Chengdu (成都), the capital city of Sichuan Province offers so much more than the pandas you've likely come to see. We recommend an escorted tour of Jinli Street, a narrow street of old-world stores and buildings that during the Shu Kingdom (221-263), was one of the busiest commercial areas in the province. Also a visit the famous Broad & Narrow Alleys, two other ancient streets restored in the architecture of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasty periods that are now lined with exquisitely decorated tea houses, cafes, boutique shops, and bookstores. Souvenir shops feature local, hand-crafted items. We'll pause at a local tea house, common gathering place for locals.

Chengdu Jinli Street

Here too is China's most popular poet Dufu's "Thatched Cottage" and also the very beautiful Wohou Temple (Temple of Marquis), first built in memory of Zhuge Liang (181 – 234), the prime minister of the Three Kingdoms.

In the evening, attending a Sichuan opera show (Chengdu is one of the cradles of Sichuan opera dating back from China's Three Kingdom period), featuring famous "face changing." We recommend watching the movie King of Masks to see an introduction to this unique performance art.

In the evening, enjoying an authentic Hot Pot dinner at Huang Cheng Lao Ma.

Sichuan style cuisine at Ba Guo Bu Yi, featuring authentic spicy cuisine of the Sichuan Province.

Chengdu is located on the fertile Chengdu Plain called Tianfuzhi guo (天府之国) in Chinese, which literally means "the country of heaven", or more often translated as "the Land of Abundance". Chengdu was recently named China's 4th-most livable city by China Daily.

Face changing performer in Chendu, China

San Xing Dui Museum (三星堆; literally "three stars mound"). In 1986 sacrificial pits containing thousands of gold, bronze, jade, and pottery artifacts were found. The artistic style of the artifacts had been completely unknown in the history of Chinese art and the ancient culture had remarkably advanced bronze casting technology of which many examples are on display.

The Broad & Narrow Street can be touristy, but People's Park and Local Tea Houses are where local Chengdu people hang out and spend their leisure time... playing MaJiang, drinking tea, poker games, Chinese chess, and other activities. These places showcase the most authentic daily life of people in Chengdu.

Chunxi Road is renowned for its famous night markets, sprawling over the area with stalls, boutiques and large malls.

Huang Cheng Lao Ma

The biggest hotpot restaurant in Chengdu, Huang Cheng Lao Ma offers succulent exot- ic dishes such.

The dark, smoky setting is full of vintage accessories creating an un- forgettable dining experience.

20 Erhuan Nanlu, Chengdu Tel: (86 28) 8513 9999

Dining in Chengdu

Da Rong He

With a huge, plush dining room overhung by massive chandeliers, Da Rong He creates a majestic atmosphere for a classic Sichuan dining. Sizable menu includes spe- cialties from Guangdong and Hunan, but the best dishes are from their tasty and tangy Sichuan dishes.

56 Zijing Nanlu, Chengdu Tel: (86 28) 8514 2323

Ba Guo Bu Yi

This upscale restaurant serves authentic Chinese cuisine with a twist of exotic flavor that adds zest to the overall taste. Seafood dominates here but the main dish to order is the homegrown classic, pork ribs steamed with a mixture of rice and spices— a classic in this known institution.

8-19 North Street, Guangfu Bridge, Chengdu
Tel: (86 28) 8509 5777

Shi Mo Dou Ha

Offering a wide array of sumptuous Sichuan dishes, Shi Mo Dou Ha is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Seafood and soft tofu (or locally known as douha) are the recommended dishes.

9 Renmin Nanlu, Chengdu Tel: (86 28) 8559 9288

Cai Gen Xiang Restaurant

Specializing in western and oriental vegetarian cuisine, Cai Gen Xiang aims to cap- ture the true essence of vegetarian cuisine and its culture. It offers more than a hun- dred different types of dishes catering to different palates. Cai Gen Xiang specializes in dishes made with traditional pickles.

8 Hangkong Road, Chengdu Tel: (86 28) 8522 6767

Wenshu Yuan Shu Chanting

The best vegetarian restaurant in the city. Set on the grounds of the largest Buddhist Temple in Chengdu, Wenshu Yuan Shu Chanting is an ideal venue for good healthy food in a serene atmosphere.

While décor is simple and plain, the dishes are flavorful and extraordinary.

15 Wenshu Yuan Lu, Chengdu
Tel: (86 28) 8693 2018

Giant Pandas in Chengdu

No doubt you've come to Chengdu to see the star attraction, the Giant Pandas. Though you may easily view them at the Beijing Zoo, Chengdu offers a more semi-wild setting with more of them to see. The Chengdu Panda Base is the most popular and most convenient. More intimate and authentic viewings require more effort and are subject to periodic closings.

Giant pandas in Chengdu

Chendu Panda Base

The closest one to Chengdu (approximately 45 minute's drive), most convenient and easiest way to view the pandas - a good introduction. There are about thirty or so pandas of all ages, including about 6-8 of the 13 cubs born since June, 2015. A visitor may spot about half of the pandas here. Note that authories no longer allow photos with the animals.

The Bifengxia Panda Base

The Bifengxia Panda Base organizes a "volunteer" program, but has been stopped periodically in the past. A one-hour activity is offered with around forty pandas at the site, and visitors may expect to see a fraction of them during their time. A feature here is seeing young pandas.

The Dunjiagyan Panda Base

The Dunjiagyan Panda Base is closer to the city than Bifengxia, approximately 90 minute's drive. They organize a volunteer program as well, and also allow taking photos with the panda, by availability. There are about thirty pandas here, and visitors can see about half of them. Unlike Bifengxia, the pandas here are all adult pandas.

The Tangjiahe River Nature Reserve

The Tangjiahe River Nature Reserve is a 5-hour drive from Chengdu and is a comprehensive national nature reserve for rare animals and plants includes about sixty giant pandas in the wild, as well golden monkey, black bear, sassabi, macaque, many kinds of rare birds and plants. One of our guides just went there last week and spotted a black bear, sassabi, macaque and some birds. However, visitor may not actually see pandas as there is very little chance to spot them in the actual wild without extended time spent exploring the large area they roam. Even few locals have ever even seen them.

Experienced hands will organize and manage your China luxury tour—in addition to tour guides wonderful with children, or local experts on the arts, cuisine, photography or other interests. A local tour manager will be monitoring your trip throughout who is on call 24-hours a day.

INDOCHINA Travel Company

1283 12th Avenue San Francisco, California
Phone: (415) 418-6800