Category Archives: City Spotlight

Chengdu City Guide – Pandas, Peppers, Paradise

Chengdu City Guide – Pandas, Peppers, Paradise

When Sichuan province comes to mind, one could easily trail off into thoughts of pandas, a world-famous cuisine, and the notorious home of China’s most beautiful women.

All said trademarks are certainly reason enough to drop what you’re doing and explore this picture-perfect southern region. But here’s the thing: Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, is in. I’m talking in, in.

chengdu-science-museum

Some of Beijing’s hottest shops and restaurants open second locations in this booming southern city, not to mention the international corporations that are putting Chengdu on any entrepreneur’s scope of interest. Where Shanghai and the capital alike have become saturated with western presence, Chengdu remains to still be fair play.

Come to teach English, stay for the opportunities.

Chengdu City Guide

So, why should someone teach English in Chengdu? All business talk aside, situating yourself in centrally located Chengdu puts you within a few hours reach of China’s top travel destinations. While we only made our way to Emeishan, a mountain town south of the capital, you’ll be overjoyed with countless outdoor destinations.

chengdu sichuan province emeishan leshan

From the northern cerulean lakes of Jiuzhaigou to southern views of the Yangtze in Panzhihua, with an overabundance of mind-bogglingly beautiful destinations in between, it’s clear why Sichuan would be any explorer’s wildest, yet most attainable dream.

What does it cost to live in Chengdu?

While Chengdu is certainly having an economical boom, this does not mean living costs aren’t still incredibly low. Taxi fares start at 8RMB ($1.25) compared to Beijing’s 13RMB ($2.03) at night. Eating a quick bowl of dan dan mian (担担面) or hot and sour dumplings (my favorite, 酸辣抄手)may set you back 7RMB ($1.09).

suanla-chaoshou-sichuan-food

Cost of Living in Chengdu?

Expense

RMB

USD

Euro

 

Local lunch

12

1.87

1.68

 

Local dinner

30

4.69

4.20

 

One Liter of Water

3

.49

.45

 

Instant Noodles

4

0.66

0.60

 

One Liter of Milk

10

1.56

1.79

 

Local beer

3

.49

.49

 

Bus

2

.33

.26

 

Taxi

7-50

1.5-8.21

1-7.46

 

Bike

250-1000

41-164

30-120

 

Movie ticket

60

9.85

8.96

 

Hour Massage

30

4.69

4.20  

Gym membership (per month)

200

32.57

25.66

 

Haircut

20

3.13

2.80

 

Chengdu Attractions

To see Chengdu alone I’d recommend at least 10 days. Sichuan could be traveled for months without truly ever capturing the essence of what this beautiful province has uknowingly offered to the rest of the world.

jinli-ancient-street-chengdu

For entertainment, find your way to one of many snack/culture streets. We strolled down Jinli Pedestrian Street (锦里步行街) and munched on the local delicacies, snapped photos of the shopkeepers, and got lost in the sea of tourists.

giant-panda-breeding-research-base

Home to one of the world’s most renowned panda sanctuaries, this is obviously a must-see. We went in the peak of the summer, where all the pandas are too lazy even to eat in the heat! Sure, it’s cute to think about, but this meant not being able to interact with the pandas like some photos you may have seen. Either way, my heart continues to melt. #adorbz

baby-panda-chengdu

I can not even handle this lazy little cub. #crying

While I was squished up against hundreds of tourists trying to get the same brag-worthy photo, these pandas had it made in the shade as they gobbled up bamboo with the AC blasting on them. For the zoo-haters like myself, this is certainly an experience not to be missed. The caregivers here put the pandas lives before their own, making it a guilt-free attraction. However, do yourself a favor and go anytime but the summer.

dan-dan-mian-sichuan-food

If looking at animals isn’t your thing – eat them! Sichuan’s specialty is rabbit. I unknowingly ordered some only to find out that these big-eared carrot nibblers are as equally delicious as they are cute. I’m not going to go Elmer Fudd anytime soon, but, when in Rome…

Don’t worry, PETA. Both carnivores and herbivores can unite freely around the Lazy Susan with limitless options of peppery palate pleasers. The culinary exploration in Chengdu could make you go up a pant size or two in just a week. I advise reading this article for some food inspiration if your Chinese character game isn’t up to par.

Getting to Chengdu

With Chengdu gaining more and more recognition annually, direct flights from other major destinations in Europe and America are becoming more accessible and affordable. Typically, layovers are in Beijing or Shanghai, but if one is traveling from another Chinese city, direct flights are also available.

Unfortunately, Sichuan does not have a high speed railway, but one could certainly bite the bullet with endless amount of instant noodles and a decent selection of reading materials to make it by slow train. A 28-hour journey from Beijing with access from all over China for shorter transit times.

the-beer-nest-chengdu

You might be wondering why I don’t live there myself. I mean, they do have a craft beer scene. But, a former Phoenician like myself can’t imagine mixing heat with humidity. Plus, I wouldn’t want to put my boyfriend through my it’s-too-damn-hot-plus-I’m-hungry rage that frequently.

Can’t get enough of Chengdu? Me neither. Peep the video above and let me know when you’re coming to visit. I’ll be there before you can say, “It’s wabbit season.”

 

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