The penguins from Madagascar are not the only black and white creatures that are cute and cuddly. On the other side of the world, the capital of China’s Sichuan Province called Chengdu, to be exact, is home to creatures that are so cute and cuddly that you’ll be ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ at them for hours. If you haven’t guessed by now, we’re talking about the giant pandas.
These cuddly creatures can be found at Chengdu of Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, located about 18 kilometres from the city centre. As the name suggests, the base was created to simulate the pandas’ natural habitat to encourage these shy creatures to breed as their numbers are shrinking by the years.
It was reported that are less than 2,000 pandas in the world and 120 of these are in this reserve, which is why hundreds of tourists flock here year-round to see them up close and to learn more about what can be done to keep them from extinction.
Apart from the pandas, at the reserve, you’ll see red pandas, black-necked cranes, white storks and more than 20 other species of rare animals.
After a long day of animal-watching, you’ll naturally need to wind down. So where do you go? A tea house, of course. The tea culture is very big in Sichuan and especially Chengdu, and a visit to one of its many teahouses is a MUST.
There’s a popular local saying that goes, “You’ll find more more tea houses in Sichuan than you will sunny days.” Needless to say, the locals take their tea drinking very seriously. It’s a time to meet up, gossip and just enjoy the day. What better way for you to immerse in the local culture than by joining them for a spot of tea?
When hunger pangs kick in, try the specialty Sichuan hotpot at Xiao Long Fan Da Jiang Hot Pot. This restaurant is a must-stop if you want to taste the best of food in Chengdu. Select your choice of meats, meatballs, vegetables, seafood and simply cook them in the spicy and flavourful mala (a type of spicy Sichuanese seasoning) broth (There’s also a non-spicy version for those who cannot handle the heat). On cold days, nothing warms you up quite like this delicious dish.
What’s better than a sumptuous dinner? A sumptuous dinner with spectacular culture performances and breathtaking acrobats, of course. At Xiao Long Fan Da Jiang Hot Pot, you’ll get both. Marvel at the stunts and enjoy traditional song and dance while you sink your teeth into luscious cuts of meat. We guarantee that you’ll have a whale of a time!
For breathtaking landscapes and postcard-perfect sceneries, head to Jiuzhaigou, about 450 kilometres from Chengdu. If the thought of travelling such a distance turns you off, fret not for when you get to Jiuzhaigou, it’ll be totally worth it. You’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of serene lakes, lush forests, cascading waterfalls and snow-covered mountains. Touted as one of the most beautiful places in the world, at Jiuzhaigou, you’ll find plenty of material for your Instagram and enough for #throwbacks, too!
If you need more inspiration, watch this video.
Watch the rest of the series at http://bit.ly/thejourneychina.