Our stay in Xi’an was very short as you might have noticed from my last entry about China, because we wanted to continue to the lands of Pandas, here our next day exploration.
G89 Bullet Train Xi’an to Chengdu:
For this journey, we travelled on 2nd class on the D-Train, also onboard a high-speed train “bullet train”. Fortunately, this train departure was not like the one Beijing to Xi’an, so we had time to have properly our breakfast. The journey is 658 km, which we covered in 3hr 18 minutes. Seat configuration is the same as described before 3-2. Again very comfortable journey. Other slow train’s services still run between these two cities with a duration of approximately 13-17 hours depending on the route and stops.
We then arrived on time and happily welcomed by our expert Chengdu Guide, Samy. We had quick lunch at Chengdu train station, and headed straight to our first exploration of the day: the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, an ancient irrigation system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the 75 km. 1hr 30 min car journey, northeast from Chengdu, Samy described to us a little bit about the Chengdu city and Sichuan region, its mains rivers, population, local people and summer holidays in China.
Chengdu, located in the central Sichuan, is the biggest city in the southwest of China and has always been a vital communication centre, thanks to the Yangtze River and its branches, the Min and Tuo Rivers, which extend through the Sichuan Basin.
Dujiangyan Irrigation System:
Considered as the “The treasure of Sichuan region, this site was perhaps the busiest site that we visited in the whole trip. We could hardly walk among hundreds of people but rather were “transported airborne” by the crowd towards the path. Somehow Felipe did not complain and rather made it hilarious through the crossing of the AnlanBridge. Everyone seemed to be amused, so we did have a good laugh too. But it was very busy, hot and humid, a very slow process to cross to the other side. At this point we had embraced local culture and learn the only way to advance was to gently push!
Despite this, the visit was certainly worth it, this system is was built before BC! Ordered by the first and one of the most controversial emperors in China, Qin Shi Huang. I felt really lucky to eyewitness the ingenuity of ancient Chinese over 2000 years ago! No wonder it’s a world heritage site.
The whole site is extraordinary. It is equally impressive the fact that is still being in use and it is great importance for the irrigation of water for over 50 cities in the Sichuan region and to avoid flooding.
The history comes from over 2,200 years ago when the city was constantly vulnerable by floods triggered by the Minjiang River. It was then that Li Bing urged to give a solution to the emperor, decided to construct an irrigation system to prevent flooding.
The site consists of three main parts: 1) Yuzui; a watershed that divides the river into two areas: inner river and outer river. 2) Feishayan: A tube that diverts the sand and stones from the inner river into the outer river. And 3) Baoping Kou: It works like a neck of a bottle, it brings water into the inner river from Minjiang river and controls the amount of the intake.
The complex was planned to mechanically regulate the water flow of the rivers from the mountains to the plains throughout the year. Dujiangyan is the oldest irrigation system in the world.
The whole compound is green, imposing place, with rushing running water in the river and channels as well as the island built in the inside of the river, and the green flourish parks all over the place.
We spend approximately 4 hours on this visit before heading back to Chengdu.
Buddha Zen Hotel
Lastly and after this long day, we stay at Buddha Zen Hotel. We loved the atmosphere, character, I had a feeling of calmness surrounded by beautiful architecture and design, with central courtyards and traditional Chinese decor.
The hotel is near one of the best trendy areas, Qingyang, where there are plenty of quality restaurants and local bars with live singer’s shows. I can fully recommend if you go to Chengdu.
“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke