There are two “must do” tourist attractions in Chengdu. The first is to visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. The second is the “Fu Rong Guo Cui” ( 芙蓉国粹) evening variety show that highlights various acts including the Rolling Oil Lamp in local Sichuan Dialect, puppetry, hand shadow puppets and, my favorite, face changing (變臉). Whenever we have out-of-town guests visit us in Chengdu, we take them to see the show.
Where is it?
The show is held nightly at the at the Jinjiang Theatre (锦江剧场) located just north of the popular ChunxiLu shopping district.
How to get tickets?
I was just at the main Sichuan office of the China Travel Service where I was quoted ticket prices of 220 RMB for seats behind the fifth row. As far as I know, the best way to see Fu Rong Guo Cui is to hire a private taxi driver to get the tickets for you and to throw in a free ride to the show and back home again afterwards. So far, I’ve tried two private drivers. The first one sold me 90 kuai tickets up in the balcony. I was persuaded to pay 150 RMB for seats in the downstairs main seating area, but he ended up only being able to get 100 kuai seats again up in the balcony. The very best deal I’ve gotten was from Yang Bing who got me front row seats for just 90 RMB! Yang Bing picked us up at 7pm in his van which seats six passengers, excluding himself. He drove slowly and safely to the theater where we arrived early enough so that we could sit down to a cup of tea in the theater’s adjoining tea house. Yang Bing told me that normally people have to pay for the tea, but since he has brought so many guests over the years to see the show, his guests get free tea. And it was good tea! If you’d like to use Yang Bing to see the show, his number is 1-365-805-8464. He doesn’t speak much English so you’ll need to communicate with him in Chinese.