Monday, 8 May 2017

CHINA: Visit Chengdu, Land Of Milk And Honey

Chengdu is located on the edge of the fertile plains of the Red Basin in China's Sichuan Province. Due to its agricultural wealth, Chengdu is sometimes called the "Land of Milk and Honey". The Funan river bisects the city, although boat traffic, common until the 1960's, has all but vanished.

The greater city area is now divided into 5 urban districts, 4 sub-urban districts and 9 counties, altogether home to more than 14 million people. Chengdu has the reputation as a very "laid-back" city that emphasizes culture and relaxation and as a result of this and much green space is ranked one of the most liveable mega-cities in China. It is credited with a good nightlife scene and contains many new western style buildings in the large city centre.

Summer weather is hot and humid, as the city is surrounded by small mountains to the east and sits in the Red Basin. Furthermore, an hour to the west lie the foothills of the mighty Tibetan Plateau and the fabulously scenic mountains of west Sichuan.

The city is famous for its lack of sun, so don't go expecting to get the sun.

Visiting Chendu

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is located 20km (12 mi) outside of Chengdu city centre and is one of the main air hubs in China, recently ranked 4th in passenger volume.

It serves flights to/from most major cities in China, many smaller cities within Sichuan, and some international destinations including Amsterdam, Bangkok, Denpasar, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kathmandu, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, Moscow, Osaka, Kuala Lumpur, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo.

Bus #1 operates an express service between the airport and the city centre, costing ¥10, stopping at the Air China airline office on Renmin Nanlu next to the entrance of the Minshan Hotel,there is no bus stop! just look for a bunch of taxis/pedicabs, since they are also waiting for the bus.

The last bus leaves the airport around 01:00. Bus #2 also runs from the airport, and is not an express, so can take some time.

It runs all the way to the North Railway Station. Fares vary, but to Tianfu Square it's ¥10. The buses have luggage compartments. They are well signposted within the airport terminal and, because they leave from immediately outside, are easy to find.

Taxi fare from the airport to the city centre averages ¥45. There is no extra charge for luggage or additional passengers. When going from the city to the airport, add an additional ¥7 to cover the toll on the Airport Expressway. If you intend to take a taxi from the airport, head for the domestic arrival area and exit the terminal where you should see the official taxi stand where you can queue for marked, green-and-yellow or blue-and-yellow taxis.

If you are coming from an international flight, this is right at the other end of the terminal - almost past domestic arrivals. Beware scammers and pirate taxi operators who are waiting to prey on foreign tourists with unmarked vehicles both inside and outside the terminal. Beware some who may sport official-looking, but fake, identification.

Even official taxis that you might pass on the way to the taxi stand will try to negotiate a fare instead of using the meter. The fare offered will often exceed ¥100, and if you bargain with them, you may find yourself sitting in the cab for a while until agreeing to raise the price back up.

Train connections are available to most cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming in Yunnan, Chongqing and Xi'an.

Chengdu Station (Chengdu North Station), (Line 1, Chengdu North Metro Station). It is called Chengdu Station on railway ticket, but is usually referred as "North Railway Station(Huo Che Bei Zhan)" by local people and some maps. Handles most long distance services. Trains to Dujiangyan,the city that holds Qingchengshan-Dujiangyan National Park also depart from this station.

Chengdu East Station,Chengdu Dong Zhan. New station serving local Sichuan destinations and most high speed train to Chongqing. Not to be confused with an old freight station, which is slightly east of Chengdu North Station as marked on some older maps.

High speed train or Bullet trains to Chongqing depart from both North Chengdu Station and East Chengdu Station. So you have to check the train time table certainly. If you go to the wrong station, you will miss the train which you want.

Chengdu South Station,Chengdu Nan Zhan, (Line 1, Chengdu South Metro Station).

There are three bus stations in Chengdu, and they serve different destinations.

From Xīnnánmén

Leshan 7.20-19.35 (every 20 minutes)

Emei Mountain 7.20-19.20 (every 30 minutes)

Jiuzhai Valley 8.00

Hailuo Ravine 9.30

Ya’an Bifengxia 7.30-19.30 (every 35 minutes)

Mishan/ Mt.Mengding 7.40-18.50 (every 50 minutes)

Kangding/Mt.Paoma 7.10-14.10

Gaizi 10.00

Gaizi Jiulong Wuxuhal Scenic Spot 10.00

Daofu 6.30

Dacheng Yading 10.00

Hongya/Caoyutan 7.40-17.40 (every 45 minutes)

Qingshen/Zhongya Temple 8.30-18.00 (every 60 minutes)

Dacheng Yading Scenic Spot 14.00

Dujianayan Irrigation System 9.00

Guizhou Chishui (Guizhou Province) 8.50 13.50 17.00

Mt.Qingcheng & Dujianayan Irrigation System 7.20-18.50 (every 20 minutes)

Pengshan/ Mt.Fairy Maiden 7.30-19.00 (every 20 minutes)

Jiajing/Thousand Buddha Cliff 7.20-18.20 (every 30 minutes)

Pujiang/Chaoyang Lake 7.50-19.10 (every 30 minutes)

Luding Bridge 7.30 10.00 12.00

Gaizi Jiulong Wuxuhai Scenic Spot 6.40

Xinjin 7.30-19.00 (every 30 minutes)

Jiuzi/Chishui 14.50

Pingle Ancient Town 8.30 9.20 10.00 11.30 13.00 15.30

Guangxi Beihai 13.00

Huanglongxi Ancient Town 7.50-17.30 (every 20 minutes)

Yajiang/Bajiao Watchtower 7.00 8.00

Pengshan Qinglong/ Xiangshan Cave 8.30-18.50 (every 60 minutes)

Hejiang/ Buddha 10.30 12.50

Danlin/ Jiulong Mountain 11.00 15.40

Bamboo Sea in south of Sichuan 9.10 15.30

Xinling Snow Mountain 8.50

Yunan Lijiang 12.00

Luodai Ancient Town 7.40-18.30 (every 10 minutes)

Longquan/Peach Blossom 7.30-18.30 (every 10 minutes)

PengZhou 9.00

Stone Elephant Lake 8.30 9.50

Qionglai/ Baihe Mountain 7.30-18.30 (every 30 minutes)

Tiantai Mountain 7.30 8.20 9.00 9.40 10.20 11.00 13.00

Shawan/Guo Moruo’s Former Home 9.40 11.50 14.50 16.20 17.30

YingXiou Seasonal (summer)

BeiChuan Seasonal (summer)

Get around

Chengdu's rush hour traffic can be terible. Plan your itinerary around not having to be on the road during these hours.

