Chengdu Travel Guide, Silk Road Tour - CCTS China Travel

Chengdu Travel Guide

Tianfu Square

Tianfu Square

Chengdu Brief

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ChengduChengdu of China

Chengdu of China

Chengdu Map

Map of Chengdu

  • Sub-provincial city: 成都市
  • Coordinates: 30°39′49″N 104°04′00″E
  • Country: People's Republic of China
  • Province: Sichuan
  • Settled: 5th century BC
  • Established: 311 BC
  • City seat: Qingyang District
  • Divisions:
  • County-level: 9 districts, 4 county-level cities, 6 counties
  • Government:
  • Type: Sub-provincial city
  • CPC Ctte Secretary: Li Chuncheng (李春城)
  • Mayor: Ge Honglin (葛红林)
  • Area: Total 12,390 km2 (4,783.8 sq mi)
  • Elevation: 500 m (1,640 ft)
  • Population:
  • Total: 11,000,670
  • Density: 887.9/km2 (2,299.6/sq mi)
  • Major Nationalities: Han
  • Time zone: China Standard Time (UTC+8)
  • Postal code: 610000 - 611944
  • Area code(s): 28
  • GDP (nominal) Total (2008): ¥ 390.1 billion ($US 57.108 billion)
  • GDP (nominal) Per Capita (2008): ¥ 30,855 ($US 4,517)
  • License Plate Prefix: 川A
  • Website: www.chengdu.gov.cn (Chinese)

Chengdu (Chinese: 成都; pinyin: Chéngdū), Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, China's second most populous with over 90 million people. There are 15 ethnic groups in Sichuan and it is common to see Tibetans, Uigurs, Miao, and Yao. Although Chengdu's population is only about two million, it is all a question of where one draws the city lines, and to get a sense of the city a better figure is its population density, which is nine times greater than New York's. There is something for everyone in this city Marco Polo called China's Paris, and expatriates and travelers will find both traditional and modern China.

Like all Chinese cities, Chengdu is a place of contrasts.BMWs share roads with roosters and a tourist can get a good cup of coffee and the International Herald Tribune or can feast on boiled blood and fish head. But Western culture has not made such inroads here as it has in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and Chengdu's appeal is that there are not McDonald's franchises on every corner, bicycles are still the overwhelming mode of transportation, and most Chengdu residents would still rather eat brain.

Chengdu, once the head of the Southern Silk Road, is famous for its silks. Other Sichuan specialties include lacquerware, silverwork, and bamboo products. Chunxi Road, in the heart of the city, is the main shopping street, though there are stores everywhere.

Chengdu swarms with life. There are teahouses full of earpickers and songbirds; department stores selling the newest international fashions; Buddhist and Taoist temples full of heavy incense and chanting monks; vendors hawking everything from pirated software to chicken feet; and everywhere, people. Life happens on the streets, in the markets and alleyways, restaurants and roadside shops and in Chengdu old and new China get along in splendid harmony.

Maybe living on top of one another makes people merry, for the Sichuanese love to play and will often spend entire afternoons at nothing more productive then games of mahjong and endless cups of jasmine tea. They are proud of their way of life and, while some of their eastern cousins might call them lazy, the Sichuanese will always tell you, with a smile, that they have more fun. As one whiles away afternoons at teahouses and evenings at hotpot restaurants, it's easy to believe them. There is not the same competitive drive or acuteness of time here that one finds in the coastal cities, and while Chengdu is neither as modern or international as Beijing or Shanghai, it is possible for a tourist or expatriate to find all the comforts of home without being awash in them.

The isolation of Sichuan Province in the eighth century prompted Chinese poet Li Bai to famously proclaim, "It is more difficult to go to Sichuan than to get into heaven." While that's not true anymore, there is still enough "old China" in Chengdu to remind one that most of the Middle Kingdom is not discotheques and department stores, mobile phones and American movies but a culture at the tail-end of 5000 years of its own unique history. Undoubtedly Chengdu and the rest of China will change quickly, but for now, the city retains many older traditions and a distinct culture. Among the throwbacks to its rich past, Sichuan's most obvious are its teahouses, but there are also many parks, active temples, opera houses, and well-preserved historic sites.

