Must sees in Chengdu China in 72 hours
Chengdu is mainly known for one thing in China. You’ll have to read further down the article to see the related photos of this famous symbol!
It’s worth noting that the first two sights on this list are in the city of Leshan, which is very closely linked to Chengdu. It would be worth checking out a tour company such as WindhorseTour in order to check the eligibility of getting to here on a visa-free visit.
1. Mt. Emei –峨眉山
Emei is the highest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, standing at 3,099m (10,167ft); this group of mountains also include Wutai, Jiuhua and Putou mountains. Emei has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, as it is described as “of exceptional cultural significance […] where Buddhism first became established on Chinese territory.” There are seventy-six Buddhist monasteries on the mountain; there are cable cars to help ascend the mountain to 3,077m, although there is still another hour’s hike to the peak itself, so make sure you’re wearing suitable footwear! Another thing to be wary of are Tibetan Macaques, who, like any primate when they come in close contact to humans, will be partial to a few snacks. There are obviously locals who will try and benefit from selling nuts to tourists, so watch out. Finally, as with any religiously-orientated mountain in China, this will be packed in the summer months, so if you’re not a big fan of a crowded mountain, try to visit in the off-peak season.
2. Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Buddha is very close to Mount Emei, and is, in fact, included in the UNESCO listing for the Mount Emei scenic area. The Buddha stands at 71m (233ft) tall and has 28m wide shoulders. It is a massive draw for domestic tourists, let alone foreign ones.
There are different ways of viewing the statue; you can either climb up the side of the Buddha itself, or take a trip on the river where you can view the statue in its entirety. It can get very busy because it’s such a draw for tourists but it really can be quite impressive if you manage to get there on a quiet day!
3. Jinsha Site Museum
This haul of artefacts which have been dated to being made over 3000 years ago was first discovered in 2001. There are three specific areas of relics which excite enthusiasts:
- – The first artefacts that Jinsha excels in is having the most concentrated collection of ancient ivory from Asian elephants. They range in design from beads, strips and decorated tusks.
- – The second special artefacts at Jinsha include a collection of the most gold pieces of jewellery, ornaments, belts and masks from that era. The gold was typical of the noble class and the designs are beautifully artistic.
The final speciality ornaments are made from jade; a collection of knives, axes, spears, rings and more can be found and were used for sacrificial purposes.
For those with an interest in Chinese history, the Jinsha Site Museum is not to be missed!
4. Jinli Street, (锦里古街) – 2 hours
Nestled in the heart of Chengdu, Jinli Street offers a little solace away from the modern hustle and bustle of Chengdu. It’s a street with more traditional architecture and somewhere you can buy great Chinese gifts, eat great Chinese food and enjoy a drink or two. Next to the street there is also Wuhou Memorial Temple, with various courtyards to explore with different relics dotted around; I would recommend going to the temple first, then to Jinli Street around dusk, when the lights come on, making it more magical. Jinli Street is a great evening’s entertainment.
5. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding – half a day
This is it, the one you’ve been waiting for and yes, there will be cute photos of pandas. A bus ride out of the city, the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a world leader in research and breeding of the Giant Panda, who, for reasons unknown, find it very hard to reproduce in the wild, leaving their numbers very low.
The best time to get here is as early as you possibly can, as the park opens at 7:30am and the pandas are fed. As pandas mainly eat and sleep, you’ll see them more active during the early part of the day. Trust me, it’s worth it! There are generally all ages of pandas in the complex, from newborns to adults and it’s set in a lovely, lush parkland. If the mood and your budget takes you, you can organise to hold a panda and have your photograph taken, but you’ll be looking at a minimum of 1000RMB (£100) for the privilege.
China, is notoriously difficult in its visa processes, however it has recently made itself more accessible to foreign tourists for 45 countries by offering 72 hour visa-free access to several cities throughout China when arriving by air.
Having started with Shanghai, this policy is now in place in 4 other major cities, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing; Dalian and Shenyang are 2 more cities who will soon be granted the policy early in 2014.
This series will give you ideas about what you can do in your 72 hours in each city and introduce China as a new stopover destination for anyone wishing to break up their long haul journey, as the flights are, for example, around 12 hours to London and 12 hours to New Zealand.
Are you interested in going to China? Plan your trip now with the China specialists.
The visa itself is still a transit visa, so those wishing to use it must have an onward ticket to a third country, declare their intentions to their airline and must not leave the particular city itself. For more information on the visa-free rules, check this page out.
This was a guest post by Bennett from The Further Adventures of Bennett . Sarah Bennett planned to spend 6 months teaching English in China and left 2 years later. She can currently be found residing in New Zealand, having swapped teaching children English for babysitting dogs and cats and you can follow her on Twitter.
To read more about Bennett’s Chinese experience, head over to Amazon “Add Your Brick to the Great Wall” which is a collection of experience and advice for anyone wanting to live, work or travel throughout China.