About Chengdu, China
- Population: approx. 12 million
- Distance from Beijing: 942 miles
- Distance from Tibet: 777 miles
Chengdu was named China's fourth most livable city by China Daily.
Photo credit: USAC China
Chengdu, also known as “the city in heaven,” is the capital of Sichuan Province: the economic, cultural, and political center of Southwest China. Its irrigation system, built over 2,000 years ago, still works today and other historical sites retain the city’s ancient flavor. Its famous food and tea culture make Chengdu very attractive to travelers from around the world, with many teahouses where you can relax in a bamboo chair, have a fine cup of tea, and exchange ideas while watching the bustle outside. Its cuisine, particularly snacks and spicy foods, is distinct and Chengdu is one of the few places in China where fresh vegetables are available year-round.
Chengdu is a great place to live and people are friendly and welcoming. It is a city where past meets present; high rises and fashionable shops give the city a modern feel, while the street markets and traditional teahouses add a taste from the past. Historically, Sichuan Province has produced many independent thinkers such as Deng Xiao Ping, the recently deceased Premier of China and one of the architects of China’s movement toward a free-market economy. It is also famous for such poets as Li Bai, Du Fu, Xue Tao, and Su Shi. There are several important Buddhist and Daoist mountains in the region and the province is noted as a research center for Daoism. The province contains many minority cultures, including the Yi, the Miao, the Qiang and also Tibetans.
Beautiful valleys and rivers make up the landscape outside the city.
Photo credit: USAC China
Sichuan is endowed with some of the most dramatic natural scenery to be found in China. To the west lies the Land of Great Corrugations, wild mountainous terrain that eventually becomes the massive Tibetan-Qinghai plateau. The train ride from Chengdu south to Kunming in the Yunnan Province is considered one of the most scenic in all of China. To the north lies Jiuzaigou, a national park with beautiful lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. Sichuan is also home to the panda, the international symbol of Chinese friendship and goodwill. The Wolong Nature Reserve, just 40 km northwest of Chengdu, is the largest of the ten reserves set aside by the Chinese Government for the preservation of these endangered animals. Hua Mei, the first giant panda born in the Western Hemisphere since 1990, recently returned to Wolong Reserve where she lives with over 60 other pandas.