Chengdu boasts large public parks and atmospheric tea houses, full of local life, but it's the pandas that attract most visitors.

Chengdu is China's fifth-largest city, but in contrast to some other urban centres, it has managed to preserve an atmosphere that evokes a sense of history. Founded over 2,000 years ago, it may be the only major city in China to have remained in the same location and still bear the same name. The highlight of Chengdu is the People's Park, where you can get a glimpse into everyday life as locals gather to sing, take exercise, relax and share a drink at one of the bustling tea houses.

Of course, for most the main reasons for any visit to Chengdu is to see the the famous Panda Research & Breeding Centre, close to the city. Far from being a zoo, the ongoing conservation efforts made here are respected the world over and are crucial to the sustainment of the species. The inhabitants (including red pandas) have large areas in which to roam and play, designed to replicate their natural habitat to encourage breeding. We visit in the morning to see the pandas at their most active, particularly the young babies.

A short drive south of Chengdu leads to the Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest carved stone Buddha in the world.

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" panda trio sichuan china 2011 " by chensiyuan - licensed under CC BY

The Emperor Tour - Holidays to China

China

Emperor Tour

13 Nights from £3,822 €3,686 $3,968

Our classic tour through China's essential highlights. Visit the Great Wall near Beijing, see pandas and the Terracotta Army up close and cruise through su…

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13 Nights from £3,822 €3,686 $3,968

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Welcome to Beijing

    Day 2 - Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven

  2. Day 3 - Great Wall & Ming Tombs

  3. Day 4 - Beijing Summer Palace

  4. Day 5 - Xi'an city tour

    Day 6 - Terracotta Army & Big Goose Pagoda 

  5. Day 7 - Transfer to Chengdu & visit Jinli Street

    Day 8 - Panda Research Center & Sanxingdui

  6. Day 9 - Transfer to Guilin & visit the Reed Flute Caves

    Day 10 - Li River Cruise

  7. Day 11 - Transfer to airport for flight to Shanghai 

    Day 12 - Highlights of Shanghai

    Day 13 - Maglev Train to airport

The Yangtze Tour - Holidays to China

China

Yangtze Tour

16 Nights from £4,244 €4,192 $4,517

Cruise down the Yangtze River and see China's most iconic sights; adorable pandas, the Forbidden City and Great Wall, the Terracotta Army, futuristic Shang…

The Yangtze Tour
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16 Nights from £4,244 €4,192 $4,517

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Welcome to Beijing

    Day 2 - Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven

  2. Day 3 - Great Wall & Ming Tombs

  3. Day 4 - Beijing Summer Palace

  4. Day 5 - Xi'an city tour

    Day 6 - Terracotta Army & Big Goose Pagoda 

  5. Day 7 - Transfer to Guilin & visit the Reed Flute Caves

    Day 8 - Li River Cruise

  6. Day 9 - Transfer to Chengdu

    Day 10 - Panda Research Center & Sanxingdui

    Day 11 -  Jinli Street & transfer to Chongqing

  7. Day 12 - Ghost City & Shibao Zhai Temple

    Day 13 - Qutang & Wu Gorges

    Day 14 - Three Gorges Dam

  8. Day 15 - Highlights of Shanghai

    Day 16 - Maglev Train to Airport

The Mandarin Tour - Holidays to China

China

Mandarin Tour

22 Nights from £6,939 €7,426 $8,020

Journey across China and back to culturally-rich cities and storybook landscapes. Marvel at the Terracotta Army and Great Wall and see a giant Buddha and a…

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22 Nights from £6,939 €7,426 $8,020

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Welcome to Beijing

    Day 2 - Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven

  2. Day 3 - Great Wall & Ming Tombs

  3. Day 4 - Beijing Summer Palace

  4. Day 5 - Bullet Train to Xi'an

    Day 6 - Xi'an City Tour

    Day 7 - Terracotta Army

  5. Day 8 - Transfer to Tibet

    Day 9 - Jokhang Temple & Drepung Monastery

    Day 10 - Potala Palace, Norbulingka & Sera Monastery

  6. Day 11 - Transfer to Mount Emei

    Day 12 - Mount Emei tour

    Day 13 - Leshan Giant Buddha

  7. Day 14 - Panda Research Center

  8. Day 15 - Transfer to Longsheng

    Day 16 - Longji Rice Terraces

  9. Day 17 - Li River Cruise

    Day 18 - Hiking or cycling in Yangshuo

  10. Day 19 - Transfer to Shanghai

    Day 20 - Highlights of Shanghai

    Day 21 - Shanghai at leisure

  11. Day 22 - Suzhou's Classical Gardens

    Day 23 - Return flight to UK

The China Family Tour - Holidays to China

China

China Family Tour

14 Nights from £3,992 €3,890 $4,189

Our specially designed family tour to China's most iconic sights. Visit Beijing's Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army, then get up close…

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14 Nights from £3,992 €3,890 $4,189

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Welcome to Beijing

    Day 2 - Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven

  2. Day 3 - Great Wall of China

  3. Day 4 - Day at Leisure in Beijing

  4. Day 5 - Bullet Train to Xi'an

    Day 6 - Xi'an City Tour

    Day 7 - Terracotta Army

  5. Day 8 - Transfer to Mount Emei

    Day 9 - Mount Emei tour

    Day 10 - Leshan Giant Buddha

  6. Day 11 - Chengdu at leisure

    Day 12 - Panda Research Center

    Day 13 - Fly to Beijing

    Day 14 - Return flight to UK

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