BIT World Travel Service
Escorted Tour - Chengdu Overview

Ask any Chinese what to do in Sichuan's capital of Chengdu, and 9 times out of 10 they'll tell you to drink tea and eat hot pot, such is the city's reputation as a culinary capital that knows how to take it easy. Indeed, Chengdu's cuisine is irresistible and tea drinking is a custom that took hold here 1,300 years ago and never let go. With few genuine ancient sights within the city proper (Du Fu's cottage is only a replica; Wuhou Temple is ho-hum), drinking tea may be Chengdu's most durable link to the past. But what Chengdu lacks in ancient sites, it makes up for in charm and atmosphere. Like so many cities in central China, Chengdu has a pretty little river running through it. The narrow Fu He and its southern tributary form a sort of moat around the city, sections of which are lined with attractive restaurants and teahouses. The city is also in the midst of a building boom, but a few old ramshackle warrens and outdoor markets still survive just west of the city square.

Chengdu is the gateway to scenic Jiuzhaigou, the Buddhist mountains of Emei Shan and Le Shan, and one of the most important panda breeding centers. It's also a traveler's haven and a place to gather information between trips. People are friendly and the pace unrushed. And because Chengdu is one of the few cities with daily flights to Lhasa, many travelers come here to arrange transportation to Tibet.

Renowned Chengdu Tourist Attractions
Panda Research Base


This research base is one of the best places to see giant pandas. Since the much more wild and natural Wolong Nature Reserve was damaged by the 2008 earthquake would be better, but -- except in its panda enclosures -- panda sightings are few and far between. The stated purpose of the breeding center is to increase the captive population of pandas in order to reintroduce some to the wild. The grounds of the research base, covered with trees, flowers, and 14 species of bamboo, are lovely and, at the very least, provide a pleasant escape from the noise and congestion of Chengdu proper. As you follow pathways through the reserve you may see not only giant pandas but red pandas (closer to a raccoon than a panda), black-necked cranes, and white storks. You might also run into visiting field researchers.

Leshan Giant Buddha


Experience two of Chinese Buddhism's holiest sites: Dafo(the Giant Buddha) and Lingyun Temple. Dafo, at 71 m (233 ft) in height, is the world's largest stone-carved Buddha. Cut from the cliffs of Lingyun Shan and looming over the meeting of the Min and Dadu rivers and facing distant Emei Shan, the 400-year old world wonder is a sight to behold. Just as amazing are the beautiful mountain views from atop the Buddha's head and the Lingyun Temple Museum documenting the amazing story of the building of Dafo by the determined Tang Dynasty monk Haitong.

Qingyang Temple


Directly west of the city center, this Taoist monastery is culturally and historically the most important sight in the city. Today QingyangTemple is one of the most active and important Taoist monasteries in China. Among its treasures, of greatest historical significance is a set of rare and elegant pear-wood printing plates of abstracts of scriptures in the Taoist canon.

Wenshu Yuan


The best things about this active, Tang-founded Buddhist monastery are neither its gilded statues nor its relatively youthful buildings, but its teahouse filled with people reading, knitting, and just relaxing, and its excellent vegetarian restaurant with tables for two and windows overlooking the gardens. Outside, the street is lined with shops selling incense, paper money, and other Buddhist paraphernalia. Inside, locals come to worship and burn incense. The 1st and 15th days of the lunar month are the most active. Another day that draws large crowds is the 19th day of the second lunar month, when the monastery celebrates the birthday of China's favorite bodhisattva, Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy. The Huayan Scripture are written in human blood and the cranial bones of the monk Xuanzang are among the treasures housed at Wenshu. A pleasing and unusual Song fresco of a child worshiping Guanyin can be found near the gold-plated bronze Guanyin.

Recommended Tours:
One Day Tour

Panda Base Research &Wenshu Temple Day Tour
Experience quintessential Chengdu. This one-day tour takes in some of Sichuan's natural beauty at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, home to almost one hundred giant and red pandas, before heading back downtown to explore Zen Buddhism, wisdom and tea culture at Chengdu's oldest monastery, Wenshu Monastery.

Leshan Giant Buddha Day Tour
Leshan's Giant Buddha, or Dafo, rises up the face of Lingyun Shan. We'll explore Dafo, enjoying fantastic views of the surrounding landscape and of Leshan itself from atop the Giant Buddha's head. You may also have a break at tea house enjoy both tea and beautiful scenery around the area.

Two Day Tour

2-Day Panda Base, Qingyang Temple & Family Visit Tour
Live like a local on this two-day Chengdu cultural encounter. First up you'll get to meet some of Sichuan's most famous residents at the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base before heading to Qingyang Temple for a taste of Taoism and Taiji. You'll practice the ancient art in Chengdu's most lively park, then discover the wet market with a local host who'll teach you how to rustle up some fiery Sichuanese cuisine over a home-cooked lunch.

Address: East Wing, F11, Block 1, Dalian Ascendas IT Park, Dalian Hi-tech Industrial Zone, LN 116025, P.R. China
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