The cultural hub of the land of abundance, Chengdu is a well-known Chinese historical centre, home to a diverse selection of attractions incorporating a host of Chinese stereotypes, from monasteries to a breeding and research location for Giant Pandas and a selection of stunning temples.
In fact, the Giant Pandas take up an impressive 92 acres of wild shrub land near the heart of the city (soon to be expanded to a massive 500 acres), and are a real must see attraction; the chance to check out the symbol of China close up. The Giant Panda Museum is the only endangered species focused museum in the world, and covers the Giant Panda in such depth you’ll feel you’ve had your hit for the entire country by the time you leave.
For other sites, the Minjiang River is the heart of everything. One of the most astounding sites is the Anlan Suspension Bridge, a 500-meter long ornate rope bridge that often sways in the wind. The bridge dates back to an unknown period, and has recently been ‘improved’ with concrete and steal pillars replacing the previous wooden structure. It’s not quite as impressive as it once was, but still a must see sight. The 2300-year-old Dujiangyan Irrigation Project is an enticing historical draw, too, constructed for crop growth before the time of Christ and still used right up to the present day.
Then there’s the Du Fu Cottage, an ornate and serene spot at the West Gate of the city that was once the retreat of a noted Chinese poet, or the sensational Wuhou Memorial Temple, a delicate corner littered with magnificent decorations that will tempt calmer souls to bed down for the day and meditate.
Chengdu might not be a headline attraction in China, and its sights might not inspire the same excitement back home as the likes of the Great Wall of China or the plains of Tibet, but it’s every bit as beautiful, if perhaps on a smaller scale. You won’t come to China just for this, but it’s a worthy stop on any itinerary.