Chengdu is a vibrant city and a popular tourist destination, with its cute pandas, natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and delicious food.
Are you planning a trip to Chengdu and wondering how much time you need to fully experience this vibrant city and its surroundings? Let us help guide you with our ultimate Chengdu itineraries.
How Long to Spend in Chengdu
We recommend spending three days in Chengdu for a more varied and in-depth experience at a relaxed pace.
However, if you only have one or two days to spare, you can still focus on the pandas and some city sightseeing.
Alternatively, if you have a longer holiday, consider extending your trip from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou (3-5 days), the western Sichuan region such as Daocheng (4-5 days), or the northern Sichuan region (4-5 days).
Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.
Chengdu at it`s best
We made a private tour through South China in January 2024. Altogether Chengdu was the highlight. We had an incredible day at Emeishan. In Chengdu our guidewas Helen. She was the diamond of all. Speaking fluently English, full of interesting stories, laughing and talking all the time. We missed her the rest of our tour. We highly recommend to go to Chengdu for 3 days when visiting China, especially with Helen.more
Feb 2024, peter
Chengdu and Volunteer program Panda base
Our day volunteering at the Panda Base was truly unforgettable. Helen, our guide, provided us with invaluable insights about Chengdu and the pandas, enriching our tour with her knowledge and expertise. We're grateful to Helen for accompanying us throughout the day and showcasing the highlights of China.more
Feb 2024, Eliaquim
Chengdu at it`s best
We had a booking with China Highlights through Silvia Ye who guarenteed a perfect organisation. In Chengdu our guide was Helen. She was the diamond of all. Speaking fluently English, full of interesting stories, laughing and talking all the time. We missed her the rest of our tour. We highly recommend to go to Chengdu for 3 days when visiting China, especially with Helen.more
Feb 2024, Peter
Chengdu with friends
Bella, our tour guide in Chengdu, was excellent and very thoughtful. She picked us up from the train station (despite it being a free and easy day we wanted). She shared options for afternoon tea, places of interest around our hotel and helped us make dinner reservation at a local premium szechuan hotpot restaurant. During our stay in Chengdu, she took us to see the adorable pandas at the Panda Breeding Base, the beautiful Renmin Park (Chengdu People’s Park), the lively Jinli Old Street (pedestrian mall) and the Chengdu Opera (a must see - world famous face changing show). Bella is very attentive to our needs and preferences, and always made sure we were well taken care, comfortable and happy. We had so much fun together, laughing, joking and sharing stories. Food was excellent (best left the ordering to her). She is one of the best guide we had in China.more
Jan 2024, DLiew
Helen is the best! She is super knowledgeable and helpful with everything. Will definitely be using China Highlights and Helen when I bring my family back to Chengdu.more
Jan 2024, Riley
Chengdu a great city
We had a great time visiting the Pandas, Michael was punctual, organized. He showed us around the great city of Chengdu,its museum,the Old Town, The Tea House,and while we were in the city park we saw a Chinese old lady in a wheelchair singing an Chinese Peking Opera Tune loudly and clearly.She said she is 90 years old and she comes to the park often just to sing and we asked her if she knows any song in English,she said yes and belted out a classic (you raised me up over the mountain) in perfect English. Absolutely amazing.She lived through the Civil War,Japanese Invasion, the Cultural Revolution,You can't plan an experience like this.more
Jan 2024, Peter W
We went on a tour guided by Helen…
We went on a tour guided by Helen around Chengdu to see many cultural highlights. We were excited with the extensive knowledge. She speaks English very well. She was also always in a good mood and make us comfortable and we could see she is very passionate about her job. She gave us some gifts on Xmas day. Overall we are very grateful to have had Helen as our guide. Not to mention the great day we spent with the pandas. She took very good pictures for us and it's just a memorable day.more
