail station is a large freight yard quite distant from the city.
2 Chengdu Station (成都站) (Huoche Bei Zhan (火车北站 which means "North Railway Station")) (Metro Line 1, North Railway Station). Officially called simply Chengdu Station, however, locals call it "Chengdu North Station" when Chengdu East was opened, and even the metro system do so. Handles most long distance services and most high speed trains to Chongqing.
3 Chengdu East Station (成都东站) (Chengdu Dong Zhan) (Metro Line 2, East Chengdu Railway Station). New station serving local Sichuan destinations (like Leshan and Shuangliu Airport) and some services east to Chongqing, Nanjing and Shanghai or north to Xi'an and Beijing. (Not to be confused with old freight station, slightly east of Chengdu North Station as marked on some older maps.)
4 Chengdu South Station (成都南站) (Chengdu Nan Zhan) (Metro Line 1, South Railway Station). For short distance trains to Leshan, E'meishan, Jiangyou, Dujiangyan and Shuangliu Airport.
There are three bus stations in Chengdu, serving different destinations.
5 Chádiànzi (茶店子汽车站), ☏ .
|Destination||Price (¥)||Departures (HH:MM)||Duration||Lunch-Stop||Last Update|
|Hongyuan (红原县)||108||06:30||10 hr||Yes||2009/06|
|Jiǔzhàigōu (九寨沟)||121||07:30 09:00||8 hr 30 min||yes||2017/09|
|Rìlóng (日隆镇)||69||06:40||9-12 hr||yes||2009/02|
|Ruo Ergai (若尔盖)||88||07:00 07:20||10 hr||?||2005/06|
|Sōngpān (松潘县)||74||06:30 08:30 11:30||4 hr 10 min||Yes||2017/9|
|Wòlóng (卧龙)||23||11:40||4 hr||?||2005/06|
|Langzhong (阆中)||46||07:00-18:30 (Hourly)||4 hr||No||2009/10|
6 Xīnnánmén (新南门汽车站), ☏ . There is a tourist information center nearby, where you can get a free map of the city and ask for the bus to your hotel.
|Destination||Price (¥)||Departures (HH:MM)||Duration||Lunch-Stop||Last Update (YYYY/MM)|
|Daocheng (稻城)||217.00||10 hr||2 days||?||2005/06|
|Éméi Shān (峨眉山)||45||07:00-19:00 (every 20 mins)||1 hr 50 min||No||2012/05|
|Jiǔzhàigōu (九寨沟)||156||07:50 08:00 08:05||8 hr 30 min||yes||2017/9|
|Kāngdìng (康定)||103/115/125||08:00-14:00 (hourly)||7 hr||Yes||2009/10|
|Ganzi (甘孜)||172||07:00||2 days||Yes||2009/10|
|Ya'an (雅安)||37/42||7:20-19:00 (every 35 min)||2 hr||No||2009/10|
|Lèshān (乐山)||46||07:20–19:35 (every 30 min)||2 hr||No||2011/05|
7 Wǔguìqiáo (五桂桥汽车站), ☏ .
|Destination||Price (¥)||Departures (HH:MM)||Duration||Lunch-Stop||Last Update|
|Chongqing (重庆)||112||08:30 10:00 11:30 13:00 14:30 17:30||4 hr||Yes||2017/9|
See Driving in China for detailed advice if you want to get around by car.
The Chengdu Metro for a single ride tickets from ticket vending machines (English available) with ¥1 coins or ¥5 and ¥10 notes. Ticket booths are also available if you don't have suitable notes. A contactless metro card is available (card or panda keyring) which gives you a 10% saving on all journeys.
When entering the metro you need to put your bags through an x-ray machine. The ticket is flashed by the gates on the reader on your right side. You need the ticket to get out as well so keep it safe. When exiting the ticket is placed into a slot on the right side of the gate.
The system contains seven lines:
- Line 1 runs north-south through the city center along Renmin Rd and Tianfu Ave, connecting the North and South railway stations.
- Line 2 runs northwest-southeast, serving Chengdu East Railway Station.
- Line 3 runs southwest-northeast, from Chengdu Medical College to Shuangliu West Station.
- Line 4 runs east-west, from Xihe to Wansheng. It serves the future site of Chengdu West Railway Station.
- Line 5 runs north-southwest, from Huagui Road to Huilong.
- Line 7 runs in a circle around the city. It has interchanges with all other lines, as well as the North, South, and East railway stations.
- Line 10 runs from Chengdu (Shuangliu) International Airport to Taipingyuan, where you can transfer to Lines 3 and 7.
Lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10 all have interchanges with each other in the city center region.
Chengdu has an extensive bus system. At each bus stop, there is a list of the bus lines coming through on this road, and on some city maps the whole network is displayed. However, the bus lines and maps only use Chinese characters, and even if the bus announces the station, it will usually only be in Chinese. Tickets are ¥1 for non-aircon (now very rare) and ¥2 for air-conditioned buses. The fare is paid by putting the exact amount to a metal box next to the driver. No change is given, so make sure you have exact change. Normally, you enter via the front door, and alight by the rear door. On the new articulated buses, you can enter at either the front or rear door, with the middle door designated for alighting only.
aMaps (Chinese only) is helpful for planning routes by public transport. A separate smartphone app is available. Click on Chengdu on the map, then select the middle tab from (公交) from the search field. To show the route of a particular line, click 高级搜索 and type the line number to the search field that appeared on the right side. You can also select from and to destinations from the map via a context menu (the two topmost options) and the service shows the route with bus line numbers and also where to change the bus if needed. Classical bus useful for tourists are 1 and 99 (inside city), 300 (link between south airport to north railway station).
If you will be in Chengdu a while, you may want to purchase the contactless transit card (公交卡) - it's advisable to get the version which works for both metro and buses. They are sold at all Hong Qi markets and at some pharmacies. Not only do you no longer have to worry about carrying correct change, but you get free transfers for two hours plus some discounts. The card costs ¥20 and can be loaded with three types of credit. The first is cash. You will receive a 10% discount off the cash fare when using your card's cash. So a regular bus ride will cost ¥1.80 instead of ¥2. You can also load credits (次) for this month and credits for next month. Each credit costs ¥0.50, and most bus rides use two credits (the increasingly rare non-aircon buses cost one credit). So most rides then cost you only ¥1. Credits expire at the end of the month for which they were designated, so it can take a little effort to not buy too many or too few. Note that some bus lines (usually higher numbered ones, or those going way out to the suburbs) and the subway only accept your cash balance (not credits), which does not expire. When you board the bus and tap your card, the display will show the number of this month's credits remaining (if you used credits) or the cash balance (if you used your card's stored cash value).
The Hi Panda Shuttle Bus (成都景区直通车), also known as the Scenic Shuttle Bus, conveys passengers to many of Chengdu's key attractions and also travels to some attractions outside the city. Destinations include the Wuhou Temple, Jinli Street, Kuanzhaixiangzi, Du Fu's Thatched Cottage, Chunxi Road, the 339 TV Tower, Jinsha Archaelogical Site, Panda Research Base, Happy Valley, Haichang Ocean Park, Jinjiang Theatre, the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine, Manhua Manor, Anren Town, Dujiangyan, Qingcheng Mountain, Sanxingdui, Leshan, Emeishan, Taoping Qiang Village, Bipenggou and Bifengxia. Most routes originate from the company's main hubs at Kuanzhaixiangzi and the Wuhou Temple. The company also operates from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, Chengdu East Railway Station, and Tianfu Square. Fares range from just ¥2 for a short trip to ¥68 for a 3-hour journey to Bipenggou. You can also purchase a combo set, which includes both the bus tickets and the entrance tickets for the attractions you intend to visit.
Official taxis are either green or blue and are equipped with meters. An available taxi will display an illuminated sign with Chinese characters in its dashboard. The meter is turned on by tilting the sign, make sure the driver does that and if not, you can try to do it yourself and the driver usually gets your point. Some taxi drivers may try to offer you a fixed price but don't take it unless you know it's cheaper than with the meter on. Taxi drivers don't speak English nor do they understand the map, so have an address written in Chinese with you. Drivers don't know many street names so it's best to have the address to some well known place close to your destination. Collect taxi cards from hotels and restaurants and show them to the drivers, and when close to your destination start instructing by pointing with your hand. This method usually gets you there - some drivers however will not follow your instructions or get angry for you traveling a longer distance than what they expected.
Taxi fare is ¥8 on flagfall for the older taxis ¥9 for the new ones, and increase at ¥1.9 per km after the first 2 kilometers. For rides from 10 to 60 km the km fare is increased by 50% to compensate the taxi returning empty. During night time the starting price is ¥1 more and per km price is ¥2.20. Waiting price for the taxi is one km fare per every five minutes, and the meter counts traveling with speed less than 12 km/h as waiting time. Taxis often refuse to accept ¥100 bills so try to have some change on hand.
