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.
These are my favorite dishes from Vietnam, and the ones I crave most after living there for 2 years. If you’re headed to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, I’ve also included the best places to try these unique and wonderful meals.
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.
After booking a flight for a week-long trip to Taiwan, we started researching things to do. Our list ended up looking like a restaurant menu. For us, food is almost always the highlight of a good trip, but in Taiwan the possibilities overwhelmed us. I was more excited about a Taipei night market, than I was Ankor Wat or Machu Picchu. We decided to stay in Taipei for the whole week, and basically live like a local – a local that’s on the highway to obesity.
Taipei, Taiwan – The Greatest Food City in the World?
Shilin Night Market – Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei’s Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) is a must-see in Taiwan. Actually, it’s a must-eat in Taiwan.
Our Adventures in Taipei, Taiwan through Photos
Taipei has many faces. It’s green and lush, but turn a corner and it looks a bit grungy. Most of the buildings you’ll see are worn down and roughed up, but then you get a peak at an amazing piece of architecture like the Taipei 101 building. The majority of your “Kodak moments” involve people — and there are a lot of them (people, not “Kodak moments”) in Taipei. At night, you’ll get a variety of lights and colors. During the day, the sun can be a bit shy. It tends to hide behind a cloud of pollution, but it lays out a nice even light.