Chengdu has recently launched 72 hour visa-free travel to the city, joining cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. Whist 72 hours might not sound long it certainly offers those heading between Australasia and Europe a nice option for a short city break. Chengdu might be famed for hot girls, hotter food and of course that adorable national symbol – the Panda but I would argue it offers far more than these stereotypes suggest.
This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited by Chengdu Daily and the Chengdu Tourism Board to visit DuJiangYan around a 2 hour drive from downtown Chengdu to show much can be seen in a relatively short time. So despite very British weather conditions we headed off to see one of the greatest engineering projects ever created in China.
Dujiangyan is an irrigation infrastructure built in 256 BC by the Kingdom of Qin. Located in the Min River in Sichuan province, China, it is still in use today to irrigate over 5,300 square kilometers of land in the region. Making it directly responsible for the abundant and delicious crops grown in the Sichuan basin. DuJiangYan was mastermined by Qin governor Li Bing who investigated the problem of constant flooding and drought in the region and devised a strategy to counter this problem allowing irrigation for the Sichuan Basin to remain at the right level for thousands of years to come.
I was impressed by the scale of the project especially the strategy used to cut through the mountain. First the rocks were heated and then cold water was poured over them to make them easier to cut away. Every 10 years they need to work on the whole engineering project and whilst now you can see modern technology being used it must of been much harder all those years ago!
After lunch and a few shots of fruit-infused Baijiu (Chinese very strong alcohol) we took a walk around the vast project, across a few wobbly bridges before returning to the warmth of the bus and returning back to Chengdu.
So how would I recommend 72 hours in Chengdu? Day 1 go and see the city’s most famous residents the Giant Panda and then take the afternoon to chill with some tea (or get your ears cleaned) in People’s Park before spending a night people-watching, shopping and eating snacks in the pedestrianized shopping district of Chunxi Lu. Day 2 take a trip to Emei Shan, Leshan or DuJiangYan before returning to enjoy a night at one of the cities’ many local bars, live music venues or the world famous Lan Kwai Feng nightclubbing destination. Onto Day 3 and why not visit historic Jingli and the narrow and wide alleys offer a nice change of pace before going for Hot-Pot and enjoying a night at the Sichuan Opera. Day 4…ok so 72 hours is not long enough for Chengdu but it certainly offers a nice option for those transiting in Asia who fancy a taste of China without any visa hassle.
If you would like to visit Leshan, Emei Shan or DuJiangYan, apply now and join us in Chengdu!