Chengdu Travel Guide, Sichuan
With a history dated back 2,300 years ago, Chengdu is one of the famous historical cities in China. It's so unique that a city remains the same name for thousands of years through the queasy political systems from the ancient dynasty till today.
Historical significance aside, as the capital city of Sichuan province and the traffic hub of Southwest China, Chengdu is a gateway to the wilderness of west Sichuan and Tibet.
Despite the well-developed and commercialized city features in Chengdu, its laid-back life style, profound tea culture, flavored cuisine and Sichuan Opera brewed from the centuries-old Bashu Culture allures travelers to make a stop here before heading towards other destinations.
When to go
Mar.~ Jun.., Sept. ~ Nov.
While some scenic spots around Chengdu, such as Qingchengshan, Xinling Snow Moutain etc., are ideal for spending hot summer there.
There are direct international flights between Amsterdam( www.klm.com), Hongkong, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Chengdu.
Chengdu has frequent daily air connections with more than 60 major cities within China.
Chengdu Shuangliu Airport
the largest international airport in southwest China, located 16km from the center of Chengdu, about 30 minutes ride.
For getting to your hotel in the city center, a taxi will cost around Y60. Comfortable shuttles running between the airport and China Airlines Office at Jinjiang Hotel on Renminnanlu cost Y10, then take a taxi to your hotel. The taxi in Chengdu, covering 12km. Many hotels are just within this distance.
Taxi is not expensive in Chengdu. starting price is Y5~6, a ride costs normally Y7 to Y10 in downtown.
There are thousands of hotel, hostels and Inns of all levels in Chengdu. Traffic Hotel [Tel: 86-028-85451017] close to the Xinnanmen Bus Station is nearly the base camp for overseas backpackers owing to its convenience in catching a connection bus as well as its favourite conditions.[Y200/Std. Rm, Y40/bed.] Even the shared bathrooms are incredibly clean.
Dragon Town Youth Hostel (Long Tang Ke Zhang) [86-28-8664 8408]
Chengdu Dreams Travel International Youth Hostel [86-28-8557 0315]
Top Star Hotel (Qi Dou Xing七斗星) [86-28-6677 1777]
Sam's Guesthouse [86-28-8615 4179]
Sichuan Cuisine is highly famous and popular throughout China. At all events, travelers should try the spicy and tingling flavored food like hotpot, barbecue and bunchiness [Chuan Chuan串串]. Sichuan Xiaochi (snack) is also very welcome.
Things to do in Chengdu
- Choose a teahouse to enjoy Sichuan Opera and its stunt of changing face and spitting fire , The most famous teahouse is Shunxing Teahouse [86-28-8764 9999]
- Rent a Bicycle in the hostel at Y10.00 per day and cycle around the city, but make sure you park it in a designated area, as the bicycle theft is so frequent in China.
- Try Sichuan snacks at Chunxi Road - All kind of Sichuan snacks are available in the well-knowned Chunxi Road, which is also the commercial center of Chengdu. It's very easy to be directed there.
- There are a few memorial temples or tombs in Chengdu which entry tickets are required. But it's not so worthwhile for backpackers to go.
The traffic network is fairly mature within Sichuan Province. Bus is the quickest and most convenient vehicle to ferry you around. Xinnanmen and Chadianzi Bus Stations are the 2 major passenger centers in Chengdu. The former is just next to Traffic Hotel in downtown, the latter is in the northwest outskirt of Chengdu, a taxi ride costs Y23 from Traffice Hotel to Chadianzi Bus Station.
Xinnanmen Bus Station: 028-85433609
Chadianzi Bus Station: 028-87506610
If you travel with a group of 3~4 persons, renting a land-cruiser may be a good idea. It's a bit more expensive than bus, but it just serves for you, and you can ask for stop anywhere you like to take a photo or have a rest.
Make sure you budget enough time when traveling in the west of Sichuan, as the roads in that side are in terrible conditions, you never know how long a traffic jam will last, maybe 30 minutes, maybe 3 hours.