Where to see Red Pandas in Chengdu?

To see the red pandas, one can go to the Giant Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu. It has the most in number of red pandas in captive. There are about 40 red pandas in total at the panda base.

Sichuan Red Panda
Red Panda at Chengdu Panda Base

It is easy to navigate to the red panda enclosures at the base as the sighs are all bilingual. The red pandas are not real pandas. They look like raccon but in a brown-orange like color and with long and beautiful tails. And in size they are bigger than racoons. Unlike the giant pandas, red pandas are lessy picky on food. The red pandas eat bamboos, carrots, pumpinks and many other different kinds of food.

Shopping at Chengdu Global Center

The Global Center in Chengdu is the biggest building in the world: 500 meters’ long, 400 meters’ wide and 100 meters’ tall. It is one of the biggest shopping areas in Chengdu.

Chengdu Global Center
Shopping at Chengdu Global Center

One can easily get lost in the building. If you are going shopping, enter the building from the very middle gates because the gates by sides are for the office buildings on both sides. The shopping malls are located in the middle on the four different floors. On the first floor is juniors play ground and shopping areas, second floor are mainly shopping areas, third floor are sections for kids and the fourth floor and the floor underground are food quarters.

A total of half day is necessary if you are a shopper as this is a huge place.

Important Events and Festivals in Chengdu

International Food & Tour Festival of China

It has been held by Chengdu government for a consecutive 11 years since 2004. This is one of the major food events in China. As Chengdu is also named a gourmet city, this festival has brought a larger popularity in both China and the world. Time of the festival is not set; it can be in July or October every year.

Chengdu Jinsha Sun Festival

It is celebrated at Jinsha Museum each year during Chinese New Year. This celebration includes the display of the glorious history and civilization of Ancient Shu Kingdom to show the courageous, unified and integrated part of Chinese people. It is an amazing journey to participate in this activity.

Chengdu Flower Festival

Chengdu Flower Festival
Chengdu Flower Festival

Chengdu is one of the places in history that was called a city of flowers especially city of hibiscus flowers. According to the tradition that there is a birthday of all the flowers, which falls on the 15th day of the second month in Chinese Lunar Calendar, hence this specific day and the days around are made a Flower Fare around Chengdu. At present the place to hold this festival is mainly at Qingyang Taoist Temple. It used to be a time for people to have a spring break from work. Families would take the day off and go out to see the flowers with friends and drink tea or wine together. This is a time when people buy and sell flowers, exchange ideas of flower raising experiences, etc. Also for the many people been attracted to this event, there are usually lots of food and other items to be sold at the Fair. There is a famous poem written by Luyou that is familiar to every Chinese: 当年走马锦城西,曾为梅花醉似泥;二十里路香不断,青羊宫到浣花溪. (Long ago I traveled through west Chengdu and was drunk from the smell of plum flowers. Today ride for 20 li to see the flowers from Qingyang Temple to Huanhuaxi Park)

Chengdu Plum Blossom Festival

This festival is featured with Plum Flower solely. It is held at Xinfu Plum Forest at Sanshengxiang by the second month of Chinese Lunar Calendar each year. The plum forest is one of the four major forests of its kind. It covers a total area of over 3000 mu and has over 200 different kinds of plum trees and over 200,000 trees. It is a marvelous sea of flowers when they bloom.

Tazishan Lantern Festival

It is also a traditional festival celebrated at Tazishan Park at each Lantern Festival 2 weeks after the Chinese New Year. It was originated from the lantern fair from ancient times. During the festival, acrobatics, traditional music instrument playing and many snacks are full of the park. Each year a million visitors are recorded to this park to attend this festival.

Chengdu Grand Fair

It is also held during the Chinese New Year. The location is by Wuhou Shrine as a tradition. Dragon Dancing and food are the highlights.

