Chengdu Layover Guide (CTU)
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) is a major international airport in the Shuangliu District of Sichuan Province, China. The airport mainly serves Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, China and is located 16 km (10 mi) from downtown Chengdu. The airport was first opened in 1938 as a military air force base but was converted into a commercial airport in 1956. There are several flights to destinations worldwide. Chengdu is known for being one of the most important economic, financial, commercial, cultural, transportation, and communication centres with a diverse economy.
Can you leave Chengdu Airport (CTU) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible to visit Chengdu, during a layover with a visitors visa. (more info).
Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing
Leshan Grand Buddha Scenic Area and Panda Park Day Tour
This is the opportunity to meet China’s most loved animal, the Giant Panda while at the same time visiting 2 UNESCO sites in a day! There are over 170 pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. After spending quality time with Pandas, visit the 71-meter high statue of the Leshan Giant Buddha which holds over 1000 years of history. Learn more about Buddhism and local beliefs in the Lingyun Temple next to the Giant Buddha. The tour includes an experienced English-speaking guide. » book this tour
Chengdu: Sichuan Opera Ticket with Transfer at Shufeng Yayun
Your trip would be incomplete without visiting the Sichuan Opera. It is a colorful, musical and comedy show featuring half a dozen separate performances that are sure to impress the audience. Based in the Shufeng Yayun Teahouse, which has a special architecture style. The opera performances each evening include gong and drum music, a stick-puppet show, Chinese trumpet, humorous dialogues, hand shadows and changing faces. » book this tour
One day as Volunteer: Big Panda in Sichuan
If you love pandas, you will surely not want to miss this chance! Interact with pandas on this full-day volunteer experience in Sichuan as you get up close with them and contribute to their welfare at Bifengxia Panda Base in Sichuan. You can have fun while learning about and caring for one of the most endangered species on the planet. You get to help conduct behavioural research as well as take photos with pandas. » book this tour
Things to do / Sightseeing
Research Base Of Giant Panda Breeding
This is by far the most popular place synonymous with the city of Chengdu for its breeding of the rare and endangered species of Giant Pandas glorified as the National Treasure of China. For all the panda lovers, this is a place to visit when in China, it’s the only museum in the world that focuses on breeding of giant pandas where you can also find red pandas. The base is also inhibited by other endangered wildlife, butterflies and hundreds of insects included. A Giant Panda Museum also located on the base occupied by three halls including the Giant Panda Hall, the Butterfly Hall and the Vertebrate Hall where fossils and pictures are displayed. Visitors are given comprehensive insight on the wildlife via scientific displays.
Time required: 2-3 hours in the morning as pandas go inside to cool after morning.
Airport to here: 26 minutes via taxi and 1hour 30minutes via bus.
Find tranquility in the wide-known natural garden adorned with a poetic fragrance, rare bamboo collection forest and emerald plants built-in memory of the famed poetess from the Tang Dynasty Xue Tao. The legendary has a pink note-paper named after her too. The park encourages leisure culture where you rent a boat on the green bamboo sea to relax, feed kois, enjoy a tasty cup of jasmine tea from a teahouse made with water from the Xue Tao Well, take Kung Fu lessons and read poems left by celebrities.
Time required: 1-2 hours required to explore and relax.
Airport to here: 25 mins via taxi and 48 minutes via bus to reach destination.
Leshan Giant Buddha
Carved in Mt. Lingyun sits on the 1,300 years old colossal statue of Buddha. A sacred destination for Buddhists and tourists to visit every year. It took 90 years to carve this monumental wonder. It is said by the sutras that when Maitreya comes into the world, the world will be at peace and that the statue appears sad when he isn’t satisfied with a situation and vice versa. The statue can be viewed via a boat on the rivers that flow across to avoid waiting in line to gain entry to the park.
Time required: 1-2 hours.
Airport to here: 15 minutes via taxi and an hour via bus to reach destination.
If you ever watched any of the Kung Fu Panda movies then you’re familiar with the mountains featured. How about a visit to the mountain in real-time? One of the birthplaces of Taoism that hosts several Taoist temples with a beautiful scenic view of mountain peaks. The mountain range has 36 peaks that form a circle. Mount Qingcheng has a beautiful peak that sits near it called the Front Mountain which has various temples and was once a religious pilgrimage and one behind it called the Back Mountain with peaceful streams and quiet forests open for hiking. You can visit the Tianshi cave also where it is believed the first Taoist teacher used to preach.
Time required: Full Day.
Airport to here: Takes roughly an hour and half via taxi and 2 hours via public transport to reach destination.
Get acquainted with Chengdu culture by mingling with locals at the city’s first public park, preserving the heritage and includes entertainment which employs dancing, caricature drawing, kite flying, boat riding, water calligraphy, snack stops, fortune tellers, matchmaking, karaoke and playing cards. It’s occupied with a variety of people in various activities which you can indulge in.
Time required: Half day.
Airport to here: It takes 14 minutes via taxi and 40 minutes via a bus to reach destination.
A blend of folk music, local dialect, dances, puppetry and with highly polished acting and known for its singing, Sichuan Opera is the oldest Chinese opera form. Artists perform in painted masks that originate from an ancient practice of painting faces to drive away animals. These masks are colourful in nature and are changed quickly in a performance that it is barely noticed how they do it which leaves viewers amazed. The performances often feature narrations adapted from classical novels, mythology and folklore.
Time required: An hour or two.
Airport to here: 24 minutes to reach this destination.
Dujiangyan Irrigation System
An ancient irrigation system that’s still in use, it’s the oldest existing large scale water project in the world. Built-in BC 256 when the City Of Chengdu used to suffer floods and drought and has managed flood control and irrigation since its establishment, a project which still benefits 30 countries and cities at present. It survived the 2008 Dujiangyan earthquake and is embodied by other attractions such as the Anlan Suspension Bridge (one of the five ancient bridges of China), Yulei Mountain, Fulong Temple and Erwang Temple.
Time required: An hour.
Airport to here: 44 minutes via taxi and roughly 50 minutes by bus to reach destination.
New Century Global Center
Explore the biggest building in the world which includes a shopping mall, variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, offices, theatres, two 5 star hotels, an ice skating rink and the famous Paradise Island Water Park which contains an artificial beach and offers 24 hour artificial sun. How about a sunny day out at a clean indoor beach?
Time required: Full Day.
Airport to here: 20 mins to reach this destination.
Relaxing and Sleeping
Airport Lounges and Relaxing
Lounges are found at multiple locations in Terminal 1 and 2. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online
Hotel and Sleeping
Many hotels are found within a mile of the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online
Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
A free transit lounge is found on the airside of the airport within the Terminals.
WIFI/Internet and SIM Card
WIFI/Internet: WiFi is available inside the lounges.
SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards.
Transportation to/from airport
Taxi: Taxis are found at pickup points outside the arrival halls.
Train: The InterCity High-Speed Train has a station at the airport that links it to Chengdu. (more info).
Bus: There are several bus options to the city and back to the airport. (more info).
Shuttle: Hotels organise their own airport shuttle buses.
Car rentals: Car rentals are available onsite. » view available cars or rent a car now online
Parking: There is spacious parking available close to the airport terminals.
Luggage Storage & Lockers
Luggage storage offices are found at Terminal 1 in the Departures Hall, between Gate 6 and 7 as well as in Terminal 2, behind check-in counters.