Traveling around a city of 15 million may seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t know how to speak or read the local language. Fortunately, Chengdu has the 3 modes of transport you can expect in every major city in China, and they will all make your life a lot easier.
The metro system in Chengdu is easy to navigate, cheap, quick, and efficient, making it the preferred way to get around the metropolitan area. The Metro system in China works the same as in any other developed nation, but China does have slightly more stringent security.
You will have to put any bags through an x-ray machine demonstrate that any unsealed liquid you bring isn’t flammable. Typically the metro is open from about 07:00 to 23:00 each day. The cost is cheap though, at approximately 0.5 or 1 RMB (about 0.15$ US) per stop.
The Chengdu Rail website ( http://www.chengdurail.com/index_en.html ) is a great start, it offers an English translation and has an interactive route checker, but it only works if you know what metro stops are close to your destinations.
The easiest way to use the Chengdu rail system is to look up the area on whatever mapping website you choose; Google, Yahoo, Bing, and of course, Baidu (the main Chinese search engine) are all great. Just remember, the Metro is good for destinations within the urban center of Chengdu.
If you want to get out of the city to see the Leshan Giant Buddha, or the Giant Panda sanctuaries, you are most likely going to have to use multiple kinds of transportation.
Here’s a list of popular destinations that are easy to find via the Chengdu metro.
From Airport to City Center:
Take metro line 10 towards the city center- there is only one way to go from the airport- then transfer to line 3. Continue toward the city center where you can get off of line 3 at Chunxi road station(春熙路), a major shopping center in the city center or you can transfer from line 3 to line 1 at Sichuan Gymnasium station (省体育馆) and go directly to Jinjiang Hotel (锦江宾馆), or Tianfu Square (天府广场) in the heart of the city.
Jinli Ancient Street (金李路) and Wuhou Temple (成都武侯祠博物馆): (2 different routes)
Walk Northeast on Gaoshengqiao road from Gaoshengqiao station (高升桥) on line 3. You can also take metro line 1 to Jinjiang Hotel station (锦江宾馆), walk west on Mid Binjiang Road, along the river, then go southwest across the river on Tongci Rd.
Renmin Park (人民公园):
Take metro line 2 to The Peoples Park station(人民公园站). The station is located at the north corner of the park.
Just like the metro, there is a comprehensive bus system that covers most areas of any major city in China. Chengdu is no exception, it has a huge network of buses that go to just about every area within the city, and multiple rural areas outside of the city. Most city buses run every 15 to 30 minutes, so be sure to check Typically buses in China have a fixed price, so expect to pay around 2 RMB (0.30$ US) for an intracity bus ride.
The charter/long distance bus is also a great option for traveling outside of cities in China. You can purchase tickets at long-distance bus stations for other cities and even provinces. Traveling via bus to another province is an experience in-and-of itself. You can take a sleeper bus for overnight trips (be sure to watch your things carefully), or an all-day bus.
Charter bus tickets are usually cheaper than high-speed trains and leave with more frequency, however they are not known for their punctuality. In Chengdu, you can get the long-distance bus from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station (茶店子客运站). Here is a convenient timetable for catching buses to other cities:
Remember that the buses aren’t always on time, and the prices may be subject to change.
Riding the city bus in China is a bit more intimidating than the metro as it’s not as simple. The stops aren’t conveniently mapped out visually so you typically have to know exactly what stop you are looking for before you begin your trip.
The buses all have different hours of operation, with most of them operating at peak hours- starting service between 05:00 and 07:00 and stopping service between 21:00 and 23:00- however some buses are active earlier/later, including past midnight.Because taking the Chengdu bus system is difficult compared to the metro more due to more difficult navigation and longer wait times, the bus is best used to get to either travel across the city cheaply before 07:00 am or after 23:00, or for getting to places outside of the range of the metro.
The following are some basic directions for getting to the Panda sanctuaries and some other areas outside of the city using the Chengdu Metro and Chengdu Bus systems:
Chengdu Panda Research Base (成都大熊猫繁育研究基地): (3 routes via bus)
- Take metro line 3 to Chengdu Zoo Station (动物园) and then take bus 198 or 198A direct to the base.
- Take metro line 3 to Panda Avenue Station (熊猫大道) and then take bus d025 to the sanctuary.
- Take bus numbers87, 198, 198a, or 655 to Xiongmao Didi (Panda Avenue, Chinese:熊猫大道)
Dujiangyan Panda Base (成都大熊猫繁育研究基地都江堰繁育野放研究中心): (2 routes via bus)
From Chengdu North Station take the high-speed train and get off at Qingchengshan station(青城山火车站). From Qingchengshan Station take bus 102 to Xiongmao Jikong Zhongxin Stop (熊猫疾控中心) and walk to Dujiangyan Panda Base.
Take the long distance bus to Dujiangyan and then take bus 102 to Xiongmao Jikong Zhongxin Stop (熊猫疾控中心) and walk to Dujiangyan Panda Base.
Leshan Giant Buddha (乐山大佛): (2 Routes)
Every day multiple trains leave from Chengdu East Railway Station (成都东), and arrive at Leshan Railway Station. The ride takes about 1 hour. From the Leshan Railway Station, travelers can take bus 3 to the Leshan Giant Buddha (乐山大佛).
The bus ride takes about 40 minutes. Visitors can take a long-distance bus from Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station to Leshan Xiaoba Bus station, and then change to city bus 13 to this site. From Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station (新南门汽车站) take a long-distance bus to Xiaoba Bus/Tourism station (乐山肖坝旅游车站), and then take bus 13 to get to the Giant Buddha (乐山大佛).
Taking the taxi in Chengdu is as easy as flagging it down and telling you where you want to go- just like anywhere else. However, many Chinese drivers are not good at reading maps, even with GPS, so you it’s best to have the name of your destination ready in Chinese for the taxi driver to read.
In order to avoid getting overcharged by drivers, here is a handy chart for calculating your approximate taxi trip costs. The costs here are approximate, you will pay more after certain times at night or during rush hour, and you may pay less during less busy times, especially in the early morning hours. Finally, if you are in a village or smaller city, you can expect to pay less for a taxi for the same distance. On average, expect to pay about 1.9 RMB per kilometer.
The following are a list of Chengdu City’s main attractions in English and Chinese, so you can show your driver and more easily take the Chengdu taxis:
- Chadianzi Bus Station (茶店子客运站)
- Chengdu Panda Research Base (成都大熊猫繁育研究基地)
- Chengdu Railway Station (成都火车站)
- Crowne Plaza Chengdu City Center (总府皇冠假日酒店)
- Dujiangyan Panda Base (成都大熊猫繁育研究基地都江堰繁育野放研究中心)
- Jinli Ancient Street (金李路)
- Leshan Giant Buddha (乐山大佛)
- Renmin Park (人民公园)
- Wuhou Temple (成都武侯祠博物馆)
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