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Things to do in Chengdu

Things to do in  Chengdu

Welcome to Chengdu

Chengdu, a Chinese city famed for pandas and parties, lacks in natural features and is plagued by grey clouds for most of the year. But it remains perennially popular for its wealth of cultural attractions, chief among them, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, credited with more than 100 panda births since it opened in 1987. Spend the day volunteering and caring for the endangered animals there or at Dujiangyan Panda Base (55 kilometers or 34 miles from town), or combine the conservation center with a visit to the Leshan Giant Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage site and world’s largest stone Buddha statue, on a day-tour. Sightseeing tours of Chengdu’s city center orient travelers with visits to Renmin Park (People’s Park), Kuanzhai Alley, and the ancient Wenshu Temple, or head to Mount Qingcheng, shrouded by dense bamboo forests, and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, built in 256 BC. With more time, visitors can check out Mount Emei (Emeishan, 170 kilometers or 105 miles from Chengdu), the highest of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, the ancient town of Huanglongxi (a 35-minute drive away), replete with Ming and Qing-era architecture, and Chengdu Culture Park, where they can watch a Sichuan Opera among bonsai displays and historic temples.

Top 10 attractions in Chengdu

#1

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

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There are few images more iconic to southwestern China than that of the giant panda. Unfortunately, despite its status as a Chinese national treasure, the giant panda population has been whittled down to just 1,000 pandas due to mass human development over the last century. As a response to this ecological crisis the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was opened in 1987 and began caring for six pandas rescued from the wild. During the 25 years since its founding the Chengdu Panda Base has employed some of the world’s leading giant panda researchers to manage an open air sanctuary where giant pandas can be bred and raised in an effort to eventually be reintroduced into wild populations. Located only seven miles from downtown Chengdu, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is inarguably one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of southern China.More
#2

Leshan Giant Buddha (Da Fo)

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The 233-foot (71-meter) tall Grand Buddha in Leshan (also called the Leshan Giant Buddha) holds the record as both the tallest stone Buddha sculpture and one of the tallest sculptures anywhere in the world. Construction of the Buddha, carved out of the mountain, began in 713 when a Buddhist monk by the name of Hai Tong decided to carve the statue as a way to gain divine protection for local fisherman who were getting killed each year by violent river currents. Ninety years of work went into the carving of the Grand Buddha, but the river rages on. After earning a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the statue has undergone extensive repairs, and today you can see it in much of its original glory with a day trip from Chengdu. To see the statue from all angles, take the stone staircase down the statue's right side from the gift shop just behind his head. Once you've zigzagged your way down, you'll find a viewing platform at the statue's toe level.More
#3

Renmin Park (People's Park)

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Commonly known as “People’s Park” this lively open green space in southwest Chengdu is full of exactly that: people playing cards, people doing tai chi, people dancing and people squawking karaoke into microphones. Simply put, People’s Park is a people watcher’s dream. Famous for its popular teahouse where locals will often linger all day, the park also boasts a long lakeshore where visitors can hire a pedal boat to observe the action from a different vantage point. Open from dawn to the wee hours of the morning, the admission is free and the atmosphere is unique. On one visit you may be swept up by the energy of an impromptu dance session whereas on a separate day you could be sitting in bamboo chair drinking tea and be offered to have your ears cleaned by an elderly ear-cleaning vendor.More
#4

Mt. Qingcheng (Qingcheng Shan)

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At a user friendly height of only 1,290 meters (4,234 feet), Mount Qingcheng is one of the best day trekking options surrounding Chengdu. Due to its lush green surroundings, numerous waterfalls and 36 peaks which stretch towards the sky, Mount Qingcheng has historically been referred to as “the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven.” Located 64 kilometers (40 miles) outside of Chengdu, a trip to Qingcheng is frequently combined with a visit to the nearby Dujiangyan Irrigation System. The mountain is regarded as one of the most sacred in Taoism and has a history which dates back over 2,000 years - to the very founding of the religion. While the most popular route for ascending Mount Qingcheng is to take a short ferry across Yuecheng Lake and ride the cable car to within a 20 minute walk of the summit, this route bypasses a number of the temples which make this mountain famous.More
#5

Kuan Zhai Alley (Kuan Zhai Xiang Zi)

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When Chinese soldiers of the Qing Dynasty returned from war with Tibet in 1718, many of the soldiers and their families based themselves around Kuan-Zhai Lane in the Sichuan city of Chengdu. Though only 3 of the original 42 lanes remain from the period of military housing - Kuan, Zhai, and Jing - these three lanes collectively comprise an area of Chengdu now known to travelers as China’s Lane. Although the name literally translates to “Wide-Narrow” Lane, both Kuan and Zhai lanes exist as narrow alleyways, with one being imperceptibly wider than the other. Along with the third lane, Jing, these three parallel alleyways are recognized as one of Chengdu’s three historic conservation districts. Ranking as one of the finest pedestrian thoroughfares in downtown Chengdu, Kuan-Zhai Lane offers a visually pleasing blend of traditional Sichuan architecture fused with modern Chengdu commerce.More
#6

Zhaojue Temple

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#7

Jinli Ancient Street

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When Qin Dynasty traders started selling baldachin cloth on Jinli Street in 220 B.C. they set in motion a chain of events which would turn Jinli into the busiest commercial hub in the city of Chengdu. Known as “The First Street of the Shu Kingdom” for its commercial activity during the “Three Kingdoms Period” (221-263), the boulevard now known as Jinli Ancient Street was recently restored in 2004 in an effort to return it to its former glory. Running for 382 yards just east of the Wuhou Memorial Temple, the green flagstone of Jinli Ancient Street weaves a pedestrian thoroughfare teeming with local Chengdu merchants and traditional Sichuan architecture. In a nod to the lengthy history of the boulevard many shopkeepers and street merchants continue to dress in a traditional Sichuan style in an effort to fuse the modern elements of Chengdu with ancient Sichuan custom and design.More
#8

Dujiangyan Irrigation System

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Despite being constructed in 256 BC, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System continues to serve residents of the fertile Chengdu Plain. A marvel of ancient engineering, the irrigation system was built in response to destructive springtime flood waters. It was commissioned by Governor Li Bing who began work on the project to divide the river into more manageable streams so as to not breach the riverbanks. Once separated, the diverted water was to be funneled through the nearby Mt. Yulei en route to irrigating the surrounding fields and plains. Needing to blast through the mountainside in an age before gunpowder, Li Bing and his son employed a system where the heating and cooling of stones would crack an eventual path through the mountain. After four years of heavy construction the miraculous project was completed, and in doing so, created the world’s oldest no-dam irrigation system. In 2000 the Dujiangyan Irrigation System was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.More
#9

Shufen Yayun Teahouse (Shufeng Yayun)

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Located in the Chengdu Culture Park, the Shufeng YaYun Teahouse was once a gathering place for famous Sichuan operatic actors. Now, it is one of the hot spots for visitors to Chengdu and holds the China Sichuan Opera Unique Skills Performance each evening. This helps preserve and share traditional Sichuan arts while providing a glimpse into the past as one of the most popular Sichuan Opera theaters in the area. Don’t be misled by the term "opera" in relation to the performance that takes place here; instead, it’s more of a variety show of traditional Sichuan exhibitions like puppetry, dancing, singing, music, hand shadows, comedic theater and the culmination: face changing. The performances take place in an open-air theater, and light snacks are served. Knowledge of Mandarin is not necessary, as there is a translator at the show.More
#10

Wuhou Memorial Temple (Temple of Marquis Wu)

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Dating back nearly 2,000 years, the Wuhou Memorial Temple (Temple of Marquis Wu) in a southern suburb of Chengdu is steeped in history and lore. The site is meant to honor Liu Bei, emperor of the Shu Kingdom, as well as his much revered military strategist Zhuge Liang (later Marquis Wu)—two immensely popular figures in Chinese history.More

Trip ideas

Top Temples in Chengdu

Top Temples in Chengdu

How to Spend 3 Days in Chengdu

How to Spend 3 Days in Chengdu

Sichuan Food Lover's Guide to Chengdu

Sichuan Food Lover's Guide to Chengdu

Top activities in Chengdu

Leshan Giant Buddha Day Tour

Leshan Giant Buddha Day Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Chengdu

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Pandas at Dujiangyan, delicious lunch, beautiful mountain and the most helpful of guides!
Kelly_Rock, Oct 2020
Giant Panda Hometown and Taoist Mountain Discovery From Chengdu
It was not very crowded, we got to see active pandas and Bella was very informative about each of the enclosures and pandas, as well as pandas in general.
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Great Dinner and Show ! A must !!
nugas2019, Aug 2019
Private Half-Day Tour in Sichuan Culture Show with Hot Pot Dinner in Chengdu
If it’s summer get ready for the heat!
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It was amazing experience. Panda cub...
Seiko M, Dec 2017
Private Half-Day Chengdu Panda Breeding Center Tour with Optional Volunteer
She explained lot about Chengdu and pandas and gave lot of tips what to do and where to go in Chengdu.
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This was an amazing tour. I had some...
Terri, Mar 2018
All Inclusive Private Day Tour of Chengdu Old Streets including City Top Attractions
This is a must to visit the different old shopping streets.
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This is a great way to see a city as...
Lee E, Apr 2018
Private Chengdu Half Day Bike Tour
This is a great way to see a city as big as Chengdu!
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Had a wonderful day visiting the...
David B, Nov 2016
Chengdu City Tour of Qingyang Palace, Wuhou Temple and Jinli Street
Overall, an excellent introduction to the city and its many attractions.
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If you go to Chengdu, you have to...
ANTOINE G, Jan 2017
Sichuan Opera Show Private Tour
If you go to Chengdu, you have to see this, even if you don't understand a word of Chinese.
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Great tour! It was a quick trip for...
Denise A, May 2016
Private Half-Day Chengdu Panda Breeding Center Tour with Optional Volunteer
It was a quick trip for me in Chengdu so wanted to see as much as possible.
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We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Our...
Looloo, Apr 2015
Chengdu Private Sightseeing Tour with Panda Breeding Center Visit
Our main reason for visiting chengdu was to see the panda's and we weren't disappointed.
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Lovely bike tour! Guide picked us up...
Vivian S, Feb 2013
Private Chengdu Half Day Bike Tour
Great and friendly guide and for sure a good way to see Chengdu!
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Not to miss 1-Day Trip!!!!
TanjaB488, Dec 2019
Bullet train day trip to Xi'an (Start from ChengDu)
We've been in Chengdu and unfortunately not enough time to visit beautiful Xi'an as well.
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Best Tour and Guide in Chengdu
alexandrajoleary, Dec 2019
Chengdu Museum+People's Park
You can tell she loves her job, her English is perfect, and she knows all of the little details and history of Chengdu that gives you a much better insight into the city you are visiting.
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Emily thanks for a wonderful day!
diedrich2019, Aug 2019
All Inclusive Private Day Tour of Chengdu Old Streets including City Top Attractions
Emily have great English skills and a lovely personality with an interest in our culture as well.
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Great way to see the city
louisaandpaul, Aug 2019
Private Bamboo Bicycle Tour in Chengdu
This is a great way to see the city and we found the first few hours very relaxing.
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Must-Do in Chengdu!
gykp2010, Aug 2018
Chengdu Evening Food Tour by Tuk-Tuk
Chino was an excellent guide who spoke great English.
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Great day trip!
Phillyrich, Jul 2018
Full Day Panda and Leshan Giant Buddha Group Tour
We combined 2 great attractions near Chengdu, starting with a morning trip to see the Giant Panda Research Center, followed by the amazing Leshan Giant Buddha in the afternoon.
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you never miss such an amazing...
Lily Z, Oct 2018
Explore the most down-to-earth market
You never find this market scattered in local alleys from any tourist guidebook and this is absolutely the best way to see how a local chengdunese spend a day.
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Private Leshan Giant Buddha Tour from...
s4040, Dec 2016
Private Tour: Leshan Giant Buddha and Fishing Village from Chengdu
Lily speaks excellent English and customized our tour as per our request.
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Volunteering at Wolong Panda Base...
Sergey N, Sep 2017
Wolong Panda Base Volunteering Program from Chengdu
The day was very organised and involved various panda activities highlights include feeding a panda up close and holding a panda you have to make an additional payment but it is absolutely worth it!
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My wife and I were led by Jamie Jing...
billyleong, Oct 2017
All Inclusive Private Day Trip to Chengdu Giant Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha Trip by High-Speed Train
We were fortunate to see very active Panda having their breakfast and manage to mingle with a red Panda who came right up to our feet.

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