3 reasons to teach in…Chengdu


Do you like pandas? If so, you’d best get over to Chengdu – it’s the home of China’s bamboo-eating national treasure. Aside from that though, there are a lot of other great things about this 2nd tier city.
This 14-million-strong conurbation has been ranked as the 4th most livable city in China, and is commonly considered the most important city in Western China.

1. Tea and Mahjong

Despite being a major hub city and having a vibrant, cutting edge economy, life is definitely a little more relaxed and slower paced than say, Beijing or Shanghai. Mahjong, the Chinese board game, still plays a major role in public life. It’s not uncommon to see people playing in the street, or get invited to a game yourself. Likewise, Chengdu is famous for its tea houses, serving up a variety of different blends in calming surroundings.
Balancing big city life with relaxation isn’t easy, but in Chengdu at least you can take a break from work and enjoy the local pace of life, far removed from the megacities in the North East. Finishing class then heading for an evening reading in a tea house is a pretty cool, and very Eastern experience.
We mention food in every post (we love Chinese food) but it does still deserve a little mention here. We’re sure you’ve heard of Sichuan peppers, and the spicy current runs through every dish here. As a recognised city of gastronomy by UNESCO, your palette will need cleansing regularly. All the more reason to check out the tea houses.

2. Ancient streets

On your downtime, and when you’re not hanging out in tea houses, chances are you’ll want to do some exploring. Chengdu has a bunch of monasteries, pagodas, ruins, and museums. What we like the most though, is the historic towns.
If you’re interested in the history of China, particularly the Qing dynasty, then there’s no better place to spend your weekend than Huanglongxi, which has preserved everything down to the shop fronts in its traditional style. Inspiring, charming, and utterly unique, these are the sort of sights that most tourists never get to. Only those who take the plunge and base themselves here for an extended time get to know these areas in depth.

3. West Sichuan (and Pandas)

West Sichuan, stretching out towards Tibet, the ‘roof of the world’ is known as one of the world’s most beautiful regions. Ice-capped peaks, vivid blue lakes, and expansive green plateaus are all available by the bucketload.
For the explorers among you, getting set up in Chengdu with a teaching job provides you with the time, energy, and resources to pursue an adventure in this wild region, even heading over to Tibet on your holidays. It’s not surprising that many teachers head over here for a while, and then never leave! While the city centre may still suffer from some pollution and the traditional big city issues, getting out to the countryside in Chengdu is easy, beautiful, remote, and very, very unique.
We have to mention pandas too. If you can’t get enough of these furry little slide-lovers, you’re in luck. 80% of the world’s pandas live in Sichuan province, and there are a number of breeding centres and even ‘daycare’ centres where you can visit and befriend them in person. Not a bad little bonus for taking a year or two to live in Chengdu.