The first line of the Chengdu Metro opened in October 2010, slicing north-south through the city along Renmin Rd and connecting the North and South railway stations together. The fare for a single ride is ¥2-4 depending on distance. You can purchase tickets from machines,English available with ¥1 coins or ¥5 and ¥10 notes. Ticket booths are also available if you don't have suitable notes.

When entering the metro you need to put your bags through an x-ray machine. Sep 2014: Don't have any fluids like a bottle of water in your luggage: you will have to have those checked separately. The ticket is flashed by the gates on the reader on your right side. You need the ticket to get out as well so keep it safe.

When exiting the ticket is placed into a slot that collects it. Again this slot is on the right side of the gate, so pay attention since it's very easy to accidentally open the gate next to you. When exiting, you must wait behind the yellow line until the passenger in front of you has passed and the gate shows it now accepts your ticket.

If you're beyond the line the gate won't let you through and you need to back away for it to accept you as a new passenger.

Line 2 of the Chengdu Metro was extended in October 2014. This line now runs from Xipu in the North West of Chengdu to Longquanyi in the South East, interchanging with Line 1 at Tianfu Square Station. From Line 2 you can switch to the BRT at Niushikou station.

Line 3 opened on 31st July 2016. As of March 2017 its' stops include Xinnanmen bus station and Chengdu Zoo.

Line 4 opened on the 26th December 2015. At present it goes from Wannianchang in the east to the Intangible Heritage Culture Park in the west. By 2017 line 4 will be extended further at both ends. Line 3 should also be operational by then.
By bus

Chengdu has an extensive system of city buses plying the streets. At each bus stop, there is a list of the bus lines coming through on this road, and on some city maps the whole network is displayed.

However, the bus lines and maps only use Chinese characters, and even if the bus announces the station, it will usually only be in Chinese.

Tickets are ¥1 for non-aircon and ¥2 for air-conditioned buses. The fare is paid by putting the exact amount into a metal box next to the driver. There's no possibility to get change so make sure you have the exact amount of cash available.

Normally, you enter via the front door, and alight by the rear door. On the new articulated buses, you can enter at either the front or rear door, with the middle door designated for alighting only.

Use apple maps for easy to use custom bus routes (no VPN needed). Great tool for Chengdu and broader China.

There's no official route map on the Internet but there is a well functional service available in Chinese. Click on Chengdu on the map, then select the middle tab from from the search field. To show the route of a particular line, click and type the line number to the search field that appeared on the right side.

You can also select from and to destinations from the map via a context menu the two topmost options and the service shows the route with bus line numbers and also where to change the bus if needed. Classical bus useful for tourists are 1 and 99 inside city, 300 link between south airport to north railway station.

You can also use the Google Maps app on your smartphone to plan your travel and it will tell you which bus and subway lines to take to your destination. Another good service is available at in Chinese. You can select from and to destinations from the map via a context menu the two topmost options or type line number in the search window.

If you will be in Chengdu a while, you may want to purchase a transit card . They are sold at all Hong Qi markets and at some pharmacies. Not only do you no longer have to worry about carrying correct change, but you get free transfers for two hours plus some discounts. The card costs ¥20 and can be loaded with three types of credit.

The first is cash. You will receive a 10% discount off the cash fare when using your card's cash. So a regular bus ride will cost ¥1.80 instead of ¥2. You can also load credits for this month and credits for next month. Each credit costs ¥0.50, and most bus rides use two credits the increasingly rare non-aircon buses cost one credit.

So most rides then cost you only ¥1. Credits expire at the end of the month for which they were designated, so it can take a little effort to not buy too many or too few. Note that some bus lines usually higher numbered ones and the subway only accept your cash balance not credits, which does not expire.

Other lines usually those going way out to the suburbs accept only cash. When you board the bus and tap your card, the display will show the number of this month's credits remaining if you used credits or the cash balance if you used your card's stored cash value.

Official taxis are either green or blue and are equipped with meters. A free taxi will display an illuminated sign with Chinese characters in its dashboard. The meter is turned on by tilting the sign, make sure the driver does that and if not, you can try to do it yourself and the driver usually gets your point.

Some taxi drivers may try to offer you a fixed price but don't take it unless you know it's cheaper than with the meter on. Taxi drivers don't speak English nor do they understand the map, so have an address written in Chinese with you. Drivers don't know many street names so it's best to have the address to some well known place close to your destination.

Collect taxi cards from hotels and restaurants and show them to the drivers, and when close to your destination start instructing by pointing with your hand. This method usually gets you there - some drivers however will not follow your instructions or get angry for you travelling a longer distance than what they expected.

Taxi fare is ¥8 on flagfall for the older taxis ¥9 for the new ones, and increase at ¥1.9 per km after the first 2km. For rides from 10-60km the kilometre fare is increased by 50% to compensate the taxi returning empty. During night time the starting price is ¥1 more and per km price is ¥2.20. Waiting price for the taxi is one km fare per every five minutes, and the meter counts traveling with speed less than 12 km/h as waiting time. Taxis often refuse to accept ¥100 bills so try to have some change on hand.

Taxis can be difficult to find depending on the area. There are also unlicensed taxis in the city but they're quite hard to notice. If you use one, know your destination and expected price and negotiate the fare beforehand.

There are still some motorized bicycle-propelled pedicabs called san lun che which can take you moderate distances. Fix a price (¥5-15) in advance. The passengers ride behind the driver. The ride is fun, but san lun che are being phased out and are forbidden cross or ride on certain streets, and may be gone altogether soon. Until the year 2005, all of these pedicabs were modified bicycles actually pedalled by the driver. Today, virtually all are motorized, either by electric or gasoline powered engines.

Most guest houses have bicycles for hire. Check for technical problems before starting out unless you want to be held responsible for it later. If you leave your bicycle, do so in one of the designated "bicycle parks", where it will be guarded over for a small fee. If you can not find such a place, be sure to lock it securely against some structure. Be careful as the bike traffic flow can be intense.

Attractions In Chengdu

Kuanzhaixiangzi. Very nice place with lots of (expensive) tea houses, restaurants and local snacks. Great for relaxing. Streets date from late Qing-dynasty style but are rebuilt recently. Free government wifi in this place. Can now be reached directly on Metro line 4.

