Welcome to Chengdu
Chéngdū (成都) is no great draw when it comes to major tourist sites – pandas excepted, of course – but many visitors find its laid-back pace and diversity of cultural scenes unexpectedly engaging. It could be its relaxing teahouse culture, with favourite local institutions serving the same brews across generations. Maybe it’s the lively nightlife, with a strong showing of local partiers bolstered by large student and expat populations that gather at craft beer bars and super-hip clubs. It might be the food: famous for heat, history and variety even in the cuisine-rich cultures of China; and very much a point of pride. It is, after all, Unesco's first-ever City of Gastronomy. But who can say for sure?
Luckily, as Chéngdū is the transport hub for the entire region, most travellers in China's southwest pass through this way and can find out for themselves.