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Hopefully you’re not too drained from your first two days in Chengdu, because we’ve got one more to go. After visiting the pandas, eating mouth-numbing hot pot, and catching a performance of Sichuan opera on day two, the last day is a pretty relaxed one. You’ll visit a Buddhist temple and a few Catholic churches, and wind down with a dumpling party.
The third and final day begins with a leisurely stroll around some of Chengdu’s pedestrian only streets. Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants, teahouses, cafes, and shops. You’ll also see quite a few beautiful historic buildings. One is the Chengdu YMCA (基督教青年会 – jī dū jiào qīng nián huì), which has been here since 1910. Go ahead and sing the song out front, but it doesn’t have such a nice ring to it in Chinese…
Grab a taxi or try to figure out the local bus if you’re confident in your Chinese abilities to get you to our next destination.
The Wenshu Monastery (文殊院 – wén shū yuàn) is the best preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu and is well worth a couple of hours. It was built way back in the Tang Dynasty and was originally called the Xinxiang Temple. Legend has it that a monk named Cidu once lived at the temple in a simple hut until he died. When he was cremated, it’s said that Wenshu (the bodhisattva Manjushri) appeared in the flames. The name was changed in honor of this fantastic occurrence.
There are several halls, towers, and pagodas to explore, most of them full of interesting cultural relics. It’s said that the monastery houses over 300 various Buddha statues made of several different materials – wood, stone, bronze, and even jade.
After exploring the temple, be sure to pay a visit to the lovely garden on site here. It’s the perfect place to sit back, relax, and reflect on your epic visit to Chengdu.
From a Buddhist temple, you can pay a visit to two different Catholic churches. First up is the Ping’an Bridge Catholic Church (平安桥天主教堂 – píng’ān qiáo tiān zhǔ jiào táng). There’s a nice open-air courtyard here that you can check out before heading next door to the stunning Church of the Immaculate Conception (圣母无染原罪主教座堂 – shèng mǔ wú rǎn yuán zuì zhǔ jiào zuò táng). This church is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chengdu and is a beautiful building. If you’re interested, English services take place on Saturdays at 4PM.
There are tons of options for accommodation in Chengdu, including several hostels. One great choice is Lazy Bones. This excellent hostel has a variety of rooms, from dorms to a private ensuite. They’ve also got a pool table, a library, a bar, and so much more.
On our visit, we enjoyed playing with their two cats – Lazy and Bones. Best of all, the hostel does several free activities throughout the week. You may be able to join a free walking tour, play a game of mahjong, or join in a dumpling party. Chat with fellow travelers as you learn how to make this classic Chinese dish, then crack a beer and dig in to an awesome dinner.
That does it for our 72-hour visa-free trip in Chengdu. There’s still so much to see and do in this Chinese mega-city that you’ll just have to come back! If you can dedicate more time to Sichuan, you can also visit the Leshan Giant Buddha, Jiuzhaigou National Park, and a whole lot more.