1. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
- The main reason people come to Chengdu is to visit the giant pandas. We made our way to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
- Entry into the base is 58RMB/ AU$12. Feeding times are around 9.30am so we recommend you go earlier rather than later. Surprisingly, all the big tourist groups tend to arrive after 10.30am so if you are like us and and like to avoid crowds, earlier is always better. We spent about 2 and half hours wandering around the base checking out the gorgeous little pandas and watching them interact and play with each other. A very enjoyable morning. Unfortunately we were there in March which is the beginning of mating season which meant that there were no panda cubs.
2. The People’s Park
- This is the place in Chengdu for people watching.
- The park is split into two section by the massive artificial lake in the middle. One side is full of locals trying to out dance and out sing each other, which can be both enjoyable and jarring. The other side is much more relaxing, especially if you have time to spend in one of the many tea houses.
- Our recommendation is the Heming Teahouse which is the oldest and also overlooks the lake. You must order tea to sit here and they give you a massive thermos on hot water to keep filling up you cup. Prices for tea range from 12-25RMB/ AU$2.50-5 depending on the type of tea you choose.
- While sipping on your tea you can have your ears cleaned (which we do not recommend- instruments are no sterilised and they look fairly lethal) and even have a neck/head massage
3. Giant Buddha of Leshan
- The Giant Buddha is located in Leshan; approximately one hours train ride from Chengdu. You can catch bus no 3 for 1RMB/ AU$0.20 to the Buddha or, if you’re pressed for time, a taxi is approximately 20RMB/ AU$4
- Entrance to the Giant Buddha grounds is 90RMB/ AU$18; you can add a boat trip on the river for 70RMB / AU$14
- The Buddha itself is 71m high, carved into a cliff face overlooking where the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers meet. The statue was built as an offering to buddha to slow the raging current of the river. Once the statue was carved, the river current did slow; however this is now believed to be due to the rock and rubble thrown into the river during it’s construction.
- Most websites claim there is a lift to facilitate going to and from the base of the cliff; we couldn’t find one. So be prepared to climb quite a bit of stairs, both up and down. Within the grounds are lovely gardens, and an buddhist temple which you may pay respects at; it’s full of flowers and a plethora of lotus candles, and really quite lovely. The Buddha is unlike any other structure we saw in China, and definitely worth checking out if your schedule allows.