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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Huanglong 9D 7N - Day 1 Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu

On the first day of Hari Raya August 8th, 2013, Thursday, was also the first day of my summer holidays trip to China. The 9D 7N tour itinerary include Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou, Maozian, Huanglong, Mt Emei and Leshan Buddha. 

We assembled at the LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) for departure, ETD 1815 and ETA 2240 by Air Asia's direct flight to Chengdu, China.

At the check-in passageway, I met my travel group members; tour manager, Mr Steven from Mayflower Acme Tours, the Low, Gan and Ng family. I think it was a small but cosy group of 10 persons including my sister and me. I just hope that we can get along fine because it's gonna be 9 days of seeing each other day and night!

Dinner on board the flight was nasi lemak and a bottle of mineral water. Actually the nasi lemak tasted quite good, with boneless chicken rendang infused with the fresh aroma of lemongrass and santan. Surprisingly, the cucumber slices, nuts and anchovies were still crunchy and crispy. The seats were quite narrow and cramped though. The journey took about 4.5 hours.

Upon arrival at Chengdu Airport, we were greeted by the local guide, Mr Yang aka Xiao Yang. We were taken by bus to our hotel in Chengdu city. Although it was almost midnight when we reached Chengdu city, there was still a moderate level of traffic along the streets. Some businesses were still opened like the car repair shop, provision shops, food stalls, karaoke joints, some bars and entertainment outlets.

“Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Huanglong 9D 7N - Day 1 Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com on 25 Aug 2013

We stayed at the Gingce Times Hotel which was situated about 7.5 Km from the city center. There were some provision shops and convenience stores like Wowo and eateries beside the hotel.

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province. This ancient city which has been in existence since the Bronze Ages has not changed its name unlike other capital cities of China. Currently its population stands at 14 million which is half of Malaysia's 28 million!

The walkway on the left of the staircase leads to the eateries that sell local Sichuan dishes.

Here in Chengdu, I had the chance to sample some local culinary fare such as the Chengdu Ma La Tang (麻辣烫). Vegetables like sliced lotus roots, cabbage, brinjal, tofu, yellow bean sprouts, cucumber, leeks and lettuce; and meat like fish balls, pork balls, pork innards, seafood is skewered on sticks and displayed raw on the stall table. Here, the vendor cooked the dishes in a big wok brimming with red hot oil. They use a lot of dried as well as fresh chillis. I made the mistake of chewing on a piece of some peppercorns which caused a prolong numbing sensation to my gums and teeth. Certainly not a nice feeling! These peppercorns are called Sichuan Pepper (Sichuan pepper is known in Chinese as "huā jiāo" (花椒) meaning "flower pepper". You can also read more about this hua jiao here.

"Ma la" means numbing and spicy hot. The hotness is felt in the mouth only, unlike some of our spicy hot curry dishes which irritates the stomach and gut as well.

We also tried the grilled brinjal, soy-braised pig's ears and pork knuckles in flavourful soup broth.

When in Chengdu, do be adventurous try some authentic Sichuan cuisine such as the Kung Po Chicken, Tea Smoked Duck, Twice Cooked Pork (huiguorou), Mapo Tofu, Sichuan Hot Pot, Cold Beef Tripe (fugi feipian), Spicy Deep-Fried Chicken, Bon bon chicken or Bang Bang Ji” (棒棒鸡), Dandan Noodles and various types of soups like the Shui Zhu Yu / Rou (water simmered) fish, seafood, pork or beef. Wow, it is certainly something different but nice!

This is the Ma La dipping sauce.

The view of Chengdu town from the hotel window the next morning.
Sunlight is already visible from about 6 am onwards.
It's a funny feeling of like seeing the sun already half way up the sky at sunrise.

Street view in front of hotel, picture taken the next morning.

The bus that would take us sightseeing and the mandarin-speaking local guide who's gonna take care of us in China. He can speak a lil' bit of Cantonese, knowledgeable in Chinese history and he can also sing. Packing our bags early in the morning was a daily affair as we had to change hotels almost every day.

In China, the driver is on the left side . I keep forgetting to get on the bus from the right side. Sometimes, I look out for traffic on the wrong side while crossing the road. 

The streets of Chengdu as viewed from the bus window. Rental of these business outlets costs about RMB 3,000 per month. Along the road sides we see many Gingko biloba trees in bloom, some with gingko fruits hanging from the branches. And oh yeah, it is quite cheap getting your hair done in Chengdu, eg. a cut and wash costs about RM 28.

I am writing this in diary style as a personal account of a memorable trip. Hope it will be of help to anyone who's going there for a visit too.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this is beautiful, Autumn Belle. I bet you snapped a lot of flower photos. Can't wait to see those ^.^


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