Things to do in Chengdu, China Part II

The capital of Sichuan Province and also known as the “Heavenly State” (Tian Fu Zhi Guo), Chengdu occupies a total area of nearly 12.3 thousand square kilometers. True to its name, ‘Tian Fu Zhi Guo’, Chengdu is extremely fertile with abundant mineral resources. The capital became famous for its brocades and embroideries during the Han (206B.C.-220) and Tang (618-907) dynasties when its handicraft industry flourished. The history of Chengdu can be traced back to over two millennium when the first emperor built his capital here and named the city. Through the years, the city has retained its original name and kept its position as the capital and as the significant center of politics, commerce and military of the Sichuan area. Today the embroideries coming out of Chengdu are highly  regarded for their bright colors and delicate designs, and are considered to be among the four main styles of embroideries in China. Besides known for its embroidery, Chengdu is also famous for bronze.  The bronze culture – an indispensable part of ancient Chinese culture – originated here,  the Southern Silk Road started from here, and this was the place where the earliest paper currency, was first printed.

A rich historical past has left Chengdu  with countless historical and cultural sites definitely worth visiting. Be prepared to be awed and marveled by the various natural sights that Chengdu has to offer.

Photos of Huanglongxi Ancient Town, Shuangliu County
This photo of Huanglongxi Ancient Town is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Huanglongxi Ancient Town – Situated in Shuangliu County, 30 kilometers southeast from Chengdu, Huanglongxi Ancient Town is an ancient town with a history of more than 1,700 years. Known for its beautiful natural scenery and ancient Chinese culture, Huanglongxi Ancient Town attracts visitors from China and aboard. Huanglongxi dates back to the Western Han (206 BC-24 AD). During the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), the town was of great military importance to the south of Chengdu (the capital of Shu Kingdom). Story has it that Huanglongxi was guarded by troops when Zhuge Liang, the famous strategist, statesman and ideologist, led a southern expedition. The loss of this expedition was an important factor in the collapse of the Shu kingdom. With many scenic places of interest, Huanglongxi Ancient Town is worth a visit to find the old Chinese culture and customs. Seven ancient streets, which were built during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, are well preserved. Most of the town has been restored to retain its rustic charm, with ancient cobbled streets, temples, and wharves and houses along its curving alleys. Most of these shops have turned into souvenirs stores and food stalls. Many famous local dishes such as the sesame cakes, the stonewashed bean paste and the fermented beans can be found here. Moreover, due to its beautiful scenery and ancient architecture, Huanglongxi Ancient Town is an ideal place to make costume films. So if you are lucky, you can catch the production of a film or drama!

Huanglongxi Ancient Town is opened all day and you don’t have to pay admission.

Photos of Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu
This photo of Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Panda Breeding is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center – This non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals is located just 10km away from downtown Chengdu. Founded in 1987, the facility started with six giant pandas that were rescued from the wild. By 2008, it had 124 panda births, and the captive panda population has grown to 83. In order for the pandas to have the best possible man-made environment for rearing and breeding, the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center has created and mimicked the pandas’ natural habitat as closely as possible. The center also has a fodder room, sleeping quarters, a medical station, research laboratories, and a training center. A great number of plants and as many as ten thousand clumps of bamboos and bushes have been cultivated for the giant pandas’ diet and habitat. The center is also planning to expand another 500 acres of land (simulating a natural environment) in order to prepare giant pandas who were bred in captivity for release into the wild. The center also features a Giant Panda Museum which was opened in 1993 to further scientific education and to improve public awareness of the protection of both wild creatures and their environment. This is the world’s only thematic museum for rare and endangered animal species. The museum houses all kinds of exhibits from examples of animals, birds, amphibians, reptiles to insects, fossils and models. The best time to visit the center is 09:00-10:00 in the morning when the pandas have their breakfast.

Opening hours: 08:00 – 18:00 every day.

Photos of Mount Qincheng, Chengdu
This photo of Mount Qincheng is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Mt. Qingcheng – Located in the southwest of the Dujiangyan, Mt. Qingcheng is one of the most famous Taoist mountains in China. Covered by verdant and luxuriant trees, this attractive and scenic site is surrounded by numerous peaks and is shaped like a city. Dubbed ‘the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven’ by locals, Mt. Qingcheng can be divided into two parts – the anterior Mt. Qingcheng and the posterior Mt. Qingcheng. The anterior Mt. Qingcheng is the main part of the scenic spot, covering an area approximately 15 square kilometers and possesses alluring natural beauty and an abundance of cultural relics and historic sites. Among them, famous attractions such as the Jianfu Palace, the Shangqing Palace, and the Tianshi Cave. When visiting Mt. Qingcheng, visitors can enjoy the beautiful sights, moderate climate, natural beauty, cultural relics and historic sites of Taoism.

Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:50 every day.

Photos of Dujiangyan Irrigation System, Chengdu
This photo of Dujiangyan Irrigation System is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Dujiangyan Irrigation Project – Chengdu has a nickname that perhaps not many people have heard, ‘Nature’s Storehouse’. Over two millennium ago, the city was under the constant threat of floods due to its proximity to Minjiang River. A local government official, Li Bing decided to construct an irrigation system on the Minjiang River to prevent future flooding. Since then the Chengdu Plain has been free of flooding and the irrigation system plays a crucial role in draining off floodwater, irrigating farms and providing water resources for more than 50 cities in the province. Dujiangyan is also the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world. Visitors are recommended to check out the Anlan Cable Bridge, a magnificent bridge that crosses the Minjiang River above Yuzui, which is considered the most scenic place in Dujiangyan. Besides the river, there are also historical sites around Dujiangyan. Fulong Temple is one such site. Said to be the place where Li Bing subjugated the evil dragon during the construction process of Dujiangyan. The stone statue of Li Bing which was craved in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) is displayed in the front courtyard of the temple where it’s in full view of the visitors. Erwang Temple is located on the mountain by the right side bank of the Minjiang River. Built to commemorate Li Bing and his son by the ancient people, the temple retains the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty. In the Grand Hall, visitors can see the life size statues of Li and his son, who are worshiped by the local people every day. Interesting fact: for over twenty two hundred years, incense has never stopped burning in the temple.

Opened everyday 09:00 to 17:50

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