Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province, and famed throughout the world for its iconic Giant Panda, teahouses and fiery cuisine. It is modernising at an extraordinary rate, but you can still find tree-lined avenues dotted with old wooden buildings, men playing Chinese Chess in the streets and fast food sellers hawking their wares.
Chengdu has a very relaxed atmosphere, which may be in part due to their cuisine, renowned for its reliance upon small, fiery red hot chillis. But the main reason for coming to this city is to visit the Giant Panda Reserve outside the city. Here, you can learn about these incredible animals and also how the centre is trying to preserve and reintroduce them back into the wild. You can also (for a fee) hold a baby panda... but be warned, they bite!Things to see and do: The new panda reserve located a couple of hours outside of Chengdu at Bifengxia is where the pandas were moved to after the 2008 earthquake which devastated their former home. There are about 300 pandas living in the bamboo forests around the Panda Base. This is definitely the best place to see these amazing animals with dedicated feeding areas and even a panda zoo to take care of the sick and pregnant pandas. The Chengdu Panda Reserve Base located in the north of the city is the easiest spot to visit these iconic creatures, plus you will be able to see the small Red Panda, a very difficult animal to see in the wild. Wenshu Temple is a Tang Dynasty Temple and one of Chengdu's largest and best preserved Buddhist Temples, the air is scented with incense and you will hear a low murmur of chanting by the resident monks in this serene temple. There is an excellent vegetarian restaurant on site, but the teahouse is well worth some of your time to soak up some old school Chinese culture and a chance to sip some excellent tea as well.