I recently had the opportunity to visit Chengdu China. With over 14 million residents, Chengdu is the fourth largest city in China. Chengdu is located in the middle of China and is the capitol of Sichuan province.
The food in Chengdu tends to be on the spicier side. Chicken with red peppers was a common menu item. There is also a local specialty known as Hot Pot. At a Hot Pot restaurant, there is a square table with basins of hot oil or broth built in. You order the meats and vegetables you like and then you cook them in the hot liquid. This enables a great conversation while enjoying the tasty food.
Chengdu is known as the home of the Panda bears. There is a Panda reserve outside of town. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to visit it on this trip. Hopefully I will do this if I visit in the future.
One popular attraction I did get to see was Jinli Ancient Street. This is a historic walking and shopping area. Popular with tourists, you can find shops for any kind of souvenir you might want. There are a number of snack stands and restaurants, too. I was surprised to find that there were some Western options such as Starbucks and Dairy Queen available.
For my visit, I stayed at the Intercontinental Century City hotel. This was a really nice hotel. The lobby is very large and has an outside inside feel. That is, there were building facades built into the lobby. The lobby is a great place to start your day. Each day a group of three people provided a Tai Chi demonstration while a woman played music to accompany them.
Several restaurants including a Sichuan Chinese and an Italian were available. A breakfast buffet with a mix of Chinese and Western options was included.
The rooms at the Intercontinental were very spacious. High end fixtures from Kohler and Grohe were used in the bathroom. The desk was a comfortable place to work and was set next to a very interesting and artistically done wall. Service was generally good and included a nightly turn down which even included slippers next to the bed. I had a nice view out toward an open air shopping and restaurant area next to the hotel. Unfortunately, the view also allowed me to see a fair amount of smog which grew heavier as the week progressed.
This part of the city is very modern. There are wide roads with eight lanes of traffic headed in each direction. The skyline hinted at a large amount of growth as there were construction cranes to be seen everywhere. Western cars like Buick and VW were common as were restaurants like McDonalds and convenience stores like 7-11.
The Chengdu area is very spread out. If you plan to visit, ensure you allow time to get around. You should also keep in mind that you may have a hard time if you can’t speak Chinese. I was fortunate to see the city with a great group of multi-lingual coworkers.
There is quite a bit to see in this part of China. I am looking forward to another visit and the chance to experience a little more of it.