Steeped in thousands of years of history, Chengdu is the cultural and political hub of the Sichuan Province. Close to nine million people make this provincial capital their home where the vigour and vitality of the city can be felt at all hours of the day or night. Visitors who follow their stomachs will be energized by the world famous spicy cuisine and numerous teahouses but will have the opportunity to walk off their gluttony in the beautiful flower parks and at the multiple curiosity peaking attractions.
One of the more popular attractions is the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu. Du Fu was a famous poet during the Tang Dynasty and made his home at this spot in the western suburbs of the city during the last years of his life. During this time, he wrote over 240 poems, which focused on the misery of the people of the time. Now an expansive park full of flowers surrounds the original place of his hut and there are multiple exhibits featuring details of his work.
Numerous temples and shrines such as the Wuhou Memorial and Baouguang Temple spot the city and can provide hours of cultural entertainment. For the more horticulturally inclined, a visit to the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project of China will highlight the amazing ancient engineering that left this region as one of the most fertile in China.
The Giant Panda Research Centre just outside of Chengdu is most popular amongst visitors to this area and teaches conservation of animals as well as showing off these lovable furry creatures.
With a sunrise stroll along the Jinjinag River, you can see people preparing for the day by practicing Tai Chi, aerobics or even ballroom dancing. Why not stroll over and join in!
One of the most popular weekend “getaways” for the people of Chengdu is Remnin Park, offering activities for families, people wishing to conduct business or visitors wanting to escape the bustling city for some fresh air and exercise.
In the morning, people descend upon the park to perform their daily rituals of Tai Chi, opera singing, face cleaning, dancing or whatever other ablutions take their fancy. Later on in the day, the older men of the community arrive at the park tables with their jars of tea to hunker down for a day of cards and other groups of people gather in the opposite corner of the park to practice their English.
In the centre of the park, sits a 300 year-old teahouse, which is enjoyed by everyone but mainly caters to the men meeting for a smoke and a cup of tea while discussing business issues. This is an excellent place to relax and refuel while watching the unfolding spectacles around you.
The original teahouse was shut down during the Cultural Revolution because it was considered a dangerous meeting place for the counter-revolutionaries. Now the teahouse is humming with business and resembles more of an unusual French Café/English Pub style combination.