For the animal lovers, Chengdu is first and foremost the city of pandas. Those big doe eyed black and white cuddly bundles that you wish you could wrap your arms around. Chengdu is home to the internationally famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding where you can feast your eyes on these beautiful endangered creatures in their natural habitat. With a history stretching back over 4000 years, Chengdu is awash in humans (over 14 million), but still manages to retain a laid-back charm of serene traditional teahouses and plenty of lush green parks to meander through. One of the first cities in China to introduce paper money, prior to this it was the land of jiggling little bags of coins.
The city is flat with no natural features to drool over dominated by grey and hazy weather for most of the year and with crawling traffic. But then there are the pandas that make up for everything the city may lack. Surprisingly there is a dynamic nightlife scene happening, probably because of its large student (over 14 colleges are in the city) and expat population. It is a transport hub for the whole area, as it is located in the heart of China. There is actually a vibrant and lively art and music scene in the city that is the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province.
It is home to 260 branches of Fortune 500 companies and has been named as China's 4th most livable city. A major financial, commercial, economic, transport and cultural hub in Western China, Chengdu has 1 of the 30 busiest airports in the world and 1 of the 6 biggest railway stations in China.
Old folks play mahjong in the streets that are crowned in the flowering glory of hibiscus trees, an age old tradition from the Five Dynasties period of 907-960 AD, which is why the city's nickname is "Hibiscus City". The Chengdu Wuhou Shrine dating back to 302 AD and rebuilt in 1672 is eye candy for those in historical architecture. Whilst the 28 terracotta statues of ministers, generals and high officials of the state of Shu Han at the temple dedicated to Liu Bei, will give you a history lesson that you won't forget.
Surrounded by nature, this is the town to escape a big city's crazy vibes.
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