PC asked for my impression about Chengdu. I’d be happy to share. Before I write about Chengdu, I want to talk about the other important cities in China.
Three Most Important Cities
If you ask people in China about the top three cities in China, you are very likely to get a list like this: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in the same order.
Beijing = the capital (with huge economic power) of China
Shanghai = municipality directly under the Central Government, the largest city in China
Guangzhou = capital of
Guangzhou Guangdong Province, one of the most energetic area in the economy
The Forth Most Important City is Uncertain
If you ask for the forth most important cities, the answers are not as unified as the first three.
Some say Tianjin, which is another important municipality directly under the Central Government; some nominates Dalian, Wuhan; others say Chongqing. The question is not easy to answer.
When I asked Wendy, Suzhou was her immediate answer (note: I was very surprised). Later she added Chongqing and Hangzhou… Later, I understood why Wendy mentioned Suzhou – the recent development of the city impressed her a lot. Many investor from Taiwan and Singapore chose Suzhou as the top place to do business in China.
If you ask me about the standard of the rank, my standard is the “feeling” you have about their overall power – politics, economy, location… everything
Anyway, no matter what people would say, most people may agree that Chengdu is a strong candidate as the answer of the question. Yes. Chengdu is important and Chengdu is the rising star of the country. Located at the southwest part of the country, it is the capital of Sichuan Province, the province with the second largest population. It is an very important entrance for the west part of the country – Tibet area. It is the first stop of most travelers or hikers. I arrived in Chengdu before we entered the wild vast area of Daocheng.
Here is all the four articles I mentioned Chengdu:
- Flying and Flying… new – 11-Jan-2005
- Yes. I Expect the Flight Delay new – 14-Jan-2005
- Hotels in Chengdu – 27-Sep-2002
- Packing for Chengdu – 22-Sep-2002
Impression of this Time
Located in the bottom of the Sichuan Basin, there is no Sun light most of the year. It is either cloudy or rainy. When I was in Chengdu last week, on Friday, before we left Chengdu, the Sun came out. It is the breaking news. My friends told me: “Hey. The Sun comes out. It means today is holiday. We don’t need to go to work.” I thouht he was kidding. I was totally wrong. They went to drink tea in the Sun that afternoon. When my car past a large square in Chengdu, I saw the entire square was occupied by chairs and tables. I guess there are at least 200 people there, drinking their teas and chat. The pace of people is slow. Everything indicates it was a holiday. :D
There are very nice mountains and rivers near Chengdu. Check these pictures by my friend Maphis. They were taken at Jiuzaigou near Chengdu. Below are two of my favorite pictures.
Chengdu preserves the Chinese tradition better than most other cities. There are historical buildings and temples there. The paces of people are slow and the life is easy. During my talk, most of them care about the quality of life instead of the money they get. Well. Let me try to explain this. I mean they’d rather sit in the Sun and chat for days instead of rushing to the marketplace and work harder to get more money. The current minute seems to be more important than the future minutes. It seemed to the typical Chinese culture – the passion for the peace of mind is more important than the financial benefits.
What I don’t like Chengdu is, it is far from Shanghai. I can arrive in Beijing from Shanghai for 50 minutes, Guangzhou for one hour and a half, but for Chengdu, it takes 2 and half hours. If it was nearer, I guess I will visit Chengdu very frequently.
What about the little city located just south coastline of Shanghai call Wenzhou? Isn’t that a major economic city in China?
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Probably one mistake here: Guangzhou = capital of Guangzhou Province. Guangzhou Province?
Thank you for this post, Jian Shuo Wang. I don’t know as much about China as I would like and your post provided a bite-size entry I will actually be able to retain. Thank you.
Dear Jian Shuo,
Thanks for a great post on Chengdu. My parents and friends went to Jiuzaigou and they all said it was very pretty and scenic. The air is fresh and crisp. I will definitely some day.
In fact reading your posts makes me realized that I actually miss living in China. I just love the thriving energy of Shanghai and the rough and tumble “anything can happen” type of feel to it. It’s very exciting. I will be back.
if let me choose, i will choose “ShenZhen” as the fourth city in China because of its economic position though i more like ChengDu & ChongQin.
I love ChengDu because of good food, many travel places, the causal environment. It is a fanastic place! One of the best places suitable to live in CHina
Shenzhen? Yes. It can be one on the list. Everyone has its own list. Some one will put a city to the top as the most important city for his/her own reason – was he born there or his/her first love is there… the list of reasons is long.
I would consider the population of the city also a factor into this article. I agree that economically, Suzhou is much more important than Xi’an but if we put the historical factor into it, the list changes again.
How about Hong Kong? Modern, civilised, developed, economically powerful, and a shoppers paradise to boot.
HK is ok for the first few days but because it’s too crowded, there are a lot of people and heavy traffic everywhere, you’re just dying to get out of that place. But that’s just my opinion.
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As from your information, you say you can arrive in Beijing from Shanghai for 50 minutes, Guangzhou for one hour and a half, but for Chengdu, it takes 2 and half hours. so may i know if the timing state for reaching another place by train or by plane?
@ Jdar: By plane. Getting from Shanghai to Chengdu by train takes more than 1.5 days! I’m not joking.