After a stay in Xi’an I took another overnight sleeper train to Chengdu which is further south west in China. I came here primarily for the infamous panda reserves, but ended up extending my stay from 19th to 24th May as I loved Chengdu so much. As Chengdu is within the Sichuan province, the food with all the Sichuan peppers was amazing! You must try the snacks or dishes as the spicy peppers give a different ‘tingling’ sensation to normal pepper.
Don’t forget you can click on the photos below to view more!
Panda Reserve in Chengdu, Sichuan
I’d never seen pandas in real life before, and if I had, it must have been when I was very young and visited a zoo back in the UK. I took a taxi from Chengdu to the Panda Breeding Centre where I saw some of the most adorable creatures ever! Pandas are so playful when they’re active, and mesmerizing to watch with their inquisitive features.
The babies played with each other and enjoyed tumbling over each other in their well-kept yards. The adults on the other hand liked to sit and eat their bamboo canes. It’s important you get to the reserves as early as you can after they open as the pandas are fed first thing. After that they tend to sleep with the heat of the day and you can sometimes miss seeing them if they go indoors to their shelters.
Other animals in the reserve included red pandas which were also fascinating to watch. They were very active and constantly teasing each other! They weren’t as cute as the other pandas, but great to see up close. There were also several peacocks around, black swans on the lake and hundreds of fish as shown above.
Endless tea drinking in Renmin Park, Chengdu
After meeting another Brit in Chengdu who mentioned this park, I decided it’d be a good idea to check it out. I’d heard that Chengdu was famous for its tea houses where the Chinese would enjoy elaborate tea drinking traditions and sit and ponder life for hours on end with their tea. Renmin Park is an ideal place to discover this ritual. You can watch people in paddle boats or read a book while drinking the practically bottomless supply of tea – which by the way, comes in almost any kind you can think of from green, to lemon, to chrysanthemum and more.
Around Chengdu, Sichuan
As with a lot of China (and probably Asia as a whole) there tend to be a lot of similar shops all based next to each other selling identical products. As a marketer, this makes no sense to me as it seems natural to avoid direct competition to such a grand scale. But this is how many markets have developed in China due to ‘districts’ that specialised in certain products such as linen. People are used to going to certain districts for certain types of items. It certainly means the consumer can barter and shop around very easily for the best deal or product.
Well, that’s Chengdu – I highly recommend including it in your itinerary should you visit China! The next installment will be Shenzhen and the beaches of China.