Chengdu - Gateway to China’s western hinterland

Chengdu Airport Directory (CTU)
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The capital city of the southwestern part of China's Sichuan province, Chengdu is known for its Giant Panda Research Base and its fiery cuisine, defined by the spicy Sichuan peppercorn. Pandas are not the only reason why you should add Chengdu to your list, its peaceful vibe and hidden monasteries will leave you mesmerized.

The Chengdu plain is known as the ‘Land of Abundance’, owing to its abundant natural resources. It is an important commercial, cultural and transportation center in western China.

This Panda capital of China is a perfect pick for your next vacation.

Best time to visit Chengdu: The best time to visit Chengdu are the months of March to June and September to November. The weather is pleasant during this time for the perfect holiday. The weather in other cities of Sichuan are much different from the weather in Chengdu.

Let us take a look at the various seasons round the year to help you plan your trip better.

  • Summer- Summer is from June to September. The weather is hot and sultry during the day, and slightly better during early mornings and evenings. July and August are the hottest months in Chengdu, with temperature as high as 37 °C (85 °F). Mt. Qingcheng and Mt. Emei are ideal places to escape the summer heat.
  • Monsoons- Due to its subtropical climate, Chengdu sees a lot of rain throughout the year. Most days are cloudy, foggy or drizzly. Maximum rainfall is seen between the months of June and September.
  • Winter- Chengdu has the least days of sunshine in China from December to February. Winter is usually cold, damp and grey, with little rainfall. The average low and high temperatures range from 2 to 10°C during this season.

Spoken Language in Chengdu:

  • Mandarin Chinese

Visa and Immigration for Chengdu: If you’re an Indian passport holder travelling to Chengdu, then you are required to apply for China tourist visa - L visa. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of your travel with one blank page.

Complete and submit the China Transit Visa application form along with a coloured passport photo or you can even choose to submit the application to the Consular’s office personally. The normal time taken to process the visa is around 2-3 working days in express service, however you can also opt for a rush service at an extra fee.

How to reach Chengdu:

  • By Air: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is located 20 km away from the city center. As one of China's main transportation hubs, Chengdu's airport has flights to most of China's major cities and some international destinations. Flights within Sichuan Province, including the popular tourist destination Jiuzhaigou, are served by this airport.
    IndiGo now offers flights to Chengdu with direct connectivity between Chengdu and Delhi, along with seamless connectivity to other destinations.
  • By Train: The railway network connects Chengdu to various other cities in China. Chengdu's railway station and bus stop, are located adjacent to each other in the city. Please be cautious of your belongings when you travel.

Getting around: 

  • By taxi: Hire a taxi to get around Chengdu City. Taxi drivers are friendly and eager to help, your hotel will also offer a business card written in Chinese and English so that you never have problem getting back to your hotel.
  • By Bus: Public buses ply through the city and are the most common means for sightseeing.
  • By Pedicabs: Take a ride in one of the city’s many pedicabs (rickshaws) to explore the city like a local.

Alternatively, you can also rent a car or a bicycle to see the city at your pace.

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Places to visit in Chengdu

  • Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding: This research centre was established in 1987 with six rescued giant pandas and is now home to over 80 pandas at present. Liveliest in the morning, these cute creatures can generally be found sleeping. You will get a chance to see, feed and even hug these cute creatures. It will take you nearly 3-4 hours to explore the entire place.
  • Dujiangyan Irrigation System: Honored as the 'Treasure of Sichuan', Dujiangyan Irrigation System is the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world. Over 2,200 years ago, this irrigation system was built on the Minijiang River to prevent flooding. There is a magnificent bridge called the Anlan Cable Bridge crossing the Minjiang River, the most scenic place of the whole project. This majestic architecture is a must visit.
  • Mount Qingcheng: Located in Dujiangyan, this UNESCO world heritage site is considered to be the birth place of Taoism and is also one of the most famous Taoist centers in China. The mountain is surrounded by numerous peaks and is an evergreen scenic spot. On your visit to Mount Qingcheng, remember to check out the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Center.
  • Du Fu Thatched Cottage: Du Fu Thatched cottage is a museum which honors the contribution of renowned Chinese poet Du Fu, also known as China’s Shakespeare. He composed over 240 poems in this cottage. This place is truly a sanctuary away from the city and a must visit for the poet in you!
  • The Wenshu Monastery: This Buddhist temple was built in 1691, above the ruins of an earlier monastery. It is spread across 12 acres and consists of five separate temples made of wood and stone.  Highlights include, the Shuofa Tang hall with 10 iron statues of Buddhist guardian gods, over 100 bronze sculptures of Buddhas and Buddhist saints, and various works of famous Chinese artists and writers. On your visit, remember to check out the on-site teahouse.
  • Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley: Located away from the hustle bustle of the city, these pedestrian-only alleys are a delight for visitors as it showcases the city’s rich historic and cultural roots. The alleys trace their history all the way back to 17th century. You must experience a traditional teahouse on your trip here.

Places to eat in Chengdu

Lao Ma Tou Hotpot
Lao Ma Tou Hotpot

Lao Ma Tou Hotpot offers one of the most authentic Sichuan hot pot experiences. Behind the ornately decorated temple-style façade, patrons are served massive, boiling pots of spicy broth with exotic ingredients. The atmosphere here is what the Chinese would call re nao (literally “warm and noisy”) – cheerfully loud and quite casual.

