5 Reasons Why Chengdu’s the World’s Second Hottest Destination

  • imperial I
  • November 4, 2015

Chengdu city skyline – its population is 14 million and growing 

Chengdu was recently ranked in the MasterCard Global City Index as the second fastest-growing destination in the world from 2009 to 2015. As of June 2015 there are 265 Fortune Global 500 companies in Chengdu and this number is growing rapidly. And all for good reason, as Chengdu is a great city with lots going for it. Of course the pandas are the prime draw but Chengdu also offers world renowned Sichuanese cuisine at fantastic dining venues, a range of superb new hotels with meeting facilities, great transport connections and a wealth of first class cultural attractions. Here we list just five of the many reasons Chengdu is a great place to visit, both for leisure and business.   

Pandas at the Research Institute in Chengdu

1. Pandas: There are 3 places to see the lovable giant panda near Chengdu: the Panda Research Institute, which has the most pandas in the area; Panda Arc which is in nearby Dujiangyan, and is the only place where you can hold pandas; and Panda Valley, also in Dujiangyan.

Giant Buddha of Leshan

2. Sights: Within Chengdu, the Qingyang Temple is a great place to absorb the local culture and learn about the Chinese philosophy of Taoism. Here you can practice Tai’chi, watch a Taoist orchestra or have your fortune told. Chengdu is also famous for its tea houses and performing arts. We suggest you combine the two by watching a private performance of face-changing or Sichuan opera in a local tea house. The area of Sichuan surrounding Chengdu holds many tourist attractions. A few hours’ drive south is the Giant Buddha statue in Leshan – carved out of a cliff face at the confluence of three rivers, it stands 233ft (71 meters) tall and is one of the largest in the world. The Leshan area along with the nearby Buddhist Emei Mountain temple area (also worth a visit if you have time), have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last and by no means least, the archaeological find at Sanxingdui featuring three thousand year old gold-covered scepters and masks is second only to the Terracotta Warriors in China as an ancient wonder.

Mapo tofu, a famous Sichuan dish

3. Food: Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, is of course home to the renowned Sichuanese school of cuisine and in 2010 became a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Those with an interest can do a group culinary lesson with expert chefs. Alternatively, those who prefer simply to eat food rather than cook it can choose from many a fine restaurant serving up delectable Sichuan specialties. One dish you can’t leave Chengdu without trying is hotpot. We recommend Huangcheng Laoma for its authentic hotpot and traditional atmosphere. Another unique experience in local gastronomy is enjoying a private table at Chef Yu’s Family Kitchen. The sumptuous 32 course tasting menu will introduce you to both classic Sichuan dishes and Chef Yu’s signature creations such as an edible calligraphy brush. For another private kitchen experience there’s Ciguo which has 36 seats. You will be served a set course menu of local Sichuan dishes in a contemporary setting – but be warned, the food is especially spicy here! 

The Temple House Hotel 

4. Hotels and venues: Many international hotel brands are represented in Chengdu including the St. Regis, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental, Shangri-La and Sofitel, but we recommend The Temple House and Ritz-Carlton. The Temple House is newly opened by the Swire Group and is design-driven, blending modern and traditional Chinese elements seamlessly. The Ritz Carlton is luxurious with a modern business feel to it and offers excellent service. For meeting facilities, the hotels mentioned all have fantastic facilities. However to impress we’d once again recommend The Temple House. It has a subterranean ballroom for functions and it has meeting suites in beautiful hidden courtyards and heritage buildings. 

United Airlines flies direct to Chengdu on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner 

5. Transport: Getting to Chengdu has never been easier with direct air routes opening up all the time due to its role as a hub for western China. It now has more than 80 international air routes and has direct flights to the following cities: San Francisco (United Airlines and Air China), Vancouver (Sichuan Airlines), London (British Airways), Amsterdam (KLM), Frankfurt (Air China), Moscow (Sichuan Airlines), Abu Dhabi (Etihad) and Melbourne (Sichuan Airlines). A second Chengdu airport, twice the size of the existing airport, is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2018. 

If you’re interested in a bespoke luxury tour of Chengdu for business or leisure, please contact us at reservations@imperialtours.net