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Chengdu Travel Guide - Your destination overview of Chengdu, China

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Known over several centuries as the ‘City of Hibiscus', the ‘City of Brocade' and the ‘Gateway to Western China', the capital of Sichuan Province is fast becoming known as an affluent and industrious but fun and laid-back regional hub of travel, commerce and industry.

Chengdu combines cultural heritage spanning over 3,000 years and municipal history stretching back over 2,000 years with a modern, cosmopolitan mix of finance, high-tech industry, regional development and tourism. Chengdu is a fine base for exploration of the region and the main access point to Tibet.

This megacity of some 12 million people enjoys cooler weather than the ‘furnace' cities along the Yangtze River to the east as well as more tea houses and bars than the better-known and more hip city of Shanghai, which has double the population of Chengdu.

This rapidly-expanding industrial and urban sprawl sits in the Chengdu Plain, a fertile agricultural region of Sichuan Province, made possible by the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project. This marvel of Chinese science, initiated over 2,000 years ago, addressed drought and flooding that afflicted the area. As a result, Chengdu is often referred to by the Chinese as Tianfuzhi Guo, or ‘Land of Plenty'.

Chengdu remains famous today for the sight and scent of hibiscus, which Meng Chang, the last ruler of the Later Shu Kingdom, had planted along the city walls over 1,000 years ago. Over 1,000 years before, the good supply of clean river water gave rise to Shu brocade, one of the four famous brocades of China and the world's first brocade. The richly-woven silk became a favorite of Chinese royalty and elite, eventually leading to Chengdu's informal name of Jin Guan Cheng, or ‘Brocade's Official City'.


Chenghua is the largest district in downtown Chengdu and sits in the northeast of the city center. Chenghua forms the key transport link between the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Corridor and the Chengdu-Deyang-Mianyang manufacturing base. It is the home of both Chengdu University and China's University of Electronic Science and Technology. Chenghua also contains Chengdu's biggest passenger railway terminal.


Jinjiang River runs through this southwest Chengdu district. Jinjiang is home to some key provincial government offices. Wangjianglou Park offers a wide, peaceful space overlooking Jinjiang River. A pulsating nightlife coexists with the quaint but unauthentic Anshun Veranda Bridge, built in 2003 to replace the original, which collapsed in the 1980s. Already the de-facto nightlife district of Chengdu, Jinjiang is set to get a further push in this direction with the launch of the riverside Lan Kwai Fong development. 


In the northeast of the city center, Jinniu district was home to the world's first paper currency, known as Jiaozi. Yong Ling Mausoleum, housing the remains of Wong Jian, is in Jinniu district. There are several quality high-rise tourist hotels in this district also. 


Qingyang district, in the northwest of central Chengdu, is home to Qinyang Palace, one of the most important Taoist sites in China. The current temple mostly dates to the Qing Dynasty and takes about an hour to tour, but you may want longer to experience one of the local teahouses. 


Wuhou district sits south of the Jinjiang River and is named after the famous Wuhou Temple, a prominent tourist attraction in this part of Chengdu. Wuhou is also home to historic Jinli Street, which dates from the Qin Dynasty and was the first street of the Shu Kingdom. 

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