Looking to get out of the city for a few hours? Here is an insider's list of the 5 best Chengdu day trips, which range from visiting pandas and tasting the local food to experiencing the local culture.
We can help you make the most of your time by providing you with a private guide and car.
1. A Day Trip to Chengdu’s Giant Panda Base
A day trip to visit Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, also known as Chengdu Panda Base, is the most popular one to take from Chengducity center and it is the most popular place to see pandas. You will get to see a variety of pandas, from infants to adults, including red pandas.
We highly recommend that you arrive early in the morning to see the pandas feeding at about 9:30 am as they are most active at this time of day. You should also try to arrive earlier than large Chinese groups.
Getting to this base from the downtown area may be a slight challenge. It takes about 1 hour to get there by metro and then by bus.
A more convenient way is to join our private tour, which includes direct transportation from your hotel to the base and an experienced guide who knows how to beat the crowds as well as the best place to take photos.
2. Join the Panda Keeper Program at Dujiangyan Panda Base
If you want to have close contact with giant pandas, a full-day panda keeper volunteer program in Dujiangyan Panda Base is a great option. This base is less crowded as it is 1½ hours away from Chengdu city.
In the program, you will experience activities that include cleaning a panda's enclosure, cleaning and weighing bamboo, making panda cakes, and feeding a panda. There is no other way you’ll ever get so close to these amazing animals.
The program starts at 9 am. It would be difficult to get to the base for the 9 am start without a driver. One of the best ways to enjoy a hassle-free trip is to book a private tour, such as our best-selling One-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour.
3. Take a Day Trip to the Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha is the world’s largest sculpture of Buddha. The site can be reached by high-speed train then by bus. The most convenient way to get there is to book a private tour with a private car.
The most popular way to admire the huge Buddha is on foot. As you climb along the mountainside, you will see the statue from head to toe.
We recommend you also take a cruise to have an alternative perspective of the grand Buddha. It is a good way to relax after the long walk.
Travel with us and your day trip will be enriched with a visit to an off-the-beaten-path ancient town. Our local guide will take you to see some traditional workshops and you will drop in at one of the 100-year-old courtyard houses.
4. Eat Like a Local: One-Day Chengdu Food Tour
Chengdu is a food paradise. If you are a foodie, be sure to set aside some time to discover the gastronomy and taste some local food.
Your tour can start with Sichuan Cuisine Museum, which is about 1 hour’s drive from Chengdu city center. It is a great place to uncover Sichuan culinary secrets. You can also join a cooking class there.
Then, explore Jinli Ancient Street for some local snacks, such as guo kuiand chao shou. End your tour with a delicious hot pot dinner at a traditional restaurant.
Looking for a more authentic experience? Our food tour is just right for you. Our local guide will take you to explore the back alleys for local snacks, to discover the city's last farmers’ market, and then visit a local chef’s home where you will try to cook some Sichuan dishes with the chef.
5. Live Like a Local: Experience Chengdu's Rich Culture and Laid-Back Pace
Different from the big cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, Chengdu is a laid-back city. Slow your pace and leave a day to experience the local people's lifestyle.
Drinking tea is as central to life in Chengdu as its hot pot. It is a daily ritual for the locals to stop at a teahouse to meet friends and chat.
People's Park is a great place to go to. You can stop by a teahouse for a drink and see lots of local activities going on: dancing, singing, exercising, playing mahjong, and even writing calligraphy. Make sure you swing by Matchmaking Corner, which is full of parents looking for future spouses for their children.
We recommend you have a local guide with you who can help you understand the city better. Our Chengdu Leisure Tour includes cultural experiences that you cannot find anywhere else, such as going behind the scenes of an authentic theater when you go backstage.
Our Popular Chengdu Day Tours
Here are some sample Chengdu day tours. They can be modified according to your interests and preferences. We'd be happy to help create a tour just for you.