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Introducing Guǎngyuán

This minor manufacturing centre roughly equidistant between Chéngdū and Xī’ān is the main hub to get to many of the sights in northeastern Sìchuān. The ancient Shǔdào, or the ‘Way to Sìchuān’ (which impelled Li Bai to brush his famous lines ‘The way to Shu is harder than the way to heaven’ – to translate it roughly) sliced right through what is the modern city. It’s the site of China’s largest nuclear weapons-grade plutonium production facility, so nobody really lingers here, but the locals sure are friendly.