Visit Leshan Grand Buddha by Boat

To visit Leshan Grand Buddha, one needs to ride 140km from Chengdu first. The Grand Buddha statue is located by southeast of the city of Leshan by the conjunction of Dadu River and Qingyi River. There are two ways to see the Buddha; one is to go by foot into the park from the entrance by east bank of the river. This way by walking takes about 2 hours to walk through the park. But it may take longer time if there are lots of visitors, which is usually the case by holidays or weekends.

Leshan Grand Buddha - View from the Boat
Leshan Grand Buddha by Boat

Another way is to take the boat. There are mainly two places to do the boating trip to the Buddha Statue. One is at the same side of the entrance of the park at the east bank of the river. This place is by the river a bit north to the entrance behind a parking lot. But this place has less frequent departures of boats to the Buddha. The other place which is on the west bank across the car park is a more popular choice by visitors. By using the boat on the west bank, you lower the possibility of long time waiting before a boat departs.

O the west side at the dork, it takes usually half an hour to do this visit and it is more comfortable as there are limited passengers that are allowed to board one ship but a possible long time of waiting is expected if there are not enough passengers, and the waiting can be as long as up to twenty minutes.

The boat has a second floor, or a sundeck. Every passenger is required to wear an orange life jacket stacked on the chairs if he or she wants to go to the sundeck. The boat arrives in front of the Buddha a few minutes after departure. It will stay there for about 10 minutes and drive back. Before it ashore it will make a short stop by the location where you supposed to see a lying Buddha.

Workers on the boat will usually ask you to use their photo taking service but you can just ignore that if you don’t want to use.

Boat open time:

From 1st April to 7th October 07:30-18:30

From 8th October to the next 31st March

08:00-17:30

Ticket price: 70 Chinese yuan. No discount for anyone

Yuantong Ancient Town

Yuantong ancient town is located 40km west to the city of Chengdu and 20km south to Mount Qingcheng. It is not yet a tourist town at present in 2015. The town is small that you can walk through within 30 minutes. It is a bit messy and dirty because it is in an authentic way an old Chinese town normally is. These facts of Yuantong Old Town made it much less popular than its neighboring old town named Jiezi, which is big, cleaner, and of course touristy.

First settlers to Yuantong date back to 1500 years ago and the town flourished by the end of Qing Dynasty as an industry town making pipes and potteries. It was also one of the main commercial dorks in Chengdu during Qing Dynasty.

Yuantong Old Town
Yuantong Old Village

Aside from the similarities shared by many old towns in Chengdu, for example, old streets, old trees and old houses, there is also an old Catholic Church in Yuantong. It was built by French preachers in the 19th century and survived through the turbulent history until today.

By old constructions, it really means old constructions. You can actually tell the majority of the houses there in the town were from no late than Republican China, which is about 100 years ago. Given that there were lots of destructions in every period of time in China; Yuantong Old Town is well preserved.

In the street people still conduct their daily life probably as they used to. People make clothes using the machine that was used 30 years ago, to cut the papers in a very bizarre way, a way that might be used by them for decades. You may also see the curiosity or surprise on some of their faces when they see a visitor walking by their front door.

However, local people have decided to try to copy what people did to Jiezi: building higher and bigger traditional landmarks, refurnishing the streets and probably will move out the original residents and introduce more businesses. So it is estimated the town is probably going to change a lot in the next few years.

What is even cuter than a Panda?

What is even cuter than a Panda? A baby Panda! A baby panda is cuter than an adult panda as we can find this same pattern on any other kind of animals. Animal cubs are active, playful and clean.

Baby Panda at Chengdu Panda Base
Baby Panda at Chengdu Panda Base

To see the pandas in China, the best place is come to Sichuan Province, and to see the baby pandas, the best place is to come to Chengdu at Chengdu Panda Base of Panda Breeding center. Among the several panda bases in Sichuan Province include Ya’an Panda Base, Wolong Panda Base, Dujiangyan Panda Valley, Dujiangyan Panda Park and Chengdu Panda Breeding Center, the one in Chengdu is actually No.1 in terms of numbers.

