- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Travel to Chengdu, China
Chengdu, formerly romanized as Chengtu, is the provincial capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China, as well as a major city in Western China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status.
"The young shouldn't come to Chengdu and the old shouldn't leave."
This ancient Chinese saying about Chengdu still has truth to it today. Chengdu is a place which the young may find very comfortable and lose their ambitions, but for the same reason the elderly should stay here. Once in Chengdu you will feel the relaxed atmosphere. People go about business without getting rich on their minds.
Chengdu has been found to be much older than previously thought. The Jinsha excavation site shows us that Chengdu was an important gathering place for people 4,000 years ago. For those interested in Chinese culture there are many great stories that come from this ancient city.
Visit the awfully cute Panda Bears
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is located at a distance of 10 km from downtown Chengdu and has a veterinary laboratory, a park, a giant panda museum and a zoo within its environs. The Center covers an area of 92 acres and is involved in the conservation and breeding of other endangered species in addition to the giant panda, the objective of the center is to breed the captive pandas in a stimulated habitat in order to release them into the wild eventually. Giant pandas, red pandas, black-necked cranes and white storks, the South China tiger and the endangered Golden Monkey are some of the other species of animals and birds which are protected at this research base in tranquil verdant surroundings which are covered with fourteen species of bamboo, trees and flowers.
See the world’s largest stone Buddha
The largest stone Buddha in the world which is also known as ‘Dafo’ is located in Leshan City. Leshan is located at a distance of 162 kilometers (100 miles) from the city of Chengdu and is accessible by various modes of transport from Chengdu. The Leshan Buddha was carved out of a cliff over 1000 years ago by devout Buddhist monks who were led by a monk called Haitong. The Buddha is located at the confluence of three rivers, the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi and it also faces another sacred spot called Mount Emei. This Buddha along with Mount Emei was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It took ninety years to construct this magnificent Buddha which stands over 233(71 meters) feet high and is 90 feet (28 meters) wide. The Buddha also has a network of drainage passages hidden in its chest, hair and ears which help to drain rain water that accumulates within it so as to prevent serious erosion and weathering but the Buddha is still at risk due to the pollution from nearby factories which might eventually cause the features of this magnificent Buddha to fall off.
Enjoy a ‘cuppa’ of Chinese tea Chengdu style.
The art of drinking tea has evolved in Chengdu for over 1300 years and it is here that the Gaiwan style of drinking tea was created. A Gaiwan tea cup is a tea cup which is thought to peculiar to Chengdu, it is rumored to have been invented by the daughter of a governor of West Sichuan during the Tang Dynasty. A Gaiwan tea cup consists of a lid, tea cup and a saucer and is used to brew fine white and green teas. These tea cups are uniquely designed and are wide at the top and narrow at the bottom and they allow the tea leaves to roll over fully and infuse the tea. The lid also preserves the heat of the tea and at the same time allows you to mix the tea evenly.
Find your inner peace at one of Chengdu’s monasteries
Enjoy the peace and tranquility of Chengud’s monasteries like Qingyang Gong which is an active ‘Daoist’ monastery in Chengdu. It is believed that it is here that theÂ ‘Daoist’ god Laozi attained immortality here. The gate of the monastery is adorned with two magnificent bronze goats and it also features spectacular pavilions, 81 carved dragons, and printing plates of rare and important Daoist scriptures. The monastery also has a bookshop and a tea house located on its premises. Another monastery worth visiting in Chengdu is the Wenshu Monastery, which is known for its exquisite gardens and solemn halls.
Around the world many restaurants serve dishes and call them Sichuan (Szechuan) Cuisine. However in Chengdu you’ll find Sichuan Cuisine is much deeper and well developed. Of special interest is the "Sichuan Peppercorn" or "Numbing Pepper" which natives of Chengdu pour down their throats because of the pepper’s apparent medicinal properties.
The Sichuan peppercorn is just one of the materials key to Sichuan food that cannot always be found outside of China. Sichuan cuisine is known for its strong flavors. Don’t be surprised if there are more hot peppers in the dish than anything else, and you’ll know it’s done right if everything is floating in oil. Taste is more important than health in Chinese cuisine.