Taxis can be difficult to find depending on the area. There are also unlicensed taxis in the city but they're quite hard to notice. If you use one, know your destination and expected price and negotiate the fare beforehand.
Most guest houses have bicycles for hire. Check for technical problems before starting out unless you want to be held responsible for it later. If you leave your bicycle, do so in one of the designated "bicycle parks", where it will be guarded over for a small fee. If you can not find such a place, be sure to lock it securely against some structure. Be careful as the bike traffic flow can be intense.
In 2016, Mobike and other companies introduced city-bikes which can be used and paid for via a smartphone app.
Streets and architecture
- 1 Jinli Ancient Street (锦里古街) (Line 3 Metro, Gaoshengqiao Station). This neighborhood is part of the old city of Chengdu; it features hotels and small stores built in an old-fashioned style. Antiques are sold in a variety of different stores. It is very popular among both tourists and locals, especially at night, with many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. You will find a lot of famous local snack food over there, prices ¥1-10. Restaurants and bars in Jin Li are more expensive than outside. There are also antique hotels in there. Some consider Jin Li is to be tourist trap, which is partly true. However, this 'new old street' offers regional and fairly affordable street food specialties as well and can be combined with a visit to the Wuhouci Temple (entry fee ¥60, unless you are the holder of a Panda Card). Don't forget to take your camera.
- 2 Kuanzhaixiangzi (宽窄巷子) (Line 4 Metro, Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley Station). Very nice place with lots of (expensive) tea houses, restaurants and local snacks. Great for relaxing. Streets date from late Qing-dynasty style but have been rebuilt. Free government Wi-Fi in this place.
- 3 Tianfu Square (天府广场) (Line 1/2 Metro, in the city center). This square, overlooked by an enormous Chairman Mao statue in the center of the city, has been spruced up. Every evening at dusk, as well as at noontime, an elaborate water show, synchronized to music, bursts out from the square's fountains. Below the square is the hub of Chengdu's subway system. In the subway entrance plaza, a small shopping mall has been built, almost literally under Mao's nose.
- 4 A Thousand Plateaus Art Space (千高原艺术空间; Qian Gaoyuan Yishu Kongjian), 87 Fangqin St 芳沁街87号 (In Yulin Community, next to Little Bar and K Gallery.), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. A contemporary art gallery in Chengdu exhibiting Chinese and international artists. Exhibit openings generally happen once a month, and other events also take place. Free entry.
- 5 Sichuan Art Museum (四川美术馆), 6 Renmin Road West, Qingyang District (青羊区人民西路6号) (300 metres west of Tianfu Square Station at the intersection of Lines 1 and 2), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 09ː00-20ː00, no entry after 19ː00, closed on Mondays. Free.
- 6 Chengdu Museum (成都博物馆), 1 Xiaohe Street, Qingyang District (青羊区小河街1号) (Metro lines 1 and 2, Tianfu Square Station. The museum is on the west side of the square), ☏ . May to October: 09:00-20:30, November to April: 09:00-20:00, no entry in last 30 minutes, closed on Mondays. A 6 floors museum containing different interesting things about Chengdu civilization from ancient times to modern times. Recommended to start the visit from the second floor upwards. The visit should take 2.5 hours. Free, Foreigner needs to register from the opposite side of the entrance to get ticket..
- 7 Sichuan Museum (四川博物院), 251 Huanhua Road South, Qingyang District (青羊区浣花南路251号) (Take a train to Chengdu University of TCM and Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital Station at the intersection of Metro lines 2 and 4, then either walk or catch bus no. 58 and get off at Songxian Bridge (送仙桥)), ☏ , . Summer: 09:00-21:00, Winter: 09:00-20:00, no entry in last 30 minutes, closed on Mondays. 3 floors museum containing artifacts (bronze, pottery, carving, etc.), including coverage of different tribes in Sichuan. Visit can be completed in about 2 hours. Free, foreigner needs to go through the 'Foreigner' entrance and register..
- 8 Sichuan Science and Technology Museum (四川科技馆), 16 Renmin Middle Road Section One, Qingyang District (青羊区人民中路一段16号) (Metro lines 1 and 2, Tianfu Square Station. The museum is on the north side of Tianfu Square), ☏ . 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays (except during the summer holiday period). This huge four-storey museum is filled with interactive exhibits about science, aerodynamics, space, mathematics, robotics and physics. Children will love the interactive displays and indoor playground on the 4th floor. Adults will appreciate the descriptions in both English and Chinese. Everyone will love the crowd-pleasers like the robotic orchestra and walk-through maps of Sichuan's waterways. During weekdays this museum can either be overrun by local school groups or be so deserted it's almost creepy. Overall, quite good value for money, especially on a rainy day. Free.
- 9 [dead link] Sichuan University Museum (四川大学博物馆; Sichuan Daxue Bowuguan), 19 Wangjiang Rd, Wuhou District (武侯区望江路19号) (about a 15-min ride or a 40 minute walk from Xinnanmen bus station; you may also catch buses 19, 256, or 1107), ☏ . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on weekends. Excellent display of local artifacts and is worth while way of spending an hour or two. The museum is one of the better in China and there are four floors of well lit, air conditioned displays with decent English translations. Starting in the basement, enter the first room where dozens of stone carvings dating from the Han dynasty to the Tang are on display. The room next door has a moderately interesting display on the museum's history and numerous examples of ancient bronzes and stone age artifacts. The first floor is mostly artifacts from the Ming and Qing dynasty, including furniture, silk clothing, and an interesting display of leather puppets. The second floor has the perhaps the most engaging display: artifacts and daily use items from ethnic minority groups in China's southwest, including Tibetans, Miao, Yi, Qiang, Jianpo and Naxi. The third floor has a decent display of calligraphy scrolls, paintings, and ceramics. ¥30 (students ¥10).
Historical and archaelogical sites
- 10 Anshun Bridge (安顺廊桥), 66 Binjiang Road East, Jinjiang District (锦江区滨江东路66号) (The nearest bus stop is Hejiang Pavilion (合江亭), which is served by bus nos. 343 and 1093). A scenic, historic bridge crossing the Jin River in the middle of Chengdu. A bridge at this location was mentioned in the writings of Marco Polo. However, in the 1980s the bridge was destroyed by flooding, and was rebuilt in 2003. There is a restaurant on top of the bridge.
- 11 Du Fu's Thatched Cottage (杜甫草堂), 37 Qinghua Road, Qingyang District (青羊区青华路37号) (Take a train to Chengdu University of TCM and Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital Station at the intersection of Metro lines 2 and 4, then either walk or catch bus no. 58 and get off at the Du Fu's Thatched Cottage bus stop. Alternatively take a train to Caotang Road North Station on Metro Line 4 and walk south for about 900m), ☏ . May to September: 08:00-20:00, October to April: 08:00-18:30. Du Fu was a renowned poet during the Tang Dynasty. The thatched cottage was where he lived from 760 to 765 and wrote many of his best works. The cottage eventually fell into ruin and had to be rebuilt. The current buildings date mostly from the Ming and Qing dynasties. ¥60.
- 12 Jinsha Archaeological Site (金沙遗址), 2 Jinsha Site Road, Qingyang District (青羊区金沙遗址路2号) (Metro Line 7, Jinsha Museum Station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. May to October: 08:30-20:00, November to April: 08:30-18:30, no tickets sold in last 60 minutes, closed on Mondays. Site featuring various tools and art pieces from around 3,000 years ago. The amount of unearthed items is just massive. They include pottery, blades, jade items, building foundations and various golden art pieces. There are two main buildings: the hall constructed over the centre of the excavation site and the modern exhibition hall with various artifacts on display. ¥80.
- 13 Yongling Mausoleum (永陵, 王建墓 Wang Jian's Tomb), 10 Yongling Road, Jinniu District (金牛区永陵路10号) (Take a train to Chengdu University of TCM and Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital Station at the intersection of Metro lines 2 and 4, then catch bus no. 42 and get off at the Yongling Intersection (永陵路口) bus stop), ☏ . Tomb and museum: 08:30-18:00, Gardens: 06:30-22:00. Yongling is the tomb of Wang Jian, the founding emperor of the Shu Kingdom, also known as Great Shu or Former Shu, which ruled over much of Sichuan during the early 10th century during a period known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. The burial chamber has been excavated and is open to the public. An on-site museum displays artefacts that have been excavated from the tomb. ¥20.
- 14 Ming Prince Tombs (明蜀王陵), Longquanyi District (Take Line 4 of the Metro to Mingshuwangling station). Five tombs of the princes of the Ming Dynasty, who were given estates in the area by the emperor, and subsequently buried here. Their burial chambers have been excavated, two of which are open to the public; the tomb of Prince Xi (僖王陵) and the tomb of Prince Zhao (昭王陵). The former is lined with beautiful carvings, and is often said to be the grandest burial chamber to have been excavated to date in China.
