“The place with the pandas, spicy food and hotpots”
Chengdu is a bustling city with a tropical vibe. But tucked away, out of sight are some real hidden gems that are worth a visit.
Things to see and do:
The most popular attraction in Chengdu is visiting the Giant Panda Research Base. Most people visit Chengdu just to see these beautiful creatures, so if you’re a massive fan of pandas then you should definitely visit. (EducatingKavita didn’t visit the pandas due to time constraints)
My personal favourite was visiting Wenshu Yuan Monastery and the little side streets around it.
Things to eat and drink:
The most popular food to eat is the Hotpot in this province. A Hotpot is basically a pot of boiling stock which you can add a variety of meat and vegetables to and cook it at your table. Hotpots can become quite pricey as each type of meat and vegetable is priced separately. It is also possible to find “all you can eat” Hotpot restaurants around the city.
My favourite part of Chengdu was visiting a small garden behind Wenshu Yuan Monastery with friends from Beijing. As soon as we arrived an older Chinese gentleman started speaking to us about our lives back home and how we were enjoying China. He was a joy to converse with.
We then walked around the area and stumbled upon a few stalls where we were given the chance to try a variety of teas ranging from white to red from different provinces in china. Luckily for us there was also another man who explained the different tastes and aromas of each tea to aid our understanding.
“The Leshan Giant Buddha”
There are two popular things to do in Leshan: The Leshan Giant Buddha and climbing Mt Emei.
The Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest stone Buddha in the world and quite a marvel to see.
It costs 90 RMB (45 RMB student ticket) to visit the Buddha itself and there are a variety of other sights to see up there. Viewing the Giant Buddha in all its glory will require you to climb down narrow steps from the height of the statues head to the statues feet at the base and then back up again on the other side.
Getting to Leshan from Chengdu:
Get a bus from Xinnamen Bus Station in Chengdu to Leshan Buddha statue. The bus ticket from Xinnamen to Leshan is 46 RMB one way. The 7am and 7:05 bus will take you straight to the statue complex. If you can’t get one of the two early buses, just get a bus ticket to Leshan and then get a local bus (bus 13) to the Buddha statue. The local bus will cost 1 RMB
This mountain is supposed to be one spectacular hike. Unfortunately, it had snowed the night before and was raining on the day that we had planned to visit, so, we didn’t get a chance to get up there. But on a good day the hike is a great idea as you can also pay to sleep in monasteries on the mountain overnight and then see the sunrise the next morning.
Getting to Mt Emei
Get a tourist bus from Leshan City to Emei city and then get bus number 2 to Baoguo bus station. You can start your hike from that bus station which is at the base of the mountain or you can get another bus from there and go further up the mountain.
Seeing the Leshan Giant Buddha was a pretty awesome sight and is something you must do if you’re in the area. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to climb Mt Emei due to the weather, but our next destination included a variety of hikes in Zhangjiajie, so stay tuned.