China is one of the most densely populated and biggest countries in the world, and therefore it is difficult to choose one place that it is worth visiting there. However, surely none will regret visiting this country’s mid-western province, Sichuan, and its capital Chengdu – a centre of tradition and excellent cuisine, as well as a city very often associated with pandas.

Chengdu is a metropolis with a population of over ten million located in the very heart of Sichuan. Built in 326 BC, in the past the city was famous for the production of silk brocade, which is the reason it is also known as ‘Jincheng’ – the city of brocade. Today, it is a rapidly developing economic and cultural centre, which, despite its modernity, has managed to maintain the traditional atmosphere – on the streets, you can still find artisans making craftwork in front of the customers, whereas in the alleys you can meet hairdressers who cut pedestrians’ hair or visit local teahouses where you can rest from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The symbol of Chengdu

While in this region, you should definitely visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, an over 30-hectare bamboo forest sanctuary that is home for both old animals, as well as newly born cubs kept in incubators or special coops.
The sanctuary is a few kilometres away from the city, but you can reach it by bus or by buying a trip with transport. 

Something for the soul

Chengdu is a place where Wuhou Ci, a 1200-year-old temple built in the honour of Zhuge Liang, a regent during the Three Kingdoms period (the 3rd century AD), is located. Also worth visiting is the very popular among tourists Wenshu Monastery, with tombs that store the ashes of Buddhist monks.
Interestingly, when visiting the temple, it is also possible to see monks from a less obvious perspective, e.g. you can find them playing badminton or ping-pong. The streets are preserved in a traditional style and a walk along them is a real pleasure.

Something for the body

Sichuan province is also famous for its exceptional spicy cuisine, where Sichuan pepper, chilli, ginger, and spicy herbs rule supreme. When in Chengdu, you must try dishes from one of the restaurants serving food in huoguo, that is, a hot pot. The hot soup is kept simmering at the centre of the table,
where a burner is located and you can choose whether your soup should be spicy or mild. However, it is better to be careful with the spiciness, because people who are not used to this taste may often feel unpleasant tingling in their mouths. Vegetarians can go to restaurants run by monks at Buddhist temples.

 The biggest shopping mall

The New Century Global Center, one of the largest buildings in the world, was built in Chengdu. In order to depict its size, it is a good idea to use comparisons – it is four times bigger than Vatican, three times bigger than the Pentagon, and you could put 20 The Sydney Opera Houses inside in it!
Nearly 4,000 square meters are devoted to retail space, hotels, a cinema, a water park with artificial beach, offices, conference rooms and a university complex. This monumental building is directly connected to the metro line.

Outside the city – Emei Shan and the Leshan Giant Buddha

Mount Emei is a mountain in Sichuan Province, and one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains. It is also a 3099-meter high place of pilgrimage and one of the largest nature reserves.
Together with the 71-meter-high Leshan Giant Buddha, it entered the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996.