Live like a local on this two-day Chengdu cultural encounter. First up you’ll get to meet some of Sichuan’s most famous residents at the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base before heading to Qingyang Temple for a taste of Taoism and Taiji. You’ll practice the ancient art in Chengdu’s most lively park, then discover the wet market with a local host who’ll teach you how to rustle up some fiery Sichuanese cuisine over a home-cooked lunch.
Minimum adult travelers: 1
9:00 a.m. Chengdu hotel pick up
9:30 a.m. Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
You’ll spend the morning touring the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base, home to 100 pandas of various ages. Not only has the Chengdu Panda Base dedicated itself to giant panda conservation, it has also made great efforts to combine natural scenery and man-made landscapes to create wonderful and humane living areas for giant pandas, red pandas, and other Chinese endangered animals.
For an additional fee that goes toward the conservation effort, you can even hold a panda and have your photo taken with one of these adorable creatures.
12:00 p.m. Depart from panda base
12:40 p.m. Lunch
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant (lunch is not included and you will have a number of options to choose from).
2:30 p.m. Qingyang Temple
This afternoon you’ll spend an hour visiting Qingyang Temple. One of the most famous Taoist temples in China, Qingyang is located in the northwest part of Chengdu. It was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a period when Taoism was flourishing though most parts of the temple that remains are restorations from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), including Sanqing Hall, Doulao Hall, Hunyuan Palace, the Eight Trigrams Pavilion, and Wuji Palace.
Taiji is closely associated with Taoist meditation making Qingyang Temple an ideal place to practice this form of traditional Chinese martial art. You’ll meet up with a famous local Taiji Master who will introduce you to the National Standard 24 Form Taijiquan. You’ll want to warm up a little before starting your practice with some simple stretching or walking.
Move to a quiet court-yard inside the temple to practice the moves with the Taiji with Master with a 15-minute break at about 4:45 p.m.
6:00 p.m. Return to Hotel.
7:30 a.m. Taiji in the park
After an early breakfast you’ll depart from the hotel and head to People’s Park (arr. 7:50 a.m.) for some early morning Taiji practice. Like many Chinese parks, Chengdu’s People’s Park is filled with song and dance and people just enjoying life. It also boasts one of Sichuan’s most quintessential and well-loved outdoor tea-houses.
Practise Taiji with the Taiji master—at this early hour you’ll be one among many Taiji enthusiasts and surrounded by lovers of other martial arts and minority dances.
10:00 a.m. Wet market
Your local host will meet you at the park and the second part of your tour will begin as you head to the wet market. Your host will show you around the market, introducing you to Sichuan’s local ingredients and specialties, including spices, doufu products, cured meats and dozens of different kinds of sichuan pickles.
11:00 a.m. Cooking with host
Drive to your host’s family home where you’ll put some of those delicious ingredients to use cooking some traditional Sichuan-style dishes. Alongside your host, you’ll learn to prepare and then cook some local dishes.
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Enjoy the fruits of your labor and lunch with your host family, learning a little of their background and life story as you dine.
After the tour ends, you’ll be driven to Chengdu airport to take your flight to your next destination.