Teahouses are everywhere here and are a focal point of Sichuan culture. French cafes with time to spare, they have a long history as places locals gather to discuss everything from dowries to politics. Locals don't argue dowries anymore, but many still talk politics and a visitor might suddenly find himself discussing the merits of the World Trade Organization or the significance of the quickly shrinking world. Teahouses are restive places, where retired men hang birdcages and no one ever hurries in for a quick caffeine pick-me-up.

Chengdu was the first of China's 30 provincial capitals to be awarded the title, "sanitary city," and it is a green city, as Chinese cities go. It is located on the flat Chengdu Plain, but 40 kilometers to its west wild and largely uninhabited mountains rise steeply towards the Tibetan plateau. Among many local sites are the world's largest panda reserve, the world's tallest Buddha statue, and one of China's four holy Buddhist Mountains. Whatever one's interests, there is always plenty to do.

Sichuanese cuisine is arguably the best in China and if food is your passion, you will truly be in the proverbial tianfu zhi guo, 'the land of plenty.' Don't be fooled by Sichuanese food outside of Sichuan, it is a pale comparison to the spicy fare to be had here. The names of Sichuanese dishes are almost as interesting as the foods themselves, and there are such entrees as Pockmarked Grandmother's Bean Curd, Imperial Chicken, and Ants Climbing the Tree. Hotpot, a bowl of boiling oil and red pepper in which most anything can be cooked at your table, is a popular newcomer and, like teahouses, is an important part of Chengdu social life. Provided that one can get used to the hot red pepper and the numbing Chinese Prickly Ash used in Sichuanese cooking, they will eat well and cheaply. And if a person craves pizza, a hamburger, or even Japanese or Indian cuisine, there are authentic restaurants.

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Chengdu History

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Dujiangyan Irrigation SystemChengdu has more than 2,300 years' history .Early in the 4th century BC, Kaiming IX, king of ancient Shu, moved the capital from Guangdu Fanxiang (now called Shuangliu) to Chengdu. "A town was built in this area in the first year and the capital in the second year, so the ancestor name the city as Chengdu, which means that it became a capital in Chinese.

In 311 B.C, people of Qin Dynasty (221 BC-208 BC) built a protective wall around Chengdu city according to the construction standard practiced in Xianyang, capital of Qin Dynasty. Thus, the wall was erected with a height of 3.5 meters and a perimeter of 6 kilometers, marking the beginning of Chengdu City...

Chengdu History

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Chengdu Climate

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Panda's HomeChengdu, Located in the bordering areas of the Sichuan northwest highland and Sichuan basin, Chengdu has its own climatic features. First, the eastern part of the city is different from western part in climatic zone, due to the abrupt change of the height from the east to the west. In Chengdu, generally speaking, the west is cool while the east is warm at the same time. Even in the same mountain, the foot of hill is several degrees higher in temperature than that on the top of the hill. This dramatic change in temperature is favorable for the agricultural development. Second, the winter in Chengdu is short, with a long frost-free period of over 337 days each year...

Chengdu Climate

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Chengdu Culture

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TeahouseOwing to their wisdom, diligence and creativity, from ancient time to present, Chengdu people have been creating uncountable "Firsts" in the fields of economy, science and technology, and on human culture, which include First in Sichuan, First in China and First in the world. These "Firsts" bring up this historical and cultural city and endow Chengdu permanent enchantment and charming demeanor. Lets start with one of the "Firsts" in the world created by Chengdu people. Dujiangyuan Irrigation System was built around 250 B.C and it has been benefiting Chengdu people for so long a time as 2000 years. It is the first in the world. In the year of 61 B.C, people drilled a deep well to tap natural gas in Linqiong (a city under Chengdu's jurisdiction) and the gas was used in salt making, cooking and lighting...

