Early on Saturday morning our interns from the Chengdu branch headed out on the train for Leshan. The forecast suggested it would snow; a rare sight in Sichuan Province, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.
After getting off the train at Leshan, we took a short taxi ride to the Leshan Buddha and surrounding area. After paying our admission fee and entering through the gates, the beauty and the attraction on show stunned us!
Whilst it may be expected that it is just the Buddha on show at Leshan, there is in fact a whole array of statues and monuments to be admired. We started by ascending the mountain up to a look out point over the rivers beneath, where there was a fantastic view over the valley below.
After a short walk through a forested area we ended up at a pagoda standing tall at the top of a wide staircase. When we reached the foot of the pagoda we could see a few Buddhists walking around the square base reciting prayers.
We then headed towards the Giant Buddha taking in the sights as we walked through beautiful lily ponds full of Koi fish gracefully gliding through the water. At the head of the Buddha there was a giant bell being rung by a monk to ward off evil.
After briefly pausing at the top of the Buddha we headed towards the temple at the top of the mountain. Inside the temple were lots of people paying their respect to Buddhist figures, burning incense and leaving offerings.
Then it was time for the main event.
The Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha stands a giant 71m tall and looks over the confluence of the rivers Dadu and Min. Which eventually flow in the giant Yangtze river. The Dadu starts its journey in the Tibetan plateau before winding its way through Kanding. Then onto Leshan eventually ending up in the East China Sea. This towering structure was built between 700-803 AD and contains an elaborate drainage system in order to prevent weathering.
After a short fact file by myself to prepare the interns for what was ahead, we made our way to the top of the stairs, which descend down the cliff face beside the Buddha. This allowed us to get a true feeling for the scale of the massive structure. Descending our way down was the perfect opportunity to capture some fantastic pictures before reaching the bottom. We took our time, and stood at the feet of the world’s largest pre-modern statue, capturing some images and enjoying the roars from the rivers below.
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This week in Chengdu I had the pleasure of attending the Chengdu Women in Business workshop organized by Chengdu Expat. It is a four-series event to encourage the professional development and entrepreneurship by sharing resources and knowledge of like-minded business women in Chengdu. As a business student in my final year, I try to attend as many of these workshops as possible. Not only do you learn about other people’s stories but you build a great network.
These workshops provide professional assessments, books, interactive exercises with professional coaching. We went through the books self-assessment over the areas of “How you play the game, how you act, how you think and how you brand & market yourself, how you sound, how you look and lastly, how you respond”. It gave me an insight of what I am strong at and which area needs improving. The night essentially consisted of how we can stop making unconscious mistakes in business.
One of the things that really impressed me was when the guest speaker, Raquel Ramirez, mentioned that at the age of 15 she already knew exactly what she wanted to do in life and what it required to get there. That is something that fascinates me, people that can have that drive and focus to achieve all they set out to do and more!
Though, it doesn’t come easily, as Raquel mentioned; sometimes we go through bumps in the road such as family issues, financial stability, other people’s judgement or even sadly, your own securities and low confidence. Despite all of this, the atmosphere in the room was electric, a room full of strong, similar minded women that came together to learn what it takes to succeed as a professional.
So, it got me thinking, what decisions have I made in the past that have helped me to where I am and where it will lead me in the not-so distant future. For sure, one of them was moving to the Netherlands to continue studying. This later gave me the opportunity to study abroad in China where I fell in love with the country and its culture. That ultimately ended with me moving to Chengdu, where I am doing my final year internship at InternChina.
What was yours? Let me know what was your turning point decision and where you are now or even heading!
Last week I introduced you to some really good places for a night out in Chengdu. But aside from American-style parties, western clubs and rooftop bars, in Chengdu you can also experience some crazy Chinese clubs, chilled pubs and amazing riverside bars.
