It is a great place to eat if you are a hungry expat longing for a decent western meal. I recommend the steak fajitas, best in China.
9, First Ring Road South, Section 1, Lower Level, Chengdu
+86 138 8178 2604
Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty; truly world class, as reflected in its UNESCO listing as a World Heritage Site.
The main attractions are the crystal clear lakes which, because of a high mineral content, appear blue and green, and the waterfalls which separate the series of lakes down through the valley.
Actually, it would be more correct to say two valleys as the main area of the park is y-shaped. A shuttle bus service operates within the park for those who buy the relevant ticket; otherwise, there is a lot of walking.
A third valley, the Zharu Valley, is not open to the general public but it is possible to viist if booked on one of the eco-tourism options with the park authorities. A write-up of my 3-day trek is linked below. This also includes other eco-options that we were shown during the trip.
A related site, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) is nearby and easily combined in a short break from Chengdu.
The ruins at Jinsha were only discovered in 2001 and so the excavations and museum are a relatively new site not yet in many guidebooks.
The site is believed to be the sacrificial centre of the Shu Kingdom - a culture that remains an enigma. This site and the related one at Sanxingdui both show evidence of an advanced civilization yet there is no written record of this having any dealings with any other Chinese state.
The first hall covers one of the most productive excavation holes and is really interesting in that you are able to see some items in situ.
The second hall offers more of an explanation about the civilization and contains excellent displays of some truly incredible aretfacts. Pictures of some of these on the website below.
One of the highlights for us, and I'm sure for all family visitors, was the 4D cinema. The 3D film may be a little over-the-top in places but that extra dimension (elephants squirting water at you etc) made for hilarious and therefore unforgettable experience. How often can you say that about a museum?
An irrigation project doesn't sound exciting but this excursion from Chengdu is well worth the effort; I've been twice.
The project is more than two thousand years old but still working as designed. An artificial island divides the river flow in two with clever features to ensure that the proportions remain right whatever the water level.
A man-made channel then takes some of the flow away to irrigate a huge area that was previously unable to support agriculture.
The interest stems from the worship that surrounds the site and its main architect - Li Bing. There are plenty of temples and other more recent displays to ensure you understand just how really clever things are. The island wasn't just put anywhere; it is below a bend so that more of the silt goes to the fields and less to Chengdu's water supply.
Perhaps more importantly, Dujiangyan is not yet on the main tourist trail and so a visit here shows you something of the real China. Don't expect to see many other foreigners but do expect to have an interesting day out.
Yang Yang's is one of Chengdu's hottest local restaurants; visited by locals and ex-pats alike. If you arrive late for lunch or dinner expect to have to wait for a table.
For purveyors of Chinese cuisine this restaurant fits into the "dirty delicious" category. For those who don't know, dirty delicious is a category of local restaurant that would not meet Western standards of hygiene, but whose food is outstanding. Notable dishes on the menu include tie ban qie zi, and tie ban tu dou si.
English menu: yes
English speaking staff: no
Walking directions: From the American Consulate on Ling Shi Guan Rd. head east to the next intersection, turn left (north) at the WoWo 24 hour convenience store, continue walking for about 100 meters and it is on the right hand corner.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yaexwgn
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