From Xian we originally planned on going to ChongQing, but after hearing from locals and foreigners alike Chengdu was the better destination, we decided to head straight to Chengdu instead.
The first night we stayed there we had Chengdu hotpot (actually it originated from Chongqing, but technicalities). It was very numb and spicy 麻辣, I don’t know how people tolerate such spiciness on such an extreme level. I think at this level of spiciness one can’t taste the natural flavour of food anymore as everything in your mouth burns. The hot pot meal was quite pricey but I suppose we were in a fancier place with real pieces of meat (versus the processed balls you get in other places).
The day after, we went to see pandas at the Chengdu Panda Research Base! I had seen pandas in the Taipei zoo before but they only had 2 there. There were at least 20 pandas in the base all scattered around in large compounds. They were so cute and lazy! Panda’s really are the laziest creatures in the world, all they do is eat and sleep. They rather eat than have sex so most of the pandas are bred by artificial means. Most of the pandas were hiding in their air conditioned compounds eating instead of being outside due to the heat, but one panda decided to take a 10 min stroll outside so that was very exciting.
Another day trip we did was to Leshan 乐山 to see the giant buddha. We were in a rush due to a late start, I think we spent 4h on the bus total and only 1h to see the actual buddha. The big buddha is huge at 71m tall, built in 703 it is the biggest stone buddha in the world. We sweated so much climbing up and down the stairs to see big buddha because it was so hot and humid.
The city of Chengdu was ok but a little too spread out. Finding food around the hostel was a big chore but we managed to find some hole in the walls that served decent food. I feel like Chengdu has much more to offer, but perhaps we were just being lazy and didn’t try too hard. They do have a nice shopping area but it looks like they are still constructing the area so in a year or two it will be nice.
A paint job at the local temple:
From Chengdu we took a 20 hour train ride to Kunming in Yunnan.
– The panda research base only gives 50% off to local Chinese students, but still well worth the trip!
-Leshan Giant Buddha has 50% off for all students. After taking a bus to Leshan, hop on the local bus outside of long distance bus station for a cheap 1 Yuan ride to Giant Buddha.