West Pearl Tower Sichuan Radio and Television Tower, Take the bus to Mengzhuiwan. Tallest tower 339 meters ¥100.

Tianfu Square, In the center of Chengdu. This square, overlooked by an enormous Chairman Mao statue in the center of the city, has been spruced up. Every evening at dusk, as well as at noontime, an elaborate water show, synchronized to music, bursts out from the square's fountains. Below the square is the hub of Chengdu's subway system.

People's Park, It located in the west of Tianfu Square which has two blocks between them, 15 mins walking distance.

This park is a important entertainment place for Chengdu citizen. Everyday, especially the holiday, there are many local people in it, that means tourist can find the real leisure life of Chinese old people. They are singing and dancing in separate group, follow the sound you can find them.

Some practice calligraphy with water on the floor around a monument in the north-western corner of this park. Some parents take their unmarried children's information here want find potential candidate. There are many tea house in it, local people drink tea and play majong it, the average price of one cup of tea is ¥10. There also is a Sichuan snack restaurant Zhong's Dumpling, beside dumpling you can find almost all famous Sichuan snack in it, and with fair price. This park has no entry fee.

Sichuan Science and Technology Museum, Take a taxi or bus to Tianfu Sq and walk to the large building directly behind the Chairman Mao statue. This huge four-storey museum is filled with interactive exhibits about science, aerodynamics, space, mathematics, robotics and physics. Quite dated and cheeky but children may love the interactive displays and indoor playground on the 4th floor.

Adults will appreciate the descriptions in both English and Chinese. During weekdays this museum can either be overrun by local school groups or be so deserted it's almost creepy. Closed on Mondays. Most of the exhibits have broken down or have fallen apart.

There's nothing scientific or technological about it that represents the real and new China, more so a 70s cold war relic. On the first floor is a gyroscopic flight simulator where you are strapped in and spun upside down and in all directions. Great thrill ride for 5RMB and a secret highlight of Chengdu (ride is only open 10-11:30 and 1:30-3). free.

Chengdu Zoo, (In the north of the city near the Panda Research Base). Offers all the typical animals that one might expect in a zoo (elephant, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, as well as panda bears). While the zoo itself is large and spread out, some of the cages are woefully small and the facility seems understaffed. Might be good for a family to visit. The zoo has vendors selling Chinese snacks as well as some carnival type rides. ¥20.

Sichuan University Museum Sichuan Daxue Bowuguan), Wangjiang Rd About a 15 min ride from Xinnanmen bus station or a 40 minute walk. 9AM-5PM. Excellent display of local artifacts and is worth while way of spending an hour or two. The museum is one of the better in China and there are four floors of well lite, air conditioned displays with decent English translations. Starting in the basement, enter the first room where dozens of stone carvings dating from the Han dynasty to the Tang are on display.

The room next door has a moderately interesting display on the museum's history and numerous examples of ancient bronzes and stone age artifacts. The first floor is mostly artifacts from the Ming and Qing dynasty, including furniture, silk clothing, and an interesting display of leather puppets. The second floor has the perhaps the most engaging display: artifacts and daily use items from ethnic minority groups in China's southwest, including Tibetans, Miao, Yi, Qiang, Jianpo and Naxi.

The third floor has a decent display of calligraphy scrolls, paintings, and ceramics. The museum is currently closed after the city changed the location of several universities. Plans are pending for a new museum to be built. ¥30 (students ¥10).

NU SPACE Mintown Studio Community , 55 Kuixinglou Street, Qingyang, Chengdu subway to Wide and Narrow Alleyand walk a few minutes up Lower Tongren Road to Kuixinglou Street. Catch some live music or an independent film at this intimate new venue hidden in the old Shaocheng area of Chengdu.

Fitted out with a killer sound system and a minimalist, concrete aesthetic, NU SPACE hosts mostly local/national acts spanning genres such as indie rock, experimental, electronic, post-punk, classical and folk. Shows start at 8:30pm-9pm. During the daytime you can enjoy a beverage beneath the gingko trees at the NU Cafe. Local artworks, souvenirs and records are available in the NU Store. Harvest beer on tap. No smoking inside. usually 60-80RMB door sales.

Sichuan Opera. Most guest houses and travel agencies offer to arrange visits to these traditional shows. It is more like a burlesque cabaret than an actual opera, sometimes including magicians, traditional musicians, shadow plays, comedy spoken in Chinese though, and dancers besides the traditional pieces. Of course the most famous is never omitted: quick face-changing and fire spitting performed by dancers clad in colourful traditional costumes.

You will follow the story sitting at your table, sipping on your constantly refilled tea cup and nibbling some salted snacks. Note that there are many teahouses in the city that offer the show every night. Try the local favorite at Shu Feng Ya Yun teahouse located in Chengdu Culture Park on Qintai Road,it is beside Qingyang Temple.

You will be seated on a covered open ground cooled by fan; no A/C, which is actually the center of the traditional teahouse building. You might have to book in advance or just ask the concierge of your hotel to book it for you. ¥150 back rows; ¥220 front rows. Got tickets on the door and were offered disconted rate starting at ¥120 30 minutes before the show started.

Wuhouci Temple, near Jinli street, south-west of Tian fu square. This temple is built for commemorating Zhuge Liang, he is minister of Shu in Three Kingdoms Period. He is famous through the Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. There are dozens of dust covered statues of obscure historical figures behind glass and not much else. The gardens are attractive, but not extensive. It is next to Jinli Ancient Street. ¥60.

Jinli Ancient Street . This neighborhood is part of the old city of Chengdu; it features hotels and small stores in old-fashioned style. Antiques are sold in a variety of different stores. It is very popular among both tourists and locals, especially at night, with many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. You will find a lot of famous local snack food over there, prices ¥1-10. Restaurants and bars in Jin Li are more expensive than outside.

There are also antique hotels in there. Some consider Jin Li is to be tourist trap, which is partly true. However, this 'new old street' offers regional and fairly affordable street food specialties as well and can be combined with a visit to the Wuhouci Temple entry fee 60 yuan, unless you are the holder of a Panda Card. Don't forget to take your camera.

Jinsha Archaeological Site, (Take Line 7、14、82、83、96、111、311、401 and 502 and get off at the north of Qingyang Avenue.Take Line 901 and get off at Jinsha Relics Road. Recently discovered site featuring various tools and art pieces from around 3,000 years ago. The amount of unearthed items is just massive. They include pottery, blades, jade items, building foundations and various golden art pieces. There are two main buildings: the hall constructed over the centre of the excavation site and the modern exhibition hall with various artifacts on display. ¥80.