- 15 Qingyang Temple (青羊宫; Qingyanggong; lit. Palace of the Black, Green or Blue Ram), 9 Xierduan, Ring Rd One, Qingyang District (青羊区一环路西二段9号) (Take a train to Chengdu University of TCM and Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital Station at the intersection of Metro lines 2 and 4, exit the station via Exit A, then walk south in a straight line for about 700 meters), ☏ . 08:00-18:00. This Taoist temple is the oldest and biggest of its kind in the area, located in the west of downtown. A large and still-active temple that takes into consideration Taoist philosophy in its construction, and with both a park next door and a number of relaxed courtyards inside. While it has a long history, the buildings are modern, cheaply-made concrete constructions, and it quite frequently shows. The statues inside are also cheap modern constructions of no real interest. A teahouse and a vegetarian restaurant can be found within the temple complex. ¥10.
- 16 Wenshu Temple (Wenshu Monastery, 文殊院), 66 Wenshu Temple St, Qingyang District (青羊区文殊院街66号) (Metro Line 1, Wenshu Temple Station), ☏ , . 09:00-17:00. This Tang Dynasty Buddhist temple is the most impressive, and perhaps also the most used, temple in Chengdu. It is dedicated to the Buddhist representation of Wisdom, Wenshu Pusa (Manjusri Bodhisatva), and contains more than 450 Buddha statues and other precious relics. In addition to the halls and gardens, the temple also has a charming tea house that offers an insightful window of Chengdu life as it is frequented by locals who engage in games of chess, reading, knitting and just chatting with family and friends. The temple also has a delightful vegetarian restaurant with seats offering views over the gardens. There are many shops around the temple, including some of the best street food in the city, such as a sweetwater noodle shop. Free.
- 17 Wuhouci Temple (Wuhou Temple, 武侯祠), 231 Wuhouci Main Street, Wuihou District (武侯区武侯祠大街231号) (Near Jinli Street, south-west of Tianfu Square and 750m from Gaoshengqiao Station on Metro Line 3. You may also take bus routes 1, 57, 82, 334, 335, 1126 and Night 11), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. May to October: 08:00-20:00, November to April: 08:00-19:00, no tickets sold in last 60 minutes. This temple is built to commemorate Zhuge Liang (诸葛亮), who was the minister of Shu (蜀) in the Three Kingdoms Period. He is famous through the Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. There are dozens of dust covered statues of obscure historical figures behind glass and not much else. The gardens are attractive, but not extensive. ¥60.
Parks and nature
- 18 Chengdu Panda Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (成都大熊猫繁育研究基地) (From Panda Avenue metro station (Line 3), take Exit B which will lead you the HiPanda counter (staff are wearing yellow uniform), where you can buy entry tickets with return shuttle bus for (¥54). After the bus ride, follow the signage and pawprints on pavement to go to he Panda Base. Alternatively, you can take public bus 198 or a taxi, and pay for entrance fee at the ticket booth for ¥55.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the biggest facility of this kind in the world. Due to habitat destruction and other reasons, the giant panda is maybe the most famous endangered animal. It is home to some 60 giant pandas, but also has some red pandas and a colony of black-necked cranes. The pandas are basically on display for tourists but views are much closer than is possible at most Western zoos. (If you want to get even closer and hold a panda or volunteer all day to feed them bamboo and clean the panda cage, visit the Dujiangyan Panda Base, about an hour's drive outside Chengdu.) A small museum and a cinema screening related documentaries is also available. A restaurant and souvenir-stalls top off the tourist installations. The best time to visit is in the morning, when pandas are most active. Pandas sleep during the hottest time of the day. Feeding time is around 09:30-10:00. Expect some crowd. It is recommended to arrive as early as you can to avoid the hordes of school and tour groups that arrive every morning. Entry fee is ¥53. English-speaking tour guide ¥100.
- 19 Chengdu Zoo (成都动物园), 234 Zhaojue Temple Road South, Chenghua District (成华区昭觉寺南路234号) (Line 3 Metro, Chengdu Zoo station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. April–November: 08:00-17:00, December–March: 08:30-17:00. Offers all the typical animals that one might expect in a zoo (elephant, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, as well as panda bears). While the zoo itself is large and spread out, some of the cages are woefully small and the facility seems understaffed. Might be good for a family to visit. The zoo has vendors selling Chinese snacks as well as some carnival type rides. ¥20.
- 20 People's Park (人民公园) (Two blocks west of Tianfu Square). This park is a rare island of tranquility amid the noise and hustle of central Chengdu. It contains beautifully landscaped walking paths, lakes with paddle boats for rent, tea shops and restaurants, children's amusement rides, small sports facilities, and other attractions. Some old people use the park to sing and dance in separate groups. Some people practice calligraphy with water on the floor around a monument in the northwestern corner of this park. Some parents take their unmarried children's information here to find potential candidates. The park is a great place to take a child or a date, and it is always full of locals relaxing and enjoying themselves. For laughs, there is an information display which lists the city's current air quality, claiming there is about 4 times less pollution than the US Embassy reports. No entry fee.
- 21 Anren Ancient Town (安仁古镇), Dayi County (大邑县) (about 45 km southwest of Chengdu. Buses depart every 30 minutes between 07:30 and 19:10 from Chadianzi Bus Station. The journey time is about one hour), ☏ . Also called China's Museum Town (中国博物馆小镇) due to the large number of museums, including the Jianchuan Museum Cluster (see below).
- 22 Jiezi ancient town (街子古镇). 25 km northwest of Chengdu, in Chongzhou, the Fengqi mountain, the mountain connected with Qingcheng.
- 23 Liujiang Old Town (柳江古镇, 柳江镇). Liujiang town, located 25 km southwest of the county to spend Hongya River tributary of Liujiang sides. Town was founded in the Southern Song Dynasty, and modern architecture across the water from the Ming and Qing era buildings.
- 24 Luodai Ancient Town (洛带古镇), Luodai Town, Longquanyi District, Chengdu (About 25km east of downtown Chengdu. Chengluo (成洛) Road goes directly there. There is also a bus that goes directly there. Catch it at a small building behind the Xinnanmen bus station, right where Shiqi road bends. Cost is ¥7. There appears to be no regular schedule, just show up, and when the bus is full (enough), it departs. No bus number, just look for signs to '洛带'. In Luodai, once you exit the train station, turn right on Bajiaojing street, then left at Huaishui Middle Street, and the entrance is on your left.). Billed as an ancient village inhabited by the Hakka minority.. Over 1 km long streets with older building (in various states of disrepair) lined with stores. The primary attraction is the many different types of food and snacks available, especially Hakka food, that are hard to find in other places (along with some number of stores selling standard tourist crap and costumes to rent for photos). The buildings that line the street are of some, but not great, interest; more interesting are a number of older buildings and halls that give one a feel for older China. Signage and shops appear to be Chinese-language only. Most of it is a recreation but still somewhat charming. It's a pleasant day-trip from Chengdu. Buses start form Wuguiqiao bus station (新南门车站 - south Chengdu, next to Tazishan Park) and take about an hour. Alternatively, take a taxi out (about 75 yuan) and come back by bus as return taxis can be hard to find. Entrance: free.
- 25 Jianchuan Museum Cluster (建川博物馆聚落), 550 Yingbin Road Section Two, Anren Town, Dayi County (大邑县安仁镇迎宾路二段550) (Buses depart every 30 minutes between 07:30 and 19:10 from Chadianzi Bus Station. The journey time is about one hour. Anren Bus Station is 3km from the museum cluster. If you don't want to walk that distance, you may catch bus no. 11), ☏ . 09:00-17:30. Industrialist Fan Jianchuan built this campus of museums to explain the history of 20th century China. This is the first privately owned museum in Sichuan (privately operated museums in China have only been permitted since the year 2001). The Museum campus contains four buildings about World War II in China - one explaining the Communist Party role, one about the Kuomintang, one about the American volunteer group "Flying Tigers", and one about Sichuan volunteers. There is also the modestly named "New China Porcelain Museum", which actually tells the story of the Cultural Revolution through porcelain of that era. A museum that more directly addresses that era is under construction. You will also see buildings explaining the practice of foot-binding and one about prisoners of war. Nearby, you can also walk through a landlord's manor. Make a day trip out of it; the Museum is in the historic town of Anren about an hour's drive from downtown Chengdu. Get around the museum cluster by walking, renting a bicycle or paying ¥10 to ride the sightseeing car; a tea-house and restaurant is located on site. ¥60 for a one-day pass to visit all museums, ¥100 for a three-day pass, ¥20 to visit just one museum.
- 26 Museum of Sichuan Cuisine (川菜博物馆), 8 Ronghua Lane North, Gucheng Town, Pidu District (郫都区古城镇荣华北巷8号) (Catch a train to Xipu Station on Metro Line 2, exit via Exit B, then cross the road and catch bus no. P22. Get off at Gucheng (古城) where the bus terminates. You will find the museum just opposite the bus stop), ☏ . 09:00-18:00. ¥60 for general admission, ¥360 to take part in a cooking experience.
