By Kimberley Pratt
Recently dubbed “most livable city on the Mainland,” the capital of Sichuan Province may be famed for its fabulous array of spicy food, but this is not the only reason hoards of people are attracted to this beautiful, relaxed destination: they also come for the pandas. Chengdu is home to a Panda Breeding Research Center where visitors can marvel at or take part in the ongoing quest for panda procreation.
In the wild, pandas are notoriously reclusive animals meaning sightings are rare. At the center however, they are housed in a protected and natural environment, so visitors are guaranteed a peek into their lives. Arrive early enough in the morning and you can watch these cuddly creatures at their most active: which means a lot of lounging around and having a feed.
Despite efforts to protect them, pandas remain endangered due to a loss of habitat and a stumped libido. Intensive research programs have been developed in Chengdu to teach these habitually lazy bamboo-munchers all about the birds and the bees. If giant pandas aren’t your thing, the Leshan Giant Buddha (Dafo) is sure to impress.
This 71-meter-tall stone statue, which was built during the Tang Dynasty, is carved out of the cliff face that lies at the meeting point of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in Southern China. Boasting world heritage status, this beaming deity is the world’s largest stone Buddha and by far the tallest pre-modern statue. Carved in 713 AD by a monk, Dafo sits heavy-lidded with his hands on his knees, supposedly calming the turbulent waters that plague the shipping vessels on the river. While he is large enough to be seen for miles, the best views can be caught on tourist ferries and at the terrace by his ear.
Try a Classic Travel Package Stay at the Anantara Emei Mountain Resort for 5 days/4 nightsand prices from RMB9,800/person.
// For more details visit classictravel.net.cn or call 400 820 6113.