Chendgu and Sichuan province are highly recommend in all of the China travel books, and with my family visiting we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit! After a rare on time departure from Pudong we arrived in Chengdu late afternoon on Sunday. Whenever arriving to a new place, I always try to arrange an airport pick up from the hotel. Is this more expensive? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! As a nervous traveler it’s less stressful to know that you’ll have a ride when you arrive!
We stayed at Mrs. Panda Hostel which was located right near the Li River and semi central Chengdu. The price was decent and the rooms were more like hotel rooms than hostel! The common area was very spacious and served beer and food!
Since we had all afternoon we decided to take the bus to the Wuhou Temple and Jinli Pedestrain Street. After exploring the temple and gardens we stopped for some snacks and overpriced beers before heading back to the hostel. We had the option to get our ears cleaned by the locals but decided to pass.
Since our hotel was near a university, the staff recommended a near by street with a variety of resturants. We decided on one that had a picture menu so that we didn’t end up with something strange! We ended up with standard Sichuan foods such as Mapo Tofu, green beans, egg plant, ribs, and some random cold meat dish. All in all it was delicious!
Monday was our trip to the Giant Buddha. Jason had booked a tour for us through Trip Advisor. For future reference, I’d suggest taking the train or bus from Chengdu. The trip split 4 ways wasn’t horribly expensive ($60 per person) considering it’s an almost a 2 hour drive to get there; however, for what the tour included it seemed a bit much! We got picked up at 9 am and drove to what we thought would be a “tea plantation.” Turns out it’s just a rest stop attraction that has tea plants.
We then headed to Leshan. Since it was a national holiday our guide highly recommended that we see the Buddha via boat rather than hike the stairs. After seeing the massive amounts of people on the narrow stairs I was happy with the boat option! The ticket was about 60rmb per person. Although the boat ride was short, it did allow great photo opportunities and views! The Buddha was pretty amazing and one of those see it to believe it places!
After a lazy susan style lunch we wandered the back market streets of Leshan and then headed back to Chengdu. If we were to do it again, we would maybe stay a night in Leshan and hike the path and surrounding area of the Buddha.
While enjoying an evening beer, a few people at the hostel asked if we’d like to get Hot Pot together. We of course said yes and were so happy that we did! Sichuan is known for SPICY foods with Hot Pot being one of them. Thankfully we got half spicy broth and half veggie because it was spicy! The spicy broth if filled with chili oil and numbing spices! One of the people who ate with us wanted to try duck tongue so we all had some! It wasn’t the best and I don’t really need to try it again!
Our last day in Chengdu included visiting the Pandas. There are plenty of options on how to see the pandas but everyone recommends that you go in the morning since the pandas are more active. We booked a half day “tour” through our hostel. I wouldn’t call it a tour, rather a random guy who just drove us to the Panda Center! I wasn’t really excited about seeing the pandas but once we got there it was pretty awesome. These animals are so lazy and just lay around and eat all day. They’re pretty cute!