Qin Shan Zhai
Qin Shan Zhai

The dishes at Qin Shan Zhai are based on ancient Chinese medical principles. Items here are intensely flavourful, be sure to try the seared mountain yam, marbled pork with green beans, and delicate double-boiled soups. Along with the delectable cuisine, you will also enjoy the lovely restaurant garden and pond.

Ming Ting Fan Dian
Ming Ting Fan Dian

Enjoy Sichuan comfort food at this lovely neighborhood restaurant in Chengdu. Their must try items include, pork belly steamed in lotus leaves, spicy mapo tofu, and pork ribs served with pickles. The restaurant is family friendly and a must visit for a relaxed experience.

Yu Zhi Lan
Yu Zhi Lan

This tiny yet exclusive restaurant offers delicacies with the finest Chinese ingredients and techniques. The restaurant is known for its 25-course dinner and every dish is beautifully presented in custom-made china, highlighting its unique flavors.


Shopping in Chengdu

Chengdu boasts of its local products and fine traditional handicrafts. Your trip will be incomplete without collecting some souvenirs including, Shu brocade, embroidery, lacquer wares and Chinese tea from this land of abundance! Here is a list of top shopping streets in Chengdu.

Chunxi Road: This is the most famous commercial street in Chengdu, offering a variety of apparels and shoes from local and international brands for the shopaholics in you. It is not only Chengdu’s fashion centre but also popular for its wide array of delicious snacks and various street foods.

Qintai Road: Qintai Road is considered as the most famous jewellery and antique street in Chengdu. The buildings along the whole street comprehensively display the Han dynasty way of life, music and dance, and other local customs.

Jinli Street: A walk in Jinli street will take you back to ancient China. The Ming and Qing dynasty architectural works which line the street are a treat for the eyes.  The street is filled with traditional artisans and has various Sichuan snack shops, chopstick shops, teashops and others reflecting Chengdu’s special folk custom.


Nightlife in Chengdu

Chengdu has a lot to offer. During the day, you can enjoy your time watching giant pandas or relaxing at teahouses. During the evenings, check out the night clubs and karaoke clubs of the city. Some of the best night clubs in the city are listed below.

The Beer Nest: Its modest interiors give the place a western feel and the place offers a wide selection of beer.

Little Bar: This place was once the heart of Chinese rock and roll and is worth a visit if you are a rock music enthusiast!

The Muse: This bar is a perfect combination of western and Chinese styled bars. Do remember to wear your dancing shoes before you hit this place. You can dance to your heart’s content till the sun comes up!

Where to stay in Chengdu


Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu Shangri-La Chengdu offers rooms with a splendid view of the Jinjiang River and the city. The hotel rooms are well-equipped with all modern amenities, and even has a luxurious ballroom to delight its guests.


The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu offers sweeping views of Tianfu Square and the Chengdu skyline. This luxury hotel is a perfect mix of modern convenience with traditional grandeur and features a modern fitness center, an indoor swimming pool, a yoga studio, sauna and steam facilities, swimming pool and spas.


Fraser Suites Chengdu Fraser Suites Chengdu is located close to key commercial buildings and departmental stores. The hotel lies between the Central Business District and Tian Fu Square and provides comprehensive range of facilities including pool, gym, sauna rooms, restaurants, business centre and a playroom for children.


Sofitel Chengdu Taihe Located in the city centre, this luxury hotel offers a picturesque view of the Jinjiang River. The hotel boasts of 162 luxury rooms and 100 suites in a combination of French and Chinese elegance. A 20-minute drive from the hotel will take you to Chengdu International Airport.

More reasons to visit Chengdu

People's Park: This park is touted to be the city’s oldest public park and is home to many important monuments, including the Railway Protection movement monument. It was built in 1911 by the Qing dynasty. It is a comprehensive park which combines preservation of heritage with entertainment.

Sanxingdui Museum: This archaeological museum located on the banks of the Jian river, opened up for the public in 1997. The museum displays the ruins of ancient Shu, a kingdom which existed over 4000 years ago. This place is a must visit if you wish to know more about the Sichuan culture and history.


Places to visit near Chengdu

There is no dearth of destinations near Chengdu to checkout. From Chengdu, you can plan a day trip to Mt. Emei and a visit to UNESCO sight Leshan.

Leshan Giant Buddha: Standing 71 meters tall, this is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world. It was carved out of a cliff nearly 1,299 years ago and faces Mt. Emei. The rivers, Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi flow below the statue’s feet.  It is located nearly 3 hours from Chengdu.

Jiuzhaigou park: This is China's most famous natural park, located in the Sichuan province. You can reach this place under an hour and there are various homestays and hotels to plan your stay near this park. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and the highlights include, the Jiuzhaigou valley with its emerald and turquoise crystal lakes, mesmerising waterfalls, traditional Tibetan villages and towering peaks.

6E & Cheeky

Chengdu is not just about Pandas and spicy cuisine! You will be amazed to know that the earliest form of paper money was created in Chengdu. Let’s go back to the days when people had to carry heavy coins to make a purchase. Merchants were quick to understand the problem, leading to the invention of paper money, which is widely popular across the world now.

Chengdu is also home to the tallest building in China. The New Century Global Centre is 100 m tall and houses conference rooms, a university complex, offices, a cinema hall and even a pirate ship.

With its excellent geographical location and beautiful natural landscape, a trip to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, will give you memories for a lifetime.


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