It’s on to Chengdu, where you can relax with a local brew in a traditional teahouse (head to the gorgeous open-air teahouse in People’s Park), tuck into spicy Sichuan food such as Sichuan hot pot, wander the winding Qing-dynasty alleys of courtyard houses and make the most of the lively nightlife. You can also take a day trip to visit the giant 8th
-century UNESCO-listed Leshan Buddha, a striking stone statue carved into the mountainside, which towers over 70 metres high.
The main draw here, though is the chance to see irresistibly playful pandas, China’s national animal. There are several bases where you can see them - the most famous is just minutes from downtown Chengdu, while other panda reserves, set amongst forests and waterfalls, are further away but well worth the trip. See the pandas in the trees, playing with each other and chewing on bamboo. You can also be a ‘panda keeper’ for the day, and help to prepare food and plant bamboo trees, as well as learn more about these furry creatures.
Your base is the boutique Diaoyutai Hotel
sits on the historic Kuazhai Alley, with beautiful rooms set around tranquil courtyards.