Hear about travel to Chengdu, China as the Amateur Traveler talks to Jessica Elliot from howdareshe.org 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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