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When someone says ‘Chengdu’, either giant pandas or spicy cuisine will likely spring to mind. Yes, the provincial capital may be famous for its cuddly creatures and flavourful food, but that’s only half the story. For years Chengdu has managed to slip under the tourist radar, but now things are starting to change. Despite being one of the country’s biggest cities, it has a surprisingly laid-back atmosphere and small-town vibe compared to the likes of, say, Shanghai or Beijing. There’s still plenty going on though, with a rapidly growing portfolio of galleries and shops, plus a vibrant nightlife scene and old-world teahouse culture.
For many, the biggest draw of Chengdu are the giant pandas. The city has been dubbed the panda capital of China thanks to its variety of conservation centres where you can interact with these endangered species in non-zoo environments. Aside from wildlife, there’s plenty to keep history buffs satisfied. Check out the centuries-old artifacts and relics from the ancient dynasties in the museums and wander the old streets flanked by traditional buildings, temples, food stalls and shops selling authentic Chinese arts and crafts. Around every corner you’ll come across an atmospheric teahouse, many of which double up as theatres for evening shows of music, puppetry and opera.
Outside of the city, you’ll find plenty of Instagram-worthy sights within day-trip distance. Think a huge, stone-carved Buddha statue, sacred mountains and a 2,000 year-old irrigation system. These sights will give you a fascinating glimpse into the area’s rich heritage with some stunning scenery to boot.
Chengdu offers a unique mix of culture, wildlife, delicious food and breathtaking landscapes - what more could you possibly want?
To add Chengdu to your China holiday, start with our Panoramas & Pandas base itinerary or click the 'Pandas' button to add Chengdu to our Iconic Highlights or Yangtze Discovery itineraries. You can then create a tailor-made trip by selecting various other destinations and experiences. Visit our itinerary builder to get started.
Though best known for its giant pandas and spicy cuisine, Chengdu has much more to offer. Wander around the historic streets, peer into age-old temples and visit UNESCO-listed Buddha statues.
Want to tailor your holiday around your own interests? Simply add an experience pack to your trip. Have a look at our Itinerary Builder to see what else you could be doing!
Kohl rimmed eyes, inky noses and those signature circular ears that sit upon a fluffy white face – pandas are hard to beat on the cuteness scale. And with less than 2,000 of them left in the world, the Chengdu Panda Base - a non-profit breeding and research facility, housing nigh on 200 pandas in natural surrounds – is one of the best places in the world to see this loveable species.Discover more
Whether you go for the pandas, the mouth-watering cuisine or the World Heritage sites, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Chengdu. Have a read of our blogs to find out more about this exciting city.
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