Spend a weekend in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, exploring the city’s unique juxtapositions of ancient and modern, natural and man made wonders including incredible UNESCO World Heritage sites like Qingcheng Mountain and Dujiangyan Irrigation System of Chengdu. Of course, a weekend highlight is visiting the giant pandas at the famous Chengdu Panda Base where you’ll not only see pandas up close but also learn about China’s conservation efforts. You’ll also have to indulge in the iconic local Sichuan cuisine – get ready for lots of spice and garlic!

Snapshot

Type

Semester Excursion

Length

3 Days

Accommodation

Hotel

Location

Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Dates

Varies, will be announced at beginning of semester

Cost

Included for Semester in Shanghai students

Overview

Make some new furry friends at the Chengdu Panda Base

Explore downtown Chengdu’s historical alleyways, boutique hotels and unique shops

Visit the birthplace of Taoism at Qingcheng Mountain, revered as one of the most naturally beautiful places in China

Learn about the history of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, the world’s oldest grand irrigation system that runs without a dam and a UNESCO World Heritage site

Experience the spiciness of real Sichuan food with local favorites such as hongyou chaoshou and mapo tofu

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary

Note: Itinerary is subject to change dependent on when you study abroad.

Day One

After arriving in Chengdu, enjoy a mini guided tour through the city’s Kuan Zhai (Wide Alley) and Xiangzi (Narrow Alley), two ancient streets that were restored in 2003 to match the traditional Ming and Qing architecture styles. Now a popular – and picturesque – tourist spot, you’ll also have time to explore on your own trying local snacks, and seeing traditional tea houses, distinctive inns and spas.

Day Two

In the morning, visit Qingcheng Mountain, one of the birthplaces of Taoism with a history of over 2,000 years and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. During the Han Dynasty, the emperor came here to study Taoism and found his Taoist way in the fifth cave where you’ll find all of the palaces, pavilions and towers. Learn about the mountain’s historical significance during a guided tour and then simply soak up the atmosphere. Sitting 1,260 meters above sea level, the mountain is praised for its peacefulness and is believed to have 36 peaks, eight large caves, 72 small caves and 108 beautiful views.

After lunch at Qingcheng Mountain, it’s time to move on to another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. Built in 256 during the Qin Dynasty, Dujiangyan Irrigation System of Chengdu is the oldest preserved grand irrigation system in the world and still in service today. The impressive system made it possible for Chengdu to become a prosperous region and now is still an incredibly scenic spot with plenty of beautiful landscapes and historic sites. Learn more about the irrigation system through a guided tour at the site before heading back to the city for dinner. After dinner, you’re free to explore Chengdu’s charms on your own!

Day Three

Head to the world famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, or simply Chengdu Panda Base, a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. The giant panda only lives in six major mountain ranges found in Sichuan, Shanxi and Gansu provinces and is considered China’s national treasure. Spend the morning at the research base getting to know China’s cute ambassadors then move on to Jingli Street, an ancient street in west Chengdu known for its ancient architecture and unique shops selling traditional art and local snacks. Afterward, it’s time to fly back to Shanghai.

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