Meet your guide at your hotel in the early morning and travel by private vehicle to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, about a 40-minute drive away. Walk around the non-profit research and breeding facility to observe giant pandas in all stages of development. You’ll appreciate enclosures that simulate their natural environment and meet the expert staff who care for them. Be sure to take some photos of these endangered species — as well as red pandas — eating bamboo, sleeping and playing.
Spend approximately 3 hours on a guided tour with China’s most beloved creatures before a 30-minute drive to Zhaojue Temple, en route to downtown Chengdu. This 7th-century Zen monastery, considered a model for many Asian Buddhist temples, was reconstructed during the early Qing Dynasty.
Take in the beauty of the tranquil waterways, groves and pavilions as you stroll amid the extensive grounds. After a vegetarian lunch at Zhaojue Temple, drive to People’s Park, the most popular park in Sichuan’s capital city. Here, you’ll find locals who gather to play chess or music, row boats on the lake or dance together.
Visit the Match Corner, where older parents meet and post their unmarried children’s resumes in the hopes of making a match with a future son- or daughter-in-law. If you’d like, you can also try an ear cleaning and massage (own expense) before relaxing at one of the many teahouses located in the park.
Afterward, walk across the street to visit downtown Chengdu, including the Kuan-Zhai Lane area. Although the name literally translates to 'Wide-Narrow' Lane, both Kuan and Zhai lanes exist as narrow alleyways. Along with a third lane, Jing, these three parallel alleyways are recognized as one of Chengdu’s three historic conservation districts.
Stroll down the visually pleasing pedestrian thoroughfare for a glimpse of Qing-style quadrangle homes nestled between fashionable cafés, nightclubs and clothing boutiques. Before your guide delivers you back to your hotel by private vehicle, stop by local street vendors for a snack dinner and sample what local specialties are available around Kuan-Zhai Lane!