Where China Goes to Chill

Authors: The New York Times

2016-04-28

A trip to the ancient city of Chengdu, where the pace is slow, the food is spicy and there’s always time for a good gossip over a cup of tea.
It may only be the seventh-largest city in China (with an estimated 14 million people), but it's perhaps no surprise that Chengdu, about a three-hour flight west from both Beijing and Shanghai, has emerged as an urban-getaway destination for the country's food and shopping obsessed. The 2,300-year-old city — which is the capital of Sichuan Province in the nation's southwest, an area long renowned for its bright, spicy cuisine — was once a hub for silk brocade and satin, and is also celebrated for being home to the country's first distillery, as well as the onetime residence of the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu (China's equivalent of Horace).
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These days, Chengdu is also known for its concentration of tech companies: Lenovo, Foxconn and Intel all have large factories here. The recent influx of foreign money and visitors, combined with the centuries-old local obsession with good food and good tea, have made the city one of China's most aesthetically and gastronomically innovative hubs, while also remaining distinctively, traditionally Chinese.
It's also—refreshingly, in nonstop China—a place whose residents prize quality of life as much as they do making money.
Du Fu's Thatched Cottage Museum
Du Fu‘s Thatched Cottage Museum
The Museum is built in honor of Du Fu (a prominent Chinese poet in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907) around the former site of his residence—a thatched cottage. Currently, a number of memorial buildings representing Du Fu's life stand by the river, and a large collection of relics and various editions of his poems are preserved at the museum, making it a must-visit place for people interested in traditional Chinese culture.
Jinsha Site Museum
As a theme-and-park museum, it is for the protection, research and exhibition of relics and findings. The museum covers 38,000 sq. m, primarily housing the relics, exhibitions, and a conservation center. A gold mask and the Sun Bird are among gold and jade articles that date back about 3,000 years.
Wide and Narrow Alleys
Wide & Narrow Alleys has a nickname of “the Real Chengdu in Chengdu” for its old-style architecture and vestiges of life styles in old Chengdu. Consisting of three alleys, the Kuan, the Zhai and the Jing alleys, the area boasts a pleasant mixture of a traditional setting tinted with the modern touch — the stone-paved paths, blue-brick buildings, quadruple courtyards with bronze button studded wooden doors, luxury teahouses and restaurants, stands selling snacks and handicraft articles, and modern western-style bars.
Luyeyuan Stone Sculpture Art museum
The museum's collection of over a thousand Buddhist artworks spanning two millennia are housed on grounds as striking as the pieces themselves. In the indoor galleries, sculptures are positioned next to tall windows that afford views of the greenery beyond. Outdoors, a bridge brings visitors to a bamboo-planted sculpture garden.
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Bifengxia Panda Base
Pandas are Chengdu's biggest celebrities, and though this breeding and research facility two hours southwest of the city is farther than the better-known Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, it's less touristy and you can take a leisurely hike around the nearby gorge, past the area's waterfalls and mossy cliffs.
Food
Sichuan Cuisine is gaining popularity among Westerners and makes frequent appearances on the TV screen these days. The most proverbial of all Sichuan Cuisines include over 300 recipes, e.g. Huiguorou, Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken, Fish-flavored Shredded Pork and Fuqi Feipian (Beef in Chili Sauce). The fountainhead of the Sichuan Cuisine and an internationally-renowned food culture city, Chengdu is the best place to enjoy the authentic Sichuan dishes.
Zongfu Road, Chunxi Road and many ancient streets in Chengdu (such as Jinli Street) are the snack havens in Chengdu. The most renowned snacks include Lai Tang Yuan, Long Chao Shou, Zhong Dumplings, Dandan noodles and so on.

Chengdu's Rich History and Pace of Life Impress Globetrotters

The Chengdu tourist bureau, Chengdu Culture and Tourism Development Group and Ctrip.com, an online travel service provider, brought 10 travelers from Britain, the United States, Singapore, Australia and China's Hong Kong SAR - Chengdu's five largest sources of tourists outside the Chinese mainland - to experience the capital of Sichuan province from Dec 23 to 25.

Jan 27, 2016

Ramblers' Routes to See the City

Again the best season to have a sight-seeing stroll and here we recommend three routes for travels on foot to get the best of downtown Chengdu.

Mar 18, 2016

Challenge Yourself with Chengdu's Weirdest and Wackiest Food

Here are five palate adventures … Do you dare to try?

Sep 10, 2015

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