Chengdu – pandas, hotpot and the world’s largest Buddha statue of Le Shan

Chengdu is far from the highlight of Sichaun province, but it will naturally be one of the transit spots you pass through on your way to some of the wonderful natural landscapes surrounding it.  Make sure though to give yourself at least a day in Chengdu to see the pandas (giant and red versions) at the Giant panda Breeding Research Base; for a half day trip to the UNESCO world heritage listed Giant Buddha in Le Shan (1200 years old carved into the confluence of 3 rivers) and to generally spend either an afternoon in one of the traditional tea houses or an evening eating the super spicy Sichaun hotpot


It’s punchy, but doable to do all this in a day.  Makes most sense to get to the Panda Base when it opens at 8am for the morning feed (they are often asleep in the afternoon) and then try to get a tour to the Buddha leaving from Chendgu at around 11am (its 2hours to the site, half an hour or so getting a boat up to it, and potentially quite a bit more time if you want to walk around it – the queues at weekends and holidays will be very slow moving)


Last tip, do make sure to try the Sichaun hotpot, the province’s world-renowned dish.  But be warned that it packs a put-the-toilet-roll-in-the-fridge-the-night-before punch.  We tried Long Sen Yuan Hotpot which was great and a good location.  You’ll have had spicy food before, but its something about the combo of the spice (which is strong), plus the temperature of the broth, plus the numbing effect of the pepper corns that really does make this quite the experience – “enjoy”!