Historical and archaelogical sites
- 27 Sanxingdui (三星堆), ☏ . An ancient Chinese city where archaeologists discovered remarkable artifacts that radiocarbon dated circa 12th-11th centuries BCE. Sanxingdui (Three star mound) is the name given to this previously unknown Bronze Age culture. The Sanxingdui archaeological museum is located about 40 kilometers northeast of Chengdu in Sichuan Province and 10 kilometers east of the city of Guanghan. From Zhaojue Temple Bus Station, catch a bus to Guanghan (¥14), and from there use public bus No. 6 to reach the museum (¥2). ¥82 (¥42 for students).
Parks and nature
- 28 Stone Elephant Lake Ecological Resort (石象湖生态风景区), 86km Exit, Chengdu-Ya'an Expressway, Pujiang County (蒲江县成雅高速公路86公里出口处) (Arrange a car to take you there or catch a bus from Xinnanmen Bus Station. The bus fare is ¥33), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. March–April: 08:30-18:00, May–October: 08:30-17:30, November–February: 09:00-17:00. A fantastic park with acres upon acres of live tulips and tiger lily flowers as well as nature walks and boat rides, and stone carved animals. The best time to go is during the Tulip Festival in early Spring and when the Tiger Lillies bloom in late summer, however, various flowers are usually in bloom from March through August and the nature walks are open year round. Bring your camera. Also bring a picnic lunch or eat in one of the several Chinese restaurants and noodle shops there. The park is about an hour and 15 minutes drive of pure highway driving south of Chengdu. ¥100.
For up-to-date information on activities, places and attractions you should check out the Chengdoo Citylife Magazine's listings. You will find copies in most bars, restaurants, cafes, hostels and hotels.
- Cosmetics and Hair. Local women love to get their nails and hair done at the mall. You can get your nails done beautifully (filed, buffered, polished and hand painted with beautiful patent) between ¥10-20 at most shopping centre. There are quite a few very popular ones located on the ground floor of Beijing Hualian (北京华联) in Yanshikou. You can also get your hair temporarily straightened or curled at ¥10-15. They do very nice style and it will last until you wash your hair.
- 1 Chunxi Road (春熙路). Take an afternoon or evening to walk down this shopping street in the center of the city. It makes for a good change of pace. There are clothing stores, bookstores, restaurants, arcades, and cinemas. It is a good place to find something to eat, as you can find a great variety including hotpot buffets, Japanese restaurants and Western food. However, the major disadvantage with this area is that each brand has many stores in this location (similar to other parts of China). For instance, Nike, Adidas, and Li-Ning, each have about 4-5 stores in Chunxi Road alone which reduces the variety of things to buy. If you are looking for stores in the same vein as Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna, these stores are located outside of the Chunxi Road area and near the Tianfu Square district.
- 2 Drink tea, Renmin Park (People's Park). Teahouses are plentiful in Chengdu, and drinking tea and playing Mahjong is how many local people relax. On a sunny afternoon pick a table in the park with an out-door tea house and sip your tea while listening to the locals gossiping. Not for the faint hearted, take the opportunity to have your ears cleaned by local "experts" armed with a tuning fork and a myriad of "insertion tools". Weird but effective! There are thousands of teahouses in Chengdu so you'll find them from other places than Renmin Park as well.
- Foot and body Massage. Chengdu is famous for its relaxed and laid back lifestyle. The foot and body massage is very popular in Chengdu with a lot of varieties. Generally, these places cater to groups of people who come in together, relax in a private room, perhaps eating fruit, pig ear, or sipping tea, while receiving a fully-clothed massage or foot washing. Prices are very reasonable, often well under ¥80 per person. Some places offer ¥25 per hour for a very nice foot massage, including washing, soaking and massaging feet, free hot/cold drink (tea, coke or juice), fresh fruit. A great way to relax with friends. Beware of erotic massage places that may be hard to tell from authentic ones. As a general rule, if you can see the patrons from the outside, its more likely to reputable. The more the internal space is segmented, the more concerned you should be. Watch out for establishments (such as on Yuhe side street, next to the Sheraton) that have two price boards, one in Chinese, and one in English with heavily inflated prices (eg. foreigners - 80 yuan, Chinese - 40 yuan).
- KTV, various locations. Spend an evening singing with friends, enjoy popcorn, beer and other refreshments. Songs available in English, Chinese, and more.
- Play Weiqi (the game of Go), ✉ email@example.com. As a symbol of Chinese culture, Weiqi is one of the world’s great strategy games where a few simple rules lead to limitless possibilities. Weiqi is hugely popular in Chengdu to the point where it has been nicknamed Weiqi City. Chengdu Weiqi Classroom is the only place where foreigners can study this game with English speaking assistance.
- Read a Book. The Chengdu Bookworm (see listing in the Eat Section) has a membership-based lending library of English language books, as well as travel guides for sale. Peter's Tex Mex, as well as some of the other restaurants that cater to foreigners, have book exchanges.
- 3 Sichuan Opera (四川歌剧院) (Line 2 Metro, Tonghuimen station). Most guest houses and travel agencies offer to arrange visits to these traditional shows. It is more like a burlesque cabaret than an actual opera, sometimes including magicians, traditional musicians, shadow plays, comedy (spoken in Chinese though), and dancers besides the traditional pieces. Of course the most famous is never omitted: quick face-changing and fire spitting performed by dancers clad in colourful traditional costumes. You will follow the story sitting at your table, sipping on your constantly refilled tea cup and nibbling some salted snacks. Note that there are many teahouses in the city that offer the show every night. Try the local favorite at Shu Feng Ya Yun (蜀风雅韵) teahouse located in Chengdu Culture Park (文化公园) on Qintai Road (it is beside Qingyang Temple). You will be seated on a covered open ground (cooled by fan; no A/C), which is actually the center of the traditional teahouse building. You might have to book in advance or just ask the concierge of your hotel to book it for you. ¥150 back rows; ¥220 front rows.
- 4 Happy Valley (欢乐谷; Huanlegu) (Catch the Number 48 Bus from Luomashi Metro Station to its Terminus then keep walking in same direction once you get off the bus, cross the motorway and the park is on your right hand side). 09:00 - 18:30. Moderate size amusement park with 3 main roller coasters, Water Rides, Kids zone and water park (in Summer). Overall Good day out for both adults and families, makes a nice break from the city and has enough attractions to fill a full day out, As of 2011 the entrance to the park is now a sports retail outlet, Imax and Indoor Sky diving Centre with Restaurants ¥150, discount for students.
- 5 Floraland (国色天乡), Wanchun Town, Wenjiang District (温江区万春镇) (Take a train to Wansheng Station on Metro Line 4, exit the station via Exits A or B, then catch bus no. w27 from the Xuefu Road South (学府路南段) bus stop), ☏ (water park), (land park). Water park: 10:00-18:00; Land park: 09:00-18:00. The park includes a moderate selection of rides (water, relaxing and thrill), and various recreation activities. Weekends can get packed, so try to go during a weekday. Water park: ¥150; Land park: ¥30 (entry only), ¥130 (including rides).
Most golf courses in the metropolis of Chengdu are semi-private, but open for public play. The green fee varies between US$50-300 per person per round, depending on course, weekdays or weekend play. Cart and caddie fees are included. The usual gratuity for caddie is about RMB$100-150
- [dead link] Grand Hill International Golf Club (观嶺高爾夫球場), 1188 Qiling Road, Jintang District. 18-hole championship golf course completed in 2009. Somewhat generic but pleasant.
- Luxehills Golf and Country Club (麓山國際乡村俱乐部). Completed in 2007 by American architect firm JMP, Luxehills is ranked one of the top 10 courses in China.
- Wolong Valley The Tradition Golf Club (臥龍谷傳統高爾夫球埸), No.1 Wolong Avenue, Longquanyi District. 18-hole championship course with many bunkers and well protected greens. On three sides of the course, tall high-rise condominium buildings are easily visible.
The following universities accept foreign students with the proper visa:
- University of Electronic Science and Technology of China [dead link] (中国电子科技大学)
- Southwest Jiaotong University SWJTU has 10 recipients of the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, 47 award winners selected by Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University.
- Sichuan University (四川大学)
- Southwestern University of Finance and Economics
- Sichuan Normal University (四川师范大学)
- Southwest University for Nationalities
- Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine [dead link]. This institute's three-year training program has 2,500 enrolled Chinese students. The school also offers short term courses to foreigners with English translation.
- Chengdu Mandarin Club. A language school offers different types of Mandarin Chinese courses with flexible schedules. Students year-round for a one-on-one class or a group class with 5 students. All the teachers are master's degree holders in TCFL (teaching Chinese as a foreign language). They also offer various kinds of Chinese culture activities.
- Hutong School Chengdu. A Chinese language school offering a range of Chinese courses to suit different levels and aims. Students can choose between private and group classes focused on preparing for the HSK, learning business Chinese or basic phrases. All teachers have at least 2 years professional teaching experience and a teaching related degree. Students can also join in with regular cultural activities and networking events organised by the school.
