Travel to Chengdu, China – Episode 600

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VIsiting Pandas in Chengdu, China - Travel to the capital of Sichuan (Szechuan) (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Chengdu, China as the Amateur Traveler talks to Jessica Elliot from about her recent trip.

Chengdu is in the middle of China. Jessica says, “Two things brought me to Chengdu. One it’s the capital of the Sichuan (Szechuan) province and anyone who eats a fair bit of Chinese food knows that word Szechuan. We would maybe know it as a style of Chinese food. It’s most people’s favorite style of Chinese food. That was really important to me: food. Probably more important to me than food is pandas. Those are the two reasons by most people will make the trek that far inland. For people who are interested in going to the Tibet region, Chengdu can serve as a good base to launch that trip from.”

“While we may think of Chengdu as a lesser-known city in China we also have to remember that it’s a massive metropolitan Chinese city. There’s 18 million people there. It’s not a small city off in the countryside.”

Jessica starts us at the Panda research center since this is the main reason for most people to travel to Chengdu. You want to be there the first thing in the morning both to avoid the crowds and see the giant pandas when they are the most active. It is outside the city so she recommends booking a day tour even though you can also get there on public transportation. There are both giant pandas and red pandas. She has some specific tips to make the best of your visit.

Definitely try the local food, especially if you like spicy food. We do debate the merits of chicken feet.

She also recommends a visit to the well known Wenshu Monastery and the historic center of the city with its streets for strolling and street stalls for eating. She also recommends attending the Sichuan Opera. It is called the “face-changing opera”. The performers wear masks and the masks seem to change as if by magic. It is “showmanship at its best”. They do have a running English translation.

Nearby she recommends a visit to the Leshan Giant Buddha which has been carved out of the mountain.

Learn why Jessica thinks the trip all this way (and she traveled by train) is worth the effort.

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VIsiting Pandas in Chengdu, China - Travel to the capital of Sichuan (Szechuan) (Podcast)

Show Notes

How Dare She
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Wenshu Monastery
Leshan Giant Buddha
Sichuan Opera
Bian Lian
Zhangye National Geopark
10 Things To Know


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Travel to Chengdu, China – Episode 600”

Omar Jauregui


Hey Chris. I found the podcast about a year ago and have been a dedicated listener since. As someone who has explored the Sichuan region, I was looking forward to this podcast episode. Another other side-trip I would recommend is going to Jiuzhaigoe National Park. From Chengdu, it mostly accessible via a 8 hour bus ride but its definitely worth it, especially if you love the outdoors. Due to the earthquake that occurred in the region last year, it’s currently closed but it’s rescheduled to reopen in May 2018. I would definitely recommend it as it was my favorite stop in my 3 week China trip. I love the podcast and looking forward to many more episodes. -Omar



Thanks Omar, good to know!

Patrick Welz


Hey Chris, the show rocks. I listen on my commute every day. I’ve been working in China for almost six years now so I especially love the China episodes. You and Jessica spent a minute discussing tools and resources that make it easier to travel in China. I want to add Apple Maps to those resources for any future travellers. You can use it all in English and you can even use the public transit option on it if you want to avoid taxis. I’ve been to some small and out of the way cities and Apple Maps has never failed me. Apple has done such a good job with it that I will stick exclusively with iPhones as long as I’m here.

And another great app for China is the app. I thought it worth mentioning as I listened to the Xian episode. Again it’s in English and you can look up the train route you want, choose the train you want, and show the people at the ticket office to make it a little easier.

I hope this helps some people visiting China in the future.




thanks for the tips Patrick!

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