Wenshu Temple , 15 Wenshuyuan St, (Off Renmin Zhong Rd). This Tang Dynasty Buddhist temple is the most impressive, and perhaps also the most used, temple in Chengdu. It is dedicated to the Buddhist representation of Wisdom, Wenshu Pusa (Manjusri Bodhisatva), and contains more than 450 Buddha statues and other precious relics.

In addition to the halls and gardens, the temple also has a charming tea house that offers an insightful window of Chengdu life as it is frequented by locals who engage in games of chess, reading, knitting and just chatting with family and friends. The temple also has a delightful newly (2016) renovated vegetarian restaurant with seats offering views over the gardens.

Entry fee is a steal at only 5 yuan. As of July 2016, they were no entry fee. Some of the English signs pointing here say "Manjusri Temple". There are shops around the temple.

Qingyang Temple; Qingyanggong; lit. Palace of the Green Ram), 9 Xierduan, Ring Rd One. This Taoist temple is the oldest and biggest of its kind in the area, located in the west of downtown. A large and still-active temple that takes into consideration Taoist philosophy in its construction, and with both a park next door and a number of relaxed courtyards inside. While it has a long history, the buildings are modern, cheaply-made concrete constructions, and it quite frequently shows. The statues inside are also cheap modern constructions of no real interest. A teahouse and a vegetarian restaurant can be found within the temple complex. ¥10.

Happy Valley Huanlegu, Catch the Number 48 Bus from Luomashi Metro Station to its Terminus then keep walking in same direction once you get off the bus, cross the motorway and the park is on your right hand side. 09:00 - 18.30. Moderate size amusement park with 3 main roller coasters, Water Rides, Kids zone and water park (in Summer). Overall Good day out for both adults and families, makes a nice break from the city and has enough attractions to fill a full day out, As of 2011 the entrance to the park is now a sports retail outlet, Imax and Indoor Sky diving Centre with Resturants 200 ¥, discount for students.

Sichuan Provincial Museum, No.251 Huanhua South Road, Wuhou District,. Tue to Sun. Provincial Museum of Sichuan Province. A wide range of excellent collection (Bronze wares, Chinese paintings (with a featured collection of Sichuanese painter Zhang Daqian(Chang Dai-chien)), Buddhistic sculpture of various periods; Tibetan artefacts, objects of anthropological interest from ethnical minorities within the province and a live show of Sichuanese silk weaving, etc.) on permanent display. Free entrance. free.

A Thousand Plateaus Art Space Qian Gaoyuan Yishu Kongjian, 3-5 Southern District, Tiexiang Temple Riverfront, 699 First Tianfu Street, High-Tech Development Zone. Tu-Su, 11AM-6PM. A contemporary art gallery in Chengdu exhibiting Chinese and international artists. Exhibit openings generally happen once a month, and other events also take place. Free entry.

New Century Global Center. Opened in August 2013 as the World's Largest Building. The building houses a large mall, indoor water park, IMAX movie theater, skating rink, and a couple five-star hotels. It is located on top of the Jincheng Plaza metro station on Line 1, making it very easy to get to. The water park, known as Paradise Island, is about $30 per person for a pass and is not really worth the money.

The wave pool requires life jackets to be worn by all swimmers, something that will be new to Western water park goers. Aside from its hotel (which you cannot find from inside incidentally), the building is operational. It is nothing more than an oversized shopping center with a great deal of unused space. The water park is over securitised, there is no English for the IMAX Movies and there are very few choices in terms of stores, most of which are over-priced.

There is a great selection of food on the top floor, but outside that its a good opportunity to go, have a photo taken out front, do a quick photo taking inside then get back on the metro to see the same stores in town. Behind the Global Center is Jinsheng Park and Jinsheng Lake.

Liujiang Old town Liujiang town, located 25 km southwest of the county to spend Hongya River tributary of Liujiang sides. Town was founded in the Southern Song Dynasty, and modern architecture across the water from the Ming and Qing era buildings.

Huan Huaxi Park This is one of the two best city parks. It can be reached by the BRT at one end as it is just inside the second ring road. Alternatively you can take Metro line 2 to Chengdu University of TCM. From there you walk about 20 minutes. On the way you pass other nearby attractions that are clustered in this area such as the River Market, the Sichuan Museum and Dufu’s Cottage. The park is large and has a wetland, mature trees, flower gardens and a lot of birdlife. Free entry.

Wangjianglou Park Quite a famous park in Chengdu, this is the other city park I highly rate. From the Jinjiang River near Wanda Plaza it is a 20minute walk along the river. Free entry. The park has a strong bamboo theme, with 270 species on exhibit. There are also numerous bird species present. The park can be divided into two sections: An open section with free entrance and a closed section that costs ¥20 to enter. The closed section has several Qing Dynasty buildings present and is relatively peaceful.

Mausoleums of Princes of Shu of the Ming Dynasty Combine this with a walk around Qinlong Lake. The number 80, 97 and 219 buses come by this area which is opposite Chengdu University. There are actually two tombs on site. One is the tomb of an emperor and the other is off his concubine. There is a small admission fee.

Du Fu Cottage Du Fu is a very famous Chinese poet, so much so that he is their equivalent to Shakespeare. The site backs onto Huan Huanxi Park and has beautiful grounds and museums including Du Fu’s actual residence. Entrance is ¥60 for adults.

Chengdu Eastern Memory Eastern Memory is part of the original old industrial area in the eastern suburbs. It was converted into this cultural and creative industrial park covering 189,000 square meters. As you walk around the site you can see numerous music and industrial themed statues, an original train from the 1950s, numerous expensive restaurants and an IMAX theatre. Sometimes you can see young people walking around dressed as anime characters. Take the BRT to SM Mall and walk 15 minutes. Eastern Memory can actually be seen from the platform. Alternatively from 24 City you can walk there by following the Shahe river east for 2 hours, cross a foot bridge and then walk a block. Free entry.

Qinlong Lake Wetland Park Opened in January 2016 and has a smooth concrete path that is bike, wheelchair and scooter friendly. Takes 2 hours to walk around the lake. There are a lot of water birds around, especially in winter. As you walk around the lake there are three small weirs, the Mausoleums of Princes of Shu of the Ming Dynasty and a decent children’s playground. Bikes can now also be hired here. The lake is located in East Chengdu between the third and fourth ring road. From MixC Mall you can take the following buses directly there: #80 and 98. On return the #219 goes past 24 City and the 80 and 98 return to Mix C Mall. By 2017 Metro Line 4 should be extended and will have a stop right outside the park. Free entry.

