More than pandas in Chengdu

By Zhao Shijun ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-04 07:13:25

More than pandas in Chengdu

In addition to the pandas at the world's largest panda breeding center and unique cuisine in the Kuangzhai Alley, tourists can explore more of the city.

Other attractions include the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu, the Temple of Marquis of Wu, the Jinsha Relics Museum, the Dujiangyan irrigation system, the Qingcheng Mountains and the Anren ancient town.

The Kuangzhai Alley area in the city center also showcases the area's ancient architecture. Streets and residences there were mostly built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Some buildings combine both traditional Chinese and Western styles, as China began early contact with the Western world in the late Qing.

The Thatched Cottage of Du Fu is the former residence of Du Fu, one of the greatest poets in China. The Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet lived there for nearly four years and created at least 240 works, which are considered national treasures.

The Temple of Marquis Wu was built in the Shuhan Kingdom (221-265) to commemorate Prime Minister Zhuge Liang. A strategist in a time of many big battles, Zhuge is regarded as an incarnation of great wisdom throughout the history.

Chengdu is home to the remains of the Jinsha civilization, which dates back more than 3,000 years. Widely believed to have been the capital of the ancient Shu state, the site is hailed as one of the major archeological discoveries in China in the 21st century.

One of the Jinsha relics unearthed is a gold foil rendering of a divine solar bird. It is now used as the symbol of Chengdu and its local cultural heritage.

Further attractions include the Qingcheng Mountains and the Dujiangyan irrigation system.

Qingcheng has long been recognized as the birthplace of Taoism, China's ancient indigenous religion, while Dujiangyan is considered to be the oldest functioning water-control project in the world.

Easier trips

For international tourists, getting to and from the city is increasingly easy, with a growing number of flights linking it with the rest of the world.

Chengdu is the fourth-biggest air hub in China. Its Shuangliu airport served 71 international routes by the end of last year, ranking first among all airports in China's central and western regions.

A direct air route between the airport and San Francisco is due to start running from June 11. Similar routes are also planned to link Moscow, Paris, Istanbul and Dubai.

Passengers in transit can take advantage of the 72-hour visa exemption, which was put into place in September last year.

The policy allows residents of 51 countries including the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan, with valid visas and flight tickets to a third country to spend three days in the city.

This year the government of Chengdu released further incentives to attract more foreign transit tourists to use the visa-free policy.

These include discounts at hotels and airport shopping areas as well as dedicated transit lounges and free transport between airport terminals.

Dedicated buses take visitors from the airport to popular scenic spots such as the Kuanzhai Alley, Jinli Ancient Street, Jinsha Relics Museum and Temple of Marquis of Wu.

Chengdu reported healthy growth in its tourism industry last year.

Statistics show that the city received 150 million tourists last year, an increase of 28 percent from 2012. Around 1.7 million came from abroad, an increase of 12 percent. Total revenue from tourism surpassed 133 billion yuan ($21.7 billion).

Chengdu ranked third best in tourist facilities, management and services from 60 Chinese cities, according to a customer satisfaction survey released last year.



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