My wife and I started discussing options outside of Taiwan… and Chendu came up. (She has family there.)

I know nothing about Chengdu, except for what I’ve read about the city in Romance of Sui and Tang (but I’m assuming it had changed a lot since then).

My wife doesn’t know how to compare Chengdu to Taiwan, but she says that it’s nicer than (some other Chinese city which means nothing to me).

Has anyone here been to Chengdu? How would you describe your experiences?


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Yes, If I had to live in China. I would pick Chengdu. It’s not a giant metropolitan city like Shanghai and Beijing, but it has all the benefits you want out of a city without so many of the negatives of a crowded Chinese city.

Food is amazing. Sichuan food is my favorite. If you don’t like spicy, maybe not the place.

But tbh, it’s not nicer than Taipei or Kaoshiung imo. It feels more like Hsinchu type place.

I wouldn’t move there unless you are getting more money. And that’s my favorite place in China.


Never been but I worked with people from Sichuan. They stood out for being outgoing talkative types. I like the food from there too, especially the spicy peppercorns

Make sure you get good medical insurance set up if you go.


Thanks so much! This was exactly what I was looking for. This has given my wife and I some common ground to begin discussing life in Chengdu.


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Not a red flag?!

Have traveled through Chengdu many times on the last 20 years enroute to other locations in Sichuan so know the area but not the city. It has developed and changed massively in the last 10 years so if your wife hasn’t been there lately she might want to visit and see if she still recognizes it.

Positives ~ Of all the places in China I visit it’s probably my favorite due to the majority of people being open and friendly. Chengdu city may be different but people are generally easy going.

Climate is relatively comfortable although rainy season is the late summer season so humidity can be nasty. Winter can be “cold” for some. Air quality is better than most places in China but still a lot worse than Taiwan.

There are still lots of historical sites and older buildings outside Chengdu however, as with most places in China, travel distances can be long so if you can I suggest buying a car if you want to tour around.

Negatives ~ It is/was one of the less developed places in China so what westerners consider manners may not be present, especially outside the city. People are not intentionally rude however spitting, not queuing etc. etc. are commonplace.

If you don’t like spicy and/or “麻辣” it might not be the place for you!

Health care and hospitals may be less than you expect, excellent insurance is a must as most medical care needs to be paid for in advance. Finding a good doctor/surgeon may not be easy.

Pay and conditions can be less than more developed parts of China.

Outside Chengdu it may be very rural, sounds idyllic but when was the last time you used a restroom with no doors and in some cases no walls between stalls?

As with a move anywhere take at least one extended visit and stay in a mid to lower end hotel near an area you intend to live in before deciding. Chengdu has changed massively in the near past so all of the above may no longer be applicable. Family nearby in China is not necessarily a good thing as you may be pressured to help financially if their economic situation is less than yours (or is perceived to be) or tow the line if their’s is considered better.


Great point. My wife hasn’t been back in a while. (Her last visit was ten years ago.) I’ll make sure to mention this.

We really do need to visit for ourselves.


Chengdu can looks pretty modern in many areas. And than to straight into 3rd world down a alleyway. The way you imagine NK looks like in fact. They still have many places that just throw trash into a giant pile and burn the pile when it gets too big. But maybe they stopped that, it was 5-6 years ago when I saw that.

Sichuan itself is quite beautiful. In theory, it’s one part of China that has everything and can be self sufficient. Or else that’s what the people said there. When I could understand them since they speak a lot of Sichuanese.

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I saw a semi-documentary maybe on Discovery Channel.

They were talking to both foreigners and locals and the foreigners really love the place even ones that have lived in different places in China.

The local people just appeared to be happier and maybe a little more carefree.

It’s first on my list of next places I want to visit in China.

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They are by far the friendliest I’ve met. Beijing is by far the rudest.

Chengdu is still considered a tier 1 city, just barely. Which can be a good thing depending on how you look at it. It’s major enough you’ll find everything you find in Beijing and Shanghai, small enough to not have to deal with all the problems.