Bailuwan Wetlands Also known as Egret Bay. Located south of Chengdu on the fourth ring road. It is tricky to get to but an awesome park. If you can reach a place where the 186 bus stops you can get there. Several lakes and a lot of water fowl. Bikes can be hired cheaply, including two seaters so families can cycle their young children around. Don’t forget to bring extra money as you need to pay a deposit for the bikes which you get back at the end. Next door to the wetlands is Hetangyuese Park which has a lake with stunning lotus plants in the warmer months. Free entry.

Chengdu Botanical Garden The gardens are located north in the same general area as the Panda base. From the Chengdu Zoo transfer to the #25 bus and go to the final stop. The Botanic Gardens are right there. Entry costs ¥10. The gardens are a decent size. There are many mature trees and beautiful flower gardens. This is a great place to have a picnic. Plenty of food is for sale both outside and inside the gardens. The gardens include a tropical section and a greenhouse full of desert plants.

Greater Chengdu

Floraland, (Expect an expensive taxi ride out to the suburbs, or take one of the buses (e.g. 319 bus)that will guide you to the park). The park includes a moderate selection of rides (water, relaxing and thrill), and various recreation activities. Weekends can get packed, so try to go during a weekday. ¥60.

Chengdu's Panda Base, located just outside the city, is a favorite of visitors

Chengdu Panda Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, (tourist bus 902 was cancelled; take public bus 87 or 198/198A from Chengdu Zoo (bus or metro line 3), or take a taxi from downtown for ¥40-¥50 (if traffic is light). Hostels/hotels often organise trips for around ¥110 which includes return transport and the entrance fee. This is the biggest facility of this kind in the world. Due to habitat destruction and other reasons, the giant panda is maybe the most famous endangered animal.

It is home to some 60 giant pandas, but also has some red pandas and a colony of black-necked cranes. The pandas are basically on display for tourists but views are much closer than is possible at most Western zoos. A small museum and a cinema screening related documentaries is also available.

A restaurant and souvenir-stalls top off the tourist installations. The best time to visit is in the morning early, once it opens at 7:30AM is best, when pandas are most active and crowds are light. Pandas sleep during the hottest time of the day. Feeding time is around 8:00-9:30 depending on the time of year.

It is recommended to arrive as early as you can to avoid the hordes of school and tour groups that arrive every morning and more importantly because panda are fed between 8h and 10h and most are starting a 6h nap between 10h to 11h. Park opens at 7:30am but expect people to be waiting starting around 715am. Holding a panda is no longer an option (June 2016). Entry fee is ¥58 student price of ¥29 only available for Chinese students and foreign students in exchange semester in a Chinese university. English-speaking tour guide ¥100.

Luodai Ancient Town, Luodai Town, Longquanyi District, Chengdu (Luidai Town is about 25km east of downtown Chengdu. Chengluo Road goes directly there. There is also a bus that goes directly there. Catch it at a small building behind the Xinnanmen bus station, right where Shiqi road bends. Cost is ¥7. There appears to be no regular schedule, just show up, and when the bus is full enough, it departs. No bus number, just look for signs to.

The 219 local bus leaves from Tazishan Park and goes direct to Luodai old town. In Luodai, once you exit the train station, turn right on Bajiaojing street, then left at Huaishui Middle Street, and the entrance is on your left.. Over 1 km long streets with older building (in various states of disrepair) lined with stores. The primary attraction is the many different types of food and snacks available, especially Hakka food, that are hard to find in other places (along with some amount of stores selling standard tourist crap and costumes to rent for photos). The buildings that line the street are of some, but not great, interest; more interesting are a number of older buildings and halls that give one a feel for older China. Signage and shops appear to be Chinese-language only. Entrance: free.

Luodai Mini Great Wall. Just 6km from Luodai Ancient Town, you can get there by taking the number 853 local bus. Cost of walking the wall is ¥10. Excellent views of the surrounding hills and Chengdu Plain if it is a clear day. The wall is steep and takes an hour to walk in one direction. The 853B bus returns to the ancient town from the top of the wall. Shuttles can also return travelers back to the old town. There is also a temple at the top of the wall.

Baigongyan Park This park is near Lonquanyi, east of Chengdu. It is a decent sized park and it takes about two hours to walk around the lake. In the center of the lake is an island and you can see people going on boat rides around the lake. The track starts off like a road but then you can veer off onto dirt paths through peach tree forests around the lake.

The surrounding forest is green and lush. To get here take metro line 2 from Chengdu and do to Lonquanyi at the end of the line. From there take the 864 or 850 bus and make sure you get off at the right place. (The 850 actually carries on to Luodai, the 864 carries on to the Hometown of Peach Blossoms.) The bus only costs ¥1. Free entry.

Xindu Guihu Park Xindu is a satellite city north of Chengdu. To get there you have to catch the #650 bus from the zoo which takes you into Xindu. Once in Xindu catch a taxi to the park. There are two sections – the free public part which has a lake, numerous tea houses, historic buildings & statues and lush foliage. But the special part is the private section that you pay ¥20 to enter. The entrance is located inside Xindu’s old city wall which you can’t miss. The wall dates back around 1000 years. Once inside there are many large Qing dynasty buildings, mature trees and this lotus lake. Summer is the best time to visit as the lotus flowers are in full bloom. You can also feed carp with baby bottles there. The Xindu Museum is also on site and there are 3000 year old skeletons on display.

For up-to-date information on activities, places and attractions you should check out the CHENGDOO citylife magazine's listings. You will find copies in most bars, restaurants, cafes, hostels and hotels.

Chunxi Road. Take an afternoon or evening to walk down this shopping street, located in the center of the city. Makes for a good change of pace. Various clothing stores, bookstores, restaurants, arcades, and cinemas. Good place to find something to eat; including a hotpot buffet, Japanese restaurants, Western food, and much more. However, the major disadvantage with this area is that each brand has many stores in this location similar to other parts of China.

For instance, Nike, Adidas, and Li-Ning, each have about 4-5 stores in Chunxi Road alone which reduces the variety of things to buy. If you are looking for stores in the same vein as Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna, these stores are located outside of the Chunxi Road area and near the Tianfu Square district.

KTV, various locations. Spend an evening singing with friends, enjoy popcorn, beer and other refreshments. Songs available in English, Chinese, and more.

