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Author Topic: Chengdu  (Read 8138 times)

LaowaiSaosao

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Chengdu
« on: May 25, 2008, 12:42:48 PM »
Well, I've been here since January so figure I know enough to start a thread, although I've been working two jobs so haven't been out and about as much as I would like.

To start, Chengdu is a great place, even with earthquakes, and I would totally recommend it to anyone looking for a big city that is still fairly Chinese. I was in Beijing this month and it is so not Chinese anymore, at least not on the main streets, whereas Chengdu still looks and feels like the China I know and love. It is a big city, so it takes me 20mins in a taxi to get from the west to the south and probably 30mins from just outside the second ring road into the city centre, but I've only been to the actual "city centre" once since I got here so you can live fine without travelling that far. They have built a third ring road but quite a bit of the land between the second and third ring roads is undeveloped so far, maybe that will give you an idea of the scope of the city.

I lived in the west of the city near South Western University of Finance & Economics at first and there are not so many foreigners here, pretty much only those who teach at this uni. Most expats are either around Tong Zi Lin in the south of the city or near Sichuan Uni ("Chuan Da") on Kehua Bei Lu. But while there are a fair number of expats, it's not so many that you stop noticing them if you know what I mean, so you can pick whether you want to hang out with foreigners or locals very easily. Both the compounds I have lived in have had one or two other foreign families so not so many.

Shopping - there are several big supermarket chains in Chengdu, including Carrefour, Auchan, Ito Yokado and Trust Mart, as well as a Metro round to the west. So you can get pretty much everything you want "western"-wise. There is also Ikea for furniture and Decathlon for sports goods, as well as B&Q, a UK DIY chain. Most areas still have an outside market though where the fruit and veg are much fresher, although not always cheaper. There are also good tailors where you can buy lovely fabric and get clothes made and beautiful department stores where you can spend a fortune if you have one... There are some good bookstores in the city centre, I went to one, the South West Book Store, and was amazed at the range of fiction available, pretty much anything you would find at home you could fine there, very different from 8 years ago (the last time I lived in China) when all you could get were the classics! And of course you can get DVDs of anything and everything at every street corner.

Eating - Sichuan food is the best in China, in my opinion, but watch out for the huajiao (sichuan pepper) as this is pretty lethal stuff. Hot pot is everywhere if you like some food with your chilli, also lots of restaurants selling "chao shou" (hundun/dumpling/snack-style food) and other sichuan dishes. There is also lots of Tan food, as Chengdu is "the gateway to T" (not that the gateway is particularly open at the moment). There used to be lots of Lanzhou la mian shacks too but these are getting lost as the city is redeveloped. Western food is pretty good too, we have a Bookworm and also several branches of Peter's Tex-Mex, these are the two Western places I've eaten so far, oh and the Shamrock but I wasn't so impressed with that (maybe I was too sober  afafafafaf ). There are also Macd's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway and Starbucks around the city. And as I said you can buy most of the ingredients you would want if you prefer to cook for yourself. You can even get some okay bread, although you have to hunt around a bit, there is a chain called "Bread Talk" that does good French sticks and the bread in Auchan is good too, I don't like the bread in Carrefour but their French pastries are nice.

Employment - there are a fair few foreign companies with plants here, including Nokia and Intel, so quite a few of the expats work for foreign companies and earn ridiculous amounts of money. Otherwise, there are some relocation companies that employ foreigners, training centres that are really just teaching English, and lots of unis/schools/kindergartens that are able to employ foreign teachers legitimately. The only place I know to avoid is the Intensive Language Training Centre at Sichuan Uni.

Leisure time - Pandas of course, at the Research & Breeding centre on the outskirts of town. Lots of great parks, we went to DongHu Park today which had a great lake in the centre (surprise surprise) and lots to do with kids. Have also been to HuanHuaXi park and can recommend it, both are free, as are the People's Park (RenMin GongYuan), QingYang Park and Culture Park. There is also Dufu's Thatched Cottage and WuHou Temple but I think the entry to these is quite steep. A bit further out there is FloraLand in Wenjiang, this is about 40-60min by public bus from the city centre and is a kind of theme park. Entry is completely free so you can go in and hang out without having to spend anything. Another good thing is that there are lots of places to eat and they were all reasonably priced, not like theme parks in the UK where the food is at least twice the price of normal. There were quite a few rides, such as a carousel, log flume, flying space ships etc, also a 3D cartoon movie which my husband said was pretty good, and those big inflatables that sit on water, you climb inside and then mess around on the water. There was probably lots more but I had limited time there as I went between classes one day. It was a fun day out but I would avoid it on the weekend/public holidays. Back in the city, there is JinSha Museum and park which is reported to be worth a visit. And right in the city centre you can go to TianFu Square and see the statue of Mao.

