The Wenshu Temple in central Chengdu is a well preserved Buddhist monastry. Known for its Gardens, excellent vegetarian restaurant, tea houses and halls the Wenshu Temple is a fine retreat from the bussling city outside. I recommend you take lunch first before taking in The Thousand Buddha Peace Pagoda, the halls and, of course, the impressive library. Round off your visit with endless cups of green tea at vibrant, family-orientated the tea house. A must-see for everyone in Chengdu and those unfamiliar with Buddhist-monastry architecture. Me likes.
The Jisnsha Site Museum is situated in the North of Chengdu, the Jinsha site museum is an expansive complex covering an archeological site dating back 3,000 years and an excellent exhibition hall. Originally only limited discoveries of advanced civilisation were made in Szechuan province but the discover at Jisha changed that. Discovered in the 1990s, the archeological hall is covered with a modern walkway and well labelled. The exhibition hall is nothing short of excellent - with a huge number of artefacts in bronze, jade and stone for the grown-ups and interactive displays and exhibits for the kiddy-winks.
The Giant Buddha (Leshan) - Probably one of the biggest statues I've ever seen. No - it is the biggest statue I've ever seen. Standing (or sitting) at 71 meters in height, the Grand Buddha was carved out of the red limestone cliff-face over a 90 year period at the confluence of three rivers. The "Future Buddha," carved in the Indian-style, strikes an unusual pose for a Future Buddha - sitting upright rather than cross legged to provide greater stability. Since the destruction of Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban in Afganistan, this is now the largest statue of Buddha in existance. Arrive early to beat the queues and walk down the steps and up the other side for a close-up view of the Buddha and the carvings on the wall or take a boat ride to see the Grand Buddha in it's truly giant completeness. I recommend you do both.
Our evening at the Chengdu Opera in the popular Shu Feng Ya Yun Tea House in the Chengdu Culture Park we had an excellent show pf Sichuan Opera, Chinese Violin, stick-puppetry, a Suona (Chinese Trumpet) solo, a remarkable hand-puppet show were all rounded off with an exhillerating performance of "Changing-faces" and "Spitting fire." An endless supply of green tea is, of course, available as are rigourous massages which are performed while you remain seated. This, in my opinion, is a must do for an evening in Chengdu and I thank our guide for recommending and organising this trip.
The Panda Breeding and Research Centre was founded when the Giant Panda was even more threatened with extinction by starvation in huge quantities during the 1980s. Thankfully we visited during the early in the morning as thats when the Pandas are most active. Several pandas were out and about during our morning visit including a trio of over-active, playful young cubs which really made the visit worthwhile.
Chengdu - trip to the Wenshu Temple - Travelogue from our afternoon in the Wenshu Temple in Chengdu
Visit to Chongqing - Travelogue from our time in Chongqing during an 18 day trip to China
Solar Eclipse (2009) in China - the schedule - Travel plans for the 2009 Total Solar Eclipse. Includes China travel information
Impressions of China - a travelogue - Impressions of China by adventure couple Dave and Deb from theplanetD.com
China and Tibet - travel goals and achievements - Goals and acheivements for our travels to China and Tibet
Chengdu - video clip of the Wenshu Temple - Video showing the inside of the Buddhist Wenshu Temple in central Chengdu, China
Hangzhou - 2009 eclipse totality - Video clip showing totality of the 2009 eclipse as seen from Hangzhou
Leshan - video clip of the Giant Buddha - Video clip showing the Giant Buddha at Leshan in China
Lhasa - façade of the Potala Palace - Video clip of the façade of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet
Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook