Chengdu is a city where sweet and spicy are delivered in equal measures. Famed for its notoriously hot cuisine and beautiful Panda Bears, it’s a place that will warm both your heart and your tastebuds. Try the local delicacy - steaming hotpot - seasoned with a healthy dose of screamingly hot Sichuan peppers. This is certainly not a dish for a delicate palate, but a large glass of pearl-milk tea should make the experience a more pleasurable one.
Cool off outdoors at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, or Panda Base for short. Built to resemble a natural panda habitat, this research centre provides plenty of opportunities to view dozens of pandas, including cubs. August and September are the best months for spotting newly-born cubs, but we recommend arriving early as these loveable creatures tend to tire of strenuous activity by the afternoon.
If you fancy going further afield, head to Leshan where you’ll find the world’s largest Buddha carved out of a cliff face. Standing an almighty seventy-one metres tall and dating back to the Tang Dynasty, the statue was built by local monks and took over ninety years to complete, delivering an inspiring and spiritual experience. Complete your time in Chengdu with a trip to the opera, but not as you know it. Sichuan opera is more an elaborate talent show featuring magicians, musicians and dancers, as well as entertainers and fire-spitters. The acts are incredible - meticulously perfected and delivered with dramatic precision – without a Pavarotti-inspired tuxedo in sight.