Sunday, January 11, 2015

Two Chinese cities make NYT's annual list

Two places on China made the New York Time's annual list of places to visit in the coming year.  Chengdu, in southwest China, made the list at No. 44, and Shanghai, the country's largest city, was No. 46 on the paper's annual list, which featured 52 places to go in 2015.

I've been to both cities before. I spent almost a week in Chengdu in 1997, and loved it. I visited Shanghai on my first trip to China in 1984, and have been back twice since then, most recently in 2008, when we spent 10 days there. The changes between the first and last trips have been mind-boggling. We're contemplating a return trip in 2015.


Pandas are popular in Chengdu
Chengdu is well known for its pandas, so any visit there should include a trip to the panda breeding center. Besides the pandas, the paper picked Chengdu because of its firey food scene and new sophisticated boutique hotels.

I can attest to the spiciness of the food. Generally, if cooks in small neighborhood restaurants, like we favor, know they're cooking for foreigners, they'll tone the food down.  Apparently the waitress at one restaurant forgot to tell the chef the gungbaojiding (chicken cubes in a spicy peanut sauce) was for me. The dish was loaded with chili peppers. I screamed for more water with every mouthful. It was the best gungbaojiding I've ever eaten!


An exhibit at Shanghai Museum
The paper picked Shanghai because of the new art museums that have opened recently in the financial capital of China. The museums are the Long Museum, located on the west Bend; the Yuz Museum, which opened in a remodeled airport hanger, and the 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum, which is housed in the former French pavillion at the 2010 World Expo site.

One of the best museums in China is located in Shanghai: the Shanghai Museum. It's not totally full of fine art, as are the above museum, but contains artifacts and art from thousands of years of Chinese history.  I've been there twice and each time come away fascinated by the museum's wide variety of contents.  The museum is so popular, it limits the number of people who visit daily to 8,000 people, so go early. Admission is free.

Are you going to China?

If a trip to China is in your plans, check out my website, Cheryl's China, and feel free to email me if you have any questions about travel in China.

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