Lan Kwai Fong (兰桂坊)
Lan Kwai Fong Chengdu, named after the infamous party street in Hong Kong, is a purpose-built entertainment complex in the heart of the Waitan area on the riverbank. It’s the place where you can find a Latino-American bar like Rumba bar alonside a Chinese club next door. It offers some restaurants, cafes and shops, but even more clubs and bars for the keen party goers ! Lan Kwai Fong attracts an international crowd with its numerous establishments. Every club has differents things and atmospheres to offer : MIU bar for free alcohol, Venus for it’s crazy atmosphere and its original dancefloor.
Jiu Yan Qiao (九眼桥)
Close to Sichuan University campus, there are various bars and clubs in this area. The surrounding street BBQ places, known as Shaokao, are always good for a midnight snack after long night out.
- ONLY : If you ever wanted to experience a Chinese club, then Only is the place to be. If you go you might be the only foreigners on the dancefloor, but the Chinese will be very welcoming, perhaps a little too much !
- Underground bar : A British bar located in the heart of Chengdu where you can find over 50 different beers and tasty homemade food. Nice place to chill with your friends after a long workday.
- MUSE : You can find a Muse in almost every major city in China and the concept is always the same: stylish interior, pumping sounds and the occasional dance show on the stage. Good for a fun evening and a couple of whiskeys mixed with green tea.
The Riverside in Chengdu offers quite a few bars to hang out at different locations. There are bars along the river near Jiuyanqiao and west of Ren Min Nan Lu. One of the best ones is probably the reggae themed ‘Jahbar’. There are regular free jam sessions and cheap Tsingdao beer in a nice setting. What more can you ask for ?!
Yu lin (玉林)
- Machu picchu (马丘比丘): A small and chilled bar hidden in a side street off Yu Lin Nan Lu (玉林南路) with live music on the weekends. You can go there during the week and pleay video games on a gigantic screen while drinking beers !
- New little bar : The original Little Bar served for years as the capital of Chengdu’s burgeoning rock music scene but after years of building their audience, the original location wasn’t big enough to house the events that were taking place there. New Little Bar has now a capacity of about 80 patrons and features a stage and sound system that’s a dramatic upgrade from their previous offering.
I hope I could give you an insight into Chengdu’s nightlife. If you also would like to do an internship here, check out our page.
See you soon for another blog!
Party Guide #1
Chengdu is a young, vibrant and dynamic city where you can experience the fast growing economy while being deeply imbeded in the Chinese culture, this city can offer the best of both worlds. Apart from that, there is also a really diverse nightlife that caters for all different tastes of music, beer and atmosphere.
Being here for more than 2 months now, has allowed me to discover more about the different clubs and bars in this crazy city. So I decided to make a list of the best places by areas.
A must go place when living in Chengdu as an expat is the Poly Center ( 保利中心) On the daylight, this huge complex comprises commercial and residential buildings. But when the moon shows up, Poly Center is becoming Chengdu’s top nightlife destination, gathering more than 12 clubs and bars up to the top floors !
- Tag bar & Here we go : 2 clubs located on the 21st floor, allow to a great view on the city while listening to electronic music with Chengdu’s best DJs, coming from all around the world.
- Helens : a proper definition for Helens would be « perfect place for predrinks », with free drinks from 9 to 10 and really cheap amercian style food. Helens also have an other venue in Dong Men Jiao, which offers the view on the river side.
WangFuJing Rooftop : One of the best places I’ve been since I’m here. In the summer the most amazing rooftop parties take place here. Hard place to find as you have to go through a deserted shopping mall by night, (quite scary at some point) but as soon as you get there, electro music, garden, deckchairs and cocktails are awaiting!
Tong Zi Lin (桐梓林)
Tong Zi Lin is the place where most foreigners live in Chengdu, hence has a bit more westernized bar and club scene.
- Jellyfish: Very popular with foreigners (males) and Chinese (girls) alike, this is the place to work on your international relations. Often the place you go when all the clubs around are closing when the sun rises !
- Beernest: A bit more expensive than Helens, the Beernest offers a wide range of beers and crazy good burgers and fries. Nice place for predrinks and to chill by playing pool. Interesting place to go during one of their monthly networking event.
- Tongzilin swimming pool: interesting as you may have noticed, it is not even a club or a bar. But every Sunday after a long partying weekend, it becomes the place to be for every expat, creating a ‘springbreak’ atmosphere.
- Shamrock: This sports bar is popular which shows a lot live matches (rugby, AFL, NFL, etc.) and is also the home base of the local Western-Chinese rugby team. Ladies night on Fridays
Flower Town (三圣乡)
- Dojo: If you come to Chengdu for the first time, the first word you may hear when you ask for party is this definitely Dojo. This is the venue for the infamous Flower Town House-Parties. Dojo is an American style party that takes place every two months.The music on the three floors ranges from Hip Hop to Funk and Minimal to Dub Step Chengdu’s top DJs like Luna or Marco. Additionally, there is lot of other entertainment, like Beer Pong, fire shows, live visuals and a bouncy castle. The bar offers all sorts of drinks and snacks like homemade pizza and baijiu watermelon. It is really hard to get there, but then it’s definitley worth it !
Morning Bar(早上好): The Flower Town branch of the Morning Bar has a mix of open air and indoor areas to chill out. There are some live performances and even occasionally small music festival here.
To be continued…
„You need to go to this place!“, “ It is totally worth the long bus trip!”, “You will never regret to go there.”
These are just a few of the comments that I heard about JiuZhaiGou. Naive, I went to the bus station to meet all the new and some long term interns who joined the trip. All in all we were seventeen people. The bus departed on schedule and after two hours we already were able to see the first mountains. Long bus ride few words. Instead of around eight to ten hours journey we needed thirteen. But the welcome of JiuZhaiGou at night is awesome. Between the big mountains are the small cities which enlighten their houses and advertisements in every colour. We had a very late and delicious dinner. But my thoughts just jumped between “I need sleep” and “hope it is worth this long bus ride”.
The weather the next day was amazing. Blue sky and warm sun. The shadows were a little bit cold but only in the morning. After we entered the park we needed to take another bus to one of the two peaks. But it was a fast ride and the view out of the window was just a small appetiser of what we would see later. I don’t know how nature transformed this place but it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. You don’t need any filters or Photoshop to create an astonishing picture. Just take your phone and you will have beautiful pictures. I never could imagine that water could be so clear. I never could imagine that a lake could look like a swimming pool (created by nature). You just want to jump into it and swim in it. Big waterfalls connect the different lakes and complete the picture of this gorgeous place.
After just one day in JiuZhaiGou I hope that I will be able to visit it again one time in the future. I just can say: “You need to go to this place! It is totally worth the long bus ride! (Even thirteen hours) You will never regret to go there.”
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The iBox is one of the most colourful places in Chengdu. It is next to the Niuwangmiao Subway Station and provides a place where creativity and urbanisation coexist. The design of this area is inspired by the London’s creative BOX – Park. It is an eye catcher for everybody who passes this area. The iBox showcases to the public a unique space with an unique atmosphere and astonishing galleries, designers and fashion from Europe, Taiwan and Japan. The comfortable Café, bars and food options give some space for you to free your mind and relax a little bit.
This weekend a Startup Weekend will take place over there and provide young entrepreneurs an opportunity to make friends, build ideas, improve skills, find mentors and hopefully start a company.
Even if the iBox is not so far from my home I wasn`t so often over there. But once you enter this place you can fell that something is different in there. The first time I came into this area I went into a gallery of an artist who draw some awesome horror pictures. His skills of to draw with a pencil were amazing and the Chinese content immediately caught my attention. I couldn’t help myself and bought a small notebook for my Chinese Characters.
If you are in Chengdu and want to have a rest this one of the places you will find some relaxing moments.
How to make friends in a city like Chengdu? Everybody will tell you a different story about that. Some will focus on the intern group and some go out late at night and make some good friends in a bar etc.
I have been rock climbing now for a few years. Bouldering is one of my favourites, the walls are not higher than 4-5 meters and there is no need for a rope. Standing in front of the wall, seeing the handles of the rout and figuring out how to climb it, is a situation in which you will make friends quickly. After three astonishing weeks in Chengdu, I decided to look for a climbing hall and I finally found it on top of a shopping mall. Firstly, I needed to ask a few people how to get there. It was not clear how to get there because it was on the 5th floor and I had to go to the 3rd floor in the elevator and then go upstairs to the 5th floor, but in the end I found it.
After figuring out how the routs are marked, I saw lots of stones but only a few routs so I approached another climber and asked him. It only took a few words and I was invited to climb with him. Finally I understand that you need to be a little bit more creative in this climbing hall which makes climbing more exciting. I enjoyed my first visit there and my new WeChat group keep me in contact with the other climbers of four different nationalities. The group helps me to socialise as well as improve my Chinese.
That is my story on how to make friends in Chengdu.
My name is Joanna Embley and I am currently working with InternChina as an intern. I have been in China for just over a week now and I am enjoying every second. I secured a place with the InternChina team by applying through my University, UCLan which is based in Preston, Lancashire. The application process was challenging however I was determined to try my hardest and do what I could to be able to visit China. After multiple emails and conversations, I received the email that I had been accepted onto InternChina and I couldn’t have been happier. I just wanted to tell the world that a 20 year old female from a small town in Lancashire called Burnley was going to do an Internship in Chengdu. I could not believe it. I began researching the InternChina, Chengdu and what Chinese culture has to offer immediately!
I arrived at Manchester Airport and met the other lucky 13 applicants as we waited for our plane. Unfortunately the place was delayed, which resulted in us having to run to catch our next plane from Amsterdam to Chengdu. We then got to Chengdu to find our luggage had been left in Amsterdam which resulted in us having to buy new clothes – but we were so ecstatic about being in China, that we were not too bothered about the suitcases! We have eaten lots of amazing food, attended Chinese school once a day for three hours, where we discovered our names in Chinese and have visited many markets. We often stood in awe at all the amazing buildings, especially at night as the buildings beautifully lit up Chengdu showcasing what Chengdu really has to offer. We visited Wenshu Monastery and the Peoples Park which consisted of many events including dancing, games, drinking tea and grandparents trying to find their grandchildren a partner!
The group were taken to Shui Jing Fang Distillery which gave us an insight into the Drinks industry, as Shui Jing Fang is where 10% of the Chinese’s baijiu is made. Throughout the week the group visited many businesses including the British Centre, allowing the group to understand the work of the British Centre in Southwest China, Urban Hybrid, a British Architecture Firm and Ubisoft, a French Computer gaming company. Each business was a fantastic insight into how business evolves in China and how to maintain relationships. The group was thoroughly briefed on how to do business in China. Relationships are very important within China; going for meals with your business partners, attending drinks with new clients in order to secure a deal and maintaining those foundations. Without building these relationships in such a special way, most businesses would fail in China, which is very different to the UK!
InternChina also took us to visit the Giant Panda Base, we were lucky enough to see pandas up close and personal. It was such a magical day and none of us wanted to leave. The weekend arrived and the group endured a 10 hour coach journey to JuiZhaiGou National Park. It was an early start for each day but it was definitely worth it. The breath-taking views were incredible and you could definitely lose yourself within the beauty of JuiZhaiGou. This week we begin our Internships and we are all very excited and eager to begin work within China. In addition the group get to experience Chengdu’s famous Hot Pot, try a Chinese massage, visit BeerNest and sample their beer as well as observe a presentation regarding BeerNest’s business in China. Overall Chengdu is a fabulous place brimming with potential. As a group we love it here and can’t imagine going back to England. Personally, I would feel extremely comfortable living in Chengdu as the people are lovely, Chendgu seems very relaxed and there is always something to occupy your time with. I am extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity and still cannot believe that I have been to China.
I would encourage everyone to apply with InternChina in any way possible; it’s a fantastic company offering outstanding opportunities.
Find out more about our programmes here