Private Chinese language lessons are available for ¥40-85 per hour. Ask for a referral at one of the universities, or from another student. Textbooks for learning Chinese are available at many local bookshops.
Bear in mind that the Mandarin spoken by the locals amongst themselves is South-Western Mandarin. This is substantially different from Putonghua or Beijing Mandarin, Taiwan Mandarin or Singapore Mandarin that foreigners and overseas Chinese typically learn. However most locals will speak Putonghua with you if you speak it.
Martial arts, Kungfu
- Kungfu Family. A Chinese martial arts / kungfu school that focuses on teaching authentic traditional Kungfu to students from all over the world. Teaching takes place in English language. Located in the southeastern part of Chengdu in San Sheng Flower Village.
Job postings for English teaching are located in many guest houses, at Western bars and restaurants, anywhere foreigners congregate. Also worth to check are GoChengdoo and their Chengdoo Magazine of which you can grab a copy from many places throughout the city.
The Peace Corps has its China headquarters in Chengdu, (Sichuan University Campus), and places highly selected and qualified U.S. Citizen volunteers in 2 year assignments throughout provinces in West China teaching English.
- 1 Chunxi Road area (春熙路) (SE from Tianfu Sq. Walk 1 block E from Tianfu Sq along Renmin E Rd, Chunxi area starts from that crossing). A street and a contiguous shopping district. More than 700 shops in the area including shopping malls, department stores, boutiques and street stalls.
- Songxian Qiao Antique Market (送仙桥古玩市场), Qing Yang District, Song Xian Bridge (Close to the Green Ram Taoist Temple in the western city, from the temple walk straight west, it is on your right hand side after you crossed the bridge over the channel). Big market with communist relics, old porcelain dishes, jewellery, calligraphy equipment and also some Tibetan stuff. Great bargains can be found here if you are into antiques, jewellery, and gifts.
- Lotus Wholesale Market (荷花池) (Next to north railway station, take the metro there and cross the road to SE block). A huge area of shops selling all kinds of local stuff from clothes to kitchen ware and home decoration to toys. The area employs over 100,000 people and its daily sales are over ¥10 million.
- Wuhou Tibetan Area shops (藏饰用品一条街) (Next to Wuhou Temple). About two blocks of shops adjacent to Wuhou Temple selling clothing, textiles, jewelry, Tibetan music etc.
- Panda Toys. All sorts of plush pandas, and other panda trinkets, are sold at the gate of the panda base, as well as ones of a slightly higher quality at the shop inside the panda base itself.
- [formerly dead link] Galleria (Next to Auchan and Ikea near the crossing of Renmin South Rd. and 3rd Ring Rd.). New international standard shopping mall with about 200 stores and naturally a lot of international brands.
Supermarkets are located throughout the city, although the selection of imported foods is limited.
- Sabrina's Country Store, 54 Kehua N Rd (Across from the western gate of Sichuan University and near Linshiguan Rd), ☏ . If you want to buy American food, and do not mind a 50% premium, this has friendly service and all imported products.
The locals' favorite snack is fresh pineapple, peeled and sold on a stick by vendors on every other street corner. While generally it is recommended to avoid fresh fruit in China due to water contamination, here if you ask for them to peel a fresh pineapple (not one of the ones already peeled and waiting in a tank of water), it is probably fine — and also delicious.
You will find no shortage of delicious Sichuan food in Chengdu. Most of the food is spicy, but not necessarily as hot as you expect. If you are obviously foreign and don't specify whenever you order (i.e. non-spicy (不要辣; búyàolà), a little spicy (微辣; wēilà) or 'old' (very) spicy (老辣; lǎolà)), the staff will assume that you can't take the heat. At best they will ask you whether you want chili (你想要辣椒?; Nǐ xiǎng yào làjiāo?), at worst they give you a severely toned down version of the food! If you want it how the locals have it, reassure the staff with "I like chili" (我喜欢辣椒; wǒ xǐhuan làjiāo), followed with "I like all the chili" (我都喜欢辣椒; Wǒ dū xǐhuan làjiāo) to really reassure the staff that it's OK.
If you are not accustomed to it yet, a bottle of sweetened soy, almond, peanut, or cow milk, or something else sweet will work much better than water to quell the fire. If you are used to the hottest of authentic Indian or Thai food, the level of spiciness in Sichuan food should be no problem at all.
Sichuan food also makes heavy use of Sichuan peppercorn (花椒; huājiāo), which looks like but is not a true peppercorn, and causes your mouth to water and to be somewhat numb (málà)––the effects are unique and very dissimilar to capsaicin. Sichuan peppercorn is added in most spicy dishes. If you can eat spicy food but do not like Sichuan pepper, you need to order so (不要花椒; bú yào huājiāo). However, Sichuan peppercorn (in addition to causing numbing) has an important citrus taste that it adds to foods. Sichuan cuisine banks on the interplay between the flavours of both Sichuan peppercorn and chili peppers, and it is strongly recommend you try the authentic versions with the Sichuan peppercorn.
The spiciest food in Chengdu is hotpot (also called steampot or steamboat), although the tradition originated in Chongqing, so it is not really Chengdu food. Sichuan hotpots are basically a big pot of soup and spices simmering in a hole in the middle of your table. Patrons choose from a large selection of meats, vegetables and other add-ins. Most popular include: lamb, mushrooms, beef, tofu, quail eggs, potatoes and various others (pork, green vegetables, fish balls, carrots, and even pig's brain!) You can choose spicy pot or non spicy pot. With spicy hot pots, unlike eastern hot pots, the soup is NOT for drinking; instead, fish out your cooked items with chopsticks (do not fish the liquid out with a spoon, it is too spicy even for locals to drink; the fished out vegetables will be spicy enough), dip them in the small bowl of oil provided to each person, and enjoy.
You may also find the local food too oily or too salty for your taste, and may want to advise your server accordingly.
There are also a lot of weird local snack type of food, such as spicy dragon prawns (look like very small crayfish; 麻辣龙虾), spicy snails (香辣田螺), Chongqing duck neck (久久鸭脖子), Bangbang chicken (棒棒鸡), spicy rabbit meat (二姐兔丁). These ones are so delicious and you must try them. But you need to ask a local to take you to the right place. Quite often you will find that the small restaurants and shops offer the most delicious and cheapest food. If you want to find even cheaper food options, street vendors are the way to go (though the Chengdu police have been doing their best to extinguish this long tradition and you may have trouble finding them these days). Serving everything from barbeque (烧烤) to steamed breadrolls(馒头), they are a cheap and offer a great option for a quick bite to eat.
If you are less adventurous but still like Chinese food, or just tired of Sichuan food, there are a number of Cantonese and Hong Kong restaurants, including Lei Garden near Shangri-la Hotel.
There are a number of stalls and hole in the wall type places all over town. Food here is dirt cheap, expect to pay no more than ¥8 for a meal, and the quality is good. Things to be on the lookout for are spicy bowls of breakfast noodles, (担担面; dandanmian), double cooked pork (回锅肉; húigūoròu), and dozens of dishes coated in "málà" the Sichuan chili spice famous the world over.
- Yulinchuanchuanxiang (玉林串串香), Various locations throughout the city. Cheap and fast hotpot variety. This is a help-yourself style meal, go to a backroom and choose your own kabobs. Stick the kabobs into a hotpot soup, and have them boil. Pull them out and enjoy. Large kabobs are ¥1, and small ones are ¥0.1 each. Expect to be full for less than ¥25. There are both spicy and non-spicy variations. There is a large selection of meats, vegetables, and other add-ins. Beer is available in large bottles and sweet soymilk (Dounai) is also served.
- Lanzhou Lamian (兰州拉面), Located everywhere. A bowl of noodles starts for about ¥4, and reach a maximum of ¥7. Varieties include egg, lamb and beef. Other dishes are reasonable in price as well. Breads for 1 kuai a piece, and Mutton Kabobs (羊肉串) go for 1 kuai per stick. Da Pan Ji (大盘鸡) is a great choice if eating with a group. Usually offered in small or large sizes, a small size will cost about ¥40 and feed 3 or 4 people. A large order might cost about ¥60. This dish includes chicken, potatoes, onions and other vegetables in a moderately spicy sauce. Can eat with bread or noodles to make a great meal.
- Steamed buns (包子; baozi). Sold for breakfast or lunch from street vendors throughout the city. Yagcai bao (芽菜包) is a local Sichuan special variety you are unlikely to find elsewhere and typically contains some mixture of Yacai (芽菜), a type of preserved vegetable, and potentially some meat. Other typical fillings include beef, red bean paste, mushrooms, green vegetables or pork. Three buns cost around ¥1 or larger buns cost ¥1 each as well. A container of soy milk (豆浆 dou jiang) is about the same price.
