In Chengdu most people speak the Chengdu dialect (a variation of the Sichuan dialect). For many it sounds like everyone is fighting, but don't worry this is just normal conversation. The dialect is similar to Mandarin, but still strange enough to make Beijingers think twice, or just give up.
"four" (si-uh tone goes down a little then up) and "ten" (si-uh tone goes straight then down) sound almost the same. Hold up four fingers for four and make a cross with your index and middle fingers for ten.
Questions words like "who" (nago), "what"(shazi), "when"(haojiu), "why"(weishazi), and "how many"(haoduo) in Sichuan dialect are very different from what one usually learns in a Mandarin Chinese crash course
Some Chengduites have a thick accent when trying to speak Mandarin called "Chuanpu"
As Chengdu grows the streets get crowded quicker and easier. Chengdu has three ring roads and Renmin Road; you can easily orient yourself if you just know these roads.
The Metro is the fastest way around. Avoid going anywhere during rush hour, because there will definitely be a traffic jam.
During rush hour some taxis are changing drivers so they will refuse you if you are not going the same direction.
During rush hour some taxis will advise you to take the metro instead so that you don't get stuck waiting in traffic jams.
Always keep some small change on you (1 RMB notes for buses, 10 RMB notes for taxis)
Next to every bus stop and station there are usually "motorcycle taxis". Needless to say this is a little dangerous and illegal. Regardless, they usually charge less than 40 RMB, but they could easily rip you off.
There are many "black taxis", illegal taxis. Although there have been cases of foul play they are useful when there are no other options.
Traveling by bike is about as fast as traveling by bus.
There's lots of construction causing noise and dust pollution. Stay away from these areas if you can and wear a dusk mask.
Due to the geography around Chengdu, humidity and pollution stick around causing overcast skies most of the time
Buy an umbrella when it isn't raining because it'll be cheaper.
Because Chengdu "never gets too cold" the outside temperature and inside temperature will be about the same — no heating. In winter eat lunch and dinner with your coat on
Although some of the most famous Chinese dishes come from Sichuan (e.g. kungpao chicken), you'll find many foods that you didn't expect.
Many dishes come with numbing pepper (Sichuan peppercorn). Don't be surprised if your mouth feels painfully numb suddenly! Sometimes the food looks spicy, but isn't, or doesn't look spicy, but is! Ask for food without any spice (bula) or just a little bit of spice (weila). See How to Survive a Chengdu Hotpot.
There is lots of oil and not enough fiber. Grab some fruit, oolong tea, or fiber cookies.
Be open to try new things (organs, feet, head), but always exercise caution.
Now with the wonderful world of wireless Internet connections you'll find free Wi-Fi in many teahouses, businesses, restaurants, and so on. However, you'll need to ask for the password. If you are too shy to ask then try "12345678" — it frequently works. We offer Portable 3G Wi-Fi Rental.
A few years ago anyone could get online at the Net bars (Cyber cafés) around Chengdu. Unfortunately too many middle school students started going to these places and now everyone who goes there must have a Chinese ID card. For travelers in Beijing they can take your passport usually, but in Chengdu there is no system other than the Chinese ID card. If the workers at the Net bar feel sorry for you then they may bend the rules for you.
Zip Code: 610000
Shuwa Street Post Office: 25 Shuwa North Street
Mengzhuiwan Post Office: 346 Shuanglin Road
Shawan Post Office: 71 Shawan Road
Yiguanmiao Post Office: 6 Yongfeng Road
Contact Us for Help Touring Chengdu
China Highlights: 800-8793-007 (Free in China)
If you're planning a trip to Chengdu, contact us with your queries. China Highlights is a full-service China travel agency, offering deals on Chengdu hotels, flights, and transport, and specializing in customizable, privately-guided, Chengdu tours — taking the trouble out of touring Chengdu.