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Book a flight to Chengdu with Qatar Airways to soak up the charm of this Chinese city for yourself. Lively yet relaxed, Chengdu, the 'Land of Milk and Honey', is considered China's second most liveable city. With a population of 13 million and growing, Chengdu's charms lie in its traditional street markets, homely Sichuan restaurants and gingko tree-lined streets.
It may be famous for its lack of sun, yet what it lacks in sunshine it more than makes up for with its friendly vibe and emphasis on relaxation and culture. Fly to Chengdu to experience a China that is different from the one you may have read about or visited before.
Any trip to Chengdu should start by exploring the city's rich history. The Tomb of Wang Jian, a mausoleum with an above-ground tomb, commemorates General Wang Kian, emperor of the Shu Kingdom after the Tang Dynasty's collapse. Also worth visiting are the city's temples – Wenshu Temple, Chengdu's largest Buddhist temple and Wuhou Temple are the most popular. Green Ram Temple near Culture Park is also popular with visitors. Here you’ll find magnificent Chinese art and sculpture, housed in some impressive examples of Chinese architecture.
Head for Tianfu Square, where you can see a giant statue of Chairman Mao. And if that’s whetted your appetite for giant statues in general, take a trip to see the giant Buddha at Leshan. This is the world's largest Buddha statue and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back in Chengdu, stroll around Jinli Ancient Street – while many consider it a tourist trap, it's actually a beautiful part of the old city and a great place to try street food.
Travel to Chengdu and you'll find plenty of leisure activities for all ages. Many come here to see the Chengdu Panda Research Base, accessible by bus or taxi. The biggest panda breeding facility in the world, it's home to around 60 Giant Pandas. Make sure you arrive early to avoid crowds as it can get very busy.
Life in Chengdu moves at a relaxed pace, and foot and body massage is popular here. Book a massage with friends and enjoy a soothing experience; refreshments are usually included.
To experience life in Chengdu as a local, head for one of the city's many tea houses. Playing Mah-jong and drinking tea is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Renmin Park is home to an outdoor tea house and plenty of sunny tables; you may even get to join in with a game if you're lucky.
Local Sichuan cuisine is fiery and delicious. Bear in mind that because most dishes are fairly spicy, you should request a level of spice to suit your tastes when ordering. Most restaurants are used to this and very accommodating. Dishes feature plenty of Sichuan Pepper with its unique hot, sour taste and local specialities include Sichuan Hotpot. This dish is designed to share and a simmering pot of spicy soup is placed in the centre of the table, into which meat, tofu and vegetables can be added by diners.
Street food in Chengdu is well worth trying, although it can be quite unusual and may not be to everyone's tastes. Look out for spicy rabbit, spicy snails and Chongqing duck neck. Street vendors are a great option for a tasty snack or lunch on the go, in-between sightseeing. Why not enjoy Yacai bao (steamed buns) which you'll find served all over the city, traditionally eaten for breakfast?
Dining out in Chengdu is affordable, and as well as Sichuan restaurants you will find Chinese, Japanese and Western options.
Travel to Chengdu and you'll find that shopping here is an experience in itself. Take an afternoon stroll down Chunxi Road, one of the city centre's main shopping streets. Here you'll find over 700 shops selling international brands. Another great spot to find designer brands is Galleria, home to around 200 stores.
Chengdu's markets are the place to be if you are looking for bargains. Lotus Wholesale Market sells everything from clothing to home accessories and toys. For unusual souvenirs or traditional Chinese antiques, Songxian Qiao Antique Market is recommended. Here you'll find antique jewellery, calligraphy pens and relics from communist China.
Respect is very important here, as it is across China. Yelling, insulting people or even speaking in a loud, angry voice can be seen as disrespectful and rude.
Be aware that tipping is not part of Chinese culture. It's up to you whether you decide to tip but don't feel obliged to. You may also notice when dining out that you usually get one menu per table. This is because in China, it's traditional for one person to order for the whole group.
Flights to Chengdu with Qatar Airways arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, one of China's main air hubs.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Chengdu please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Renminbi (CNY)
Voltage: 220 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type A / I
International dialing code: +86