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Stop 20 - Chengdu

View Overland adventures - UK to Ho Chi Minh City and back without getting on a plane! on Chloemillen92's travel map.

We got off the train in Chengdu feeling pretty grumpy and tired. A group of 14 year old Chinese kids had been screaming, shouting and running around the train for the entirety of the 25 hour journey. They had picked up our cards in the middle of the card game, kept (rudely) asking questions we didn't want to answer and were constantly dropping food all over the floor and our bed, one end of which they were using as an extra seat. We really couldn't have disliked them more if we tried. The weather was baking and our bags felt heavier than ever as we lugged them along but then out of the blue, just as we needed it most, a random man cycled up to us and gave us two bottles of cold lemon ice tea and simultaneously restored our faith in humanity. From this point on Chengdu and the surrounding area became one of our favourite places so far.


The city itself had lots to do, with a great selection of temples, nunneries, teahouses and shops. A real highlight was enjoying a Buddhist lunch ceremony at Aidao nunnery just around the corner from our hostel.


One of the main attractions of the area, located just outside the city, is seeing the super cute giant pandas at the research base. This place is trying to increase the (very small) numbers in the wild by encouraging the notoriously picky animals to breed and making sure all the cubs survive. We learned that in the wild if a panda has more than one cub it will only look after the healthiest and abandon the other!


The food in this area is well known for being spicy but delicious and the city has loads of great looking eating places. We tried one of the most well known local foods - hot pot! This one was different from anything we had ever tried before as there was a variety of broths to cook in and you could choose what you wanted to cook by going to the fridge yourself and filling a tray with as different skewers.


We spent a couple of days in the area surrounding Chengdu, the first of which was spent gawping at the world's biggest Buddha statue in Le Shan. It is 70 meters high and was build over a thousand years ago to try and prevent people dying in the three surrounding rivers. Apparently this was quite effective but perhaps moreso due to the amount of rock that was deposited in the river during the Buddha's construction slowing down the flow of water - who knows. In the same complex there was an amazing cave that was full of yet more huge statues and carvings.


Finally we headed towards one of China's four sacred mountains - Emeishan. The views from the top were spectacular and our nights accommodation in a temple at the foot of the mountain was serene. Waking up to the sounds of monks chanting at 5am isn't something you do everyday.

Posted by Chloemillen92 06:46 Archived in China Tagged mountain tea china buddha panda sichuan chengdu spicy emei_shan le_shan Comments (0)

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