Baby Panda at Chengdu
Baby Panda Sleeping in the tree

Chengdu Panda Base has a total of about 60 pandas, and among which about 10 babies each year are kept here. Inside the park, the babies are usually kept in the Sunshine Nursery house and the Moonlight Nursery house. Here you can watch the cutest animal in China playing together.

Baby Pandas
One – Two month old Baby Pandas

Best time to see the baby pandas are in the morning by around 8:30 to 9:00 o’clock when the majority of the tourists has not arrived and make it like a zoo.

Panda Cuddling Project at Dujiangyan Panda Park

Where is this panda park that I can cuddle a panda?

Dujiangyan Panda Cuddling
Panda Cuddling Project at Dujiangyan Panda Park

Dujiangyan Panda Park is located in Dujiangyan, near Qingchenshan by the small town of Daguan. It is about 50 km west to the city of Chengdu. You can use the fast train from Chengdu north railway station and arrive at Qingchengshan Railway Station. And use a local taxi to drive there.

How much does it cost if I want to hold a panda?

It costs 1800 Chinese Yuan (about USD300) to cuddle the panda. Usually you pay the money before you are led to the panda house to cuddle a 2-year old panda.

When do they do this? And what time can you do it? How long can I hold a panda?

Everyday. And normally in the morning it begins by 10:00 to 11:00 and in the afternoon by around 3:00 to 4:00. Your 1800 yuan gives you 20 seconds time with the panda. You can cuddle the panda and you are allowed to touch most parts of the panda except the head.

How does it work? Do I need to reserve?

Yes, you will need to reserve a space before hand. When you arrive they sometimes take you directly to the house to do the cuddling and taking pictures, sometimes you will have to wait for a while to join the others to go to the panda cuddle houses. After you pay the money, you will be guided by the English-speaking workers there to the houses and to cuddle the panda by turns. It is usually done outside and the panda that is cuddled is a 2-year female panda at present (2015).

A suggested plan to do this project is: drive there in the morning and arrive before 10:00 and do the cuddling and a little tour inside the panda park before leave. You can have lunch nearby and tour the Dujiangyan Irrigation system or visit the Taoist Shrine Mount Qingcheng in the afternoon before drive back to Chengdu.

To reserve a space you can contact Mr. Li hai to make reservations for you: chengdutourguide@163.com. And he can also arrange transportations for you as well.

Panda Volunteer Work in Dujiangyan Panda Park

What is the project?

Panda Volunteer Work at Dujiangyan Panda BAse
Panda volunteer in Sichuan

Dujiangyan Panda Park provides panda works for volunteer workers. Its mission is to raise money for panda protection and to give people knowledge about giant pandas to raise the awareness of protecting wild lives and nature. And it also provides opportunities for visitors/workers to have close experience with the lovely pandas.

Where is the Dujiangyan Panda Park?

Dujiang Panda Park is the only panda base in China that has Panda Volunteer project open to the public at present. Dujiangyan is in Sichuan Province 50km west to the capital city Chengdu. The panda park is located 20km south to the town of Dujiang yan near Daguan Village.

Who can do this project? What are the requirements?

Everyone who is able to travel to China can do this volunteer work. There are so far no specific requirements on doing this work.

How much is the volunteer work?

It is actually a project rather than volunteer works. One needs to pay 700 Chinese yuan per person per day to do the work. If you only want to do a half-day work, a full day’s charge is required.

What is the process of this project? Are there any details to be provided?

After you pay, one volunteer worker’s tag and working T-shirt will be given to you. And you need to sigh a contract of this volunteer work you are doing. You will be led by an English-speaking worker in the park to guide you through one day’s work. You are suggested to arrive at the park by 8:30 to 9:00.

