Chengdu, or the “City of Abundance,” is one of China’s most beautiful cities. With unmatched levels of biodiversity and natural attractions, a rich cultural heritage, as well as a great choice of hotels, you’ll find more than enough to explore. It’s also one of China’s cuisine capitals, a center for tea production, and home to the giant panda. Read on for our list of must-visit attractions in Chengdu.

Pandas In the Wild

Who doesn’t love a panda? Chengdu is known as the home of the giant panda, and there are four main places for you to catch these adorable creatures in their natural habitats: the Wolong Giant Panda Base, the Dujiangyan Base, the Chengdu Research base, and the Bifeng Gorge Base. All of these dedicate resources to the research and conservation of the panda, and visitors are most welcome to visit and learn. Wolong also houses red pandas and golden monkeys. The Chengdu Research base is close to the Chengdu Zoo and Zhaojue Monastery, which together make an excellent day trip.

Tea Lovers Delight

Lovers of fine tea should definitely extend their stay and take the time to explore the origins of this delicacy on a tea-plucking tour. Just outside of Chengdu, Chengjia Township has a history of tea production that goes as far back as the silk road. It also produces some of the world’s finest green tea. Every year in April or May, the town attracts hoards of tea lovers coming to experience first-hand picking their own tea leaves for brewing and tasting, as well as taking part in tea art cultural shows.

For the Serious Foodies

Chengdu is an officially recognized UNESCO City of Gastronomy. And it’s no wonder: with over 27 distinctive taste types and over 6,000 dishes, it really is a gourmet’s delight. The best time to visit is between 28 September and 7 October, when the city hosts its annual International Food and Tourism Festival. Can’t make it? Don’t worry, you can always take a day class at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, a world-renowned cooking school just 30 minutes out of Chengdu.

Rural Pleasures

One of the most interesting trends to surface in Chinese tourism in the last twenty years is the growth of nongjiale sites across rural centres of China. Nongjiale, or “rural tourism,” happens when urbanites visit farmhouses in the country to experience the fresh air and simplicity of rural Chinese culture. The first nongjiale sites were simple farmhouses with villagers as hosts, but nongjiale has come a long way since then; it now includes country homesteads and mountain resorts with everything from distilleries to bicycle trails.

Ancient Wonders

Chengdu has a history that dates back to the Qing dynasty, and one of the legacies of this is the narrow little alleyways that were once the home of Manchu soldiers. In 2003, the government turned these colorful alleys into areas with restaurants, bars and galleries, and they have since become centres for local eating and drinking. Jinli Street is famous for its tea houses, while Baileu Town has a decidedly French feel to it.

Now you know where to go in Chengdu, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring this timeless city.

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