9 Things to do in Chengdu
Discover 9 things to do in Chengdu. Most of these are free. Includes short reviews, directions, pictures and other useful information as well as some not so useful personal opinions.
Chengdu is the first stop on my multi-cultural China Tour. Chengdu doesn’t really go with the theme but this may be the last time I’m in China and I couldn’t leave without eating Sichuan food in Sichuan and experiencing all the things to do in Chengdu.
Also, it is a good halfway mark to Xinjiang – I like trains but more than two days at a time is not my idea of a good time.
The train rides getting to Chengdu (from Guangzhou) were more pleasant than I have previously encountered. Probably due to my bottom bunk bed and not having crying babies or old smoking men near me.
I had a little pit stop in Guiyang when swapping from the bullet train to long distance slow train. I went to use the ridiculously disgusting public toilets (even for China standards) outside the train station in which there are rows of buckets lined up to pee in.
After that I went to search for food. I encountered “prostitute alley” (don’t worry folks, I contained myself – I did not feel like having to deal with a lingering STI for the rest of my life) which led out to the family friendly market area. Why these two places are so close to each other baffles me.
Continuing on I found snack street but did not indulge since I was in for a 13 hour train ride (see my Keeping Healthy While Traveling post).
Eventually I found a small eatery and had YangZhou fried rice. I wish I took pictures of this little walkabout.. all this was within ten minutes of the train station. It is clear that Guiyang is a heavy populated and busy city.
9 Things to do in Chengdu
1. Tainfu Square
The first thing on my list of things to do in Chengdu is Tianfu Square. Basically it is a big square of concrete with some fountains and a big statue of Mao in front of the Science and Technology museum. I got there just before noon and caught the last of the fountain show, which was okay I guess.
Getting to Tian Fu Square
Get the Metro to Tian Fu square on line one.
2. Peoples Park
A free park just up the road from Tian Fu square which is good for a walk around. I liked it, but I like parks.
Getting to Peoples Park
It has it’s own metro station, or walk 5-10 minutes west of Tianfu Square.
3. Wuhou Temple
Cost: 60 RMB
I went to the temple but did not go in, although I was tempted to. I decided not to for a number of reasons.
- It was not something I originally planned to do and I was not willing to pay the entry free (the only reason I considered it was because I took a 30 minute bus ride there and for some reason I though it was free.)
- I’m not feeling 100% (ironic since I recently posted Keeping Healthy While Traveling).
- There was a f*k-tonne of people there and I am not a big fan of crowds, especially off the large Chinese tour group variety.
- I’ve seen this kind of thing in China before and the crowds are not worth the effort… in fact it seems the more I travel the less I am willing to go out of my way to see things because I’ve seen something similar before… the general walking around and trying different food never seems to get old though.
- I flipped a coin to make the final decision. Mao’s head lost.
Getting to Wuhou Temple
It is a 30-40 min bus ride from the Henry International Hostel which costs 2rmb.
From the Henry International Hostel walk out the front door and go right.
Keep walking to the main road. Do not cross the road. Turn right to the bus stop which should be GaoSun Tang (高笋塘).
Catch the #1 to Wuhouci (武侯祠).
3. Jinli Street
Jinli street is the road out the front of Wuhou Temple. There’s restaurants and some shops to look in if you want.
4. Kuan and Zhai Alley
I think Kuan and Zhai means wide and narrow. Anyway, it is three alleys filled with things for tourists to buy.
kuan xiang zi 宽巷子
zhai xiang zi 窄巷子
jiang xiang zi 讲巷子
Getting to Kuan and Zhai Alley
Take the metro to peoples park and exit from D1.
Go north-ish on Upper Changshun. Cross the street when you can. Just keep following this road around to the left.
Just past the Jinhe Hotel is the start of Kuan Xiang Zi.
5. Jin Tai Street
After Kuan and Zhai Alley I went to Jin Tai Street which I hear is much better at night.
It was not all a loss though because inside Jin Tai street is an entrance to the Chengdu Cultural Park (also free) which was nice to walk through.
Getting to Jin Tai Street
Assuming you went up Kuan, down Zhai and then up Jiang you should see this.
Go left, then right and then right again on Jin He road. Cross the road when you can and take a left onto Jin Tai.
Alternatively, the Tong Hui Men metro station (line 2) is right out the front of it.
6. Bai Hua Tan Park
At the south end of Jin Tai street is Bai Hua Park. This was my favorite of my 9 things to do in Chengdu.
Getting to Bai Hua Tan Park
There is a bus stop out the front but I didn’t catch the bus number.. sorry.
I guess take the metro to Tong Hui Men and then walk south through Jin Tai Street.
Numbers 4, 5 and 6 on this list of things to do in Chengdu are all within walking distance of each other. Here is a map.
7. Chunxi Road
Chunxi Road is basically a brand name shopping street. Not really my thing but I went for a look anyway.
Getting to Chunxi Road
From out the front of Henry’s International Hostel catch bus number 54 (2rmb) and get off at the last stop. Keep an eye out because the bus is a little old school (at least the one I got on was) with no route map inside. Also the last stop isn’t that the bus terminates.. it just loops.
Walk SSW (South – South West) for the bus stop to Chunxi Road.
Alternatively catch the metro to Chunxi Road station on line two. Also 2RMB.
8. Wenshu Monestary
Cost: Free – although some people say it is 5rmb (I walked in and couldn’t see any type of ticket sales area)
文殊 (Wen Shu)
Although there is an actual Wen Shu building inside the temple grounds which I did not go in, so perhaps that is 5rmb.
The monastery grounds are surprisingly big with all the usual monastery temple/statues and also a nice garden area with a fish pond, a turtle pond, some rocks, bamboo, etc. Free incense for those of you who want to pay respects to Buddha.
The streets out the front of the monastery are also nice for a little walk around.
Getting to Wenshu Monastery
Catch the metro to the Wenshu Monastery stop on Line 1. Exit K and go NE on the main road. The sign says Munushri… it is WenShu.
9. Bifeng Valley
Cost: 118rmb (including entrance fee to the gorge, panda base, sightseeing bus, elevator and tasting Tibetan tea)
The last thing on my list of things to do in Chengdu is Bifeng Valley which I had planned to go to but didn’t for two main reasons.
- I don’t agree with animals in captivity (I know it is a breeding program and I suppose it is for the best, but I still don’t like it – and no, I am not a vegetarian and I realise these things contradict each other).
- I’ve gone off major tourist attractions – Every major tourist attraction I have been to in China (and most places in the world) are spoiled by the massive amounts of people (I am not much of a people person). From now on I am only going to big tourist attractions if my chances of seeing something similar are slim.
Bifeng Valley is open from 08:30 to 17:00.
Getting to Bifeng Valley
Since I had planned to go there I did the research on how to get there. I think I got this from wikitravel but could be mistaken.
Take a bus to the Bifeng Gorge at Xin Nan Men Bus Station in Chengdu. Busses leave every 35 minutes from 07:00 to 19:30. It takes about 2 hours. Ticket price: 46 yuan. Bus No. 6, 28, 49, 55 or 301 to Xin Nan Men Bus Station.
Got anything to add to this list of things to do in Chengdu? Let us know them (or anything else you want to say/ask) in the comments 😀 .