The Best Cheap Tours and Activities in Chengdu, China
Chengdu is the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province. Chengdu's history dates back to at least the 4th century B.C., when it served as capital for the Shu Kingdom. Artifacts from that dynasty are the focus of the Jinsha Site Museum. The city is famous for its relaxing teahouse culture, with favorite local institutions serving the same brews for generations. It also boasts a lively nightlife, with a strong showing of local partiers bolstered by large student populations. It's also popular for the food, famous both for heat and history even in this cuisine-rich culture. Another popular attraction here are the pandas, both the live versions and the plush, stuffed, cuddly kind for sale on seemingly every street. The city is home to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a conservation center where visitors can view endangered giant pandas in a natural habitat. Luckily, as Chengdu is the transport hub for the entire region, most travelers in China's southwest pass through this way and will get a chance to enjoy the different enticing aspects of the city for themselves. With so much to see and do Chengdu is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting activities and tours in or near the area to help you make the most of your time here.
Greet your guide at a central Chengdu location and obtain your bicycles from a local rental shop. Climb onto your bike and pedal past the luscious landscape of People's Park, watching locals drink tea, practice tai chi and play chess as you cycle. Absorb the amorous ambience of Match Corner, a part of the park in which parents swap the pictures and contact details of their infants in the hope they'll marry later in life. Admire the charming architecture of Kuan-zhai Lane then continue to the majestic structure of Qingyang Palace to witness the sacred splendor of the Taoist monument. Gain fascinating insight into the origins of the Tao religion from your guide, and then browse the intriguing stalls of Song Xian Qiao antique market during a brief pit stop. Ride over the Wenshu Temple to appreciate the precious artworks housed within. Then enjoy a well-deserved rest in the air-conditioned confine of your vehicle during the journey back to your Chengdu hotel.
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Depart from your Chengdu hotel in a comfortable, air-conditioned minivan and enjoy the scenic surroundings on the way to either Dujiangyan Giant Panda Center or Chengdu Panda breeding Center. Greet your expert guide at one of the non-profit research and breeding facilities and embark on a guided tour of your selected center. Gain fascinating insight into the progression of baby pandas to adult pandas and admire the delicate newborns in a special infant panda area. Continue to enrich your knowledge of the majestic mammals by observing adolescent pandas between the age of one and five; listen to the importance of this vital maturity period and capture photographs of these enchanting and endangered creatures as they relax in their natural environment. Watch the trees for vibrant red pandas as your tour comes to a conclusion and then climb aboard your comfortable vehicle for the return journey back to your Chengdu hotel. Make your experience even more memorable by upgrading to hold a baby giant panda. Get your photograph taken as you hold an adorable six-month to one-year-old panda in an intimate environment. The money raised by upgrading is donated to the non-profit center to continue vital research into the endangered species.
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Make your own way to Shufeng Yayun Teahouse, a cultural construction located in the Chengdu Culture Park. Venture within the richly decorated building and take a seat in the position selected. Hear an expectant hush descend over the crowd as the lights dim and the curtains open to reveal dazzling set design and colorful costumes. Become hypnotized as you watch the magnificent puppetry, folk music, acrobatics and dancing. See Southwestern China's rich culture come to life through three distinct acts, which include Spitting Fire, Rolling Ligh,t and Changing Faces. Immerse yourself in tales of legend and love and watch puppet shows that depict ancient folk art while enjoying a traditional Sichuan tea service at your table. Make your own way back to your hotel with magical memories after the show concludes.
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Your Chengdu walking tour starts at the Mao Zedong statue in the center of Tianfu Square, where you'll meet your guide. Walk to see three modern buildings that are becoming new landmarks in the city: Sichuan Art Gallery, Sichuan Library and the New Chengdu Museum. If Sichuan Art Gallery is open for an exhibition, you can go inside to check out the art; the museum and library are still being finished, so simply admire the architecture from the outside. Next, head over to the Kuan-Zhai Lane area, one of Chengdu's three historic conservation districts. Constructed in 1718 during the early years of the Qing dynasty, this pleasant pedestrian thoroughfare is home to a fascinating mix of classic Sichuan architecture and modern cafes and boutiques. While you walk, listen to commentary from your guide about the district's history and design, and witness how some of the city's old establishments like local restaurants, traditional teahouses, and Chinese calligraphy demonstrations sit alongside the new. Continue to the tree-lined paths of People's Park and take a seat at Heming Teahouse, where you'll sip a cup of tea and relax in a bamboo chair as your guide explains Chinese tea traditions. An optional massage and ear cleaning can be purchased from independent practitioners on-site. Then stroll around the nearby lake and watch local people practicing tai chi, square dancing, singing karaoke and playing musical instruments. Enjoy a snack from one of the many food vendors in the park, who serve items like noodles, wontons, dumplings, steamed buns and pancakes, and then make your way to the neighboring Children's Palace, where local teenagers, often accompanied by anxious parents, take extra courses in order to improve their studies and chances of getting into a good university. Your tour ends here, where your guide can help you find a taxi or give other advice on how to get to your next destination.
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