This Photo Tour Through China's Happiest City Will Make You Smile
Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan province in southwest China, is on the rise. Known for its relaxing, laid-back environment, spicy food, and pandas, Chengdu has been recently recognized as the happiest city in China. According to a survey conducted by Oriental Outlook magazine and the Blue Book of Cities in China and compiled by the China Association of Mayors, Chengdu ranks number one in overall happiness. So what is it that makes Chengdu so happy?
Jinli Pedestrian Street
Located just east of Wuhou Memorial Temple, Jinli Pedestrian Street is a popular destination to experience local culture, food, and traditional-style architecture. Dusk is one of the best times to visit. Jinli is illuminated by traditional Chinese lanterns that line the archways.
Visitors can stop at Jinli’s many teahouses, bars, specialty stores, and Sichuan snack shops that line the narrow street.
Nearby Longchaoshou Restaurant offers a wide selection of Sichuan cuisine, including fei chang fen, a spicy bowl of noodles with tripe, and shao mai dumplings.
Kuanzhai Xiangzi offers another glimpse into local culture. Busy street food stalls, handicraft shops, and restaurants fill this area, also known as Wide and Narrow Alley.
Passion fruit and a spicy, flavorful portion of steamed beef in bamboo leaf are among the many snacks to sample.
Chengdu hot pot
The spicy, rich, stimulating flavors of Chengdu’s cuisine received international attention in 2010 when Chengdu became one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Gastronomy. The traditional hot pot is a popular, fiery dish, but can be split into two or four different broths of varying degrees of spiciness.
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Synonymous with Chengdu is, of course, the giant panda. Visitors can observe giant pandas, along with other rare animals, at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Giant panda cub
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was established in 1987 as a research, conservation, and breeding facility for giant pandas.
Giant panda cubs climbing
Located in the northeast suburbs of Chengdu, the park simulates the giant panda’s natural habitat by providing rivers, bamboo forests, man-made dens, rocks, and caves.
Giant panda sculptures
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding houses pandas of all ages and provides many opportunities to observe the pandas eating, playing, and resting.
Heming Teahouse at People’s Park
Tea houses in Chengdu are a popular destination for social gatherings, snacks, and entertainment. Heming Teahouse on the bank of the lake at People’s Park is no exception. Visitors can enjoy a cup of jasmine tea while chatting with friends, playing a game of mahjong, or reflecting after a long day.
Tai Chi at People’s Park
In addition to its tea house, People’s Park is a popular spot for choirs, organized dance groups, and tai chi. It’s here visitors can watch people practicing Tai Chi with swords.
Dancing at People’s Park
Built in 1911, People’s Park was the first public park in Chengdu. Today, couples brush up on their dance moves during an organized dance session at the park.
Trendy late-night bars, clubs, and restaurants can be found along the banks of the winding Jinjiang River at Lan Kwai Fong in the Jinjiang district.
Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong is a popular nightlife destination for the younger generation of Chengdu.
A Sichuan Opera performer in colorful makeup and costume waits backstage at one of the oldest tea houses in Chengdu.
Bandmates Zuoyou and Xiaoyu jam at Jah Bar, a laid-back bar where musicians play nearly every day.
During the day, Chengdu traffic bustles and electric vehicles abound.
Tianfu Square is one of the busiest areas in the commercial and business district of the city.
The New Century Global Center
The New Century Global Center, located in Tianfu New Area, is the world’s largest building in terms of floor area. It hosts a number of amenities, including an ice skating rink, IMAX theater, shopping mall, water park, and InterContinental Hotel.
Built during the Tang Dynasty, the Wenshu Monastery is the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. The active monastery still hosts and schools many monks today.
Buddhas of Wenshu Monastery
The Wenshu Monastery houses many historical and cultural artifacts throughout the centuries dedicated to Manjushri, the god of wisdom. Here, a golden Buddha greets visitors at the entrance.
A young woman rests near the lake in the park adjacent to Wuhou Memorial. Chengdu’s many tea houses, parks, and activities make it a laid-back, happy environment for visitors and residents alike.