Getting there & away
Connections in Chéngdū are more comprehensive than in other parts of the southwest. High-speed expressways from Chéngdū to Chóngqìng and Lèshān have greatly cut down travel time. More are under construction.
Xinnanmen bus station in the southern part of town is the main bus station and has tickets to most places around Sìchuān.
See box above for bus times. Note that some destinations have departures from more than one station; not all can be listed so double-check with your guesthouse or hotel.
To repeat – ad infinitum – though train tickets are a lot easier to land these days, don’t expect next-day middle-berth hard sleeper miracles for the most popular routes. Almost all the hostels can book tickets for trains (with a fee of around Y20) but read that note about miracles again. To wit: expect everyone and their dog to be trying to get on the Chéngdū–Lhasa train.
Daily departures include Kūnmíng (Y248, 18 hours), Éméi (Y22, two hours), Chóngqìng (Y91, 11 hours; express Y118, five hours), Běijīng (Y405, 26 hours) and Xī’ān (Y122, 18 hours). A high-speed train line has recently started between Chéngdū and Miányáng; another to Lèshān was close to finished at the time of writing. The express to Chóngqìng that started in 2006 is nearly as fast as the bus.
Flights internally go everywhere, virtually all the time. Whatever you do, shop around; outside of highest periods posted rates should mean little. Internal destinations include Běijīng (Y1440, 2¼hr), Chóngqìng (Y440, 45 minutes), Dàlián (Y1810, 3½hr), Shànghǎi (Y1660, two hours and 20 minutes), Guǎngzhōu (Y1300, one hour and 50 minutes), Lìjiāng (Y880, one hour), Kūnmíng (Y700, one hour) and Xī’ān (Y630, one hour and 20 minutes).
International destinations include Hong Kong (Y2200, 2½hr), Tokyo (Y3000, 6½hr), Singapore (Y1900, four hours and 20 minutes), Seoul, and Bangkok (Y1700, two hours and 55 minutes). Flights should operate between Amsterdam, Vienna, and Macau by the time you read this.
Airline offices in Chéngdū include:
Air China (Zhōngguó Mínháng; 8666 1100; 41, Section 2, Renmin Nanlu 8am-7.30pm).
Sìchuān Airlines (Sìchuān Hángkōng Gōngsì; 8665 7163, 8665 4858; 31, Section 2, Renmin Nanlu)
Dragon Air (Gǎnglóng Hángkōng Gōngsì; 8676 8828; Tiānfǔ Lìdū Xǐláidēng Fàndiàn; Section 1, 15 Renmin Zhonglu). In the Sheraton Chéngdū Lido Hotel.