Foot and body Massage. Chengdu is famous for its relaxed and laid back lifestyle. Foot and body massage is very popular in Chengdu with a lot of varieties. Generally, these places cater to groups of people who come in together, relax in a private room, perhaps eating fruit, pig ear, or sipping tea, while receiving a fully-clothed massage or foot washing. Prices are very reasonable, often well under ¥80 per person. Some places offer ¥25 per hour for a very nice foot massage, including washing, soaking and massaging feet, free hot/cold drink (tea, coke or juice), fresh fruit.

A great way to relax with friends. Beware of erotic massage places that may be hard to tell from authentic ones. Watch out for establishments (such as on Yuhe side street, next to the Sheraton) that have two price boards, one in Chinese, and one in English with heavily inflated prices (foreigners - 80 yuan, Chinese - 40 yuan).

Read a Book. The Chengdu Bookworm has a membership-based lending library of English language books, as well as travel guides for sale. Peter's Tex Mex, as well as some of the other restaurants that cater to foreigners, have book exchanges.

Play Weiqi (the game of Go). As a symbol of Chinese culture, Weiqi is one of the world’s great strategy games where a few simple rules lead to limitless possibilities. Weiqi is hugely popular in Chengdu to the point where it has been nicknamed Weiqi City. Chengdu Weiqi Classroom is the only place where foreigners can study this game with English speaking assistance.

Cosmetics and Hair. Local woman love to get their nails and hair done at the mall. You can get your nails done beautifully (filed, buffered, polished and hand painted with beautiful patent) between ¥10-20 at most shopping centre. There are quite a few very popular ones located on the ground floor of Beijing Hualian (北京华联)in Yanshikou. You can also get your hair temporarily straightened or curled at ¥10-15. They do very nice style and it will last until you wash your hair.

Drink tea, Renmin Park or People's Park. Teahouses are plentiful in Chengdu, and drinking tea and playing Mahjong is how many local people relax. On a sunny afternoon pick a table in the park with an out-door tea house and sip your tea while listening to the locals gossiping. Not for the faint hearted, take the opportunity to have your ears cleaned by local "experts" armed with a tuning fork and a myriad of "insertion tools". Weird but effective! There are thousands of teahouses in Chengdu so you'll find them from other places than Renmin Park as well.

Take a Local Food Tour. This is a good way to eat where locals really eat. Travel by tuktuk away from the tourist center to get the real stuff with a local English speaking guide to take care of everything. Food and drinks are included. 350RMB.

Employment

Job postings for English teaching are located in many guest houses, at Western bars and restaurants, anywhere foreigners congregate. Also worth to check are GoChengdoo and their Chengdoo Magazine of which you can grab a copy from many places throughout the city.

The Peace Corps has its China headquarters in Chengdu, (Sichuan University Campus), and places its U.S. Citizen volunteers in 2 year assignments throughout provinces in West China teaching English.

The Chengdu City Government [65] has a website about finding job opportunities in Chengdu, which includes information on how to find jobs and how the work permit application for foreigners functions.

Dining

You will find no shortage of delicious and fiery Sichuan food in Chengdu. Most of the food is quite spicy, be sure to specify whenever you order: non-spicy, a little spicy or 'old' very spicy. If you are not accustomed to it yet, a bottle of sweetened soy, almond, peanut, or cow milk, or something else sweet will work much better than water to quell the fire. If you are used to the hottest of authentic Indian or Thai food, the level of spiciness in Sichuan food should be no problem at all.

However, Sichuan food also makes heavy use of Sichuan pepper, which looks like but is not a true peppercorn, and causes your mouth to become somewhat numb. Sichuan pepper is added in most spicy dishes. If you can eat spicy food but do not like Sichuan pepper, you need to order so.

However, Sichuan pepper (in addition to causing numbing) has an important citrusy taste that it adds to foods and authentic Sichuan tastes bank on the play between the flavours of both Sichuan pepper and chili peppers, and it is strongly recommend you at least try the authentic versions with the Sichuan pepper before deciding for yourself.

The spiciest food in Chengdu is hotpot also called steampot or steamboat, although the tradition originated in Chongqing, so it is not really Chengdu food. Sichuan hotpots are basically a big pot of soup and spices simmering in a hole in the middle of your table. Patrons choose from a large selection of meats, vegetables and other add-ins. Most popular include: lamb, mushrooms, beef, tofu, quail eggs, potatoes and various others (pork, green vegetables, fish balls, carrots, and even pig's brain!)

You can choose spicy pot or non spicy pot. With spicy hot pots, unlike eastern hot pots, the soup is NOT for drinking; instead, fish out your cooked items with chopsticks do not fish the liquid out with a spoon, it is too spicy even for locals to drink; the fished out vegetables will be spicy enough, dip them in the small bowl of oil provided to each person, and enjoy.

You may also find the local food too oily or too salty for your taste, and may want to advise your server accordingly.

There are also a lot of weird local snack type of food, such as spicy dragon prawns (look like very small crayfish; spicy snails , Chongqing duck neck, Bangbang chicken, spicy rabbit meat. These ones are so delicious and you must try them. But you need to ask a local to take you to the right place. Quite often you will find that the small restaurants and shops offer the most delicious and cheapest food.

If you want to find even cheaper food options, street vendors are the way to go (though the Chengdu police have been doing their best to extinguish this long tradition and you may have trouble finding them these days). Serving everything from barbeque to steamed breadrolls, they are a cheap and offer a great option for a quick bite to eat.

If you are less adventurous but still like Chinese food, or just tired of Sichuan food, there are a number of Cantonese and Hong Kong restaurants, including Lei Garden near Shangri-la Hotel.

There are a number of stalls and hole in the wall type places all over town. Food here is dirt cheap, expect to pay no more than ¥8 for a meal, and the quality is good. Things to be on the lookout for are spicy bowls of breakfast noodles; dandanmian), double cooked pork, and dozens of dishes coated in "málà" the Sichuan chili spice famous the world over.

Yulinchuanchuanxiang, Various locations throughout the city. Cheap and fast hotpot variety. This is a help-yourself style meal, go to a backroom and choose your own kebabs. Stick the kebabs into a hotpot soup, and have them boil. Pull them out and enjoy. Large kebabs are ¥1, and small ones are ¥0.1 each. Expect to be full for less than ¥25. There are both spicy and non-spicy variations. There is a large selection of meats, vegetables, and other add-ins. Beer is available in large bottles and sweet soymilk (Dounai) is also served.

Lanzhou Lamian, Located everywhere. A bowl of noodles starts for about ¥4, and reach a maximum of ¥7. Varieties include egg, lamb and beef. Other dishes are reasonable in price as well. Breads for 1 kuai a piece, and Mutton Kabobs go for 1 kuai per stick. Da Pan Ji is a great choice if eating with a group. Usually offered in small or large sizes, a small size will cost about ¥40 and feed 3 or 4 people. A large order might cost about ¥60. This dish includes chicken, potatoes, onions and other vegetables in a moderately spicy sauce. Can eat with bread or noodles to make a great meal.

Steamed buns. Sold for breakfast or lunch from street vendors throughout the city. Yacai bao is a local Sichuan special variety you are unlikely to find elsewhere and typically contains some mixture of Yacai, a type of preserved vegetable, and potentially some meat. Other typical fillings include beef, red bean paste, mushrooms, green vegetables or pork. Three buns cost around ¥1 or larger buns cost ¥1 each as well. A container of soy milk is about the same price.

Lan Zhou Niu Rou La Mian, Donghuamen Street. For particularily great Uigur noodles (pulled and shaved noodles), head to "Lan Zhou Niu Rou La Mian", a family-run little restaurant on Donghuamen Street. Find it in the little section between Renmin E Road and Donghua Main St, all of which is north-east of and only a couple minutes' walk from Tianfu Square,where the metro lines intersect.

Budget

Mike's Pizza Kitchen (Chengdu Pizza Delivery), Tongzilin, Europe City (In the south of Chengdu). 11AM-10PM. Freshly made to order pizza. Authentic New York style pizza pie, stone-baked. Now has a restaurant on tongzilin nan lu. Will deliver to downtown Chengdu area and are based out of the south of Chengdu. See website above for details. ¥30-150.

Mid-range

Wenshu Temple Vegetarian Restaurant, 15 Wenshu St. In the grounds of a monastery and run by monks. Offers a huge selection of traditional vegetarian dishes, including some containing imitated meat. The ground floor offers a buffet or individual hotpots while you can find the regular restaurant upstairs. The tea-house seems to be serving outside. Buffet: ¥35 per person. Hotpot: ¥50 per person.

Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant, Various locations throughout the city (Locations include Chunxi Rd, Yulin S Rd , outside of Sichuan University (Near Cafe Paname), and more). Authentic Japanese food. Serves curry, tonkatsu, unagi-don, fried rices, sushi, ramen noodles, and various other selections. Serves Chinese and Japanese beers, as well as a selection of plum wine and sake. Food quality varies. Meals range from ¥20 upwards, expect a plate of sushi to be quite a bit more expensive, but sides are generally decent priced.

Chen Mapo, 208 Shuanglin Rd. Supposedly opened by the Mapo herself in 1862. The place to eat Mapo Doufu, it does not get any more authentic than this. Spicy food eaters will love this, those who do not like spicy food should probably skip it altogether.

Namaste/Afila, 20 Remin Nan Rd, Section 4, Wuhou District. Specializes in Indian and Nepalese cuisine, particularly tandoori and curries. Great for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

Fiesta Thai, Linjiang Zhong Lu 6, Right beside Traffic Hotel and the 902 Panda Base Bus Stop.Specializes in Thai cuisine. Great food and exceptional service when you need a break from oily and spicy Sichuan food.

High Class

Tibetan

A're Tibetan Restaurant, Wuhouci Dajie 234. Just across Wuhou Temple's main gate, and close to the Tibetan quarter, there's "A're restaurant", one of the first and most famous among Tibetan restaurants in Chengdu. Traditional atmosphere, friendly Tibetan stuff and occasional performances make this place unique. Plenty of delicious dishes made of bread, yak meat and yak cheese. From drinks, you can try local yogurt and typical butter tea. If you're lucky to meet the owner, you'll have a great chat in English.

Chinese

Veranda Bridge Restaurant. This restaurant is actually a historic bridge over Funan River. Sichuan food. Very good reputation within Chengdu.

Huang Cheng Lao Ma, (On 3rd section of south part of the 2nd Ring Rd). Elaborate restaurant featuring hot pot followed by live entertainment, including Sichuan face-changing. Don't miss the diorama scene of ancient Chengdu built into the restaurant lobby's floor. A separate section on the ground floor of the restaurant also features a pan-Asian buffet with contemporary entertainment. Child care is available on premises. Prices are in the range of ¥100 per person for dinner and one drink.

Western

Chengdu has a few local Western restaurants. Service is always friendly, although you should expect occasional mistakes, such as appetizers served at the same time as your meal. Chengdu is just starting to get accustomed to Western tastes.

The Lazy Pug, In Chinese. 5pm. By far the best and most authentic Western restaurant in Chengdu. Run by a friendly American couple, Dana & Danny. Fantastic food and strong cocktails. Has something for everyone -- burgers, fresh salads, and an array of Western food and drinks.

Chengdu Bookworm, 28 Renmin S Rd. Has something for everyone. It is an English language lending library, a Western restaurant, a bar, as well as an occasional venue for local singing and musical talent. Expats might want to join the membership library or take kids to the children's morning story hours. Evenings, you might find a travel author reading from and signing books, poetry reading, or singing. Great place for connecting with others, catching up on some reading, or just relaxing. edit

Grandma's Kitchen. Western restaurant with four locations around Chengdu, including one next door to Peter's on Zhong Hua Yuan.

Peter's Tex-Mex. Actually an American restaurant with some Mexican dishes. Peter's has good food. The Zhong Hua Yuan location also has homemade ice cream, the best ice cream you will find in Chengdu. If you are coming from out of town, the Zhong Hua Yuan location is right in a major expat area with lots of other restaurants and shopping surrounding it. ¥12-¥150+ for a meal.

Dave's Oasis,Directly opposite the Travel Hotel and Xinnanmen bus station other side of river. The first western-style dive bar in Chengdu and one of the longest standing bars in the city today, it's a nice little hangout for travelers, expats, students, teachers and just about anyone. They host weekly poker games, beer pong, show movies and sports including NFL. Head there in the evenings for a beer, cocktail, and bar snacks like deep fried tater tots. Or start your day with an American diner style breakfast and bottomless coffee and fast WiFi.

All of the hotels in the high class category have Western restaurants or buffets.

Drinks

Poly center, Jinxiu Rod, Wuhou District. Currently Chengdu's hottest club and bar area. Awesome lighting and music,with Helen's bar on 4th Floor , TAG Dutch club, here we go more like a American Club dancing in the walkways and people just trying to get seen. Best place to get some house music.

