Chengdu Travel Advice, Information and Directory
|Health Care||Accessing Money|
|Book Shops||Visa Extensions|
|Internet Access||Postal Services|
|Phone Services||Online Resources|
|Tourist Information Centers|
Health, Doctors and Pharmacies in Chengdu
There are plenty of pharmacies around Chengdu and there shouldn’t be any trouble finding one (although communication at pharmacies can be difficult). There’s a particularly large Xinling Pharmacy in a convenient location at 67 Shangdong Dajie, just a little west of the intersection with Chunxi Lu.
If you need medical attention your best bet is the Global Doctor Chengdu Clinic which has doctors who speak English.
Accessing Money in Chengdu
ATMs that accept foreign cards are plentiful in Chengdu and ATMs almost always have a choice between English or Chinese operating language. Occasionally you will encounter an ATM that doesn’t accept foreign cards, but you can always rely on Bank of China or ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) ATMs which are plentiful enough. Just look for the logo of your particular card (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, etc) on the ATM.
The Bank of China can always exchange money. The main Bank of China branch in Chengdu is at #35 Renmin Zhong Lu, 2nd Section.
Book Shops in Chengdu
Times Xinhua Foreign Language Bookstore
The best place to grab English-language maps and books in Chengdu. On the ground floor next to the cashier is a rack with a few different English-language maps of Chengdu, selling for about ¥10 each. There are a few more maps on the second floor, but otherwise this level is mainly devoted to Chinese titles. The third floor has a decent selection of paperbacks – fiction, classics and some non-fiction – as well as a good range of Lonely Planet titles and a few Time Out guides.
Address: 5 Zongfu Lu (about 100m east of the intersection with Chunxi Lu and across the street).
Visa Extensions in Chengdu
The Public Security Bureau that handles visa extensions in Chengdu is at #391 Shuncheng Jie (Open: Mon-Fri 9-12; 13-17; Tel: (028) 8640 7769). The officers speak English and many travelers have had a good experience with them.
Internet Access in Chengdu
All hotels and hostels in Chengdu will have some form of internet access. Almost all hotels of 3 star or higher classification have in-room internet access, which can be used if you’re traveling with a laptop. Many hotels provide this service for free while others charge anywhere from $5-$15 per day, depending on the hotel. Hotels will also have a business center with internet access as well as a printer.
Internet cafes are common in Chengdu, however, most have no English signs to identify them. Internet cafe is ‘wangba’ in Chinese and luckily these characters are quite distinctive (网吧). Keep your eye out for those characters when seeking an internet cafe.
Post Offices and Courier Services in Chengdu
The Chinese postal service is generally quite efficient. Postcards or letters sent from Chengdu will usually take around 7 or 8 working days to reach North America, Europe or Australia. Parcels will take a bit longer. If you need things to be sent urgently then you can use one of the international courier services.
There are plenty of post offices around Chengdu. The main post office is way up near the train station at #71 Shawan Lu, but several more convenient outlets around the center. China Post also offers an Express Mail Service which is a cheaper alternative to using international courier companies. In addition to postal services it is also possible to make Western Union transfers at this branch.
A number of international courier companies have offices in Chengdu. With a courier service, a letter will take about three or four days to reach North America, Europe or Australasia and cost around $50 to send. Packages will cost more, depending on their weight.
Address: 16 Gaopeng Dajie, Bete Industry Building, 1st Floor
Tel: (028) 8513 8686
Address: 2 Zongfu Lu, Times Plaza, Building A, 19th Floor, Room 1907B
Tel: (028) 8523 1274
Phone Calls To and From Chengdu
The international phone code of China is “86” and the area code of Chengdu is “028”.
If you call to Chengdu from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or “+”), then the code for China “86”, then the code for Chengdu without the ‘0’ (28), and then the 8-digit city number.
If you call to Chengdu from inside China, then dial the full Chengdu code (028), and then the 8-digit city number.
If you dial a Chengdu number inside Chengdu, just dial the 8-digit number, without any prefixes. Note that if you call a Chengdu landline from a mobile phone while in Chengdu, you should include the ‘028’ prefix.
For international calls, IP (Internet Phone) international calling cards can be bought at most small shops, newsstands and hotels in Chengdu. Just look for a sign saying “IP”. A card with ¥100 credit actually sells for about ¥35 (some vendors will try to charge you ¥40). Rates vary depending on what country you’re calling, but a card with ¥100 credit will generally buy you about 20-25 minutes talking time when calling to the US, Europe or Australia.
If you plan to stay in Chengdu for a longer period it is reasonably cheap to buy a SIM card with one of the local operators: China Mobile or China Unicom. A SIM card usually costs around ¥100-120 and generally includes ¥50 credit. You also pay more depending on how ‘lucky’ your phone number is. Average call charges are ¥0.6 per minute and ¥0.15 per SMS. Once you move outside the city where you bought the card you have to pay slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ charges.
Tourist Information Centers in Chengdu
There is a convenient Tourist Information Center on Chunxi Lu, towards the southern end of the street. Staff here speak good English and hand out free copies of some of the best English-language maps of Chengdu you can find. There are also a few brochures on offer and staff are happy to answer any questions.
There’s also a tourism information hotline with English-speaking operators: call (028) 8292 8555.
For much better tourist information, from a much better English speaker, contact Dave Fan, either by dropping into his bar, Dave’s Oasis, or by calling him on 135 4068 8645 (mobile number). He is a very experienced tour leader and is happy to give out free travel advice simply to encourage people to come to Sichuan Province and to feel welcome when they arrive. He also offers a small range of tours: check out [www.davesoasis.com] for more details.
Chengdu Online Resources
Chengdu Time: This website has a lot of information about working, living and traveling in Chengdu. While much of the information isn’t specific enough, it gives a good overview. Chengdu Time also has lists upcoming events.
Chengdoo: Chengdoo is an English-language magazine put out monthly in Chengdu. You can download the magazines from this website about a month after they’re published. Great for nightlife/restaurant listings.
Chengdu.Gov.Cn: The official website of the Chengdu Municipal Government, features news, useful contacts and some limited information about tourism in Chengdu.