Warning: Hard to get around
Surprisingly for a city of such importance, getting around Chengdu is quite a hassle. Subway was under construction in July 2010 and taxis were scarce. I heard that many taxis are hired for the day for excursions and that contributes to the scarcity of taxis in town. Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that during the majority of the day finding a taxi is kind of hard and waiting from 30 minute to an hour is the norm. I am used to the efficiency of Shanghai and Beijing and got indeed very much frustrated in wasting precious hours in the street hailing at taxis that were inevitably taken. I was lucky enough in having a Chinese-speaking travel-mate and in few circumstances I ended up taking buses. I don't have solutions to recommend other than warning it might take a while for you to get around if you don't have pre-arranged transportation. If you planning taking the bus, insure you have change and know exactly where to drop off as you will probably find little help on the bus if you don't speak Mandarin.
Chengdu is one of the safest places in China
Crazy traffic, noise pollution, long lines with people cutting in front of you and touts trying to sell you everything under the sun, is a regular part of life in China.
Chengdu is extremely laid back with it's tea culture and fondness of spicy cuisine. I have found the people to be the most friendly of all the places I've traveled during the 1 yr I lived in China. The only danger is pick pockets, but it's done by stealth and never by force. Just be careful of your belongings and overly friendly strangers. In other words, don't be stupid. You are 99% more likely to lose your money from the overcharging vendors do to foreigners.
But honestly speaking, you could go walking around anywhere in China completely drunk at 3am and 9.99 times out of 10, you'll just stumble home. But it's more fun to stumble home with a big group people now isn't it?!
However if you're planning a trip to see the Giant Buddha and you slip, always remember to slip carefully!
Silly signs 1
I found this sign at Leshan on the Big Buddha grounds. I giggled to myself as YES, I too find it very 'nice to live'. I shall remember that sign from now when doing silly things like climbing steps upon steps upon steps just to catch a glimpse of the biggest buddha in the world, because it also seems that the rest of China is trying to catch that same glimpse! Remind me never again to go travelling at the same time the other 500billion Chinese have their holiday..xie xie!
- Hiking and Walking
- Theme Park Trips
In Chengdu, you'll find many beggars on the streets near tourist attractions who usually come across as handicapped.
Some are not genuine cases and giving them money is likely to attract other beggars within view. This is quite similar to amny other countries actually.
Be careful of pick pocker and strangers that approach you. When we were playin bowling, there were 2 friendly strangers approach us. As one of our friends were also very friendly so he started to talk to the girl, and didn't know how the other person stole the wallet in the bag that sitting on the chair and of course no one noticed cause we didnt aware their "friendly" intention.
Rowdy and Rude Locals
This isn't really a danger or warning.. but juz want to get u mentally prepared for a lot of tourists there who are also Chinese nationals. I do not want to generalise but it wasn't juz one group. But it all started from my transfer flight where everybody was trying to cut everybody else's queaue. Our group lended up right behind!!!
The journey is very...
The journey is very tough.
Transportation: the road condition is really bad and kinda dangerous. You should be ready for any unpredictable accidents that may cause the block of road for hours or even days.
Health: enough medicine. possible to have altiplano headache
Customs: Tibettens are very nice people, but don't offend them. Watch out their customs and worships. Details please refer to Cultural Tips.
Not really a warning but just...
Not really a warning but just an information for you. This is my airport-tax ticket cost RMB90 (International Flight) and RMB50 (Local). They don't call it airport tax but as Construction Fees. That means everybody must pay this amount of money before you can check-in.
Most people would say not to...
Most people would say not to take food because of the monkeys. But I highly suggest you do take food. The monkeys will assume you have it on you anyway, like at Cape Point, South Africa, and will try to get it from you, even if you don't have any. They will block pathways and growl at you. Trust me- your cane won't work. Throw White Rabbit candies at them and run by them very fast.
In general, I found that people were not very friendly when I raised my camera. Near Songpan I was spit on by a teenager when I tried to take a photo of a village. In People's Park a lady gave me a really hostile stare when she saw me photographing her daughter. And in this market in Chengdu (near Carefour), after taking the picture, a guy came over and almost wanted to rip the film out of my camera. I wasn't even taking a photo of him or his stall! I have heard lots of people saying that the Chinese are very friendly and willing to pose for photos, and I attribute my experience to the fact that I have yellow skin.
Pay attention when you walk
Walking in the streets of big cities is a major health hazard. You have to forward, backward, left, right, up and down! In Chengdu, I saw cars everywhere, including on the side walks. Bicycles are everywhere and go in all directions. Some of the streets are not very well lit and there are lots of pot holes and other traps, so be careful. One of my friends sprained her ankle when she stepped into a big pot hole with a pool of dirty sewage water in a very dark street.
- Budget Travel
Please go away
My bad impression of Chengdu started at the airport. It took a long time before our checked bags were found, and when we stepped outside at 7pm we were instantly surrounded by touts of all kinds. Our group of eight people were quickly splitted up and we were really worried about losing some of our belongings at the time. We finally re-grouped and dashed into the CAAC bus that took us to the city centre (Jin Jiang Hotel). However, once we got off the bus we were again surrounded by people trying to get us to go on different taxis. We ran into the hotel lobby to have some quietness to discuss how we are going to travel to our hotel. Finally we decided to take two taxis (we were initially reluctant to be split up) to Tibet Hotel.
I felt a shiver down my spine when I found out that the driver of the taxi I was in actually followed us from the airport. Luckily she meant no harm. However, she was a real annoyance because, throughout the ride, she kept on suggesting taking us to a different hotel that we could stay at for free if we sign up for a Jiuzhaigou tour. She was just a broken record that wouldn't stop. Finally one of my friends started talking to her in cantonese and he imitated her and kept on and on about how we had booked our hotels and wouldn't go anywhere else. He didn't give her even half a second's chance to interrupt ;-).
I have concluded that, unless you have a group of friends to share a taxi with, it is best to take the CAAC bus. I use the CAAC bus services from then on and find them fast, cheap, and very safe.
beware the weather varied...
beware the weather varied greatly, it is rather hot in Chengdu but cold in the plateau. I got a bad cold in the highland, and it become serious flu and kept me two days in bed when I returned to Chengdu. Some people may have the plateau reaction as Huanglong is about 4000km up from the sea level.
Beware What You Drink!
While the water in China is not always safe to drink, this image is mostly for the humor value- I assume the object hanging from his posterior is a strap from his bag- that the ad agency missed.
Beware of northern Chengdu
Northern part of Chengdu, especially near the railway station, is not a very safe place so you have to be more careful.