Chengdu, more than just giant pandas



Although Chengdu is synonymous with the giant panda, there’s a whole lot more in this vast city to explore.
On a recent trip, People's Daily Online went on a mission to find out what's on offer in Chengdu, a place which provides a hefty mix of ancient culture and pioneering industry at the same time.
Of course, it wouldn't be a trip to Chengdu without stopping off to see the pandas. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is around 10 km from central Chengdu and is a beautiful way to spend the morning. It's best to arrive early, as the pandas are most energetic during feeding time, usually between 7.30 a.m. and 8.30 a.m., after which time they tend to enjoy a long, mid-morning nap.
The base is a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. It was founded in 1987 with just six giant pandas which were rescued from the wild.
It's fantastic to see how laid back these pandas are and how the base tries to conserve wildlife. Their conservation efforts are working, with brand new baby pandas to prove it.
As the pandas start their mid-morning nap, it's time to move on to our next location.
On the opposite side of the city lies one of Chengdu's three key preservation areas, Kuanzhai Xiangzi. The area is made up of three parallel streets, known in English as Wide Alley, Narrow Alley and Well Alley, which have been here since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), with tiny alleyways and courtyards joining them together.
The ancient site is representative of Chengdu folk history, and today the courtyards house everything from restaurants to tea shops, meaning it's a great place to come and get a glimpse of old Chengdu while sampling some local snacks. Although most streets are hectic, you are sure to stumble upon a quiet street with someone playing traditional music, catapulting you back to the past.
However, Chengdu isn't just a hub of ancient culture; it's also a hub of new technology. The Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Zone was established as a space for science and technological enterprises to expand in Sichuan Province.
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