Trekking, biking, climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering etc. This outdoor company, founded by local Lion Xu and Scot Lee Mclaughlin will set up/guide trips for you in Sichuan, based on your detailed requirements.
Recent events in the north of the province mean those areas are out of bounds for leisure, but contact them for recommendations for other areas.
Many of these are not noted for their singing quartets, or even any evidence of a pair of scissors. Worth knowing that plenty of them have back rooms for a little more (less?) than your average 'short, back and sides'.
If you go to a hairdresser's that actually does cut your hair, chances are you will get your hair washed, your scalp massaged very nicely and a decent haircut. If it's 30 rmb for a bloke's haircut and wash, all in, then that's pricy. It's a bit of luxury, but allow about an hour. Otherwise, pay 3 to 5 rmb at a cheap (genuine barber) place on the street, and it will be much quicker.
All over town
The 56, or 'padesatsestka' or u Hlubka, as it is known locally, is sort of a bikers' pub, but is really just a fabulous local pub, with a great sense of commmunity, buzzing atmosphere, welcoming locals, top beer(s), good times. Immensely good times at weekends, helped by liberal opening hours ('whenever we like'). Beer garden furniture is made of chunky logs. Next to the pub is a cemetery with the graves of Russian military men who lost their lives in an air crash in the area. It's on the main road from Ostrava to Hlucin (road number 56), just on the left as you enter Hlucin, just after the sharp turn after the petrol station.
Buses run from Ostrava and should take around 15-20 minutes. The pub is well known, and is on Ostravska ulice (ulice = street), next to the Russian cemetery in Hlucin.
Parkgate is either part of Neston, or just next to it. Nice to walk along the front there, even if there is a chill wind. A couple of nice pubs down there, chippies, too, great bird life (and a brass plaque with info on birdies and the view over to Wales), as well as delicious home-made ice cream from Nichols. Can't miss it - nearly always a queue there.
Short walk from Neston, not far from Chester, or take the train or bus from Liverpool.
Not quite the reason to go to Chengdu, but should be useful. Nearly all toilets are 'squatties' so be prepared for some calf-stretching stability exercises. Slightly pricier restaurants have neat packets of tissue paper which you should nab whenever you eat there. Even cheaper restaurants have toilet paper available, so grab a bit if you are out. You never know when a touch of the Chengdu-doo-doo will hit you and you will be glad of your forethought.
For public loos (plenty of these on streets, by the river) you normally pay 2 jiao (0.2 rmb) to use them. Some are good, many are less than fragrant. Be prepared for them to be more public than you might be used to. Mens' and womens' are usually marked with picture symbols.
All over town - Chengdu is well endowed with toilets.
A couple of RMB/yuan for entrance to the gallery up the stairs. Art book shop downstairs, and art supplies on sale in the lobby. Occasional visits from international artists/exhibitors.
From TianFu Square, standing at the base of the Mao statue, facing Mao, turn left (west) and after a stroll of just over 500 metres, you will see the gallery on your right.
'Stone ground' doufu/tofu restaurant. Recently expanded and is now an integral part of the Yulin Hotel. The finger-length deep-fried doufu with vanilla/custardy sauce is a delight. Cannot remember the name, but there is a picture menu. Loads of other types of tofu/beancurd, good veg (broccoli=xilanhua), although some meat dishes can be greasier than other Sichuan restaurants.
50 metres west of the junction with RenMinNanLu and 1st Ring Road (YiHuanLu).
Get the tube/bus to Hammersmith, then head on down past the Apollo to the riverside. Maybe a bit of 'Sliding Doors' was filmed at one of the pubs down the riverside. Go past the rowing club and have a pint in each of the pubs. The Dove is a fave.
Hammersmith tube or bus station.
Not that many places have pavements you would eat your dinner off, but Chengdu's public walkways still have their unfair share of phlegm, dirt etc, plus the results of cute kiddies, held in the air by their parents, having a pee on the street - public toilets cost money. No big deal really, just could be worth remembering.
Chengdu has thousands of these, from the shabby, almost slum-like backstreet establishments, some of which show DVDs to entertain clients, to the ultra-posh teahouses, where BMW keys and smart rectangular-lensed specs are de rigeur.
Hang out where locals chill. In most of them, it's unlikely you'll be left alone if you don't want to be.
All over Chengdu. Da Ci Temple has a nice teahouse. www.randomstuff.biz has a description and map.
Triathlon competition near Ostrava, which takes place every year in June. Great friendly atmosphere, efficient organisation, and some pretty tough competition. Their webby has details. Name means something like 'Iron Man of Prajzska' - the area it takes place in.
