Chengdu

It was a six hour train ride from Xi’an to arrive in Chengdu. Like both Beijing and Xi’an, I’d come here specifically to see something, with a full day or two to explore the city.

My first full day here I wanted to sleep in. After leaving the hostel at midday, I went to Wen Shu Monastery, which is one of the more peaceful places that I’ve visited in China so far. There’s not a lot to do there besides have a look around, but still took an hour and a half or so to get around.

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After leaving the monastery I popped into somewhere for a quick lunch and had a great portion of wontons for under £2, then went to the Tibetan Quarter. There’s a temple/shrine there but I wasn’t overly fascinated with it.

All of the research centres for Pandas are in Chengdu, so this morning I went to the one that specialises in breeding them. I had booked a tour as I didn’t really know how to get there, and accidentally ended up booking a private tour. It was quite handy having the private tour as my guide knew exactly where to go and how to beat the crowds – her guess as to how many people were there was 30,000+.

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They eventually release the pandas back into the wild, however, they are so used to depending on humans that they have been known to not want to feed themselves. As a result have they to go back into care. The reason why they’re inside is because they are not a fan of the heat, and are instead in an air conditioned room. I enjoyed the tour, though I feel as though if there was no queue I could’ve gone around the centre in 45 minutes, rather than two and a half hours.

Today, I’m just being a grown up. The wifi in the hostel is surprisingly decent so I booked up a tour to go to India at the start of October, as well as my travels up until then. The visa for India was a right pain in the arse to apply for, taking around three hours as the website is just crap, but in between now and then I’ll be in Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Tomorrow, I’m getting the train to Shanghai. I didn’t think it through properly and as a result am spending over 14 hours on a train. I’ll be taking it as an opportunity to catch up on the reading that I haven’t kept up with as I have several books on my kindle that need a read.

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