Wenshu Monastery (文殊院 – Wen Shu Yuan) is the best preserved ancient monastery in Chengdu. It’s the home to 80 monks, and is frequently visited by both tourists and locals. The locals come to relax in the gardens, sip tea at the tea house, or worship at one of the many sacred halls. Tourist often come for the amazing stone and wood architecture, or to peruse the art and relics that can be found throughout the grounds. Wenshu monastery is a great way to spend a couple hours if you are in Chengdu.
Record Shopping at Chengdu Antique Market
Chengdu is a shopper’s paradise. Malls seem to be popping up weekly across the city. There are plenty of shopping streets and specific product shopping areas. Of course, that means plenty of opportunities to buy souvenirs, but if you’re looking for something truly unique Chengdu’s Art and Antique Market is the place to go. Song Xian Qiao (送仙桥古玩市场) not only has cool gifts, but it’s also an amazing experience.
Directly to the east of the Sichuan Gymnasium metro stop is a short stretch of road that is a haven for electronic shoppers. While ‘Computer City’ is the name of just one of the many giant electronic department stores (likely the first one) on the street, the block itself is often referred to as Computer City. It’s the place to go for electronic shopping in Chengdu. If you’re looking for a computer, camera, tablet, speakers, smartphone, security device, office furniture, or almost any type of electronic accessory – there’s probably a vendor in Computer City that has what you’re looking for.
Personally, I went looking for a lavalier microphone. I wanted the type that plugs into your smartphone (it needs a special type of output jack). I knew that it would be difficult to find. Watch the video to see if I had any luck.
Computer City // This is Chengdu, China
Buying Bus Tickets in Chengdu: Xinnanman Bus Station
Officially, the Xinnanmen Bus Station is the Chengdu Tourist Bus Center, but most locals will know it by its Chinese name Xīnnánmén qì chē zhàn. The majority of their buses go to tourist sites. If you’re looking to hike (Mount Qingcheng), ski (Xiling Snow Mountain), or take in some culture (Leshan Giant Buddha) you’re likely to leave from Xinnanmen.
Exploring Chengdu’s Tibetan Quarters – Little Lhasa
The largest major Chinese city to Tibet is Chengdu. Its population consists of about 60,000 Tibetans, many of them living in an area just south of Wuhou Temple. This is the Tibetan quarters; sometimes referred to as Little Lhasa. The area is vibrant with Tibetan culture including shops, food, and a whole lot of that beautiful bright orange.
Kuan-Zhai Xiangzi – The Wide and Narrow Alleys of Chengdu, China
The Wide-Narrow Alleys (Kuanzhai Xiangzi – 宽窄巷子) are a set of lanes that have been preserved by the local government in Chengdu. About 60% of the buildings have been rebuilt, and 40% were renovated in their original architectural style. The rebuilt buildings took some liberties, adding some touches that would help them be more commercially appealing – for example, French style windows. This gives the alleys a feeling that I would describe as chic-ancient. Nonetheless, they’re a very popular tourist destination in Chengdu. As the sun comes down, people swarm the streets to shop and eat. They’re not there for the historic value. If they are, they’ll be walking away disappointed.
Jin Li Street – Chengdu’s throw-back to ancient China’s commercial streets
Walking around Chengdu, you’d think it was a fairly new city – with all the modern buildings and its crisp look – but Chengdu has an amazing history. It was on both the Tea Horse Road and the Silk Road, which made it a trader’s paradise. Eighteen hundred years ago, Jin Li Street was the aorta of Chengdu’s commercial area. It was packed with shops, lined with lanterns, and bustled with pedestrians. In that sense, not much has changed, but the street obviously holds a different purpose now. It’s one of Chengdu’s greatest tourist attractions. The 400 meter pedestrian lane has that new Chengdu crispness, but the buildings are all decorated to look like ancient China. They’re beautiful, and the people flock to the street to absorb that beauty, and to buy a lot of panda souvenirs.
The People’s Park: Get your Ears Cleaned in Chengdu, China
One of the most interesting places to visit while in Chengdu is the first public park in the city and the largest green space downtown, the People’s Park (人民公园). Located only 1 kilometer west of Tianfu Square, it’s a menagerie of sights. The place should be called the People-watching Park. You’ll see lots of locals doing interesting things, and some just relaxing with friends and family, playing games like mahjong, jianzi (Chinese hacky sack), badminton, cards, and chess.
Qingyang Palace: Chengdu’s Taoist Temple
The Taoist religion goes back – way way back. No one really knows for sure when it was created, but it’s thought to have developed from prehistoric folk religions in China. Worldwide it isn’t that popular, but in China about 30% of people practice the religion.