- Mike's Pizza Kitchen (Chengdu Pizza Delivery), Tongzilin, Europe City (In the south of Chengdu), ☏ . 11AM-10PM. Freshly made to order pizza. Authentic New York style pizza pie, stone-baked. Delivery only. ¥30-150.
- Wenshu Temple Vegetarian Restaurant (文殊院素餐馆), 15 Wenshu St (文殊院街15号), ☏ . In the grounds of a monastery and run by monks. Offers a huge selection of traditional vegetarian dishes, including some containing imitated meat.
- Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant (北海道日本料理), Various locations throughout the city (Locations include Chunxi Rd (春熙路), Yulin S Rd (玉林南路), outside of Sichuan University (Near Cafe Paname), and more). Authentic Japanese food. Serves curry, tonkatsu, unagi-don, fried rices, sushi, ramen noodles, and various other selections. Serves Chinese and Japanese beers, as well as a selection of plum wine and sake. Food quality varies. Meals range from ¥20 upwards, expect a plate of sushi to be quite a bit more expensive, but sides are generally decent priced.
- [dead link] Chen Mapo (陈麻婆), 208 Shuanglin Rd (成都市双林路208号新华公园正门对面). Supposedly opened by the Mapo herself in 1862. The place to eat Mapo Doufu, it does not get any more authentic than this. Spicy food eaters will love this, those who do not like spicy food should probably skip it altogether.
- Namaste/Afila (亚非拉-娜玛什蒂印度餐吧), 20 Remin Nan Rd, Section 4, Wuhou District (武侯区人民南路四段20号), ☏ . Specializes in Indian and Nepalese cuisine, particularly tandoori and curries. Great for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
- Fiesta Thai, Linjiang Zhong Lu 6, Right beside Traffic Hotel and the 902 Panda Base Bus Stop, ☏ . Specializes in Thai cuisine. Great food and exceptional service when you need a break from oily and spicy Sichuan food.
- Mingting Restaurant (明婷饭店), Waicaojia Alley No. 26, Jinniu District (成都市金牛区外曹家巷26号附14) A very popular Sichuan restaurant with outdoor seating. Typically 60￥-80￥ per person. Expect to wait 10-20 minutes at peak hours. Try the 呛香鱼 or 麻婆豆腐!
- Veranda Bridge Restaurant. This restaurant is actually a historic bridge over Funan River. Sichuan food. Very good reputation within Chengdu.
- Huang Cheng Lao Ma (On 3rd section of south part of the 2nd Ring Rd), ☏ . Elaborate restaurant featuring hot pot followed by live entertainment, including Sichuan face-changing. Don't miss the diorama scene of ancient Chengdu built into the restaurant lobby's floor. A separate section on the ground floor of the restaurant also features a pan-Asian buffet with contemporary entertainment. Child care is available on premises. Prices are in the range of ¥100 per person for dinner and one drink.
Chengdu has a few local Western restaurants. Service is always friendly, although you should expect occasional mistakes, such as appetizers served at the same time as your meal. Chengdu is just starting to get accustomed to Western tastes.
- [formerly dead link] Chengdu Bookworm, 28 Renmin S Rd. Has something for everyone. It is an English language lending library, a Western restaurant, a bar, as well as an occasional venue for local singing and musical talent. Expats might want to join the membership library or take kids to the children's morning story hours. Evenings, you might find a travel author reading from and signing books, poetry reading, or singing. Great place for to connect with others, catch up on some reading, or just relax.
- Grandma's Kitchen. Western restaurant with four locations around Chengdu, including one next door to Peter's on Zhong Hua Yuan.
- Peter's Tex-Mex, ☏ . Actually an American restaurant with some Mexican dishes. Peter's has good food. The Zhong Hua Yuan location also has homemade ice cream, the best ice cream you will find in Chengdu. If you are coming from out of town, the Zhong Hua Yuan location is right in a major expat area with lots of other restaurants and shopping surrounding it. ¥12-¥150+ for a meal.
- Paul and Dave's Oasis (Directly opposite the Travel Hotel and main bus station (other side of river)). A place for volunteers, ex-pats, and all manner of foreigners, a place where you can go and just chill. Though he does serve Chinese food, you're better off going elsewhere for this, it is however a place where you can sit and lose yourself for a day or so. Usually occupied by the local foreigners, usually playing Western music.
- All of the hotels in the "Splurge" category have Western restaurants or buffets. Call ahead for more information.
A popular district of bars, also known as the bar street, is located by the southern shore of Jin River next to Anshun Bridge. The well known Lan Kwai Fong from Hong Kong started its business in the mainland of China in 2010 and the first city is Chengdu. The area is located a little north-west from Anshun Bridge.
- Club 88 (88号酒吧), 99 Shaoling Rd, Wuhou District (武侯区少陵路88号). Chengdu's hottest club. Awesome lighting and music, dancing in the walkways and people just trying to get seen. Expect crowds of people, packed tables, and action going on through the night well past the other clubs closing times. Get there early to get a table or come (very) late to wind down the night when everything else dies.
- Babi II (Walking distance from Shangri-la Hotel). Club.
- Babi, Shaolin Rd (Right next to Club 88). Club.
- Cafe Paname, 143 Kehua N Rd (科华北路143号) (Nearby Sichuan University). A bar with a younger crowd and laid-back environment Expect an occasional DJ event which will make the bar a little more lively on Fridays and Holidays. ¥10 Suntory beer on tap is a perk.
- Highfly Cafe, 18 Linjiang Rd, ☏ . Relaxed place with a tiny outside sitting area. They serve beers and Western food including pizza and breakfast. There is one computer for free Internet access and a small book exchange (2 for 1).
- Feeling4Seasons Cafe, Orient Times Mall 2F, Xiadongda St (Near Dongmen Bridge), ☏ . Good Italian coffee: espresso, cappuccino, especially latte. Also pasta and pizza. They also provide Internet service: wireless access for your laptop, loan of a wireless card if you don't have one, use of a PC if required. You can also burn CDs. It is also one famous China blog freelancer's cafe bar; he published a book named "Ten Years, Flying with one Dream".
- Mooney's Irish Pub (In the Shangri-la Hotel). A real classy traditional Irish pub. Sometimes they have a live band or other entertainment. Also they have a free billiard table which is nice. Offering beers on tap, whiskies and signature dishes.
- Shamrock Pub (三叶草酒吧), 15, 4th Section, Renmin S Rd (Near Linshiguan Rd and the U.S. Consulate), ☏ . This Irish pub in is the hub of Chengdu's small expatriate community (of approximately 3,000). Friendly pub atmosphere and live music some evenings. In addition to drinks the pub serves dishes including pizza, meat pies, sausage rolls, steaks, burgers, curries and a range of other snacks. The pub is also an active sponsor of several nonprofit organizations, including holding events for moon bear rescue and for the disabled. Copies of the informative Chengdoo book are available at the Shamrock.
- High Connections Coffee House, Fu A-20 6 Shuangqing S Rd, Qingyang District (On the west side of Chengdu near Metro and the Southwest Financial University), ☏ . Provides a relaxing, comfortable, environment with soft lighting and easy-listening music. They have non-smoking and smoking sections. Bring your computer and hook up to the wireless Internet. Their coffee (both Espresso and good old fashioned drip American style) and muffins are an excellent way to begin a day. They also have large conference rooms available for meetings.
Also, on the southern bank of Jinjiang there is a row of bars between Renmin South Road and Xin South Road. Beers will cost ¥10-20 per bottle, but buying bulk cans will save you a good bit of money with special deals. There will also be street vendors selling various snacks. This makes for a good night with the clubs Babi II, Ta & Ta, and Soho just around the bend.
- 8trees Wine Bar & Restaurant, 9 Pingan Alley, ☏ . Located in a century old Roman Catholic church, and offers the most unique romantic dinning experience. Recommended signature dishes are the tantalizing mouthwatering North American beef, marinated with fresh herbs and spices; the lamb main simmered with exotic spices. On the lighter side, there is the conscious side dish which is very popular with weight-watching regulars who complement their meals with the rich creamy soups offered in the menu. A must see for the church underground wine cellar.
- [dead link] The Leg & Whistle Pub, Kehua Jie, ChuanDa Hua Yuan (2F) (科华街1号附19号2楼) (Kehua Jie is off Kehua Bei Lu which leads to the South Gate of Sichuan University. The Leg is up one flight of stairs above a pharmacy and opposite a Wowo 24 hour convenience store.), ☏ , . The closest thing you'll find to a real English 'local' pub in Chengdu. It's number one for football coverage with three screens but feel free to ask about other sports if you're interested. The people there are very friendly and will do their utmost to make you feel welcome.
- Little Bar (New) (小酒馆 (芳沁店)), 87 Fangqin St, Yulin Shangwugang, 1F (成都市芳沁街87号附5号丰尚玉林商务港1楼, ☏ . Rock bar. The bigger shows are on Friday and Saturday and the bands start playing at 8PM and finish at 10PM. ¥25 entrance fee. A bit hard to find so best to get a cab to take you if you are not familiar with the area. Not to be confused with Little Bar (Old), the sister bar on Yulin West Road.
