Chengdu, Sichuan, China for Hotpot, Pandas, and Mysterious Neon Alleys

This is part 1/4 of my trip through Central China in October of 2018. 

Chengdu is everything you could ever want in a Chinese city, structured in a way that doesn’t seem to overwhelm. If you’re the type of traveler who wants the benefits of the big city’s activities without the drawbacks of urban chaos, Chengdu is your place. It covers all of the necessary bases, and is perfect for a 2-3 day trip. 

For the foodies, Chengdu’s pride and joy is their Sichuan-style hot pot. My airbnb host, Jin, was kind enough to take me to her favorite hotpot restaurant that also had a theatric performance (my mandarin is good, but not good enough to understand humor!). The hotpot was surreal– but be cautious! If they want to hurt you, they can offer some of the spiciest dishes on the planet. 

For the history buffs, Chengdu’s Jinsha archaeological site is up your alley– smack in the middle of the city, too! Seeing the excavations is really interesting, and they offer a sort of boardwalk to help you get up close to the action. 

For the shoppers and night lovers, head to Kuan and Zhai alleys. It’s a dimly lit, mysterious set of refined shopping streets with an awesome array of activities. There are boutique hotels,  theatric performances, and plenty of fascinating shops and restaurants for everyone to enjoy– but like most Chinese cities, it’s way better at night. 

Do you crave the neon and want a place to party? After going to the top of the Sichuan tower overlooking the city’s color, head over to the Anshun Bridge. From there, you’ll find an unbelievable amount of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs beckoning you inside. There’s nothing more exciting than it. This area is called ‘Lan Kwai Fong’– yes, just like in Hong Kong. 

The Chengdu Panda breeding facility is the largest in the world for a reason– don’t miss it! Pandas can sometimes be reclusive and lazy, so if you don’t see a panda at an exhibit, just to go the next one; there are plenty. 

Getting around Chengdu is unbelievably easy– bikeshares, subways, and taxis are easy to find, not to mention inexpensive and efficient! 

In my next article, I’ll discuss my time in Chongqing, a booming city on the Yangtze River with a bright future. 

 

Insider Tip

As with most of China, don’t expect most people to understand any other language. Be respectful of the Chinese and I promise they will be respectful right back.

Where I stayed / started

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