Chengdu

Travel Guide Asia China Sichuan Chengdu

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Introduction

Chengdu 'Take Away'

Chengdu 'Take Away'

© TEW

Chengdu (成都), the capital of the Sichuan province, is steeped in history dating back thousands of years. In the early 4th century AD, the 9th Kaiming king of the ancient Shu moved his capital to the city's current location from today's nearby Pixian. The name Chengdu was given to the city, meaning "become a capital".

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Sights and Activities

  • The Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre is easily accessible by tour (around 70 RMB per person including entrance fee) and is bookable in any hostel. You can wander around, seeing pandas munching bamboo and lazing around, you can also have your picture taken with pandas, but this is a rather extortionate amount of money (around 2000 RMB)!
Panda!

Panda!

© loubylou

  • Chengdu Opera is famous for it's 'changing faces' perfomance, and often also features fire eaters and unusual light arrangements; The shows are almost performed on a daily basis and tickets can be booked through hostels.
  • Leshan Buddha the biggest Buddha can be visited on a day trip from Chengdu. It will take you the best part of 3 hours to travel there and the same back but it is well worth the journey. The easiest way to do this trip is to head to the south bus station in Chengdu. inside buy a ticket to Leshan (costing about 44 Yuan each way) this is a straight highway bus taking you direct to Leshan this part of the journey is about 2 hours and leaves the south bus station every half hour. After you arrive in Leshan you need to get the number 13 bus that stops infront of the station by the water fountain this will cost you 1 yuan and take you on a nice sceninc tour through the city this takes a little over 30 minutes be careful not to get off at the pier for the boat trip the Buddha itself is further down the road you can't miss it there are signs everywhere. Then get off and enjoy. Reverse for the journey back.
  • Sichuan Cooking Lessons the province is famous for its spicy dishes, so if you love to cook this is a must. Classes can be booked through hostels.
  • Chengdu Tea Houses China is famous for its tea houses and Chengdu has the best tea houses in China. The tea house in People's Park is the most famous, located on the shore of a lake, amidst green swaying trees.

Further A Field

  • Jiuzhai Valley National Park is a 45-minute flight from Chengdu or 10 hours scenic bus ride. In the north of Sichuan, in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Jiuzhai Valley and Huanglong UNESCO World Heritage Sites are said by many to be China's most picturesque sites. Home to the giant panda, Sichuan golden monkey and Sichuan takin among 300+ others, this is one of South West China's most important biodiversity zones.

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Events and Festivals

China has three "Golden Week" holidays per year. People get a mandatory two or three days off work for each holiday, and workers' companies can grant them the rest of the week off, making each holiday a total of 7 days. As you can imagine, having almost 1.4 billion people with the same days off can make travelling at these times arduous to say the least.

Travelling during the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year is incredibly difficult. Chinese New Year is China's Christmas, so the millions of migrant workers and students flood back to their home towns. Everybody else takes the opportunity to spend their hong bao (gifts of money traditionally given at CNY) and go travelling. Most of the time, since you are only allowed to purchase train tickets 6 days in advance and must be present in the city of origin, sometimes only standing room tickets are available. Be aware! The Spring Festival is undoubtedly the busiest time for the Chinese transportation system. Flying will avoid the crowded trains, but book early and expect to pay higher prices. All the main tourist attractions will be crawling with tourists (worse than usual), so unless you like crowds, it's best to avoid it altogether.

Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, so the date changes each year. The Chinese New Year/Spring Festival holiday is 7 days long and usually starts on New Year's Eve.

The two other national holidays are October 1st, National Day, celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China and May 1st, which is International Labor Day. Almost all Chinese get the two holidays off and many take the opportunity to travel. If you want to avoid the crowds, fly, but it should get a lot less busy towards the end of the week.

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Weather

The best time to visit Chengdu is from March to June and from September to November, however with a warm climate and average temperature of 15 °C-16 °C, Chengdu remains pleasant and relatively dry the year round. Summers can be hot though with temperatures over 30 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) is located 16 kilometres from downtown Chengdu and is one of the biggest and fastest growing airports in China. There are dozens of airlines serving both Chinese cities as well as destinations in the eastern part of Asia, like Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, Bangkok and South Korea. Destinations further away include Amsterdam served by KLM, Los Angeles served by China Eastern, and San Francisco served by United.

By Train

There is one train a day to Lhasa, depending on the time of the year. Chengdu is also well connected to Xian, with connections onwards to Beijing. The journey takes around 16 hours overnight.

By Bus

There are three bus stations in Chengdu, and they serve different destinations.

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Getting Around

By Car

Official taxis are either green or blue and are equipped with meters. An available taxi will display an illuminated sign with Chinese characters in its dashboard. The meter is turned on by tilting the sign, make sure the driver does that and if not, you can try to do it yourself and the driver usually gets your point. Some taxi drivers may try to offer you a fixed price but don't take it unless you know it's cheaper than with the meter on. Taxi drivers don't speak English nor do they understand the map, so have an address written in Chinese with you. Drivers don't know many street names so it's best to have the address to some well known place close to your destination. Collect taxi cards from hotels and restaurants and show them to the drivers, and when close to your destination start instructing by pointing with your hand. This method usually gets you there - some drivers however will not follow your instructions or get angry for you traveling a longer distance than what they expected.

Taxi fare is ¥8 on flagfall for the older taxis ¥9 for the new ones, and increase at ¥1.9 per km after the first 2 kilometers. For rides from 10 to 60 km the km fare is increased by 50% to compensate the taxi returning empty. During night time the starting price is ¥1 more and per km price is ¥2.20. Waiting price for the taxi is one km fare per every five minutes, and the meter counts traveling with speed less than 12 km/h as waiting time. Taxis often refuse to accept ¥100 bills so try to have some change on hand.

Taxis can be difficult to find depending on the area. There are also unlicensed taxis in the city but they're quite hard to notice. If you use one, know your destination and expected price and negotiate the fare beforehand.

By Public Transport

The first line of the Chengdu Metro opened in October 2010, and the system has expanded rapidly since then. The fare for a single ride is ¥2-5 depending on distance. You can purchase tickets from machines (English available) with ¥1 coins or ¥5 and ¥10 notes. Ticket booths are also available if you don't have suitable notes. A contactless metro card is worth buying for the convenience, and for the 10% saving on all journeys. It's also available in the form of a cute panda-keyring, if that's your style.

When entering the metro you need to put your bags through an x-ray machine. The ticket is flashed by the gates on the reader on your right side. You need the ticket to get out as well so keep it safe. When exiting the ticket is placed into a slot that collects it. Again this slot is on the right side of the gate, so pay attention since it's very easy to accidentally open the gate next to you. When exiting, you must wait behind the yellow line until the passenger in front of you has passed and the gate shows it now accepts your ticket. If you're beyond the line the gate won't let you through and you need to back away for it to accept you as a new passenger.

  • Line 1 runs north-south through the city center along Renmin Rd, connecting the North and South railway stations.
  • Line 2 runs from the northwest to the southeast of the city, interchanging with Line 1 at Tianfu Square Station. This line serves Chengdu East Railway Station.
  • Line 3 runs from Chengdu Junqu General Hospital to Taipingyuan, interchanging with Line 1 at Moziqiao, with Line 2 at Chunxi Road, and with Line 4 at 2nd Chengdu People's Hospital.
  • Line 4 runs from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Park to Wannianchang, interchanging with Line 2 at Chengdu University of TCM & Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital. It serves the future site of Chengdu West Railway Station (not yet built).

Chengdu has an extensive bus system. At each bus stop, there is a list of the bus lines coming through on this road, and on some city maps the whole network is displayed. However, the bus lines and maps only use Chinese characters, and even if the bus announces the station, it will usually only be in Chinese. Tickets are ¥1 for non-aircon (now very rare) and ¥2 for air-conditioned buses. The fare is paid by putting the exact amount to a metal box next to the driver. No change is given, so make sure you have exact change. Normally, you enter via the front door, and alight by the rear door. On the new articulated buses, you can enter at either the front or rear door, with the middle door designated for alighting only.

By Bike

Most guest houses have bicycles for hire. Check for technical problems before starting out unless you want to be held responsible for it later. If you leave your bicycle, do so in one of the designated "bicycle parks", where it will be guarded over for a small fee. If you can not find such a place, be sure to lock it securely against some structure. Be careful as the bike traffic flow can be intense.

In 2016, Mobike and other companies introduced city-bikes which can be used and paid for via a smartphone app.

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Eat

The locals' favorite snack is fresh pineapple, peeled and sold on a stick by vendors on every other street corner. While generally it is recommended to avoid fresh fruit in China due to water contamination, here if you ask for them to peel a fresh pineapple (not one of the ones already peeled and waiting in a tank of water), it is probably fine and also delicious.

You will find no shortage of delicious and fiery Sichuan food in Chengdu. Most of the food is quite spicy, be sure to specify whenever you order: non-spicy (不要辣; búyàolà), a little spicy (微辣; wēilà) or 'old' (very) spicy (老辣; lǎolà). If you are not accustomed to it yet, a bottle of sweetened soy, almond, peanut, or cow milk, or something else sweet will work much better than water to quell the fire. If you are used to the hottest of authentic Indian or Thai food, the level of spiciness in Sichuan food should be no problem at all. However, Sichuan food also makes heavy use of Sichuan pepper (花椒; huājiāo), which looks like but is not a true peppercorn, and causes your mouth to become somewhat numb. Sichuan pepper is added in most spicy dishes. If you can eat spicy food but do not like Sichuan pepper, you need to order so (不要花椒; bú yào huājiāo). However, Sichuan pepper (in addition to causing numbing) has an important citrusy taste that it adds to foods and authentic Sichuan tastes bank on the play between the flavours of both Sichuan pepper and chili peppers, and it is strongly recommend you at least try the authentic versions with the Sichuan pepper before deciding for yourself.

The spiciest food in Chengdu is hotpot (also called steampot or steamboat), although the tradition originated in Chongqing, so it is not really Chengdu food. Sichuan hotpots are basically a big pot of soup and spices simmering in a hole in the middle of your table. Patrons choose from a large selection of meats, vegetables and other add-ins. Most popular include: lamb, mushrooms, beef, tofu, quail eggs, potatoes and various others (pork, green vegetables, fish balls, carrots, and even pig's brain!) You can choose spicy pot or non spicy pot. With spicy hot pots, unlike eastern hot pots, the soup is NOT for drinking; instead, fish out your cooked items with chopsticks (do not fish the liquid out with a spoon, it is too spicy even for locals to drink; the fished out vegetables will be spicy enough), dip them in the small bowl of oil provided to each person, and enjoy.

You may also find the local food too oily or too salty for your taste, and may want to advise your server accordingly.

There are also a lot of weird local snack type of food, such as spicy dragon prawns (look like very small crayfish; 麻辣龙虾), spicy snails (香辣田螺), Chongqing duck neck (久久鸭脖子), Bangbang chicken (棒棒鸡), spicy rabbit meat (二姐兔丁). These ones are so delicious and you must try them. But you need to ask a local to take you to the right place. Quite often you will find that the small restaurants and shops offer the most delicious and cheapest food. If you want to find even cheaper food options, street vendors are the way to go (though the Chengdu police have been doing their best to extinguish this long tradition and you may have trouble finding them these days). Serving everything from barbeque (烧烤) to steamed breadrolls(馒头), they are a cheap and offer a great option for a quick bite to eat.

If you are less adventurous but still like Chinese food, or just tired of Sichuan food, there are a number of Cantonese and Hong Kong restaurants, including Lei Garden near Shangri-la Hotel.

There are a number of stalls and hole in the wall type places all over town. Food here is dirt cheap, expect to pay no more than ¥8 for a meal, and the quality is good. Things to be on the lookout for are spicy bowls of breakfast noodles, (担担面; dandanmian), double cooked pork (回锅肉; húigūoròu), and dozens of dishes coated in "málà" the Sichuan chili spice famous the world over.

Yulinchuanchuanxiang (玉林串串香), Various locations throughout the city. Cheap and fast hotpot variety. This is a help-yourself style meal, go to a backroom and choose your own kabobs. Stick the kabobs into a hotpot soup, and have them boil. Pull them out and enjoy. Large kabobs are ¥1, and small ones are ¥0.1 each. Expect to be full for less than ¥25. There are both spicy and non-spicy variations. There is a large selection of meats, vegetables, and other add-ins. Beer is available in large bottles and sweet soymilk (Dounai) is also served.
Lanzhou Lamian (兰州拉面), Located everywhere. A bowl of noodles starts for about ¥4, and reach a maximum of ¥7. Varieties include egg, lamb and beef. Other dishes are reasonable in price as well. Breads for 1 kuai a piece, and Mutton Kabobs (羊肉串) go for 1 kuai per stick. Da Pan Ji (大盘鸡) is a great choice if eating with a group. Usually offered in small or large sizes, a small size will cost about ¥40 and feed 3 or 4 people. A large order might cost about ¥60. This dish includes chicken, potatoes, onions and other vegetables in a moderately spicy sauce. Can eat with bread or noodles to make a great meal.
Steamed buns (包子; baozi). Sold for breakfast or lunch from street vendors throughout the city. Yagcai bao (芽菜包) is a local Sichuan special variety you are unlikely to find elsewhere and typically contains some mixture of Yacai (芽菜), a type of preserved vegetable, and potentially some meat. Other typical fillings include beef, red bean paste, mushrooms, green vegetables or pork. Three buns cost around ¥1 or larger buns cost ¥1 each as well. A container of soy milk (豆浆 dou jiang) is about the same price.
Mike's Pizza Kitchen (Chengdu Pizza Delivery), Tongzilin, Europe City (In the south of Chengdu), ☏ +86 28 8522-6453. 11AM-10PM. Freshly made to order pizza. Authentic New York style pizza pie, stone-baked. Delivery only. ¥30-150.
Wenshu Temple Vegetarian Restaurant (文殊院素餐馆), 15 Wenshu St (文殊院街15号), ☏ +86 28 693-870. In the grounds of a monastery and run by monks. Offers a huge selection of traditional vegetarian dishes, including some containing imitated meat.
Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant ((北海道日本料理)), Various locations throughout the city (Locations include Chunxi Rd (春熙路), Yulin S Rd (玉林南路), outside of Sichuan University (Near Cafe Paname), and more). Authentic Japanese food. Serves curry, tonkatsu, unagi-don, fried rices, sushi, ramen noodles, and various other selections. Serves Chinese and Japanese beers, as well as a selection of plum wine and sake. Food quality varies. Meals range from ¥20 upwards, expect a plate of sushi to be quite a bit more expensive, but sides are generally decent priced.
Chen Mapo (陈麻婆), 208 Shuanglin Rd (成都市双林路208号新华公园正门对面). Supposedly opened by the Mapo herself in 1862. The place to eat Mapo Doufu, it does not get any more authentic than this. Spicy food eaters will love this, those who do not like spicy food should probably skip it altogether.
Namaste/Afila ((亚非拉-娜玛什蒂印度餐吧)), 20 Remin Nan Rd, Section 4, Wuhou District (武侯区人民南路四段20号), ☏ +86 28-85569118. Specializes in Indian and Nepalese cuisine, particularly tandoori and curries. Great for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Fiesta Thai, Linjiang Zhong Lu 6, Right beside Traffic Hotel and the 902 Panda Base Bus Stop, ☏ +86 28-85454530. Specializes in Thai cuisine. Great food and exceptional service when you need a break from oily and spicy Sichuan food.
Mingting Restaurant (明婷饭店), Waicaojia Alley No. 26, Jinniu District (成都市金牛区外曹家巷26号附14) A very popular Sichuan restaurant with outdoor seating. Typically 60¥-80¥ per person. Expect to wait 10-20 minutes at peak hours. Try the 呛香鱼 or 麻婆豆腐!
Veranda Bridge Restaurant. This restaurant is actually a historic bridge over Funan River. Sichuan food. Very good reputation within Chengdu.
Huang Cheng Lao Ma (On 3rd section of south part of the 2nd Ring Rd), ☏ +86 28 85139999. Elaborate restaurant featuring hot pot followed by live entertainment, including Sichuan face-changing. Don't miss the diorama scene of ancient Chengdu built into the restaurant lobby's floor. A separate section on the ground floor of the restaurant also features a pan-Asian buffet with contemporary entertainment. Child care is available on premises. Prices are in the range of ¥100 per person for dinner and one drink.
Chengdu Bookworm, 28 Renmin S Rd. Has something for everyone. It is an English language lending library, a Western restaurant, a bar, as well as an occasional venue for local singing and musical talent. Expats might want to join the membership library or take kids to the children's morning story hours. Evenings, you might find a travel author reading from and signing books, poetry reading, or singing. Great place for to connect with others, catch up on some reading, or just relax.
Grandma's Kitchen. Western restaurant with four locations around Chengdu, including one next door to Peter's on Zhong Hua Yuan.
Peter's Tex-Mex, ☏ +86 28 85180903. Actually an American restaurant with some Mexican dishes. Peter's has good food. The Zhong Hua Yuan location also has homemade ice cream, the best ice cream you will find in Chengdu. If you are coming from out of town, the Zhong Hua Yuan location is right in a major expat area with lots of other restaurants and shopping surrounding it. ¥12-¥150+ for a meal.
Paul and Dave's Oasis (Directly opposite the Travel Hotel and main bus station (other side of river)). A place for volunteers, ex-pats, and all manner of foreigners, a place where you can go and just chill. Though he does serve Chinese food, you're better off going elsewhere for this, it is however a place where you can sit and lose yourself for a day or so. Usually occupied by the local foreigners, usually playing Western music.

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Drink

A popular district of bars, also known as the bar street, is located by the southern shore of Jin River next to Anshun Bridge. The well known Lan Kwai Fong from Hong Kong started its business in the mainland of China in 2010 and the first city is Chengdu. The area is located a little north-west from Anshun Bridge.

Club 88 (88号酒吧), 99 Shaoling Rd, Wuhou District (武侯区少陵路88号). Chengdu's hottest club. Awesome lighting and music, dancing in the walkways and people just trying to get seen. Expect crowds of people, packed tables, and action going on through the night well past the other clubs closing times. Get there early to get a table or come (very) late to wind down the night when everything else dies.
Babi II (Walking distance from Shangri-la Hotel). Club.
Babi, Shaolin Rd (Right next to Club 88). Club.
Cafe Paname, 143 Kehua N Rd (科华北路143号) (Nearby Sichuan University). A bar with a younger crowd and laid-back environment Expect an occasional DJ event which will make the bar a little more lively on Fridays and Holidays. ¥10 Suntory beer on tap is a perk.
Highfly Cafe, 18 Linjiang Rd, ☏ +86 28 85442820. Relaxed place with a tiny outside sitting area. They serve beers and Western food including pizza and breakfast. There is one computer for free Internet access and a small book exchange (2 for 1).
Feeling4Seasons Cafe, Orient Times Mall 2F, Xiadongda St (Near Dongmen Bridge), ☏ +86 28 66208848. Good Italian coffee: espresso, cappuccino, especially latte. Also pasta and pizza. They also provide Internet service: wireless access for your laptop, loan of a wireless card if you don't have one, use of a PC if required. You can also burn CDs. It is also one famous China blog freelancer's cafe bar; he published a book named "Ten Years, Flying with one Dream".
Mooney's Irish Pub (In the Shangri-la Hotel). A real classy traditional Irish pub. Sometimes they have a live band or other entertainment. Also they have a free billiard table which is nice. Offering beers on tap, whiskies and signature dishes.
Shamrock Pub (三叶草酒吧), 15, 4th Section, Renmin S Rd (Near Linshiguan Rd and the U.S. Consulate), ☏ +86 28 85236158. This Irish pub in is the hub of Chengdu's small expatriate community (of approximately 3,000). Friendly pub atmosphere and live music some evenings. In addition to drinks the pub serves dishes including pizza, meat pies, sausage rolls, steaks, burgers, curries and a range of other snacks. The pub is also an active sponsor of several nonprofit organizations, including holding events for moon bear rescue and for the disabled. Copies of the informative Chengdoo book are available at the Shamrock.
High Connections Coffee House, Fu A-20 6 Shuangqing S Rd, Qingyang District (On the west side of Chengdu near Metro and the Southwest Financial University), ☏ +86 28 87325855. Provides a relaxing, comfortable, environment with soft lighting and easy-listening music. They have non-smoking and smoking sections. Bring your computer and hook up to the wireless Internet. Their coffee (both Espresso and good old fashioned drip American style) and muffins are an excellent way to begin a day. They also have large conference rooms available for meetings.
8trees Wine Bar & Restaurant, 9 Pingan Alley, ☏ +86 28 86699060. Located in a century old Roman Catholic church, and offers the most unique romantic dinning experience. Recommended signature dishes are the tantalizing mouthwatering North American beef, marinated with fresh herbs and spices; the lamb main simmered with exotic spices. On the lighter side, there is the conscious side dish which is very popular with weight-watching regulars who complement their meals with the rich creamy soups offered in the menu. A must see for the church underground wine cellar.
The Leg & Whistle Pub, Kehua Jie, ChuanDa Hua Yuan (2F) (科华街1号附19号2楼) (Kehua Jie is off Kehua Bei Lu which leads to the South Gate of Sichuan University. The Leg is up one flight of stairs above a pharmacy and opposite a Wowo 24 hour convenience store.), ☏ +86 28 85460114, +86 18980986112. The closest thing you'll find to a real English 'local' pub in Chengdu. It's number one for football coverage with three screens but feel free to ask about other sports if you're interested. The people there are very friendly and will do their utmost to make you feel welcome.
Little Bar (New) (小酒馆 (芳沁店)), 87 Fangqin St, Yulin Shangwugang, 1F (成都市芳沁街87号附5号丰尚玉林商务港1楼, ☏ +86 28 85568552. Rock bar. The bigger shows are on Friday and Saturday and the bands start playing at 8PM and finish at 10PM. ¥25 entrance fee. A bit hard to find so best to get a cab to take you if you are not familiar with the area. Not to be confused with Little Bar (Old), the sister bar on Yulin West Road.
Empty Bottle, 3/F, Yulin Life Plaza, 15 S Yulin Rd. Very popular amongst the locals. Live music and other kinds of shows every night.
Jellyfish, Ke Hua Bei Lu #143, Lan Si Jia Le Bi Sq, 2F. 8pm-1am. Lively and crowded cocktail bar with a DJ playing music. Lot of expats but also local folk.

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Sleep

Chengdu Dreams Travel International Youth Hostel (梦之旅国际青年旅舍), 242 Wuhouci Rd (成都市武侯祠大街242号) (Opposite Wuhou Temple, reachable by bus 57 from near the train station to Wuhouci Station (武侯祠站), cross the street and walk slightly further), ☏ +86 28 85570315, +86 28 85570322, ✉ dreams-travel-yh1@hotmail.com. Dorm beds and private rooms of various sorts available. Travel office and English help, 24 hour large volume hot shower, a roof-top bar, garden tea house, . Tends to be frequented by Chinese tourists more than foreigners, but the hostel staff have at least 2-3 people that speak perfect English. Dorms 45.
Chengdu Jason's Nest Guest House (成都旅行天下青年旅舍), 26 west way of south railway station, ☏ +86 28 85125498. Fully-equipped hostel with spacious bright rooms, clean bunks, the Tibetan-style dining room and bar. Located in the leisure, entertainment, dining center of Chengdu, with most attractions within a ¥10 taxi ride. It is a ¥30 taxi ride from the airport or north rail station, a 10-minute walk from the south station, or call for a free pick-up. Helpful, very knowledgeable staff.
Chengdu Mix Hostel (成都驴友记青年旅舍), 23 Xinghui W Rd, Renjiawan, Wanfu Bridge (In downtown near Wenshu Temple), ✉ mixhostel@hotmail.com. With cheap beds, and lots of people. Wi-Fi for laptops, free Internet. Atmospheric building with a lot of Tibetan knick-knacks. The staff all seem somewhere around twenty. If you call ahead and book they will pick you up from the train or bus station.
Holly's Hostel, 246 Wuhouci St, ☏ +86 28 85548131, ✉ hollyhostelco@yahoo.com. Check-in: noon. Though not as trendy or cool as other hostels in Chengdu, Holly's has a better location than most other hostels in the city. Situated across the Jinli Street, a good starting point for traveling through Chengdu, Wuhouci Dajie also has lots of tibetan restaurants, hot pot restaurants, noodle joints, massage parlors, and camping/climbing stores. Staff speaks excellent English and will help you with your traveling needs. Dorm rooms are nothing fancy but are clean and serve their purpose. Western cafe on the roof, internet access, dvd, etc. Social atmosphere. Perfect for those who want a good hostel and do not care about being hip. ¥35 for 8-bed dorm.
The Loft, 4 Xiaotong Xiang (3 blocks N of Dragon Town Hostel and Kuan Zhai Alleys), ✉ reception@lofthostel.com. Very modern hostel. Chill atmosphere with a large common area makes it great to mingle and meet others. Used to be a printing factory but now converted to a contemporary style hostel. Has free pool table, free Internet access, free umbrellas, free lockers and more, even TV and DVD room. Rooms are clean. Twins and doubles cost ¥110, dorms ¥45.
Mr. Panda Hostel (熊猫先生青年旅舍), 107 Zhengfujie (正府街107号) (Close to Wenshu Monastery metro station exit E), ☏ +86 28 86628336, ✉ yhachengdu@hotmail.com. Check-in: 24 hr, check-out: 13:30. Hostel in central Chengdu that caters to foreigners and Chinese alike with excellent English spoken by all staff. Amenities include: DVD room, kitchen, fussball table, suhu board and laundry machines. Knowledgeable tour desk with information available for surrounding regions including trips to Tibet and discovering Sichuan. Restaurant with fantastic food which Mr. Panda cooks himself. Free Wi-Fi on all floors. Hostel is clean and well frequented. Six-bed dorms rooms ¥30 per bed, four-bed dorms ¥35, singles and doubles ¥120-160.
Sam's Guest house, 130 Shanxi St (10-min walk from the Chairman Mao Statue at Renmin S St, look for Rongcheng Hotel, Sam's Guest house office is next to the entrance to Rongcheng Hotel), ☏ +86 28 86118322, ✉ samtour@yahoo.com. From ¥80, doubles ¥138.
Traffic Hotel/Traffic Inn (交通饭店/交通青年旅舍), 6 Linjian St (成都市临江路6号) (Near Renmin S St, directly bordering Xinnanmen Bus Station), ☏ +86 28 85451017. Check-out: 12:00. One hundred percent geared towards foreign backpackers and is a good place to organize a tour or buy tickets. The adjacent Traffic Inn Hostel has a nice common area with a large collection of DVDs and western food. The rooms and shared bathrooms are very clean and come with a reliable air conditioner. The matrasses in the hotel are harder and in the hostel are softer. Washing machines are available for ¥10 per load, bring your own detergent. Free Wi-Fi on the premises (though it is painfully slow) and good English-speaking staff at the hostel. Four-bed dorms rooms ¥50 per bed, six-bed dorms ¥45, singles and doubles ¥110-200.
Xishan Youth Hostel (栖山青年旅舍), 34 Yinghuasi Rd, Qingyang District (青羊区莹华寺街34) (7 minute walk southwest from the 红星桥 subway stop). Has laundry, rooftop drying, arcade cabinet, and bar. Receptionist didn't speak English and very few foreigners stay here. Very friendly staff that showed off some local restaurants and food stalls. Dorms 40-50¥.
Barsby Hotel, 208 Fuqin W Rd, ☏ +86 28 6615 7979, fax: +86 28 66106999, ✉ res@innbarsby.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 13:00. In addition to being happily underpriced for the value provided, fans of Fawlty Towers will find themselves confronted by Basil Fawlty's good twin in the person of Mr. Robert Barsby, a true John Cleese lookalike, this hotel's proprietor and veteran of the administrations at a number of the city's finer hotels. Over a free breakfast which can include western style eggs and toast, he will be happy to share with you his experiences and his reason for having created one of the better "boutique" hotels in China. Rooms are spacious, scrupulously clean and well heated, although you need to be careful when showering that the drain is functioning properly, otherwise you're likely to flood the toilet enclosure. The annexed restaurant is a moderately priced decent traditional Chinese establishment, but will not accept the credit card you may have used at the hotel. Certainly one of the best values in any market. ¥180.
Chengdu Garden City Hotel, 8 Daye Rd, Jinjiang District, ☏ +86 28-86663388, fax: +86 28-86655672, ✉ reservations@directwithhotels.com. A four-star hotels that offers air-conditioned accommodation rooms, all of which have television, private bathroom, and telephone. Some of its amenities include night club, fitness center and sauna, and a swimming pool. ¥290+.
Chengdu Wenjun Mansion Hotel, 180 Qintai St, ☏ +86 28 86138785. The hotel offers a wide range of rooms from single to family. This attractive courtyard-style hotel is situated on one of the more tourist-friendly streets in the city, surrounded by buildings in a similar Han and Tang Dynasty style. The courtyard is a perfect place for tired travelers to relax with a drink and play a borrowed game of mahjong or just chat. ¥180-260.
Jin Jiang Inn. Part of a China-wide hotel chain; 3 locations in Chengdu; the South Chengdu Yulin location is near Renmin Nan Rd and the U.S. Consulate. Good value for money. Rooms are small but clean and well apportioned. Breakfast and free internet provided. Secure lobby area and friendly staff. ¥129-179.
Mareka City Hotel (New Times Maruika Hotel), Block B, Wen Wu Rd, New Times Sq, Qingyang District (Within 2 km from the Chengdu Railway Station, Pacific Department, and city center), ☏ +86 28 86530188, fax: +86 28 86617982. Three-star hotel featuring air-conditioned guestrooms that has cable TV, a private toilet and bath, safe, hair dryer, and a free broadband Internet connection. ¥197.79.
Somerset Riverview Chengdu, No 1 Section 3, Renmin South Road, Wuhou District, ☏ +86 28 6181 6888, ✉ enquiry.chengdu@the-ascott.com. The residence is in the city central. The 200 apartments, which range from studio to penthouse, each has a kitchen, washing machine, home entertainment system and modern furnishings. There is a gym, boxing ring, swimming pool and sauna.
Super 8 Hotel, Soho Bldg, 60 Kehua N Rd (above an enclosed shopping arcade, near the western gate of Sichuan University), ☏ +86 28 85250058. Free internet. No breakfast. Rooms are small and poorly designed. ¥139-188.
Tibet Hotel Chengdu (成都西藏饭店), 10 N Renmin Rd, ☏ +86 28 83183388. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. ¥300.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 31 Zong Fu St (opposite Chunxi Rd shopping area downtown), ☏ +86 28 86786666.
JAHO Forstar Hotel, No.152 Wenwu Road, ☏ +86 2886615333. Business hotel offering upscale meeting room facilities, convention center, and business center. It is also a four-star quality accommodation in Chengdu that offers luxurious amenities to vacationing tourists. It has elegant guestrooms, posh restaurant, full service spa, and recreational rooms. Online reservations are now available.
Jin Jiang Hotel. Chengdu's first international luxury hotel, the Jin Jiang still offers good service. While it has been eclipsed in luxury by the newer hotels listed in this section, it offers reasonable room rates and great service, with good facilities for conferences of all sizes.
Jinyu Sunshine Hotel. Four-star hotel offering over 150 guestrooms, all elegantly furnished. Other hotel facilities include banquet halls, restaurants, gift shop, spa, and KTV. Online reservations are now available.
Kempinski Hotel. German managed hotel offers hospitality and luxury. Great German events, including Ocktoberfest, Christmas and New Year's parties. Excellent gym, pool and workout facilities. Close to the United States Consulate.
Shangri La Hotel. Chengdu's newest luxury hotel, opened 2007. Very creative buffet restaurant.
Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel, No. 15, Section 1, Ren Min Zhong Rd, ☏ +86 28 8676 8999. Modern, American managed hotel conveniently located in the center of Chengdu near Tian Fu Square and the sports stadium, but a few blocks away from shopping districts. This hotel can accommodate the most discriminating of guests in luxury and world class service.
Sofitel Chengdu. French managed, overlooks Fulan River, similar to but more expensive than the Sheraton.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Work

Job postings for English teaching are located in many guest houses, at Western bars and restaurants, anywhere foreigners congregate.

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Learn

Private Chinese language lessons are available for ¥40-85 per hour. Ask for a referral at one of the universities, or from another student. Textbooks for learning Chinese are available at many local bookshops.

Bear in mind that the Mandarin spoken by the locals amongst themselves is South-Western Mandarin. This is substantially different from Putonghua or Beijing Mandarin, Taiwan Mandarin or Singapore Mandarin that foreigners and overseas Chinese typically learn. However most locals will speak Putonghua with you if you speak it.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wangba (网吧) means internet bar in Chinese. Almost every town will have an internet bar or gaming center. The best way to spot an internet bar is to look for the 网(wang) character, which means net, and large digitized images of computer game characters. Often, there will be a sign saying Green Power in English at the entrance. Most gaming centers cost about RMB3 an hour. You prepay at the main desk and are then given a plastic card or a piece of paper. Once you are done you return the card or piece of paper and get reimbursed for the money you didn't spend. Be prepared for a place that might be dingy, basic and messy. Internet bars in China tend to get crowded starting in the late afternoon to the late evenings.

Some hotels provide access from the rooms that may or may not be free; others may provide a wireless service or a few desktops in the lounge area.
Also, quite a few cafes provide free wireless Internet service. Some cafes, even provide a machine for customer use.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to China is 86. To make an international call from China, the code is 00.

When making international phone calls it is best to buy an IP card. They typically have a value of ¥100 but sometimes can be had for as little as ¥25. The cards have printed Chinese instructions, but after dialing the number listed on the card English-spoken instructions are available. As a general indication of price, a call from China to Europe lasts around 22 minutes with a ¥100 card. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are advertised to be another 20% cheaper. There is no warning before the card runs out of minutes.

If you already have a GSM 900/1800 cellphone, you can roam onto Chinese networks, but calls will be very expensive (¥12-35/minute is typical). If you're staying for more than a few days, it will usually be cheaper to buy a prepaid Chinese SIM card; this gives you a Chinese phone number with a certain amount of money preloaded. Chinese tend to avoid phone numbers with the bad-luck digit '4', and vendors will often be happy to offload these "unsellable" SIM-cards to foreigners at a discount. If you need a phone as well, prices start around ¥100/200 used/new. Chinese phones, unlike those sold in many Western countries, are never "locked" and will work with any SIM card you put in them. China's two big operators are China Mobile and China Unicom. Most SIMs sold by the two work nationwide, with Unicom allowing Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan usage as well. There is usually a surcharge of about ¥1/min when roaming outside the province you bought the SIM, and there are some cards that work only in a single province, so check when buying.

Post

China Post (中国邮政) is the official postal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the State Postal Bureau of the People's Republic of China (website in Chinese only), and has more details about price to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. The Chinese postal service is very good. Remember that in more remote places usually only one post office in a city can handle sending international boxes or letters. Also many times it might be worth having the name of the country you are trying to send to in Chinese characters, because small town people might not know what Estonia is in English. Post offices have a striking green logo and can easily be found everywhere in the cities. They are mostly open every day (including weekends!) from 8:00am to 6:00pm, though small offices might have shorter opening times, while the bigger ones in central and touristic areas are sometimes open during evenings as well.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 30.67
  • Longitude: 104.071022

Accommodation in Chengdu

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Chengdu searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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