Jan 2024, Monica
Our tour led by Helen from Chengdu was amazing
Helen guided my family and I around Chengdu to see many cultural highlights. Her extensive knowledge and proficient English speaking skills enhanced our experience greatly. The historical facts that she shared with us made us even more excited to see the landmarks and left us in awe at every visit. She was also always smiling and her kind attitude during the tour made us feel that she was very passionate about her job and valued our experience a lot. She was very thoughtful, even giving us presents on Xmas day. She also recommended the best dishes in interesting restaurants that catered to my family’s taste. Overall we are very grateful to have had Helen as our guide because we know our holiday was so so much better due to her thoughtful pre-planning and positive demeanour!more
Jan 2024, Nicole
Awesome trip in Chengdu guided by Helen
Our tour guide, Helen is superb and amazing. She is very knowledged and detailed with all the details and history of the destination. She is able to navigate through the attraction places easily, making the whole experience less tiring and easy to access.She is also very caring and detailed with taking care of us, making the trip very comfortable and enjoying.more
Jan 2024, 文文
We had a lot of fun in ChengDu. The trip was nicely planned and organised. We had Helen as our guide in ChengDu. She was very friendly and knowledgeable, explained everything well. It was a great experience and would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in travelling to China.more
Jan 2024, AdLee
Helen was the best tour guide I’ve experienced! Can’t recommend her enough for anyone visiting Chengdu!
Helen was the best tour guide that my family and I have had on our international holiday trips so far! We were always kept entertained and fascinated by Helen’s extensive knowledge about Chengdu’s cultural highlights and fluency in both English and Mandarin. Helen was extremely personable and empathetic, always going out of her way to cater to our needs and ensure we always felt safe and comfortable.more
Jan 2024, Rachel
Chengdu splendida città
Siamo stati a Chengdu città molto bella e vivace. Accompagnati da Helen guida molto attenta precisa cordiale e simpatica…the top!!! Con lei siamo stati a conoscere il panda gigante e il panda rosso. Poi abbiamo gustato il tè in una tipica casa da tè e fatto una piacevole passeggiata prima nel bel parco cittadino molto frequentato e poi per la città. Siamo stati molto bene!! Grazie Helen sei stata splendida. The top!!!more
Jan 2024, Trisia
Excellent New Year's vacation in Chengdu! Happy memories!
Great thanks to our guide Sandy, who accompanied us tirelessly! He knows a lot about the city and every corner of Chengdu, as well as the culture of Sichuan: he lead us to amazing places and knew how to make excellent recommendations for the Opera and restaurants.The vehicle was very comfortable and Sandy was very generous to bring snacks for everyone and organize the best meals during the trips, to conclude memorable holidays!more
Jan 2024, Pioneer02494454516
Wonderful Times in Chengdu with Aaron Huang
With the help of our tour guide, Aaron Huang, we were able to see many tourist attractions in Chengdu. We went to the famous Panda Research centre located a short distance away from the city . Our grandchildren loved the sight of so many cute pandas. We also went up to a mountain by cable car, the children had a good time playing with snow.Last but not least, we would like to thank our tour guide Aaron Huang who impressed us with his very excellent and fluent English, and he always answered our questions clearly and patiently. He is indeed a very professional tour guide and we highly recommend him to anyone who intends to visit Chengdu!Thank you Aaron again for going all the way to make our holiday in Chengdu such a memorable experience!Hope we will meet again!more
Jan 2024, Inspire39398
Fanstric trip to Chengdu with Helen!
