Chengdu is well-known for lovely giant pandas, and delicious Sichuan food like hotpot. Chengdu is a large but relaxed city, with many natural, cultural, and historical sights in and around it.
Chengdu, Home of the Giant Panda
Chengdu is a city of pandas. The lovely giant pandas are the No. 1 reason that people visit Chengdu.
Pandas are used to decorate the city and you can find them in a variety of forms, such as panda hats, panda purses, panda shoes, panda buses, etc.
There are four giant panda bases in and around Chengdu City. You can not only see giant pandas and panda cubs; you can also take care of them as a panda keeper.
- Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Chengdu: see baby pandas
- Dujiangyan Panda Base: experience the giant panda volunteer program
- Wolong Panda Research Center: see native panda habitat, and explore panda's nightlife without tourists.
- Bifengxia Panda Base: longer, less-busy programs for panda devotees
See details about the Top 5 Places to See Giant Pandas in Chengdu and see which one is the most suitable for you.
Chengdu, a Laid-back City
With a population of 13 million, Chengdu is a large city but with a small town laid-back feel. It is said that the two most important things for Chengdu people are drinking tea and playing mahjong.
It is a routine for local people to drink tea in a teahouse and go to the parks to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The People's Park is where to go for an authentic taste of the Chengdu laid-back lifestyle. In the park, you should not miss is to drink a cup of tea at Heming Teahouse and experience a Chengdu specialty, ear cleaning.
Wenshu Monastery, a hidden Buddhist temple in hustling downtown Chengdu, is a good place to wander. It will take you back in time and offer tranquility amidst the chaos.
Chengdu, a Foodie Destination
You must have heard or tried kung pao chicken, Fish fragrant pork, Ma Po Tofu. Chengdu is, after all, UNESCO's first-ever City of Gastronomy.
Chengdu has been a famous foodie destination, where local street food and hot pots abound.
Any trip to Chengdu is incomplete without trying the famous hot pot. See How to Survive a Chengdu Hotpot.
Jinli Old Street is a good place for Chengdu street food. Don't miss dine-and-dash favorites like spicy, savory Dan Dan Noodles, spicy chicken on a stick, and spicy rabbits heads. See more on Chengdu Food and Chengdu's Top 10 Special Snacks.
The delicious dishes and authentic restaurants are often hidden in the backstreets. Book a Chengdu Food Tour to find the ones which are normally only found by locals, and experience cooking the most authentic Sichuan cuisine with a local chef.
Gateway to Western China
Gateway to Tibet
Chengdu is on the east side of Tibet Plateau. There are many ways to get to Tibetan areas from Chengdu: by flight, train, or car. Chengdu is the most surefire way to get into Tibet (especially for flights with more routes than anywhere else).
Once you step foot in Chengdu, you have already started your journey into the mysterious Tibetan world. In Chengdu, you can sample Tibetan food and meet Tibetan people. Just a short bus ride out of Chengdu will take you to many villages that are mostly inhabited by Tibetan people.
Gateway to China's Most Scenic Area - West Sichuan
The areas to the west of Chengdu offer breathtaking natural scenery. Jiuzhaigou National Park and Huanglong National Park are well-known for their clean lakes, waterfalls, colorful ponds, snowcapped mountains, and gorges.
The Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou travel route is one of China's most scenic itineraries.
Good news: Part of the Jiuzhaigou National Park has reopened to visitors on Sep. 27, 2019. If you are planning a tour to Jiuzhaigou, check our How to Plan a Jiuzhaigou Tour from Chengdu for suggestions and tips.
Best Day Trips Outside of Chengdu
Apart from day trips to panda bases, there are several day trip options you can consider if you have one or two more days in Chengdu.
You can get to see the Leshan Giant Buddha which is the world's largest sculpture of Buddha carved out of a mountain. Pay a visit to Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan Irrigation Project which is one of the world's cultural heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.
Chengdu Has 144-Hour (6-Day) Visa-Free Transit
If you have a layover in Chengdu, don't kill your time at the airport. You can use the 144-hour visa-free transit policy to leave the airport and enjoy a short tour around the city.
See the insider recommendation How to Spend Your Layover in Chengdu.
The Best Time to Visit Chengdu
The best periods to visit Chengdu are from March to June, and September to November. There is substantial rainfall during the rainy season (July and August).
Chengdu has a foggy, relatively mild, basin climate. Summers feel hotter, winters feel colder, and the pollution seems worse due to the humidity. However many describe the climate of Chengdu as "pleasant", and it is, compared to the harshness of the surrounding mountain areas you might visit, like Jiuzhaigou and Mount Emei.
See more on Chengdu Weather.
How to Get To and Travel Around Chengdu
Chengdu's Shuangliu International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. You can find flights from/to 119 domestic and 52 international destinations.
Of course, Chengdu also has a very busy bus and train stations as well.
It is easy to travel to Chengdu from the main cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guilin, and Hong Kong.
Chengdu city is a transport hub for your excursion tours to Leshan, Emei Mountain and Jiuzhai Valley.
- Chengdu Transportation - Flights, Trains, Buses, and City Transport
- How to Get from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou
- How to Get from Chengdu to the Leshan Giant Buddha
Travel Chengdu Your Way!
Chengdu not only has beautiful natural scenery but also spectacular historical sites. And if you are planning a trip to Chengdu, seeing some giant pandas should never be missed. See the following recommended Chengdu tours, for inspiration: