We decided to visit Chengdu in our China itinerary this trip and while you might wonder, why would someone go there, you’ll find like us that if you do, you’ll be glad you did. China reveals more depth to us every time we visit and the city you’ve never heard of might just have thousands of years of history, be in the top ten cities of the world or just plain fascinating, that’s why we are in Chengdu.
This city offers an impressive resume. It is the capital of the Southwestern province of Sichuan, most notable for being the foothills of the Himalayas, the home of the spiciest food and the nature capital of the country. What is even more pleasant we’ve found is that it is a world class city that offers luxury accommodations, dining, culture and adventure for very reasonable prices.
We found luxury accommodations for less:
The city is expanding at an impressive rate and it offers hotels of every caliber. The market is just taking off for luxury Western chains such as the Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, JW Marriott, Grand Hyatt and forthcoming Waldorf Astoria. We stayed at two of the newest properties: JW Marriott and St. Regis.
Everything is new, service is intuitive and prices are a fraction of what these hotels would cost anywhere else in the world. St. Regis was struggling to match the standard of service we have found in other properties, but a beautiful hotel.
A whole new world of Dining and Drinks:
Anywhere you go people are eating at local hotpot restaurants and all kinds of spices dominate the air. From luxury restaurants to the most basic plastic tables and chairs on a sidewalk, the food is a world in itself. We dabbled in the food in the hotels just so that we were aware of what we were eating and so that we didn’t walk into something too overwhelming.
We found some excellent pizza in a western bar/restaurant called Commune which we highly recommend. If you are looking for Chinese or import wines, or even a local distilled grape drink which is well regarded, go to one of the “1919” liquor stores around town for a good selection.
A place full of unknown cultural artifacts and wild nature:
The city is massive and would take weeks to really explore. We committed to some goals such as the beautiful people’s square where everyone meets up to stroll and talk. There are shaded riverwalks all around the city in a circular path and this was probably the best way to interact with the regions natural beauty without having to leave town.
There are historic bridges to see along this section too. There is a Tibetan Buddhist temple complex, a widespread metro network that goes to the People’s park and outside town is the Panda research center, foremost in the world because the bears are from this area.