Classic Sichuan (and Chongqing, where hot pot is even spicier) food. Large bowl of soup/sauce in the middle of the table, perched on a gas hob/burner. Most often the metal bowl has a barrier vertically across the middle, so that a red, spicier soup is in one half, and a white, less spicy soup is in the other. Fans of the spicy half and the less spicy half can dine together, and of course you can mix and match.
Your group orders food, which is brought to you so you can decide what to put into the bubbling soup. Sliced pork and beef, vegetables, doufu, and mushrooms are all standard fare, and you can also get kidneys, liver and many other body parts for the soup. A very sociable way of eating.
Some places do a 'buffet' deal where you pay one price per person (rather than paying for the food you order), and you stroll up to the buffet table to get the food bits - good for your first hot pot, and this overcomes ordering problems. The buffet deals are pricier, but usually include beer and red wine and soft drinks.
Hot pot (huo guo) restaurants are on almost every vaguely lively street. One town we were in had seven hot pot restaurants.
More detailed guide on www.randomstuff.biz in the Eat section of Chengdu.
Recently restored, the temple of mercy/compassion is little visited by tourists, despite being in the centre of Chengdu. Aside from its main purpose, this temple has a very lively yet relaxing teahouse (various teas, average price 5-8 Rb) and there’s a folklore museum. Some outstanding statues/carvings. 3 Rmb to get in. Open 9am to 6pm.
Da Ci Si Lu 23 hao (10-15 mins walk from Crowne Plaza/Holiday Inn);
Some airlines offer a free trip into Chengdu with their minibuses, if you have flown with their airline. Sichuan Airlines is one. If you have paid more than 500 rmb for your ticket, they offer the free minibus service. Worth asking the airline, or ask the air crew. If you are in a hurry, though, just take a taxi.
www.randomstuff.biz has some more details about taxis and buses from Chengdu airport into the city.
Much maligned street with a large number and variety of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants. A few years ago it was trendy, now looked down upon as a bit commercialised, victim of its own success, betraying its indie roots. Still, if you are after a few drinks and a good party atmosphere with everyone up for a good time, this is the place to go. On Friday and Saturday nights see the place heaving with people, many of them heaving.
Stodolni ulice, pretty much in the centre of town. One or two tram stops from the Elektra Kavarna/cafe
Great pub, popular with students, young crowd. Beer garden out back. Stock Czech menu, so smazeny syr, hranolky a tatarka (fried cheese, chips, tartare sauce) is good stuff. Some other good bars in the area, too, including Akropolis club and not far to walk to see the radio/TV tower with statues of babies crawling up it.
Bořivojova 110, Prague 3 Trams 5, 9, 26, 55 and 58 (stop Husinecká).
You'll find it in any guide book. Get there at 2.45 pm or earlier to queue on any day. It opens at about 3.05 and you file in dutifully.
Husova 17. About 10 mins walk from Charles Bridge sort of on the way to the Old Town Square
Stamp the tickets when you are in the metro and on trams and buses (stamp them by pushing them into the slot on the orange boxes on the vertical poles, and a time is printed on them. The time printed on a ticket is the time until which it is valid. On the metro, stamp the tickets at the top of the escalators as you go in). Public transport is cheap and good, and the number of ticket inspectors has gone up massively recently.
Buy public transport tickets at a trafika (news stand/tobacconists).
Classic beer place in a cellar. Get away from the hordes of tourists. The place is actually two pubs, one upstairs, one downstairs. The downstairs one is the gem. Lovely beer, classic Czech food (full of cholesterol and stodge, but tasty) and the obligatory surly waiters. In the evenings you probably have to reserve. If there's just a couple of you, it's generally no problem to just ask people at a not totally occupied table if they can budge up. Drink: beer, maybe a Fernet to finish off. Food: Vepro knedlo zelo (roast pork, duplings, sauerkraut) or smazeny syr, hranolky a tatarka (fried cheese, chips and tartare sauce)
Pivnice U Rudolfina: Krizovnicka 10, a couple of blocks south of the Rudolfinum concert hall/exhibition space
If you haven't got a bike, take the bus. Air conditioned buses normally cost 2 rmb, normal buses cost 1 rmb. Can be crowded, and pickpockets abound, but if you're careful you will be OK. Get on, and if you can't see a ticket seller by the door, find a seat and they will find you. Often free seats at the back of buses, if you can squeeze past people to get there. If you are cycling, don't expect buses to stop for you. Either they can't or won't, or both.
Bus stops have the bus route numbers clearly printed. The numbers are usually painted on the buses, although more modern buses have large displays showing their numbers.
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