Day 1: Mt. Qingcheng, Dujiangyan Irrigation System, and a classic Sichuan opera
After spending a night in a city of 11 million people you’re probably going to want to find some peace and quiet. At the same time, you just arrived in Chengdu so you won’t want to travel too far to get away. At 35 miles outside of the city center, the forested wilderness of Mt. Qingcheng is just the right distance for planning your escape. The preferred trekking destination of choice for local Chengdu residents, the summit of the most sacred mountain in Taosim is reachable via a 4 hour climb past ancient temples and lonely caves. Or, if you’re short on time, peruse the confines of Jianfu Temple at the base of the mountain and then ride the cable car to within 20 minutes of the summit. Though much of the surrounding village was flattened in the 2008 earthquake, construction efforts are aiding Mt. Qingcheng in rebuilding the cultural riches that earned it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. After working up a sweat on the mountain, be sure to head over to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System for a look at one of the world’s most ingenious no-dam waterways. While there, discover how Governor Li Bing found a way to blast a tunnel through a mountain during an era prior to the advent of explosives. If you still have the energy once back in Chengdu, finish off the day with a Sichuan opera or cultural show for a rousing evening of face-changing performers, thumping percussion and high-flying Chengdu acrobats.
Day 2: Giant Panda Breeding Center, Green Ram Temple, and Renmin Park
You’ll want to be up early in order to reach the Giant Panda Breeding Center, easily Chengdu’s most famous attraction, for the 9am feeding time—the best chance you’re going to have of seeing active giant pandas. After learning about the curious mating techniques of captive giant pandas, take a taxi back into town for a gander at the famously strange sculpture at Qingyang Palace. Often referred to as “Green Ram Temple,” the “Green Ram” refers to a bronze goat which has the characteristics of all 12 animals found in the Chinese zodiac. Relax and enjoy a cup or two of green tea to bolster your energy for the evening dancing found over at Renmin Park. Locally known as “People’s Park,” the evening hours here are frequently bustling with crowds of Chengdu locals who find exercise in the form of impromptu dance. .
Day 3: Day trip to the Leshan Buddha
Although it’s located over an hour outside of Chengdu, there is no way you can come this close to world’s largest stone carved Buddha and not take a trip out to see it. A masterfully created figure with toes taller than a human and 18 foot (5.5 meter) long eyebrows, the Leshan Buddha can legitimately be considered as one of the spiritual wonders of the world. Many visitors often combine a trip to the Leshan Buddha with a two-day hiking excursion on Mt. Emei, so those with more than three days in Chengdu are encouraged to head further afield and climb the ancient slopes of what is the tallest of all the sacred mountains of Buddhism.
Reply by Viator, April 2013
Doing what: Private Tour: Day Trip to the Leshan Grand Buddha from Chengdu
Our best guide of our Chinese trip. Very friendly and helpful. Awesome lunch too.
Reply by Viator, March 2013
Doing what: Half-Day Chengdu Panda Breeding Center Tour with Optional Baby Panda Holding
Loved this tour. I had been dreaming about seeing the pandas since I can't remember. Booked to hold the panda, after all, I wasn't going to fly half way around the world to miss out. Our tour guide Carol picked us up from our hotel. There was just two of us. It was a long drive (2 hours each way to Wolong). We saw pandas almost straight off the zoo bus. They were far closer than I imagined they would be. There were many. It was fantastic. Carol took us to a few different locations and gave us some interesting information. We had our photo session locked in for 11am. I was very excited. Unfortunately, the panda was already on the seat and when I asked the person in charge if I could touch him (because here in Australia we do not just start touching wild animals without first checking) he said "NO". This was disappointing seeing as I booked a tour which said I could hold one, I paid for the opportunity and I had come all the way from Australia to do so but I accepted it. We were able to have photos for probably only 20 seconds and we only got 4 each which isn't really much. The next girl who came in after me just wrapped her arm around the panda but wasn't told off. This was very disappointing for me. Still, I saw many gorgeous pandas and the tour was well organised. We got dropped back off just as advertised.
Reply by Viator, March 2013
Doing what: Qingcheng Mountain and Dujiangyan Irrigation System Day Trip from Chengdu