Day 4: Shanghai/Chengdu
Today was our last day in Shanghai so we took advantage of the Peninsula for a couple more hours, including the sweet coffee machine, various Asian fruits, and as one would surely expect in China — Big Ten Network sports programming.
Also on the morning’s itinerary was a walk back to Yang’s for one last dumpling meal before leaving for the airport.
We returned to the hotel, grabbed our bags and checked out. From the Peninsula we took a cab to the Maglev station for the seven-minute, 30-km zoom to the airport.
Our Sichuan Airlines flight was slightly delayed but otherwise non-eventful, and we arrived in Chengdu around 8 PM. Thirty minutes later, our cab driver dropped us off at what appeared to be the entrance to a temple and motioned for us to walk in to find our hotel. Adjacent to the famous Wenshuyuan Buddhist Temple, the Buddha Zen hotel proved to be quite difficult to locate and we had to ask for directions from some locals (who were hilariously excited to be of assistance and posed with us in several pictures before pointing us in the right direction).
The Buddha Zen Hotel combines Chinese aesthetics with Buddhist themes; both the hotel interior and rooms are decorated in Buddha Zen style. I’d booked it based solely off of its number-one ranking on TripAdvisor without really knowing anything else about it, and we were delighted to find a unique boutique hotel with a great location, peaceful setting, and free breakfast. 🙂
Hungry, we dropped our bags and went looking for dinner, using our “whatever we see first, we eat” method. Around the corner from the hotel, we found a tiny stand with bowls of noodles on display and not a word of English anywhere, so we pointed to two different kinds and hoped for the best.
There were only a few shops and restaurants open as we walked back to the hotel; we looked forward to exploring the area in the daytime.
Our initial reaction to Chengdu was a great one – over the next couple of days we’re looking forward to exploring this Sichuan capital city (while trying to not scald our mouths on its famous mega-spicy cuisine).