Friday, July 31, 2015

CHARMING SIGHTS & SHOPPING HOT SPOTS IN CHENGDU (part 3)


‘MUST VISIT’ ATTRACTIONS



Adorable pandas, ancient historical sites, scenic countryside, mist-shrouded mountains and quaint villages, the Heavenly State of Chengdu has them all. No visit is complete without these ‘must visit’ sites: 

 Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
1375, Panda Road, Northern Suburb, Chengdu. Tel: +86 28 8351 0033


We all went ga-ga over the cute and cuddly giant pandas. Whether lazing around, sitting on their butts or snacking on bamboo … the gentle ‘ambassadors’ entertain us by their mere presence inside tree-filled enclosures. Peacocks and red pandas can also be found in the verdant park. The Giant Panda Museum and Scientific Discovery Centre onsite in addition to a rose garden and a swan lake provide additional interest.





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Taoping Qiang Village
Taoping District, Li County, Sichuan


Centuries-old culture and lifestyle of the Qiang ethnic minority are preserved in this quaint village. Built like a fortress with watchtowers, the village’s cluster of sturdy multi-storied stone-timber-mud houses is a priceless cultural and historical relic.
The overall layout confounds us with its cunning maze of narrow passageways (complete with ingenious Indiana Jones-type booby traps mind you) and ingenious underground water network. The surrounding views encompass majestic mountain ranges carved with rocky cliffs and green shrubs.



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Leshan Giant Buddha
No.2435 Lingyun Street, Shizhong District, Leshan, Sichuan


This awe-inspiring statue is a UNESCO World Heritage and rightly so. Sited at the confluence of three rivers: Min, Qingyi and Dadu River, the 71m-high seated Buddha statue is incredibly carved into the sheer cliffs overlooking the rivers. 
The project began in 713 A.D during the Tang dynasty and was finally completed some 90 years later. The best view of the gigantic statue is from boats plying the river but earnest visitors are allowed to climb up and down the long flights of stairs carved into the rocky red-earth cliffs.



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Wuhou Temple
 No.231, Wuhou Temple Street, Chengdu     


A memorial hall that will stir the interest of history buffs. Dedicated to the famous Shu Kingdom’s prime minister and military strategist Zhuge Liang (181-234AD), the significant relics here include ancient inscriptions from the Three Kingdoms period and statues of Emperor Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang and key Shu Kingdom officials. 


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Jinsha Site Museum
   No.2 Jinsha Site Road, Chengxi, Chengdu. Tel: +86 28 8730 3522


Formerly marked for development, progress was put on hold when the five sq.km excavation site unearthed archaeological treasures from the ancient Shu state and kingdom (the old name of Sichuan) in 2001. Among the stash found are the sun and immortal bird gold ornament, bronze artifacts and ceremonial jade ornaments.

    
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Mount Emei
Emeishan, Leshan City, Sichuan

Surreal...the mist-shrouded Golden Summit atop Mount Emei. Pix courtesy of Wilsurn Lim.

As you trek uphill, beguiling vistas of fog-covered peaks edged with lofty trees and rare wild fauna unfold, reminiscent of classical Chinese ink paintings. For devout Buddhists, it’s a pilgrimage of sorts where a giant Buddha statue and the Golden Summit temple beckon, 3079.3m above sea level.

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HOT SPOTS FOR GOOD BUYS



Don’t leave without lugging some Chinese folk art and crafts, tea leaves and customary tidbits, exquisite silk brocade and embroidered satin cloths from your Chengdu sojourn. Below are 3 hot spots for shopaholics:


Kuan Zhai Alley
 Changshun Shang Lu (Changshun Upper Road), Chengdu


Old Ming and Qing-style architecture, restored vintage edifices and ornate low-rise structures dominate Wide and Narrow Alley. The quaint alleys are chock-a-block with shops and stores touting a profusion of folk art pieces and touristy trinkets, teahouses and even a Starbucks, upscale themed restaurants, buzzing bars and taverns, boutique hotels and spas.

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Jinli Street
 231, Wuhouci Street, Wuhou District, Chengdu


Packed cheek by jowl within the narrow lanes and housed in vintage abodes, the clusters of teahouses, restaurants, bars and retail shops here are replicated to resemble the trading streets of old Sichuan. You’d find loads of local handicrafts, snacks and bric-a-bracs. A bustling hub where traditional craftsmen ply their trade and craftsmanship along pop-up stalls selling gimmicky souvenirs and photograph-worthy streetscapes.


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Lotus Pool (Hehuachi) Market
Erhuan (2nd Ring) Road, Jinniu District, Chengdu

Bargain hunters and budget-conscious shoppers will have a field day scouring for wallet-friendly fashion apparel, kitschy accessories, household goods, practical cookware, toys, sewing supplies and fabrics, stationery, shoes and bags, etc. 


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This media fam visit to Chengdu is made possible by AirAsia X 
and Dorsett Grand Chengdu. THANK YOU!



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