1.5 kilometers / 5 minutes
The Wenshu Monastery was originally constructed in the Tang Dynasty (618–907) and known as the Xinxiang Temple. In 1681, during the reign of the Qing Dynasty’s Kangxi Emperor, a monk named Cidu constructed a hut on the temple grounds and took up residence there; upon Cidu’s death, witnesses claimed to discover the figure of Wensu (Bodhisattva Manjusri) in the flames as the monk was cremated and the temple was rechristened the Wenshu Monastery.
Today the monastery is home to an extensive collection of Tang and Qing Dynasty artworks, including paintings, calligraphy and statues, in addition to Buddhist relics.
Wide and Narrow Alley
2.6 kilometers / 10 minutes
Wide and Narrow Alley is an idiosyncratic intersection of historic alleyways which today lives on as a bustling pedestrian area. Due to the area’s original occupants being soldiers from northern China, It features many courtyard homes called hutong which were atypical of the indigenous architectural style but popular in Beijing. Originally built in the Qing Dynasty, most of the Alley’s remaining hutong were renovated between 2005 and 2008 and now house boutiques, restaurants and other businesses catering to tourists.
Jinli Ancient Street
3.6 kilometers / 15 minutes
The Jinli Ancient Street is one of the oldest streets in Chengdu. Stretching just 350 meters, the street is crammed with teahouses, restaurants, bars, theaters and shops while its sidewalks are occupied by street vendors selling snacks and souvenirs; meanwhile, a free-standing wooden stage hosts regular shadow puppet and opera performances.
Qing Yang Palace
4.7 kilometers / 15 minutes
Located in the southwest of the city, the Qing Yang Palace was originally constructed during the Tang Dynasty (618–907) and was later rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912) after the original structures were lost. Deriving its name from a pair of bronze statues depicting a goat and a cryptozoological amalgam of no less than twelve creatures, the Palace is one of the most significant Taoist sites in China and remains occupied by monks to this day.
5.2 kilometers / 20 minutes
Built along the banks of the Jinjiang River on Chengdu’s eastern outskirts, Wangjianglou Park takes its name from the 39-meter-tall pagoda at its center. Constructed during the Qing Dynasty, each of the structure’s four stories is decorated from floor to ceiling with detailed carvings and its bronze roof shines in the sunlight. Also of interest is the Well of Xuetao, where the eponymous Tang Dynasty poetess is said to have created inks from flower petals with which to write her poetry.
Known for its tranquil ponds and enchanting bamboo groves, Wangjianglou Park is also popular among Chengdu’s pensioners as gathering place for early-morning calisthenics and games of Mahjong.
The Du Fu Thatched Cottage
6.7 kilometers / 25 minutes
During the An Lushan Rebellion (755–763), celebrated Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu fled present-day Xi’an for Chengdu, where he took up residence in a modest thatched cottage on the banks of the Huanhua Stream in the western suburbs of the city. Although Du Fu’s stay in Chengdu only lasted four years, he wrote more than 240 poems in that time and inspired the construction of memorial gardens and structures on the site where his cottage once stood.
Jinsha Site Museum
8.5 kilometers / 30 minutes
Only recently excavated after having been buried for nearly 3,000 years, the discovery of the Jinsha archeological site caused a sea change in historians’ understanding of ancient China. Since its accidental discovery in 2001, thousands of Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BCE) artifacts have been unearthed from the site, including the now-iconic “Golden Sun Bird”, a 0.2-millimeter-thick decorative foil which depicts four birds in nearly pure gold. A museum dedicated to the site’s finds is located conveniently within 15 minutes of The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu by taxi.
The Dujiangyan Irrigation System
56 kilometers / 40 minutes
Located on the nearby Min River, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System was built in 256 BCE by Governor Li Bing of the Qin Kingdom. Originally intended to guard against annual flooding, this system of artificial levees, weirs and channels had the side effect of significantly improving agricultural productivity in the surrounding areas. Still in use today, it continues to irrigate more than 5,000 square kilometers of farmland.
68 kilometers / 60 minutes
A 1,600-meter peak covered by lush vegetation, Mount Qingcheng is home to numerous sites of religious significance to Taoism, including the Fujian Temple, Tianshi Cave and Shizu Hall. It was named as World Culture Heritage by UNESCO together with The Dujiangyan Irrigation System in 2000.