The working includes:

  1. A) Feed the panda three times each day at 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00, each feeding takes about 20 minutes. It is very exciting.
  2. B) Clean the panda enclosure one or two times before the feeding, each time takes about 40 minutes. This is very interesting.

How long can I do the volunteer work?

You can basically choose from half day to 4 days. Every day is charged 700 yuan per person.

Other activities you can do in the park between your volunteer work:

Visiting the red panda enclosure, hiking to the tea farm in the park, watching panda documentaries, if there is child involved, you can consider making panda bread or attending a panda lecture.

To join in a Panda Volunteer Work in Dujiangyan Panda Base, you can email us at panda@sichuantravelguide.com or call us at 86-13689094250.

Square Dancing

What is square dancing? It is a group dancing popular among senior Chinese people especially the women. In every city in China, you may see groups of old women doing square dancing where there is a big space, usually in an open square. The dances vary from fast-beat modern style to slow and traditional Chinese or other ethnic dancing.

Square Dancing in Emeishan
Baba Dancing is popular in China

It brought disputes between workers and dancers in 2014 that the workers thought the music they used to dance were too loud that had actually violated their lives and work. But the old ladies thought it was actually alright and they justified themselves with the fact that they don’t have other options for physical or social activities.

Almost every city in China is crowded, and places have been used for apartment buildings or office buildings, which left little space for individuals to do exercise. The dancings are usually seen in the parks aside from the big or small squares they use. Most dancers do the dancing after dinner from 19:00-21:00 everyday.

Watchers are always welcome to join in the dancing groups and you don’t need to pay any money or possesses any requirement to join the group. It is basically open to everyone. There is also no requirement on how well you dance. And the moves are simple and easy to follow. For the individual dancers, the square dancing is a great opportunity to associate themselves to other people and to make friends. It is not like any exclude club that only certain people can join. It is very free and open to everyone.

What kind of square dancings are there? The most popular one can be generalized as traditional Chinese dancing. It is usually featured with arm moves and turns, sometimes involve folding fans used by fancier dancers. Another one dancing is a more modern dancing that usually involves fast moves of your body, arms and legs. This kind of dancing is usually done by a big group. There is another dancing which is very interesting. It is an imitation of the western Waltz. And it is usually a group of pairs of a man and a woman. Sometimes in the parks, there are groups of dancers doing a slow traditional sword dancing. It is derived from traditional martial arts and evolved into dancing today. Dancers of this kind usually wear a specific uniform to dance together.

Foreign visitors may expect old people doing Taichi in the parks and sometimes end up watching people doing square dancing. Do they practice Taichi in today’s China at all? Yes, but you had better to go there in the early morning if you want to watch people practice Taichi. Because it needs quiet environment for Taichi practicing so the Taichi practitioners prefer early and quiet morning when the majority dancing army have not yet come to ruin the quietness in the parks.

Xianghuo in Chinese Buddhism – Incense Fire

In China, there are usually Buddhist monasteries in any place where Han Chinese live. Some places have more monasteries and some places have less. And some monasteries are big while some monasteries are small. However the importance and popularity of a monastery are not decided by its size but by its Xianghuo, the incense fire. But what is Xianghuo, the incense fire? The incense fire can be loosely defined as efficaciousness. Most visitors go to a monastery to pray and wish for good things (yuan) including fortune, good luck, longevity, health, etc. And when that wish worked later, they will go back to that monastery and return that “yuan” by burning lots of incense and maybe some money as donation because they think the Buddha in that specific monastery is very efficacious. And they will probably spread out this efficaciousness to their friends and families, which will help this monastery to be more popular. So if you say a monastery has got big incense fire, then it is a popular monastery around this place no matter how small this monastery is.

Jinhua monastery in Chengdu
Jinhua Monastery

It is a very small monastery with big Xianghuo. It is one of the small monasteries that travelers don’t go in Chengdu; visitors are only local “yuan” givers and returners.