That's all I can think of for now, I will add more as and when... come to Chengdu, it ROCKS!!!!

Lotus Eater

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2008, 12:49:05 PM »
You forgot the good Indian restaurant near the river - Cacaja (?) and the good Thai at the Jiaotong Hotel.  that is also a nice place to stay and has a nice coffee shop where you can sit and drink/read all afternoon.

There is a nice Tan area near the big park as well.

LaowaiSaosao

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2008, 12:51:07 PM »
Hi LE, I didn't forget, I haven't found it yet so you will need to give me some more precise directions as I LOVE Indian food. Same with the Tan, I don't know anything about that minority, where do they come from? And which park?

becster79

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 12:56:29 PM »
And don't forget 'Grandma's Kitchen' for places to eat bfbfbfbfbf
10 easy steps to stop procrastination.

1.

Lotus Eater

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2008, 01:02:08 PM »
Tan is short for the people who come from that place that caused protests overseas.

The Indian place is 19 Binjiang Zhonglu (摈江中路19号).  Jiaotong Hotel is on one side of the river beside the Xinnanmen bus station, Cacaja is diagonally opposite it on the city side of the river.

LaowaiSaosao

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2008, 01:26:27 PM »
Doh  bibibibibi

Should I be avoiding writing the full name of that people in order to avoid attracting unnecessary attention?

Will definitely try out the Indian, just as soon as my husband agrees to leave the kids home with the nanny (may not be anytime soon if these aftershocks keep on shocking  alalalalal)

Haven't been to Grandma's Kitchen yet but it is on my list...

Lotus Eater

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2008, 01:32:27 PM »
I can't remember the name of the park - don't have my travel diary with me - but it has tea gardens in it and is pretty big - it could be the one with the cottage in it. Near it was also a great DVD place that sold some real treasures, especially if you like the OLD classics.

adamsmith

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2008, 09:06:42 AM »
There is also a decent indian/curry resteraunt across the street from the chengdu shamrock, and just down the road is Carols bar, which I found to be much more enjoyable than the 'rock in chengdu.
for a quiet social drink or 12 there is a nice little pub opened up by a couple of brits on ke bei lu but I cant remember the name of it of the top of my head. agagagagag

paddyfields

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2009, 01:35:23 PM »
And don't forget 'Grandma's Kitchen' for places to eat bfbfbfbfbf

It is almost 2 years since I left Chengdu due to difficulties with visa's etc.

Anyway one of the aforementioned Peter's Tex-Mex Grill is on the same road as Grandma's Kitchen, Ke Hua Bei Lu . This road is very close to Sichuan University. I went several times as I was living and working out in "the sticks" at Chengdu University. I remember there was a bowling alley along this road a gang of us went to also.

There is a very Famous shopping street in Chengdu named ChungXi lu  春熙路.
Near Tian Fu square and almost overlooking the Mao Statue is a great roof-top tea house. Although right in the centre of Chengdu it is quiet, relaxing and peaceful. I spent many days sipping fruit tea there. It is on the 8th or 9th floor of an upmarket shopping mall. There is also a restaurant attached where you can enjoy a free stage show nightly while you dine.

The Ancient Town of Lou Dai is worth a visit. My Uni was on the bus route to this place so it was only 20 minutes away for me. Maybe 1 hour from the centre of Chengdu.

Jiǔzhàigōu (九寨沟) for me this is a MUST SEE place. Many people rave about going here in the Autumn to see the many different colours on the trees. I went in the winter, January, and it snowed a little. But I still enjoyed it even though the Famous "Long Lake" was frozen over. It takes 10- 11 hours to reach by bus. I flew there and back.

I have been to Qingcheng Mountain which is one of the birthplaces of the Taoist religion. Last bus back to Chengdu is about 7.30 so we decided to sleep at the top of the mountain. A lady , owner of one of the mountain top "Hotels" , followed us for 3-4 hours up the mountain trying to convince us to stay at her hotel. We did ! It was one of the coldest nights I can remember. No air -con in this part of China bibibibibi  But it wasn't all bad.

On a Oirish note. I have tasted the Guinness at The Shamrock Bar in Chengdu. I can easily say it is by far the worst Pint of Guinness I have tasted anywhere. But then what can be expected of an Oirish Bar that is neither owned or managed by an Irishman. agagagagag

adamsmith

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Re: Chengdu
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2009, 01:00:51 PM »
On my last visit there in December/January Grandma's was closed and gutted. But for good western food right near the main gate of sichuan uni and pete's tex mex is the vanilla sky restaurant. Excellent food and reasonable prices.
And in the other direction is my favourite place in Chengdu - Hooters. Pricey but entertaining and decent food. Loved the service (or was it the servers, my memory fails me) :alcoholic: agagagagag agagagagag