China Tour: Day 12, Chengdu
Today was almost death by tourism. We got up at 5am to get a flight from Nanning to Chengdu and landed at around 10am. We then began another long travelling day.
First stop was the Great Panda Research Centre. I wasn’t sure what to expect and we’d been warned that the pandas may be sleeping, but it was really magical. There were 14 separate enclosures for different groups of panda: from the baby panda nursery through to the adults and red pandas. I didn’t consider myself a panda fan before the trip but I could have watched them for hours, especially the babies as they learned to walk and play!
A hop onto the coach and we were told we had time to fit in a visit to the giant Leshan Buddha, apparently the largest statue of a Buddha in the world and carved into the cliff face. We were also told that our hotel was 3 hours away. We all were beginning to flag a little by then but the Buddha’s another World Heritage site so we were glad to have the chance to see this too. Of course that was before we’d climbed all the steps, descended them and then climbed them again to get out! The giant Buddha looks out across the confluence of a few rivers and is absolutely enormous. The view out onto the rivers is also spectacular. My camera had finally run out of juice so my phone camera doesn’t really do the views justice. There were more temples and gardens surrounding it, which I would have perhaps appreciated a little more on another day. All in all it was very impressive but I would have been equally happy with a proper pot of tea in a warm café! 6 days until Tetley, semi-skimmed milk and I reunite.
I don’t think I’ve ever hopped off a plane, then driven for over 4 hours as well as attempt a normal day’s sight-seeing on top of that. We did it though and it was well worth it. Thankfully our hotel is a lot nicer than the last – complete with two showers doors (not one), a comfy bed and a heating system.
POST TITLE: China Tour: Day 12, Chengdu
AUTHOR: Jenny Maslin
POSTED: 7th January 2012