- Empty Bottle, 3/F, Yulin Life Plaza, 15 S Yulin Rd. Very popular amongst the locals. Live music and other kinds of shows every night.
- [dead link] Jellyfish, Ke Hua Bei Lu #143, Lan Si Jia Le Bi Sq, 2F. 8pm-1am. Lively and crowded cocktail bar with a DJ playing music. Lot of expats but also local folk.
- Chengdu Dreams Travel International Youth Hostel (梦之旅国际青年旅舍), 242 Wuhouci Rd (成都市武侯祠大街242号) (Opposite Wuhou Temple, reachable by bus 57 from near the train station to Wuhouci Station (武侯祠站), cross the street and walk slightly further), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dorm beds and private rooms of various sorts available. Travel office and English help, 24 hour large volume hot shower, a roof-top bar, garden tea house, . Tends to be frequented by Chinese tourists more than foreigners, but the hostel staff have at least 2-3 people that speak perfect English. Dorms 45.
- Chengdu Jason's Nest Guest House (成都旅行天下青年旅舍), 26 west way of south railway station, ☏ . Fully-equipped hostel with spacious bright rooms, clean bunks, the Tibetan-style dining room and bar. Located in the leisure, entertainment, dining center of Chengdu, with most attractions within a ¥10 taxi ride. It is a ¥30 taxi ride from the airport or north rail station, a 10-minute walk from the south station, or call for a free pick-up. Helpful, very knowledgeable staff.
- Chengdu Mix Hostel (成都驴友记青年旅舍), 23 Xinghui W Rd, Renjiawan, Wanfu Bridge (In downtown near Wenshu Temple), ✉ email@example.com. With cheap beds, and lots of people. Wi-Fi for laptops, free Internet. Atmospheric building with a lot of Tibetan knick-knacks. The staff all seem somewhere around twenty. If you call ahead and book they will pick you up from the train or bus station.
- Holly's Hostel, 246 Wuhouci St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: noon. Though not as trendy or cool as other hostels in Chengdu, Holly's has a better location than most other hostels in the city. Situated across the Jinli Street, a good starting point for traveling through Chengdu, Wuhouci Dajie also has lots of tibetan restaurants, hot pot restaurants, noodle joints, massage parlors, and camping/climbing stores. Staff speaks excellent English and will help you with your traveling needs. Dorm rooms are nothing fancy but are clean and serve their purpose. Western cafe on the roof, internet access, dvd, etc. Social atmosphere. Perfect for those who want a good hostel and do not care about being hip. ¥35 for 8-bed dorm.
- The Loft, 4 Xiaotong Xiang (3 blocks N of Dragon Town Hostel and Kuan Zhai Alleys), ✉ email@example.com. Very modern hostel. Chill atmosphere with a large common area makes it great to mingle and meet others. Used to be a printing factory but now converted to a contemporary style hostel. Has free pool table, free Internet access, free umbrellas, free lockers and more, even TV and DVD room. Rooms are clean. Twins and doubles cost ¥110, dorms ¥45.
- Mr. Panda Hostel (熊猫先生青年旅舍), 107 Zhengfujie (正府街107号) (Close to Wenshu Monastery metro station exit E), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 24 hr, check-out: 13:30. Hostel in central Chengdu that caters to foreigners and Chinese alike with excellent English spoken by all staff. Amenities include: DVD room, kitchen, fussball table, suhu board and laundry machines. Knowledgeable tour desk with information available for surrounding regions including trips to Tibet and discovering Sichuan. Restaurant with fantastic food which Mr. Panda cooks himself. Free Wi-Fi on all floors. Hostel is clean and well frequented. Six-bed dorms rooms ¥30 per bed, four-bed dorms ¥35, singles and doubles ¥120-160.
- Sam's Guest house, 130 Shanxi St (10-min walk from the Chairman Mao Statue at Renmin S St, look for Rongcheng Hotel, Sam's Guest house office is next to the entrance to Rongcheng Hotel), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. From ¥80, doubles ¥138. *
- Traffic Hotel/Traffic Inn (交通饭店/交通青年旅舍), 6 Linjian St (成都市临江路6号) (Near Renmin S St, directly bordering Xinnanmen Bus Station), ☏ . Check-out: 12:00. One hundred percent geared towards foreign backpackers and is a good place to organize a tour or buy tickets. The adjacent Traffic Inn Hostel has a nice common area with a large collection of DVDs and western food. The rooms and shared bathrooms are very clean and come with a reliable air conditioner. The matrasses in the hotel are harder and in the hostel are softer. Washing machines are available for ¥10 per load, bring your own detergent. Free Wi-Fi on the premises (though it is painfully slow) and good English-speaking staff at the hostel. Four-bed dorms rooms ¥50 per bed, six-bed dorms ¥45, singles and doubles ¥110-200..
- Xishan Youth Hostel (栖山青年旅舍), 34 Yinghuasi Rd, Qingyang District (青羊区莹华寺街34) (7 minute walk southwest from the 红星桥 subway stop). Has laundry, rooftop drying, arcade cabinet, and bar. Receptionist didn't speak English and very few foreigners stay here. Very friendly staff that showed off some local restaurants and food stalls. Dorms 40-50￥.
The vast majority of Chengdu's mid-range hotels are not affiliated with a national or international brand and generally charge ¥300-700. The hotels in this category can generally put up the facade of the more luxurious hotels, but often suffer noticeably from deferred maintenance or haphazard customer service. Many are geared mostly towards Chinese and Asian tour groups. The hotels listed below are the best of the bunch with lobby staff who speak at least a basic level of English and usually offer a free Chinese breakfast.
- Barsby Hotel, 208 Fuqin W Rd, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 13:00. In addition to being happily underpriced for the value provided, fans of Fawlty Towers will find themselves confronted by Basil Fawlty's good twin in the person of Mr. Robert Barsby, a true John Cleese lookalike, this hotel's proprietor and veteran of the administrations at a number of the city's finer hotels. Over a free breakfast which can include western style eggs and toast, he will be happy to share with you his experiences and his reason for having created one of the better "boutique" hotels in China. Rooms are spacious, scrupulously clean and well heated, although you need to be careful when showering that the drain is functioning properly, otherwise you're likely to flood the toilet enclosure. The annexed restaurant is a moderately priced decent traditional Chinese establishment, but will not accept the credit card you may have used at the hotel. Certainly one of the best values in any market. ¥180.
- Chengdu Garden City Hotel, 8 Daye Rd, Jinjiang District, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. A four-star hotels that offers air-conditioned accommodation rooms, all of which have television, private bathroom, and telephone. Some of its amenities include night club, fitness center and sauna, and a swimming pool. ¥290+.
- Chengdu Wenjun Mansion Hotel, 180 Qintai St, ☏ . The hotel offers a wide range of rooms from single to family. This attractive courtyard-style hotel is situated on one of the more tourist-friendly streets in the city, surrounded by buildings in a similar Han and Tang Dynasty style. The courtyard is a perfect place for tired travelers to relax with a drink and play a borrowed game of mahjong or just chat. ¥180-260.
- [dead link] Jin Jiang Inn. Part of a China-wide hotel chain; 3 locations in Chengdu; the South Chengdu Yulin location is near Renmin Nan Rd and the U.S. Consulate. Good value for money. Rooms are small but clean and well apportioned. Breakfast and free internet provided. Secure lobby area and friendly staff. ¥129-179.
- Mareka City Hotel (New Times Maruika Hotel), Block B, Wen Wu Rd, New Times Sq, Qingyang District (Within 2 km from the Chengdu Railway Station, Pacific Department, and city center), ☏ , fax: . Three-star hotel featuring air-conditioned guestrooms that has cable TV, a private toilet and bath, safe, hair dryer, and a free broadband Internet connection. ¥197.79.
- 1 Somerset Riverview Chengdu, No 1 Section 3, Renmin South Road, Wuhou District, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The residence is in the city central. The 200 apartments, which range from studio to penthouse, each has a kitchen, washing machine, home entertainment system and modern furnishings. There is a gym, boxing ring, swimming pool and sauna.
- Super 8 Hotel, Soho Bldg, 60 Kehua N Rd (above an enclosed shopping arcade, near the western gate of Sichuan University), ☏ . Free internet. No breakfast. Rooms are small and poorly designed. ¥139-188.
- Tibet Hotel Chengdu (成都西藏饭店), 10 N Renmin Rd, ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. ¥300.
Chengdu's luxury hotels provide world class service at very reasonable prices. Business and leisure travelers can expect, at a minimum, to find fluent English speaking staff, Western and Chinese restaurants, full conference facilities, business center, sauna and concierge service at all of these hotels. Room rates are US$115–200 per night for a standard or deluxe room. The Kempinski and the Jin Jiang Hotel are generally the lowest price within this category.
