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Facts You Should Know Before Traveling to Chengdu

Bifeng Valley Panda CenterTwo pandas in Bifengxia Giant Panda Base

Chengdu is known for being the home of China's most famous creatures, the cute giant pandas. Regarded as one of China's most livable cities, there is something for everyone in this thriving capital of Sichuan province. Here are some things you should know before you go...

  • Chinese: 成都 Chéngdū /chung-doo/ 'Become Capital City'

1. Chengdu's home of the Giant Panda.

Chengdu is most famous for being the home of China's magnificent giant pandas. Tourists both locally and internationally flock to the panda centers of Chengdu to view these unique creatures in their natural habitat. 

The panda is a symbol of China and is strictly protected by the Chinese government. The research being done to ensure pandas continue to flourish in China is led by top researchers in Chengdu. The entire country rejoices when news of a new panda cub's birth is announced. They are very proud of the creatures and the work being done to protect them. 

2. Chengdu offers top museums and panda research centers. 

Chengdu offers many historical and cultural museums for those with an interest in Chinese history and development. 

For those with an interest in conservation and preservation efforts, the panda research centers offer informative programs and viewing opportunities that allow the public access to the work being done to save the giant panda. Some of the top places to visit include:

3. Chengdu locals speak a different dialect of Mandarin.


In many parts of China, the language being spoken differs from the standard set in Beijing. Provincial dialects are often difficult to understand and differentiate between, even for native speakers. In the Sichuan province this dialect is known as Sichuanese

Learning to pronounce key phrases in this specific dialect will help you to navigate your travels with ease. While many locals may also speak and understand the standard Beijing dialect, it is helpful to learn a bit of the local style. With a little practice, you will be able to impress all that you meet with your local accent

4. The food is known for its spice!


If you ask anyone in China where to find the spiciest food, they will tell you in Sichuan. Chengdu is famous for its spicy hot pot and many other mouth tingling dishes. This is because of the world famous Sichuan peppercorn that is grown in the region. The spice gives a numbing feeling to all the dishes it is used in, which is a great favorite with the Chinese palate. It may take some getting used to at first, but the spicy food of Chengdu is a regional cuisine not to be missed. 

5. Sichuan opera is a classical Chinese art form.

Sichuan opera face changingSichuan opera face changing

Chengdu is an excellent place to witness a performance of a traditional Sichuan Opera. Sichuan Opera is categorized by its circus-like elements. Regular features in Sichuan Opera include acrobatics, fire spitting, and illusionists

The magical face changing in Sichuan opera is a celebrated tradition and part of one of oldest regional opera cultures. This unique performance is practiced almost exclusively in Sichuan and the best masters of the art can be seen in Chengdu. 

6. Ancient sites tell of China's religious and engineering developments.

leshan giant Buddha

Many of the ancient sites around Chengdu reflect the influence of Buddhism, as well as the agricultural history of the region. Giant statues of the Buddha, such as the one in Leshan, show the enduring presence of Buddhism on the area. 

Likewise, the structure and ancient sites of the city reflect its history as an important seat of culture and agriculture.

7. Chengdu is a regional migration magnet.

Chengdu is the second largest city in the western half of China (after Chongqing) and one of the cities in China with the most potential for international investment. Many international and large national companies operate in Chengdu, which draws a large population of young working people both internationally and locally. 

The city is vibrant with the spirit and the spice of its economy. Old meets new on its busy streets as some of the oldest tradition and meals can be eaten and observed alongside modern developments and state of the art research. Chengdu provides a unique view into the fascinating leap China has made into being a global power. If you want to see a unique blend of old and new China, Chengdu is one excellent place to start.

8. Chengdu has the biggest building in the world!

The New Century Global Center is about twice the size of both the previous mall record holder in Dubai and the biggest mall in Guangdong called the New South China Mall. It is designed to be a self-contained town.

It's 99 meters (325 feet), 18 floors high, and a colossal 1.5 million square meters (16 million square feet) in area. Built in 2013, it contains a water park, IMAX theater, and 2 hotels with 1,000 rooms, as well as many, many shops.

9. You should visit in fall for the best experience.

the 3-legged Panda

Visiting Chengdu in the summer is a popular trip for local Chinese tourists, which often means sites will be crowded as well as hot. The temperatures in Chengdu often resemble the spice of its food — sweltering! 

Visiting in the fall ensures you avoid the sweltering summers, gloomy winters, and the rainy season from spring to summer. Fall provides cool temperatures and easier transportation for visitors looking to see the most Chengdu has to offer. (Just avoid the National Day and Mid-Autumn holidays.)

September to November offers the peak in optimal weather for visitors looking to explore in comfort. Learn more about the weather and climate of Chengdu before planning your own experience.

10. China Highlights offers you expert help to plan your Chengdu trip!

Let China Highlights plan a unique Chengdu experience for you today. Choose from one of our pre-designed trips, which feature the best Chengdu has to offer. Or try out a custom tour designed specifically with you in mind.

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