Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status. It has a population of 14 million according to 2010 census. Chengdu is one of the most important economic, transportation, and communication centers in Western China. According to the 2007 Public Appraisal for Best Chinese Cities for Investment, Chengdu was chosen as one of the top ten cities to invest in out of a total of 280 urban centers in China. The fertile Chengdu Plain, on which Chengdu is located, is also known as the "Country of Heaven", a phrase also often translated as "The Land of Abundance".
Wenshu Monastery, located at No. 15 Wenshu Yuan Street, is the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. It is the home of the Buddhist Association of Sichuan Province and Chengdu City. Initially built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Wenshu Monastery was once called Xinxiang Temple. In 1681, during the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Cidu, an accomplished Buddhist monk, came to the monastery. He built a simple hut between two trees and for several years lived an ascetic life there. Legend has it when Cidu was being cremated; the statue of Wensu (Bodhisattva Manjusri in Sanskrit) appeared in the flames, staying for a long time. So people regarded Cidu as the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjusri. Thereafter, Xinxiang Temple became Wenshu Monastery.
Cultural relics are the highlights of Wenshu Monastery. Since the Tang and Song dynasties, over 500 pieces of painting and calligraphy by celebrities have been stored here. In the Sutra-Preservation Pavilion, many famous handwriting exhibits, paintings, and artwork are restored. Of all the precious relics, a piece of the broken skull of Xuan Zhang, a renowned monk of the Tang Dynasty, is the rarest.
In addition to its cultural relics, Wenshu Monastery is famous for its exquisite garden and solemn halls. Tourists and locals can enjoy tea in the Tea House while listening to music by folk artists.
The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is located on the mountain of Futoushan in the northern suburbs of the city, 18km away from the town center. Take the rare chance to visit the many pandas in the Breeding Center, from tiny baby pandas to big ones.
The Giant Panda Museum in the base is a unique museum set up for Giant Panda's in the world. It collects and shows fruits of human knowledge, review and research on the Giant Panda. The Museum shows almost 300 rare, fine pictures and scientific , full & accurate charts about Giant Panda, exhibits literatures and monograph on Giant Panda's at all times.The Museum systematically and completely introduces Giant Panda's evolvement history, ancient and nowadays distribution, general situation, condition and research of human to Giant Pandas. This lets people roundly know Giant Panda's, understand efforts made by the government to protect and save the animal which is loved by people all of the world and consciously arose the feeling to love and protect Giant Panda and their natural habitat.
Leshan Giant Budda
The Leshan Giant Buddha was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907AD). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan, and is about 140km south of Chengdu.
The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet. It is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and it is by far the tallest pre-modern statue in the world.The Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It was not damaged by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Huanglongxi Ancient Town
Huanglongxi Ancient Town is an old town with deep tradition on construction style of West Sichuan, around 50 kilometers from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
The curving alleyways will surely charm you once you visit the Huanglongxi Ancient Town. These are worth exploring because you never know what gems are hidden behind the curves. You can go on exploring and suddenly on one corner you find an ancient temple. You go enter the doorway and then you land up in the temple courtyard. The town features a number of temples and some of the well known ones including Zhenjiang Temple, Chaoyin Temple and Gulong Temple. Temple fairs are organized in Huanglongxi Ancient Town on ninth day of the sixth and ninth lunar month that creates lively scenes from the old days.
The roofs have pointed eaves. The tiles have been encrusted with aged moss which gives the building an aged feel and hard to copy. It is for this reason that many film makers choose to shoot exterior scenes in this town.
The town is named after the Huanglong River which flows through it. You could take a boat ride or dine at one of the many river view restaurants.
Mount Emei (Emeishan Mountain)
Mt. Emei, 160km south of Chengdu City, is one of the four Buddhist sacred mountains of China. With the summit of 3,099m high, Mt. Emei is more than 1,000m higher than the other three Buddhist sacred mountains.Mt. Emei was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 thanks to its breathtaking scenery, mysterious natural wonders, and historical Buddhist sites. The full day's hike to the summit is an unforgettable experience undertaken by many, but minibuses and cable cars make faster alternatives for travelers short of time.
Kuan Zhai Alley District
Kuan Zhai Alley District is formed by three alleys called Kuan Alley (Wide Alley), Zhai Alley (Narrow Alley), and Jing(Well) Alley. It is a cultural site consisting of 45 Qing Ming Dynasty style courtyards, modern villas and gardens, as well as theme hostels.Kuan Alley is the representative of the very local and old culture in Chengdu.The feature of the Zhai Alley is the leisure lifestyle. And in Jing Alley you will experience Chengdu’s modern life.
Sichuan Cuisine Cooking Lesson
Sichuan Cuisine, which is primarily based on Chengdu and Chongqing dishes, focuses on the refined selection of raw materials, the dimensions, the harmonious layout and the sharp contrasting taste and colours. Sichuan dishes are spicy, hot, savoury, fresh, greasy and strong. Peppers, prickly ash peels, pepper trees, along with ginger are frequently used. There are a great number of cooking techniques which are related to stewing with soup, sweet and sour sauce, chilli oil, prickly ash peel spices, ginger sauce, sugar and vinegar, lychee, and mashed garlic and many other combinations. Besides these unique features, Sichuan Cuisine also boasts the fame that each dish has its own taste and the entire dish family comprises of hundreds of flavours. The major cooking methods are frying, sautéing, quick-frying, boiling, stewing, deep-frying and simmering. In particular, moderate stir-frying and boiling, and braising and stewing with soup are extremely unique.
Famous Sichuan dishes are: (Gongbao Jiding, 宫爆鸡丁), Braised Fish (Ganshao Yu, 干烧鱼), Sautéed Sliced Pork with Pepper and Chilli (Huiguo Rou, 回锅肉), Braised Spicy Tofu (Mapo Doufu, 麻婆豆腐), Beef Lung in Chilli Sauce (Fuqi Feipian, 夫妻肺片), Tea Smoked Duck, Sichuan Style (Zhangcha Yazi, 樟茶鸭子), Sautéed Shredded Beef in Chilli Sauce (Ganbian Niurou Si, 干煸牛肉丝), Diced Chicken with Specially Hot Sauce (Guai Wei Ji Kuai, 怪味鸡块), Deep Fried Beef Slices (Dengying Niurou, 灯影牛肉), Fried Shredded Pork with Sweet and Sour Sauce (Yuxiang Rousi, 鱼香肉丝) and Poached Sliced Beef in Hot Chilli Oil (Shuizhu Niurou, 水煮牛肉).
You will learn how to cook some Sichuan style dishes from the teacher, like Gongbao Chicken, Sweet and Sour pork, Fish-flavor eggplants, or dunmplings, etc. Then you can have the dishes you cooked for a meal.
Out-of-city trip to Fairy Mountrain trek,lunch at village,Huanglongxi Old Town
At around 8:30, our guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel in Chengdu. In about one hour, you will get to a local market in Guanyin town. Try to bargain for some fresh vegetables with local peddlers by yourself, challenge to communicate with locals by body language and get what you want. Then drive along the zigzag mountain road up to the start point of trekking which is at Fairy Lake.
After about one hour trekking along the small country path through valley and mountain ridge, passing by farmland, orchard, brushwood and bridges, greeting from local smiling friendly people on the way, you will reach one local farmer courtyard and have lunch there. Some dishes are made just from the vegetables you bought on the way.
After lunch, go to visit the village teahouse and spend some time with local old people and kids. If lucky enough to meet any villagers doing farm work you can join.
About 14:00, we take a different way trekking back, up and down along the mountain path by a reservoir. It will take about 1.5 hours to be back to the parking place.
Then drive about 40 minutes to Huanglongxi Old Town. Stroll around the town and relax at riverside tea house for a while. Then drive about one hour to go back to your hotel.
The Sichuan Opera derives its subject matter from Chinese classical novels, legends and folk tales. Several distinct acts — Changing Faces, Spitting Fire and Rolling Light — feature dazzling sets and costumes that celebrate Southwestern China’s performing and fine arts. Sichuan tea is included and is served to your bamboo tables.
Location: Shufeng Yayun Tea House, in Chengdu Culture Park, 23 Qintai Road.
Time: daily 20:00-21:30