Now Boarding: Chengdu, China

Looking to travel beyond Beijing and Shanghai? Chengdu is a great place to start. We've compiled five reasons to visit the hidden Chinese treasure. Read it today; book a flight tomorrow.

1. Pandas

Outside of the forests where they originate, Chengdu is basically the panda capital of China. Check out the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base on the outskirts of the city to see these majestic animals munch on bamboo and generally be as adorable as an animal can be.

2. Tradition

Chengdu is a modern city, but it's not lacking in tradition. In the midst of the skyscrapers of downtown are the historic neighborhoods of Jin Li and Kuan Xiangzi, where even the restaurants are a throwback to a previous era in Chinese culture.

3. History

Visit the Jinsha Museum in Chengdu and prepare to see something amazing: the full remains of a 4,700-year-old Chinese village are sheltered under a massive pavilion. Stroll along suspended walkways that take you through the middle of the village and peek into the houses for a chance to peer back in time.

4. The riverside and the Anshun Bridge

If you're starting to feel overwhelmed by the hustle of the big city, stroll over to the Jin River for a calming pause. Winding through the center of the city, its banks lined with beautiful ginkgo trees, the Jin provides a pleasant ambiance. And while there you can visit the river's many ancient bridges, like the Anshun, which dates back to the 13th century.

5. The Giant Buddha

What could be cooler than a Buddha statue? A giant Buddha statue, of course. Coming in at a massive 233 feet tall, the Buddha in Leshan is the tallest stone Buddha in the world and located just outside Chengdu. The statue is so enormous that a half a dozen people could stand on his big toenail.

United flights to China

United operates more nonstop U.S.-China flights, and more flights to cities in China, than any other airline.

The airline began nonstop service to the country in 1986 and today serves Chengdu with nonstop flights from San Francisco; Beijing with nonstop flights from Chicago, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington Dulles; Shanghai with nonstop flights from Chicago, Guam, Los Angeles, New York/Newark and San Francisco; Chengdu with nonstop flights from San Francisco; and Hong Kong with nonstop flights from Chicago, Guam, Ho Chi Minh City, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Singapore.

Visit united.com or use the United app to book your next adventure.