Famed for its delicious – and spicy! – cuisine, exotic Chengdu is the capital of China’s Sichuan province and situated on a fertile plain known as ‘’The Land of Abundance’’. The area holds an incredible amount of history, art, culture, heritage, and areas of outstanding natural beauty are never far away. Visit the Wenshu Yuan monastery then stop for a meal on Jinli Pedestrian Street, or take the kids to Happy Valley of Chengdu. It’s a holiday you’ll never forget.
Lights in the sky: The Lantern Festival
Dating back to the Tang Dynasty, over a thousand years ago, the Chengdu Lantern Festival celebrates the end of the Chinese lunar new year and takes place annually, usually in early February. The celebrations are enjoyed country-wide, but the biggest and best happen in Chengdu. Officially the festival is a one-day event, but because of its popularity Chengdu extended the festival into a month-long party of acrobatic displays, folk-dancing, colourful lanterns and exquisite local cuisine (try the yuanxiao, a delicious traditional dumpling.) The Lantern Festival showcases ancient Chinese culture at its finest and is a must-see for any visitor to Chengdu.
Beautiful Bears: The Dujiangyan Panda Base
50km outside of Chengdu lies the Dujiangyan Panda Base, a place that animal lovers – and panda lovers in particular – cannot afford to miss. Giant pandas are an endangered species and are considered a Chinese national treasure. The centre offers an incredible opportunity to interact with these lovely creatures on their Panda Keeper’s Program, where the lucky visitor can learn how to care for the animals. As well as cleaning cages, you’ll be able to prepare the pandas’ food (bamboo shoots and steamed buns) and feed them. Photography is allowed, so make sure to capture memories that you’ll treasure forever.
A Quieter Pace: Flower town
Flower Town is just a short taxi ride from Chengdu and it’s an unmissable stop for anyone seeking a quieter pace for a day or two. Flower town is actually three neighbouring villages that function as one big flower market. Wander amongst racks and rows of exotic, perfumed blooms, ride a bicycle through tranquil streets, sip green tea in a café or stop at one of the many BBQ restaurants for a beer and chicken wings. Flower Town has that wonderful chilled-out feel that suits everyone. Relaxation, fine food and the fragrance of flowers, what a fantastic combination!