Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sights to See: Chengdu, China


WHO KNEW ABOUT CHENGDU?

Located just a 2 ½-hour flight inland from Shanghai, Chengdu--the 2,000-plus-year-old capital of Sichuan--is the province’s second-largest city and the country’s fourth-largest.  With a population of 14 million, it is larger than--and perhaps glitzier than--NYC, yet it is considered only a second-tier city.  It is clean and prosperous, with leafy wide boulevards and a Kimpenski Hotel, Ferrari dealership, and huge Louis Vuitton boutique.  It is concrete and steel and high-rises as far as the eye can see.

highrise in downtown Chengdu, China
highrise in downtown Chengdu, China

Louis Vuitton in downtown Chengdu, China
Louis Vuitton in downtown Chengdu, China

The New Century Global Centre opened here in 2013.  It is the largest free-standing building in the world (in terms of floor area), and the claim is that 20 Sydney Opera Houses would fit inside.  Designed to be a self-contained city, under the dome inside it holds a Mediterranean “village,” a beach and water park, a pirate ship, an ice skating rink, a 14-screen IMAX cinema, and many hotels, not to mention plenty of shops.  An artificial sun provides light and heat.

New Century Global Centre at night in Chengdu, China
New Century Global Centre at night in Chengdu, China

Yet it remains best known for being the home of the rare giant panda.  Manufacturing is big in the surrounding area--70% of the world’s iPads are manufactured here.  But the pace is slower than in Beijing and Shanghai.  It is also a center for the silk brocade industry and known for hibiscus.

panda bear at research base in Chengdu, China
panda bear at research base in Chengdu, China

Located in a basin surrounded by mountains keeps the weather generally mild and comfortable, but in summer stifling humidity and rain storms can make it uncomfortable.  There is not much sunshine and rainfall can be heavy but that is how everything stays so very green.  September and October are the perfect months to visit the "Land of Heaven."


Asia’s first UNESCO-designated City of Gastronomy, Chengdu serves up refined Sichuan cuisine.  Be aware that if you come across some odd little things that look like they might be an exotic vegetable, they are most probably actually duck tongues--a local delicacy.  And you’ll know you’re getting real Sichuan peppercorns when your tongue feels the distinctive numbness. 

restaurant in Chengdu, China
restaurant in Chengdu, China


More things to do in Chengdu.

Things to do in China.  

More China items.


More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

1 comment:

  1. Very cool, I've always wanted to visit Chengdu so the article was nice to read about. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete