Friday, May 29, 2020


My first visit to Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan, China was during my June 2018 Tibet trip as there's no direct flight from Malaysia to Lhasa hence transit through domestic flight is required. One of the best flight route is from Malaysia to Chengdu then transit from Chengdu to Lhasa.

We stayed one night at Chengdu's hotel and took an early flight to Lhasa the next day. Our tour itinerary manage to slot in a half day trip (more like a mere few hours lol) and brought us to two of Chengdu famous streets - KuanZhai Alley and JinLi Old Town. 

Since it's my first time in Chengdu, I didn't know what to expect. I know Chengdu is famous for the super cute Giant Pandas, it's basically on every tourist's to-do-list when they visit Chengdu and I'm super sad I didn't get to see a real panda in its hometown! But look what I found: 

Panda Bus!!! Super cute can!!!

The first destination we went to right after arrive in Chengdu was KuanZhai Alley 寬窄巷 which literally translates as Broad Narrow Alley but really, its official name is called China Lane. Chengdu is an old town with rich history and it already has its name since 2500 years ago, hence tourists can find the quintessential of Chinese culture right in the city. It's one of the most leisurely living city you can find among China hence even local Chinese love to travel to Chengdu during holidays, hence Chengdu is always packed no matter what day of the year. 

Established since year 1718, what's fascinating about China Lane is that the essence of North and South China Chinese culture being narrow down in basically three lanes - Broad Lane 寬巷子, Narrow Lane 窄巷子 and Well Lane 井巷子. These lanes are there since the Qing dynasty era and they've witnessed the formation of today's modern China since then. 

I was fascinated by the mixture of modern shops and architectures around China Lane, you can see traces of time on the buildings and yet the people who lived under the roof have adapted a certain lifestyle that only can be seen at Chengdu - leisurely, elegantly, and happily, even though time has passed for few hundred years. 

admiring the architectures while strolling around China Lane is definitely something to do!

There's something pretty about China Lane and these walls with the sun and shadows

While the development of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has destroyed most of its own valuable and historical buildings, it's good to see that old buildings around China Lane has been protected so well and it's blending in to be a part of modern lives. 

It really makes me this Malaysian so envious how other countries are protecting their history because it's a part of who they are and yet Malaysians are tearing down historical buildings and chopping down old trees because they're getting in the way of city development. Gosh seeing these old buildings made me feel sentimental lol. 

Although China Lane consist just about three alleys, but each and every corner has lotsa surprises to its visitors: elders sitting under the tree getting some sun while reading newspaper, tea drinking at one of the many tea houses, dining at one of the mala hotpot restaurant which Sichuan is famous for, buying panda souvenirs and the list go on and on. 

This extravaganza interior, I just had to film it!

Jing Xiang Zi, Well Lane, where you can find lotsa stories being told by the bricks and stones

Found this while we're crossing the street
It's a mile stone with story about China Lane on it

Panda souvenirs are a must if you visit Chengdu

Bet you can even get wholesale price if you buy a certain amount 

Quiet bookstore among the hustle bustle of China Lane

Street performers around the corner 

Pretty girls performing at one of the shop, I'm not sure what's the instrument called tho
Somebody enlighten me please?

If only we had more time to spent at this place
走馬看花 style is never enough to explore China Lane
There are so many untold stories hidden by at corners waiting to be discover!

Posted this awhile back on my Instagram only to find out today that it's a lounge bar shop sign lol!
I always thought it's a sign of an old house or something, silly me

More old buildings converted into modern mala hotpot restaurant 

Ancient Starbucks Coffee!?!?!?

Okay there's one huge regret here: I didn't walk into this Starbucks Coffee! And it turns out they have the world's only spicy coffee available no where but in Sichuan! It's like a local specialty coffee you can only find it here. Gosh I didn't know about this as I don't have time to do any research and certainly don't have time to sit down and drink a cup of coffee. Tour group sucks sometimes! 

AND DON'T FORGET! If you're at China Lane, do pay a visit to Panda Post Office which is just right outside of China Lane, within 10 mins walk. Okay now I feel super sad that I didn't get to visit Starbucks and Panda Post Office I'm gonna cry. I hope I do have chance to visit Chengdu again and hopefully it's a much more relax itinerary than just staying there for half a day.

Spent most of my time talking about China Lane and totally forgot about our second destination: JinLi Ancient Street.

Entrance of JinLi Ancient Street
If you're walking over to JinLi Ancient Street from China Lane, it will take about 45mins. I guess it'll be easier if you just travel over by taking cabs or buses since it's in the middle of the city and if you're unsure about the route you can always ask the friendly people there around. 

Judging by the entrance of this entrance I guess it's super crowded as the sun starts to set hence people are wandering around actively again due to cooler temperature of the day. I didn't find JinLi Ancient Street as fascinating as China Lane due to its modified shops and buildings, it felt just like a commercial street packed with restaurants and shops. Of course, it is important to discover beauty in any circumstances, that's what most important during a travel, hence I still manage to find a few interesting stuff around JinLi. 

Sichuan's very traditional craft: Sugar Figure!
It was fun to watch how these cute animal figures was made, I filmed it in video and will try to edit it ASAP lol.

More arts and crafts stuff

Shadow Play! You can own these and play at your own house too!

Very beautiful book store!
Now you know I have a thing about books and stationery.

The sun was going down by the time we walk till the end of JinLi Ancient Street and suddenly I found this super huge tree all tied up with red ornaments, it was so beautiful! Red ornaments are seen as auspicious items that bring luck to the owner and when it's tied under a tree in pairs, it is usually to seek blessing for couples who visited. I wanted to tie one with Fei as well however I'm unable to locate the seller of ornaments! I kinda think I don't have luck when I was in Chengdu, I missed out so many things!

Just when I thought JinLi Ancient Street was just a commercial street, Google had proven me wrong, again. What I missed out was Temple of Marquis (or commonly known as Wu Hou Temple 武侯祠), the world's famous Three Kingdom era relic museum and temple, and JinLi Ancient Street was actually a part of this temple. Why do we keep missing out important stuff during this half day trip lololololol.

only manage to take a picture with a pretty stone that I'm not even sure it's really a historical monument or just a deco lol. 

Cute decoration found while waiting for our tour bus
Sichuan is also the home of 變臉, face changing performance!

My memories are clouded since this visit was two years back and we only have so little time to explore around because we're following tour. Packed and strict itinerary truly is one of the down side of tour package but it can be convenient to tour around China without having to drive for a very, very, very long hours. 

Anyway I'm still feeling grateful that I manage to catch a glimpse of the beauty of Chengdu while I spent half of the day around the city. I need to book another trip to Chengdu soon because it's such a beautiful historical city with a layback lifestyle. I got a feeling that I will like this city more and more and I can't wait to go back!

So here's the summary of what to do at Chengdu if you only have half a day to spend:
  • Go to China Lane, look for all the pretty ancient pretty buildings and discover their secret stories
  • Go to Starbucks Coffee and order yourself a spicy coffee, Sichuan exclusive specialty!
  • Go to Panda Post Office and send out postcards to yourself and your loved ones
  • Visit the Temple of Marquis to understand the greatness of Three Kingdoms
  • Try out the snacks around JinLi Ancient Street such as rice glutinous balls, dumplings and snacks from Three Kingdoms era!
  • Enjoy tea at one of the tea houses
  • Dine at one of the mala hotpot restaurant
  • Buy some panda souvenirs 
I'll add more to the list next time when I manage to properly visit Chengdu! Ending this blog post with a favourite photo of the day! Wait for my return Chengdu! 

1 comment:

Janice Phua said...