In Chengdu, finding peace in parks and heat in cuisine

Traveling on a budget is not the easiest of tasks, especially when there are so many tempting treats to be eaten, resisting the urge can sometimes be an ask that’s just too much. We are human after all and need a bit of grub every now and then. Visiting China is not cheap, like most traveling experiences the cost of your flight wipes out most of your budget. One city that will accommodate a modest budget is Chengdu. Serving as the capital of the Sichuan region, it is one of the most densely populated cities in China.

What is there to do?

We recommend visiting the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, because with such a catchy name, who wouldn’t want to visit? You probably noticed that we just mentioned the word panda, so there’s that too. China is not famed for treating its animals well, but the animals do seem to be healthy, and, importantly, happy here. Costing 58 yuan, there is no excuse not to check this place out – that converts to less than $10. Amazingly they have a nursery, where the baby pandas live, so you just have to go and feast your eyes on the little guys. Chengdu is often overlooked by backpackers for more famous locations such as Beijing and Shanghai despite it having a vibrant culture with a rich history. There are numerous temples and museums, even boasting a classic car museum for any driving enthusiasts. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle and need a break, then check out one of the many parks, which are used as places for contemplation and relaxation. Something a little unusual is on offer in the parks, ear cleaning. Yeah, people wander around the parks offering to clean your ears, maybe to allow you to hear the sound of silence more clearly in the tranquil parks.

How to get around the place

Traveling around the city is not a problem as they have a clean and well-organized subway network, the high-speed trains zoom you underneath the streets with military timing. Usually, a single trip will cost you less than a dollar, so there will not be a huge expense racked up when getting around. You can grab a taxi with ease, but because it is not overcrowded, it can be pleasant just to stroll around the city, soaking it all in at your own pace.

Getting a bite to eat is easy

Chengdu has amazing food to offer tourists and locals alike. Head to the tourist area of Jinli Street, which provides a vast array of edible treats, including squid skewers and rice cakes. Don’t restrict yourself to the tourist attractions though, head to some of Chengdu’s markets to experience the local street food. The city is known for its spicy food, so be warned that you may face some discomfort after eating the dishes on offer, best to take it slow and not eat everything in sight until you know you can handle it.

The hotels in Chengdu are reasonably priced, and the airport is close enough to the center that you can get off the plane and head straight into the city if you’re feeling energetic. Prices per night average between $40 – $70 so you may need to shop around to find a cheap deal. Ultimately Chengdu is cheap to get around and eat in, with many walks and temples to keep you busy for the duration of your stay.