Chengdu holidays are your gateway to the magical heart of Sichuan province – home to the much-loved giant panda.
This magnificent destination has been voted the happiest city in China and is a truly enchanting part of this spellbinding country, combining rich cultural traditions with rare wildlife and delicious cuisine.
Get close to those legendary pandas at the local conservation centre, discover the secrets of fire breathing at the famous Sichuan Opera, or sample some of the best food in China at vibrant Jinli Street.
You can also soak up the local heritage and learn about the history of Chengdu at its many temples – as well as those at nearby Mount Qingcheng.
Holidays to Chengdu provide some of the most inspirational travelling experiences you can imagine.
Holidays in Chengdu have much to offer. From enchanting, iconic wildlife to mouth-watering food and magical cultural traditions, your time here will be full of wonderful surprises.
Around 85 per cent of China’s giant pandas live in the forests and mountains of Sichuan province.
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, just outside the city, is the best place in the world to get within touching distance of these marvellous animals.
Visit during the summer or autumn and you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of cute new-born cubs. Head to the on-site museum to find out more about the vital conservation efforts here too.
Opera is a key cultural tradition in Chengdu. Here, however, it is more dynamic and excitable affair than traditional stage singing – with acrobats, dancers, shadow play, puppets and renowned fire breathers that will have you absorbed in the show.
The main event is the ‘face changing’ mask show, where performers flick between characters and costumes almost as fast as the eye can see.
Book tickets in advance for the Sichuan Theatre and the Shu Feng Ya Yun Sichuan Opera, where demand is always high.
Chinese teahouse culture plays a fundamental role in society and everyday life, and nowhere is that more evident than in Chengdu.
After all, this is where the world’s first teahouse was founded nearly 3,000 years ago.
Taking part in a tea-tasting ceremony at a historic and atmospheric teahouse in Chengdu is a special experience – and certainly one to treasure. Some of the oldest and best-loved spots are set along the riverbank, or in Chengdu’s parks.
Plenty of teahouses offer traditional performances, too.
Chengdu and wider Sichuan province are full of exquisite temples, tranquil monasteries and other remarkable religious buildings, which makes a holiday here the perfect chance to discover more about the fascinating local heritage.
Wenshu Monastery is Chengdu’s largest and best-preserved Buddhist site, while Qingyang Palace is a centre of Taoist philosophy.
A little further afield, the stunning Giant Buddha of Leshan dates to the eighth century. At 233 feet in height, it’s the tallest stone Buddha in the world.
Sichuan cooking is revered around the world as well as throughout China, so Chengdu holiday packages give you the chance to immerse yourself in the intricacies of this cuisine.
Food from Chengdu is defined by powerful, bold flavours – using garlic and chilli with fragrant (and often spicy) peppercorns.
Head to the downtown area around the Central Business District and Dacisi for a high-end culinary experience, or dive into the hustle and bustle of Tang Song Food Street.
Here you’ll find spring rolls, deep-fried meat pies, dumplings and hot pot for a taste of authentic Sichuan cuisine.
Giant pandas are a huge draw in Chengdu, with children and adults alike sure to fall in love with Sichuan’s most famous and delightful residents.
A holiday to Chengdu might include a stay close to the famous panda sanctuary.
One convenient option nearby is the Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, just over a mile from the conservation centre – with a spa, several restaurants and both indoor and outdoor pools to relax in.
Chengdu’s traditions and cuisine make for a rich cultural experience. Stay in the Jinjiang district and you’ll be perfectly placed for the museums and galleries of the wider city centre, as well as the opera houses and theatres in Jinjiang itself.
The tasty delights of Tang Song Food Street are also close by – a must-visit for foodies on a Chengdu adventure.
You can also head out on dolphin tours and fishing trips.
Chengdu has some wonderfully elegant and sophisticated hotel options – with a number of dazzling five-star stays available among the towering downtown skyscrapers.
The Waldorf Astoria offers one of the finest luxury stays in the city. Guest rooms feature floor to ceiling glass windows, delivering incredible views of the surrounding area.
You can also enjoy a dip in the indoor pool or visit the on-site spa.
Chinese currency is officially called the renminbi (CNY), but is widely known internationally as the ‘yuan’. ATMs are widely available in central Chengdu.
Getting around in Chengdu is relatively simple as it has a metro system that is efficient and easy to use. There is also an extensive bus network.
The official language of Chengdu is Mandarin. Some people in the city also speak a local Sichuanese Mandarin dialect.
Public holidays in Chengdu include Chinese New Year, which lasts for a week, and Chinese National Day on 1 October.
Sichuan cooking is world-renowned for its spicy, bold flavours – not to mention its richness and depth.
One of the eight major cuisines of China, it makes liberal use of chillies, garlic and Sichuan spices.
Some of the most famous Chinese dishes and recipes originate from Sichuan, including kung pao chicken, dandan noodles, hot and sour noodles and soup, as well as mapo tofu.
Freshwater fish is common here, as is rabbit. Make sure you sample some of the delicious street food on offer to enjoy an authentic taste of Chengdu - while dining like the locals do.
A city of long-held traditions, Chengdu is one of the most interesting and diverse cultural centres in China.
Sichuan opera has had a major influence on the country’s art and music, with Chengdu being particularly renowned for the quality of its performances.
During events such as Chinese New Year, the city also comes to life with bright lights, fireworks and beautiful lanterns.
This is also a place of great literary heritage. Many notable poets and novelists lived here, including Li Jieren, Ba Jin and Hu Lanqi.
The Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu spent some time in Chengdu, and you can even visit the quaint thatched cottage where he stayed around 1,300 years ago.
Chengdu is one of China’s oldest cities, with evidence showing there were inhabited settlements in the area more than 4,000 years ago.
It was ultimately conquered by the Qin empire, with its resources helping the First Qin Emperor to bring various warring states together under his banner.
Chengdu prospered during the Imperial era, becoming a commercial centre for fabric and later tobacco. It is also believed to have been the first place in the world to use paper money – and was briefly the Chinese capital prior to the Second World War.
Today, the legacy of its long past can still be found in the historic temples and sites dotted around its streets.
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