Great Places to visit in Chengdu (Sichuan, China)

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Also referred to as the “Country of Heaven”, Chengdu is a major city in Western China and the provincial capital of Sichuan province. Home to a population of ~11million, it is located west of the Sichuan basin in southwestern China. Due to a combination of futile soil, good climate and the innovative Dujiangyan Irrigation System (256BC), Chengdu has long been very agriculturally productive.

For those looking to explore this beautiful and peaceful city, below is the list (in random order) of the Great Places to visit in Chengdu. Enjoy!

 

#1: TaiKoo Li (太古里) (map)

Visited Oct-2016

"TaiKoo Li", a relatively new entertainment precinct in Chengdu (China). It is an open-plan and low-rise upmarket shopping and F&B district in the heart of the city, beside the popular Daci Temple.
“TaiKoo Li”, a relatively new entertainment precinct in Chengdu (China). It is an open-plan and low-rise upmarket shopping and F&B district in the heart of the city, beside the popular Daci Temple.

Officially opened in Apr-2015, TaiKoo Li is an impressive open-plan and low-rise upmarket entertainment precinct in the heart of Chengdu. It houses close to 300 top international lifestyle and fashion brands.

The 100,000-square-metre district’s architecture is an infusion of the contemporary with preserved buildings, ancient lanes and the centuries-old Daci Temple. TaiKoo Li is directly served by an underground metro station, and is adjacent to the city’s traditional main shopping belt; ChunXi Road.

With its numerous lanes, squares and courtyards, TaiKoo Li is certainly a great place to spend the evening. Its open-plan layout helps to reduce the overcrowding annoyance so often felt in other top entertainment districts in the country, while the congregation of major international brands here is surely welcomed by the shopaholic.

Getting there: ChunXi Road Station (Metro Line 2)

(see more high-resolution TaiKoo Li images)

 

 

 

#2: QinTai Road (琴台路) (map)

Visited Oct-2016

Chengdu’s popular QinTai Road is lined with preserved buildings on both sides, most of which are hotpot restaurants, tea houses and Sichuan opera venues. (Chengdu, China)
Chengdu’s popular QinTai Road is lined with preserved buildings on both sides, most of which are hotpot restaurants, tea houses and Sichuan opera venues. (Chengdu, China)

Located near (west) Chengdu’s city centre, QinTai Road has long been a favorite for both locals and tourist alike. The 900-metre long street is lined with buildings displaying architecture styles from the Han (206BC – 220AD) and Tang (618 – 907) dynasties. Retail outlets, hotpot restaurants, teahouses and Sichuan opera venues populate much of these buildings. In fact, the most famous Sichuan opera troupe (Shu Feng Ya Yun) is located here.

Getting there: Tonghuimen Station (Metro Line 2)

(see more high-resolution QinTai Road images)

 

 

#3: KuanZhai Alley (宽窄巷子) (map)

Visited Oct-2016

Kuan Alley (Chengdu, China). KuanZhai alley (KuanZhai Xiangzi) literally means Wide (Kuan) Alley and Narrow (Zhai) Alley,
Kuan Alley (Chengdu, China). KuanZhai alley (KuanZhai Xiangzi) literally means Wide (Kuan) Alley and Narrow (Zhai) Alley,

KuanZhai Alley (KuanZhai Xiangzi), which literally means Wide (Kuan) Alley and Narrow (Zhai) Alley, is a restored area near Chengdu’s city centre. Despite its name, KuanZhai Alley is actually made up of 3 parallel alleys; Kuan Alley, Zhai Alley and Jing Alley (Jing means “water well”).

The history of KuanZhai Alley dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD), where it was used to house troops returning from a distant war. Then, the surrounding precincts of 42 alleys were allocated to the troops and their families. With the passage of time and urbanization, only the 3 alleys remained, and in much decay.

Restoration efforts were started in 2003 to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of the area. The 3 alleys and their 45 courtyards were to be fully restored and converted into an integrated tourism, entertainment and F&B hotspot.

Since KuanZhai Alley’s reopening in June-2008, it has become one of the most important historical reserves in Chengdu city. Its ancient buildings now hosts eastern/western-themed restaurants/cafés, pubs/nightclubs, Chinese teahouses, lodges and a wide variety of retail outlets.

Summing up, KuanZhai Alley is without doubt the best place within Chengdu’s city to explore authentic ancient architecture and experience the local cultural heritage. Though the area can be crowded at times, it certainly ranks highly as one of the must-see places within Chengdu city.

Getting there:

  • KuanZhaiXiangZi Alley Station (Metro Line 4)
  • or 8-minute walk from Tonghuimen Station (Metro Line 2)

(see more high-resolution KuanZhai Alley images)

 

#4: Anshun Bridge [安顺桥] (map)

Visited Sept-2015

Anshun Bridge, Chengdu, Sichuan, China @2015
Anshun Bridge, Chengdu, Sichuan, China @2015

The original Anshun Bridge dates back a few centuries and was mentioned by Marco Polo in his writings during the 13th century. After been ravaged by a flood in the 1980s, the bridge was rebuilt in 2003 and currently houses a restaurant.

When I visited in Sept-2015, the bridge and the waterfront area along the northern bank of the river was beautifully lit by LEDs during the evenings.

It is located next to Lan Kwai Fong Chengdu (see next attraction).

Getting there: 12-15 minutes’ walk from Dongmen Bridge Station (Metro Line 2)

 

#5: Lan Kwai Fong [蘭桂坊](map)

Visited Sept-2015

Lan Kwai Fong, Chengdu (Sichuan, China) @2015
Lan Kwai Fong, Chengdu (Sichuan, China) @2015

Lan Kwai Fong has long been the famous dining and entertainment destination of Hong Kong. With Lan Kwai Fong Chengdu, the company is expanding into mainland China with this as its flagship project. Located on the banks of Jinjiang River, Lan Kwai Fong Chengdu is located just a stone throw away from Anshun Bridge.

There is a large number of restaurants (serving different nationality cuisines), pubs and cafes within the huge complex. Needless to say, the price range here is on the upper end. Interesting, when I was there during the evening, the crowd was thin; probably because it is a weekday evening.

Getting there: 12-15 minutes’ walk from Dongmen Bridge Station (Metro Line 2)

 

#6: Tianfu Square [天府广场] (map)

Visited Sept-2015

Tianfu Square, Chengdu, Sichuan (China) @2015
Tianfu Square, Chengdu, Sichuan (China) @2015

Located right in the heart of Chengdu’s CBD district, Tianfu Square is frequented by both locals and visitors alike. Being the largest square of its kind in southwest China, Tianfu Square used to be the site of the imperial palace until it was torn down during the Cultural Revolution.

The Chengdu Metro has a junction station situated directly below the square. Integrated with the subway station are food and retail outlets, which turn the entire underground area of the square into a shopping mall.

There are two spiral-shaped fountains located in the square, which will light up every evening.

On the northern side of the square stands a huge stone statue of Mao Zedong. The Sichuan Science and Technology Museum is situated behind the statue.

Getting there: TianFu Square Interchange Station (Metro Line 1&2)

 

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