24 hours in Chengdu

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Qatar Airways launches flights to Chengdu, China on September 3.


Chengdu is a fast-growing, vibrant metropolis and the commercial, administrative, and educational centre of southwest China, yet manages to retain historic temples, street markets, tranquil parks, and a laid-back lifestyle that make it one of China’s most liveable cities.

Today, although many old quarters have disappeared under skyscrapers, Chengdu remains dotted with venerable temples, pavilions, and wooden houses, and is also noted for its traditional teahouses where, as they’ve done for centuries, old folk hang their birdcages in the branches, sip green tea, and enjoy Sichuan opera and traditional comedy acts.

Head out along the Fu River and stop for a Western or Chinese breakfast at Anchor Bar on Linjiang Middle Road, where Tibetan décor and an outdoor courtyard invite you to linger.

Join the locals for early-morning tai chi or fan-dancing in Wangjiang Park, planted with weeping willows and 150 species of bamboo, and overlooked by a wooden, Qing Dynasty river-viewing pavilion with upturned eaves.

Browse the stunning collection of Chinese antiquities at Sichuan University Museum beside the park. Some of its bronzes, jade, carvings, documents, and court clothing date back 4,000 years to the Shang Dynasty.

Admire the private memorabilia collection of pins, badges, and posters at the eccentric Mao Museum, just north of the Mao statue, one of China’s last remaining public statues to Chairman Mao.

Take time out at relic-rich Wenshu Monastery, an ancient and still very active Buddhist retreat in a characterful old neighbourhood. Its terrific vegetarian restaurant has a varied and inventive menu.

The Wenshu District combines renovated with recreated traditional-style architecture in a relaxing pedestrian zone. Pick up souvenirs, paintings, and Sichuan tea, and see craftspeople and fortune-tellers at work.

Head to the northern suburbs’ Panda Research Centre, a top panda-breeding facility where you can see giant and red pandas being fed, stroll the lovely grounds, and learn about panda conservation.

Enjoy an early, spicy Sichuan meal at one of several highly popular Caigen Xiang restaurants, famed for their spare ribs, pickled vegetables, and freshwater fish.

Relax in Culture Park, with its bonsai collection and colourful flowerbeds. Its teahouse features the evening puppet, music, and Sichuan opera shows for which Chengdu teahouses have been renowned for centuries.


Chengdu, China
Distance: 5,146 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 50 minutes
Frequency: 3 flights a week

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