Two adjectives that aren’t normally used together to describe a Chinese city: Huge and laid-back. With over 10 million people in the greater metro area, Chengdu is the fifth biggest city in China (and that’s saying a lot). But somehow this capital of Sichuan province has maintained a reputation among the Chinese as one of the country’s most cheerful and livable cities. Chengdu is also a famous tourist destination of China tours for giant pandas.
Always quick to generalize about a population based on geography, the Chinese like to stereotype the people of Chengdu as being “lazy.” Personally, I prefer a lazy population when I travel. In fact, even when I’m not traveling. Maybe because I myself am a slacker.
To illustrate this point, the favorite pastime of the jovial people of Chengdu is relaxing outside one of the city’s many teahouses, where locals pass the time with games and caffeine-fueled conversation. Many teahouses and snack bars also offer free Sichuan opera or other music performances to entertain customers. The most attractive element of Sichuan opera is change face whihch become a must-see performance for foreign tourists joining
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Adding to the leisurely atmosphere of Chengdu are the city’s many outstanding gardens and parks, where locals and tourists wander down windy paths peppered with willow and ginkgo trees. Built on flat ground, the compact city (4miles/6km) and its colorful old streets are easy to explore on foot or bike.
Like any large city in modern China, Chengdu does have the usual downsides too: uninspired high-rises, traffic, and pollution. But despite the fact that life continues to speed up here, somehow the slackers of Chengdu have managed to preserve a mellow vibe that evokes a sense of history.
Chengdu is also main transportation hub of southwest China and the gateway to Tibet tours, where you should apply for your permit and stock up on travel supplies.
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