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I speak fluent Mandarin. However, when I went to Hong Kong, I felt like a fish out of water because everyone yelled at me in Cantonese. I felt like Mandarin was pretty much useless over there.

Is Mandarin useful in Chengdu? Or, is Sichuanese the primary language on the street?

Mostly everyone can speak putonghu. But many of the older folks will speak only Sichuanese. In Chengdu, not a problem. Might be more of an issue in the country side outside the city.

Go see for yourself. And really see the entire city. Ask some expats living there. Imo, I would not recommend it. But if you’re able to find a significantly higher paying job, you might consider it.
Do you have kids? Local schools are garbage in China. You’ll need to factor in sending kids to a international school.

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Sichuanese is a Mandarin dialect. You’d probably be surprised at how quickly you start to be able to understand


I’ve been there for work a few times, it’s a very classical Chinese city with an ancient culture , but it was developing super fast too. It’s also a megacity actually . The nightclub I went to there was off the scale crazy during their boomtimes.

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Got really sick cycling into Chengdu from Meishan a few years back. The air got very polluted about 30km out, and I must have inhaled something toxic - I went from feeling fine to throwing up in a rice paddy within 10km. Food wasn’t to blame.

Having said that, the city seemed very manageable. The crowd of youth in the hostel were happy and intent on having a good night out.

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Interesting segway from throwing up :laughing:

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Yes, we definitely plan on visiting ourselves. It’s great to get a sense of what we should check out during our visit. Thanks for the infor :slight_smile:

Yes, there’s a school Chengdu which has promised our kids free tuition, calling themselves “one of the best international schools in all of China.” Of course, we’ll have to visit to verify those claims ourselves… because I’m sure that every school in China claims to hold that title :wink:


I wish you the best of luck.

Any particular reason if you don’t mind sharing on why you’re looking to move and your wife seems to kind chengdu is the place to go?

About 7 years ago, I spent a few months traveling back and forth between Chengdu and Chongqing, staying in both cities. Then also spent time in rural Sichuan. Chengdu has to be my favorite city in China. The main city is pretty clean compared to other Chinese cities. The local people are all very friendly and welcoming, the expat community seems small and tight knit. There were only like two restaurants to get a good burger/Western food from what I remember, but I’m sure that’s improved.

The climate is temperate often cloudy or foggy. Driving there is insane and I saw a few terrible accidents on the highway. Whoever commented on the bathroom situation is correct. Once you leave the city, it’s atrocious.

As for Sichuanese, I found that I picked it up very quickly and could understand much of what people were saying. Only some of the old folks I encountered couldn’t speak Mandarin though. There are a lot of syllable changes that if you figure that out it makes understanding much faster. I remember, for example, ‘u’ becoming ‘o’ so the number five ‘wu’ sounded like ‘wo’. And they would say ‘meidei’ 沒得 instead of meiyou 沒有. Things like that.

Good luck on your research.

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If this will help you to release the Mulan Project, go ahead!

Thanks for asking, @Andrew0409. I don’t mind sharing… just didn’t know if anyone was interested in my story :stuck_out_tongue:

The cost of private international tuition in Taiwan just isn’t fitting in our budget. When I first came to Taiwan, I was single. The pay was amazing. Then, we had kids, and we had to buy an incredible amount of diapers, toys, and food… (my son could eat 3 lunchboxes and still be hungry while he was only 3 years old). And then came school fees for two kids. I can’t even begin to explain how much money international tuition costs, even with the employee discount.

We’ve considered putting our kids in public school… but we’d like our kids to have a life outside of studying and cramming.

So, my wife and were considering moving back to the States. (I’m best friends with the superintendent of a really good public school that’s hard to get into back in America.) But out of the blue, I got in touch with a school in Chengdu which offers free tuition for children of teachers. I’ve been reading up on them and they look like a really legit international school (at least, from what I can read online).

I’m not going to up and move on a whim… just trying to explore my family’s options.