A popular district of bars, also known as the bar street, is located by the southern shore of Jin River next to Anshun Bridge. The well known Lan Kwai Fong from Hong Kong started it's business in the mainland of China in 2010 and the first city is Chengdu. The area is located a little north-west from Anshun Bridge.

Club 88, 99 Shaoling Rd, Wuhou District. Currently Chengdu's hottest club. Awesome lighting and music, dancing in the walkways and people just trying to get seen. Expect crowds of people, packed tables, and action going on through the night well past the other clubs closing times. Get there early to get a table or come very late to wind down the night when everything else dies.

Cafe Paname, 143 Kehua N Rd (Nearby Sichuan University). A bar with a younger crowd and laid-back environment Expect an occasional DJ event which will make the bar a little more lively on Fridays and Holidays. ¥10 Suntory beer on tap is a perk.

Feeling4Seasons Cafe, Orient Times Mall 2F, Xiadongda St (Near Dongmen Bridge). Good Italian coffee: espresso, cappuccino, especially latte. Also pasta and pizza. They also provide Internet service: wireless access for your laptop, loan of a wireless card if you don't have one, use of a PC if required. You can also burn CDs. It is also one famous China blog freelancer's cafe bar; he published a book named "Ten Years, Flying with one Dream".

Mooney's Irish Pub, (In the Shangri-la Hotel). A real classy traditional Irish pub. Sometimes they have a live band or other entertainment. Also they have a free billiard table which is nice. Offering beers on tap, whiskies and signature dishes.

Shamrock Pub, 15, 4th Section, Renmin S Rd (Near Linshiguan Rd and the U.S. Consulate). This Irish pub in is currently the hub of Chengdu's small expatriate community (of approximately 3,000). Friendly pub atmosphere and live music some evenings. In addition to drinks the pub serves dishes including pizza, meat pies, sausage rolls, steaks, burgers, curries and a range of other snacks. The pub is also an active sponsor of several nonprofit organizations, including holding events for moon bear rescue and for the disabled. Copies of the informative Chengdoo book are available at the Shamrock.

High Connections Coffee House, Fu A-20 6 Shuangqing S Rd, Qingyang District,On the west side of Chengdu near Metro and the Southwest Financial University. Provides a relaxing, comfortable, environment with soft lighting and easy-listening music. They have non-smoking and smoking sections. Bring your computer and hook up to the wireless Internet. Their coffee (both Espresso and good old fashioned drip American style) and muffins are an excellent way to begin a day. They also have large conference rooms available for meetings.

The closest thing you'll find to a real English 'local' pub in Chengdu. It's number one for football coverage with three screens but feel free to ask about other sports if you're interested. The people there are very friendly and will do their utmost to make you feel welcome.

Accomodation

Nova Traveller's Lodge, No.10 Taishengbei Road , Chengdu, Sichuan, 610031, China. Nova is a wonderland for backpackers from all over the world. One of the best “YHA” hostels in Chengdu. Very good location & good connections to everywhere in the city and cozy common area also far away from the hustle and bustle. Nova itself could be a city miracle.

Travelling With Hotel Chengdu , No.171, Tongxin,Qingyang District Chengdu, Sichuan 610021 China. Travelling With Hotel Chengdu (Wide and Narrow Alley) is located in a loop in the center of Chengdu. The hotel is a regional cultural travel social hotel.

Travelling with architectural style is simple but elegant, subtle and restrained, reflecting the cultural characteristics of the original features. The design of the modern fashion elements which creates a rich spiritual connotation of space atmosphere, always give you surprises.

Here, you can not only enjoy fine food, taste mellow coffee or enjoy a romantic afternoon tea, but also choose a book in the plants around the bookstore, leisurely spend a full day. The hotel is only 15 minutes walk from Wide and Narrow Alley, 15 minutes from Yongling Museum. The opposite of the hotel is Chengdu Shude high school. You will forget yourself living in downtown. Around the hotel you can find New City Mall and crowded snack street, ten lane nine alley. 80~368CNY.

China's country code is 86. Chengdu's area code is 28. Coin-operated pay phones are located throughout Chengdu, and calling cards can be purchased from many vendors. Local landline phone numbers are eight digits long; cellular phone numbers in Sichuan are eleven digits long and start with 13 or 15.

Internet access can be found in most guesthouses and through cheap internet cafes all over town. Look out for Web-character and the Pacman-character in the Chinese name for internet bar.

A large Internet cafe is located on the second floor of the Xinnianmen bus station, just 100 meters from the Jiaotong Fandian hotel. The connection is fast and access is ¥2/hour.

While getting a local SIM card is highly recommended (for GSM phones, use China Unicom. For CDMA, use China Telecom. 1gb data is about $10), you can get away with free public wifi. Note that while wifi from restaurants and hotels don't need further authentication when you connect, places like banks, malls, even airports do require identity verification and the landing page either requires a Chinese phone number or doesn't have English instruction at all. Ask a local to help you login, most college age students are able to speak decent level of English!


Thieves are prevalent around certain areas of Chengdu. Be careful around the Yanshikou markets and especially around the North train station. There are also many thieves on crowded buses who use razors to cut open pockets and bags. Also watch your bag at all times when riding bicycles around the city, thieves like to run alongside bicycles at traffic lights and reach into bags.

Traffic can be insanely hectic and motorists as well as cyclists and other pedestrians often have a complete disregard of you, the pedestrian. Beware when crossing streets; even when the WALK sign is green, (this means nothing to them or to the Police), traffic taking a right or left turn even when they are not permitted to turn will try to run you over or honk at you to make way for them. Accidents are commonplace as are deaths.

Look every direction but up. Watch out for taxi drivers, bus drivers and private car drivers who have absolutely no regard for your life. Also watch out for motorists, they are all unlicensed riding silent electric motorbikes coming at you from the left, from the right, from behind and from the front. To stay safe, it is best to walk with a crowd, preferably in the middle.
Cope

For such a big city, there's surprisingly little Western influence in Chengdu but certainly more than regional "rival" Chongqing. It's definitely not Beijing or Shanghai but this is changing fast with the arrival of more and more foreign students, teachers, and business people. This may be trying initially, as the level of English spoken is noticeably lower than other places, but it's also a blessing; carry a phrasebook and enjoy the authentic Chinese urban experience. The Western quarter, if there is one, seems to be around Kehua North Road.