Helen brought me to some amazing hidden restaurants I would not be able to try otherwise. Helen was a top photographer and I really appreciate the photos she took during my time there. If you are going to Chengdu make sure to go with Helen!more
Jan 2024, David
The Best Trip to Chengdu
Fifi is a super guide. She handled all ticket purchases and car orders professionally. I felt respected and very welcomed by her and the car driver. Fifi could recommend VEGETARIAN and VEGAN meal options for me. She even sought after restaurants that I had recommendations for, then did planning to fit them into our day schedule. I’m so happy!!more
Jan 2024, Blake
Chengdu con Pablo 🇨🇳
Toda la experiencia fue muy agradable y se supieron sortear los problemas con el mal tiempo, los retrasos, la baja movilidad de mi mamá, y los itinerarios muy apretados.Seguramente recomendaremos a China Highlights a nuestros amigos y familiares, pues tanto en Chengdu como en otras 3 ciudades que hemos visitado, siempre han superado nuestras expectativas.more
Jan 2024, Kolombian_traveller
Helen you are our STAR! Thanks
Our perfect honeymoon!When we decided to visit China for our honeymoon our first desire was making it the trip of a lifetime.China Highlights made it absolutely perfect!The itinerary was incredible and we could personalize and improve our experience - thanks Helen!!more
Jan 2024, Luca
Our perfect honeymoon!
All the tour guides and the drivers provided an amazing service and they went out of their way to help us throughout all the stages of our journey. Particularly, we want to say a HUGE thank you to:Helen in Chengdu: you are a STAR! All your kindness, explanations about panda’s life and tips on the best places inmore
Dec 2023, Sara
An unforgatable experience
Dear Helen! We are slowly relaxing from the fatigue of our wonderful three-week trip to China, and all that remains are the unforgettable memories and experiences. These include the experiences I spent with you in Chengdu; the Panda Breeding and Research Center, Chengdu Kuanzhai Lane, Jinli Old Street and Shufengyayun Opera House. Thank you very much for your attitude, your attentiveness,more
Dec 2023, Geza
Chengdu in 3 Days (Classic)
With three days in Chengdu, you can indulge in a range of activities, such as visiting the adorable pandas, enjoying a food tour, and paying a visit to the famous Leshan Giant Buddha, the world's largest Buddha carved in a huge mountain.
- Day 1: Arrive in Chengdu and go on a panda tour and a food tour
- Day 2: Visit Leshan Giant Buddha
- Day 3: Departure
The Chengdu Panda Base is currently home to the largest number of giant pandas. Here, you could see pandas playing outdoors, eating bamboo, climbing trees, and even their babies!
If you would like a closer encounter with these creatures, we can arrange for you to participate in a one-day panda volunteer program, where you could make panda cakes, clean panda enclosures, watch them being fed, and receive a volunteer certificate.
After visiting Leshan, you could also plan a one-day trip to Mount Emei if you have more time, and enjoy the beauty of the sub-tropical forest and waterfall. Check out our 5-Day Chengdu, Leshan, and Mount Emei Tour.
Chengdu in 2 Days (Essence of Chengdu)
For a two-day trip to Chengdu, you can dedicate one day to pandas and the other day to sightseeing in the city.
- Day 1: Arrive and go on a city sightseeing tour (such as a food tour, museums, and more)
- Day 2: Experience a panda volunteer program and depart
For the best panda experience, our panda volunteer program will allow you to observe pandas more closely and understand them better.
But if you only want to have a look at the pandas, we could make adjustments for you. All our tours are customized based on your interests and needs. Just contact us to create your Chengdu itinerary.
Chengdu in 1 Day (Time-Smart)
If you only have one day to spare in Chengdu and you're a big fan of pandas, we recommend spending an entire day participating in the panda volunteer program. Check out our 1-Day Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Program Tour.
Side Trip Itineraries from Chengdu
If you have time, we highly recommend taking a side trip from Chengdu to explore the many natural and cultural highlights in the surrounding areas – from unspoiled colorful pools to breathtaking valleys, snow-covered mountains, and off-the-beaten-path Tibetan villages.
1. Jiuzhaigou – Most Popular
Jiuzhaigou is the most popular choice for its quiet environment and unspoiled beautiful scenery. In the summer, it is also an excellent place to enjoy cool weather.
There, you could see colorful alpine lakes that change color throughout the day and year. Walk around the valleys to feel the fresh air and immerse yourself in harmony with streams, waterfalls, and mountain forests.
