After my solo trip to Harbin and my freelance job release my paycheck (very important!), I travel with another friend from Chinese class, Jacinda, the day after.
Our first destination is Chengdu (成都), the largest and the capital city of Sichuan Province (四川省). We take the morning flight and take off at 10:00 AM and land at the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (成都双流国际机场) on time. We fly with China Eastern Airline.
We take the airport shuttle bus and stop at Minshan Hotel then switch to Chengdu Metro to Luomashi (骡马市) stop. Lazy Bones hostel is just across the exit A. Bus is 2 CYN, Metro is 5 CYN and a room for two is 159 CYN per-night.
After booking several package trips from the hostel, we take the taxi (about 45 CYN) to see the Giant Panda at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (成都大熊貓繁育研究基地). Entrance fee is 58 CYN with 50% discount for student.
We take a few selfies here.
Whenever I see these giant pandas I always remember Po, from Kung Fu Panda. They’re black and white, and comes from mountain ranges in Sichuan (四川省), Shaanxi (陕西省) and Gansu (甘肃省) provinces in China. They are an endangered species and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and is protected by China’s Wildlife Protective Law as the special-class protected animal, and of course become the main logo of the the World Wild Life organization.
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (成都大熊貓繁育研究基地) is establish in 1987 as the base for protection, research, breeding and conservation for the pandas. The research base is also stamp as National AAAA Tourist Attraction by the National Tourism Administration in 2006 by the World Tourism Organization.
The center has a museum, a research center and visitors can volunteer in a half-day panda keeper experience program. The volunteers can contribute with cleaning, feeding and rewarded with hug the panda even feed the little ones in the nursery.
We visit the nursery but unfortunately we can’t take photos inside. The little baby pandas are so cure. There are two of them playing at the time we’re inside. The one is busy laying about and the other one is rolling with a plushy.
The giant pandas are mostly taking a nap in the afternoon. Those that aren’t sleeping are either eating like these cute ones or playing/wrestling.
And then there are the red pandas. They are so, so cute~~ In Kung Fu Panda, it reminds me of Shi Fu, Po’s teacher.
Other animals in the park
Spring is coming.
There’s a lot of the park we didn’t explore since we need to go back. When we return to the hostel, the tour van to see the Sichuan opera we booked with the hostel has already been waiting.
Sichuan Opera (川劇) at Fu Rong Guo Cui (芙蓉国粹) stage. With the transportation + ticket, each person pay for 120 CYN. Most of the scenes are taken from the story Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义). For opera like Kunqu, check out my trip to Suzhou.
The opera starts with a Chinese musical with traditional music
Next is the Three Heroes Battle Lü Bu (三英战吕布). Three heroes are Liu Bei (劉備), Guan Yu (关羽) and Zhang Fei (张飞) againts Lü Bu (吕布) at the battle of Huloa Pass (虎牢關).
Zhang Fei (张飞)
Drinks between sworn brothers Liu Bei (劉備), Guan Yu (关羽) and Zhang Fei (张飞)
Lü Bu (吕布) fights Zhang Fei (张飞)
Guan Yu (关羽) join the fray with his Green Dragon Crescent Blade (青龍偃月刀)
The scene change to another famous scene from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Lü Bu (吕布) and Diaochan (貂蝉) from the Banquet The Phoenix Pavilion (凤仪亭, Feng Yi Ting).
Lü Bu (吕布) and Diaochan (貂蝉) flirting with dance
Shadow show with shapes from nature and various animals like owl and bird and the lady.
Stick Puppet Show a Wonderful World where the puppet plays with butterfly and flowers
The next scene is a comedic acrobatic show with the Husband is being scold by his Wife because he comes home from gambling (and probably drunk). The Hand-peck husband and Wife scene or the Balancing Oil Lamp.
Sichuan Opera Solo
For the final act in Sichuan Opera is the Bian Lian (变脸) or the Face Changing performance. They actors wear costume and mask that change in a dramatic way with a swipe of a fan or hand movement. The masks are colorful and they apply to humans and puppet alike. (see the video above to see the mask changing).
A very nice performance to end the first day in our trip. With the same van we return to the hostel and dine in.
We only stay for 3 nights in Lazy Bones hostel, Chengdu, since between the first night and the last two nights, we travel to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟). The hostel has a storage room where we can just leave our heavy bags. The trip to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟) in separate post.
Arriving home from Jiuzhaigou, we ask to stop near Jinli Ancient Street (锦里古街) for dinner and sight seeing.
Jinli Ancient Street (锦里古街) entrance
Another Paifang (牌坊) or pailo, Chinese stone gate
The characters from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Old looking door and stone gateways
Traditional candy art
Stalls with Chinese art and souvenirs
Red envelopes for wishes and hope
Street lanterns everywhere:
Opera stage above the street
Lit alley way with hidden bar/restaurant
A nice bridge with beautiful lights from the store, restaurant and lanterns.
Lucky charms base on the characters from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms generals. They are health, love, wealth, good luck and wisdom.
Chengdu is also famous for tea and tea house. I really love this flower/jasmine (?) tea.
After we have our fill, we decide to go back to the hostel and have dinner there. We have an early morning (again) to see the Leshan’s Giant Buddha and hike up Mount Emei (in separate post). Going home from there, we look for a nice restaurant with Sichuan cuisine for our last night in Chengdu.
Dinner is the Sichuan style hot pot.
A complete trip in Chengdu: Panda, Sichuan Opera and Sichuan hot pot with spicy Sichuan pepper or Sichuan peppercorn (花椒, huā jiāo, flower pepper). The Sichuan pepper or huā jiāo is liberally use in Sichuan cuisine. It gives the food a ‘kick’ not quite peppery and not that spicy even though the hot pot looks very red.
We order four plates of meat and a place of vegetables. Yes, we are meat-arian. hahaha.
Gotta turn in early. Next stop: Lijiang
Source Information: Chengdu Panda Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu Places, Sichuan Opera Fu Rong Gui Cui