Chengdu Culture

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Chengdu Transportation

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Chendu TaxiThereare direct flights from Shuangliu Airport in Chengdu to many domestic as well as international destinations. There are daily flights to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong as well as regular flights to Bangkok and other southeast Asian destinations. The airport is a twenty-minute drive from the China Southwest Airlines office on Renmin Nan Lu by shuttle bus (every half an hour). It costs RMB3. A taxi from the center of town to the airport should cost RMB30.

Chengdu is linked to 12 major Chinese cities including Beijing (8 hours), Shanghai (16 hours), Kunming (22 hours) and Xi'an (17 hours)...

Chengdu Transportation

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Chengdu Opera

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The Sichuan opera face masks art. (Bian Lian)Chengdu is one of the cradles of Sichuan opera, which is the most representative opera in Sichuan area and also existent in other areas like Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hubei and Taiwan provinces. Sichuan opera enjoys a long history. As early as in Three Kingdom dynasty, there was "Canjun opera". In Tang dynasty, a band of five came into being in Chengdu. In Song dynasty, the opera developed into Tsa-chu. In Ming dynasty, artist of Sichuan opera performed the skill in Jinling (now Nanjing). During the period of Yongzheng and Qianlong in Qing dynasty, as the "Huabu" drama propered, Kunqu, Yiyang aria, Bangzi aria and Pihuang aria merged with local languages, folk customs, ditties, yang-kos and Dengdiaos in Sichuan as they moved into the place. At the end of Qing dynasty, Sichuan opera was played from temple fairs, halls and yard to urban theaters...

Chengdu Opera

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Chengdu Panda

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Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Panda BreedingThe giant panda is beloved by people from all over the world. It is a symbol of world biodiversity conservation, peace and friendship. The giant panda is also nature's gift to Chengdu and the province of Sichuan. It is a special and highly valued resouce in Chengdu.All local and foreign visitors enjoy the beauty of giant pandas. They are also deeply concerned with the current status and future of giant pandas.

The giant panda is also known as the panda bear, bamboo bear, or in Chinese as "Daxiongmao," the "large bear cat." Pi or pixiu are also names used in ancient China to describe the giant panda. The scientific name (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) means "black and white cat-footed animal."

Chengdu Panda

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Chengdu Food

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Ma Po TofuAlong with Lu, Su and Yuet, Chuan cuisine is one of four well-known Chinese cuisines. According to current statistics, there are 4000 different kinds of dishes in Chuan and 300 of them are well-known ones. Chuan dishes can be summed up as “fine ingredients, refined combinations, skilled cooking and varied tastes”. There are 10 ways to cook Chuan dishes: deep-fry, sauté, quick fry, fry, steam, simmer, stew, grill, smoke, stirfry and roast. Chuan cuisine emphasizes “taste”, particularly “Ma” (Spicy) and “La” (Hot). Famous Chuan dishes include stewed shark fin, steamed jiangtuan, guoba squid, pocket bean curd, duck made with zhangcha, hot bean curd, duck stuffed with bean mud, fried chicken blood and shredded chicken in “funny” taste...

Chengdu Food

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Chengdu Tea

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Chengdu TeaTraditionally,Local people rejoy drinking tea.the local teahouse has always been the equivalent in Chengdu of the French cafe or the British pub. When you are in Chengdu,you will see teahouses everywhere on the streets.there is a saying:"China has the best teahouses in the world, and Chengdu has the best teahouses in China".People usually dringk Jasmine tea when they sit in teahouses.Jasmine tea is the most enjoyable local tea.In chengdu teahouses abound in and out of this city.Teahouses sprawl over Chengdu sidewalks, in back-alley sections and suburbs. Teahouses offer hot boiled water and tea snacks,and have a more comf ortable setting with banboo armchairs,low table and sooty kettles.Local people,especially the elderly usually go to teahouses to sip tea and chat.they enjoy their pastimes and stay in their teahouses all day!Sometimes you will see that in teahouses many of them play games or cards.Some teahouses present performances like singing,local opera, and story telling...

Chengdu Tea

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