A trip to Jiuzhaigou will cost about three to five days from Chengdu. Here is a classic five-day itinerary from Chengdu that includes a panda experience:
- Day 1: Arrival in Chengdu and free exploration
- Days 2-4: Visit Jiuzhaigou and nearby Huanglong, a plateau wetland national reserve
- Day 5: Visit pandas at Dujiangyan Panda Base
For more options, check out these popular itineraries for Jiuzhaigou and Chengdu:
- 6-Day Essential Chengdu and In-Depth Jiuzhaigou Tour
- 3-Day Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong Highlights Tour
- 7-Day Chengdu, Buddha, Mount Emei, and Jiuzhaigou Tour
2. Daocheng Yading – Best for Autumn
Yading Nature Reserve in Daocheng offers breathtaking natural views, especially in autumn when the leaves turn golden, complemented by snow-capped mountains, crystal rivers, rolling meadows, and lakes.
There, you could also immerse yourself in the culture of Tibetan Buddhism. The scenery along the way from Chengdu to Daocheng is also spectacular. We will arrange a private car to escort you all the way, so you can enjoy the views at your own pace and in comfort.
It will take about five days for a trip to Yading:
- Day 1: Chengdu to Xinduqiao (gorges, mountains, and bridges)
- Day 2: Xinduqiao to Daocheng to Riwa (grasslands, mountains, and monasteries)
- Day 3: Riwa (snow mountains, lakes, and farms)
- Day 4: Daocheng (lakes, mountains, and old towns)
- Day 5: Departure
3. Holy Tibet
After enjoying Chengdu's leisurely pace of life, delicious food, and cute pandas, you can explore further west into Tibet for different cultures and plateau scenery.
Chengdu, on the east side of the Tibet Plateau, is the most surefire way to get into Tibet (especially for flights with more routes than anywhere else).
A trip to Tibet would take about four to eight days to visit its essential highlights. Here is an 8-day Tibet itinerary:
- Days 1-3: Arrival and Lhasa city highlights tour
- Days 4-5: Shigatse (visit Lake Yamdrok, glaciers, and visit a Tibetan family)
- Day 6: Mt. Everest Base Camp
- Day 7: Visit a canyon when driving back to Lhasa
- Day 8: Departure
4. Bipenggou – Best for Winter
If you want to find a natural ski resort with stunning winter views around Chengdu, Bipenggou Valley is an excellent choice.
There, you could enjoy the winter charm of plateau lakes, glaciers, and snow-capped mountains, ski on a less-crowded slope, and relax in a hot spring.
A trip to Chengdu and Bipenggou will take about five days:
- Days 1-2: Chengdu city tour (such as a Sichuan cooking experience, enjoying a Sichuan opera, visiting a tea house, and more).
- Day 3: Watch pandas at Dujiangyan Panda Base
- Day 4: Sightseeing in Bipenggou with a skiing experience
- Day 5: Visit some minority villages on your way back to Chengdu and departure
5. Northern Sichuan – Less Touristy
If you want to find an off-the-beaten-path route from Chengdu, consider going to Northern Sichuan. There's a lot of undiscovered beauty there.
You could find the source of the Yellow River and enjoy stunning sunsets when the glow is sprinkled on the ribbon-like bends of the Yellow River. Explore the homeland of Tibetan and Qiang people, and visit less touristy monasteries.
You may need about five days to explore the highlights of Northern Sichuan:
- Day 1: Chengdu to Songpan (visit Songpan ancient town)
- Day 2: Visit Ruoergai and Tangke (lakes, grasslands, and the Yellow River sunset)
- Days 3-4: Aba (monasteries, lamaseries, lakes, and peaks)
- Day 5: Visit a Tibetan village on your way back to Chengdu
Tour China with Us
All our tours can be adjusted to meet your needs – whether you're traveling with friends, or with family. We welcome you to have us customize your trip based on your group size, interests, and other needs. Tell us your needs in our Create My Trip service.