- 2 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 31 Zong Fu St (opposite Chunxi Rd shopping area downtown), ☏ .
- JAHO Forstar Hotel, No.152 Wenwu Road, ☏ . Business hotel offering upscale meeting room facilities, convention center, and business center. It is also a four-star quality accommodation in Chengdu that offers luxurious amenities to vacationing tourists. It has elegant guestrooms, posh restaurant, full service spa, and recreational rooms. Online reservations are now available.
- Jin Jiang Hotel. Chengdu's first international luxury hotel, the Jin Jiang still offers good service. While it has been eclipsed in luxury by the newer hotels listed in this section, it offers reasonable room rates and great service, with good facilities for conferences of all sizes.
- Jinyu Sunshine Hotel. Four-star hotel offering over 150 guestrooms, all elegantly furnished. Other hotel facilities include banquet halls, restaurants, gift shop, spa, and KTV. Online reservations are now available.
- Kempinski Hotel. German managed hotel offers hospitality and luxury. Great German events, including Ocktoberfest, Christmas and New Year's parties. Excellent gym, pool and workout facilities. Close to the United States Consulate.
- Shangri La Hotel. Chengdu's newest luxury hotel, opened 2007. Very creative buffet restaurant.
- 3 Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel, No. 15, Section 1, Ren Min Zhong Rd, ☏ . Modern, American managed hotel conveniently located in the center of Chengdu near Tian Fu Square and the sports stadium, but a few blocks away from shopping districts. This hotel can accommodate the most discriminating of guests in luxury and world class service.
- Sofitel Chengdu. French managed, overlooks Fulan River, similar to but more expensive than the Sheraton.
China's country code is 86. Chengdu's area code is 28. Coin-operated pay phones are located throughout Chengdu, and calling cards can be purchased from many vendors. Local landline phone numbers are eight digits long; cellular phone numbers in Sichuan are eleven digits long and start with 13, 15, or 18.
Internet access can be found in most guesthouses and through cheap internet cafes all over town. Look out for Web-character 网 and the Bar-character 吧 in the Chinese name for internet bar: 网吧.
A large Internet cafe is on the second floor of the Xinnanmen Bus Station (新南门汽车站), 100 meters from the Traffic Hotel (交通饭店). The connection is fast and access is ¥2/hour.
Note that foreigners are usually not able to use the public internet cafés because one must register using one's Chinese ID card (身份证), which foreigners do not possess. This is not a problem at hotels and guesthouses.
Thieves are prevalent around certain areas of Chengdu. Be careful around the Yanshikou markets, crowded buses, on bicycles and especially around the North train station.
Traffic can appear hectic and motorists as well as cyclists drive with every driver assuming they have right of way/priority. Reassuringly, due to the volume of traffic in cities, it never travels fast enough to cause any damage. Walk with confidence and be aware of your surroundings when crossing streets; even when the WALK sign is green, traffic will cross your path. See Driving in China for more information.
For such a big city, there's surprisingly little Western influence in Chengdu but certainly more than regional "rival" Chongqing. It's definitely not Beijing or Shanghai but this is changing fast with the arrival of more and more foreign students, teachers, and business people. This may be trying initially, as the level of English spoken is noticeably lower than other places, but it's also a blessing; carry a phrasebook and enjoy the authentic Chinese urban experience. The Western quarter, if there is one, seems to be around Kehua North Road.
- Germany (德意志联邦共和国驻成都总领事馆), 25F of Western Tower, No 19, 4th Section Renmin Nan Rd, ☏ , fax: .
- Republic of Korea (韩国驻成都总领事馆), No 2, Wangfu Oasis Hotel, Xianan Main St, ☏ .
- Pakistan, Tongwei International Center, High Tech Zone, No. 588, Middle Section of Tianfu Avenue, 8th Floor, Room No.2.
- Singapore (新加坡驻成都总领事馆), 31F East Guan Cheng Sq, No 308, Shun Cheng Main St, ☏ .
- [formerly dead link] Thailand (泰国驻昆明总领事馆驻成都办事处), Kempinski Hotel, 42 Renmin Nan Rd. 4th Section C210-212.
If you need to make a visa extension, You can visit Chengdu Public Security Bureau but be warn of the 7 days delay. Most people in a hurry will try to do their renew in Leshan or Songpan where it seems delay is about 1h to 1d, if the (only) officer is here.
- Chengdu PSB, No.391, Shuncheng Street / 顺城大街391号 (near wenshu monastery metro and bus 1/99 stop at Luoguo alley, just after crossing with McDo), ☏ . M-F 09:00-13:00 and 13:00-17:00. For visa extension/renew, you need to fill a form, 1 picture, passport+visa copy. You can pay either at nearby ICBC bank in cash (get a ticket, but if wait is too long, ask the security guy. it seems after some time, he makes people with PSB receipt cut the queue), either by Chinese (only) bank card at downstairs counter 16. Delay is 5 opened days which makes a week, so could be better to ask in smaller cities like Leshan where there is only 1 day delay. ¥160 for one month visa renewal.
Families and those short of time might consider hiring a car with driver (¥300-900 per day, depending upon type of car and experience of driver, with cars booked at the luxury hotels the most expensive and highest quality).
- The Giant Buddha in Leshan is probably the most popular nearby destination. A day trip to this ancient man-made wonder should be about ¥100-150. Two day tours are available which combine the Buddha with a visit to the nearby Buddhist holy mountain Emei Shan.
- Mount Qingcheng (青城山) and Dujiangyan (都江堰) are fascinating sites about 40 km from Chengdu. You can do both sites in one long day, or better yet, plan to spend a day at each. Qingcheng is a beautiful mountain with an extensive and well kept network of steps and pathways; it includes many pagodas, a small lake, and a chair-lift for those who don't want to walk. Qingcheng is an important site in the Taoist religion. Dujiangyan has a fascinating history and a marvelous swinging pedestrian bridge. Both trips involve lots of walking.
- Bi Feng Xia - a large ecological park in the mountains about a 2½ hour drive from Chengdu. It centers around a huge gorge with waterfalls. One can hike down into the gorge on well marked paths and take an elevator back up. The park also has special panda habitats, as well as a more traditional "zoo". The main reason to go here is for the walks and hikes into the gorge. The zoo, although filled with animals such as tigers, lions, bears, monkeys, and even a drive-through section, has woefully inadequate and sometimes smelly enclosures. (The enormous bird aviary is one exception). Admission is about ¥80, with additional charges for bus rides between different sections of the park. There is an expensive hotel and basic restaurants on site. Direct buses to the park (via Ya'an) leave from Xinnanmen station every 30mins.
- Huang Long Xi [formerly dead link] (黄龙溪, "Yellow Dragon Creek ancient town") is worth a day trip. Buses start from Xinnanmen station (新南门车站) and take two hours. The little town features a few original dwellings, and old temples but mainly recreated buildings from various periods. It does contain a street or two of authentic buildings and nice river view. Perfect biking destination in the countryside.
- Jinlong (Little) Great Wall: This (replica) Great Wall is situated not far from Luodai Ancient Town. Buses from Luodai bus station or minivans (from eastern city gate) take you there or in about 20 minutes (2-10 yuan). Upon arrival, you can climb this local Great Wall, but be warned: although the wall is only a few kilometres long, it's a steep climb which is best not undertaken in hot weather (i.e. summer). Going all the way up will probably take seasoned hikers 1-1.5 hours.
- You can also trek out to the Tibetan areas of Sichuan. Buses leave everyday for Moxi and other towns. These long bus trips from Xinnanmen-bus station (it's about seven hours to Moxi, and the heating systems on buses in the winter are painfully inadequate) pass through incredibly steep mountain valleys wandering through the Gongga Mountain range. This all terminates at the Hailuogo Glacier, a massive park nearly nine hours from Chengdu. A good two or three day trip.
- Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟) Valley to the north of Chengdu is famous for its stunning nature and the cyan water terraces. The morning bus from Chengdu leaves at 09:00, and takes roughly 9–10 hours, providing that the weather is good.
- Mianyang City (绵阳市), two hours to the north, is Sichuan's second-biggest city. As a large city, it has plenty to do and could serve as a day or multi-day trip. Nearby Xianhai (仙海) resort town is a lovely countryside getaway, easily accessible from the city center. The Holy Water Temple (圣水寺) in the northern suburbs is also very attractive. Mianyang is a 2-hour train ride from North Train Station (¥20).
- Siguniangshan National Park (四姑娘) - these mountains northwest of Chengdu are sometimes called "China Alps", but are also known as the "four girls" or "four maidens", as their perennial snow makes them look like four beautiful white figures standing in the hills. Take a bus from Chadianzi (茶店子) tourism bus station at 06:40 that takes up to 12 hours. Catch the bus to Xiaojin (小金) and let the driver know your destination is Rilong village (日隆镇).
- Xi'an - home to the Terra Cotta Warriors.