On the face of it, Chéngdū should be a drag. It's flat, with no distinguishing natural features. The weather is grey and drizzly much of the year. The traffic is alarming. Yet somehow everyone comes away satisfied. Perhaps it’s the truly fabulous food, and the laid-back local folk. Or it could be the relaxing teahouse culture. Maybe it’s the lively nightlife? Then there are the pandas, of course. Who knows?
As the transport hub for the whole region, most travellers in China's southwest will be fortunate enough to pass through and find out for themselves.