The main reason you will find yourself in Chengdu is to see pandas. Here there is a wonderful panda nature reserve which is well worth the trip alone. Outside of the reserve you will find a bustling Chinese city far removed from the western influences present in Shanghai and even in Beijing.
Chengdu Train Station
A popular and cheap mode of transport in Chengdu
Despite not being as impressive as the panda sanctuaries, Chengdu Zoo is still an opportunity for you to see pandas (and other wildlife) up close in China, especially if you are unable to get out to the sanctuaries due to bad weather (a common occurrence) or budget.
Me at the entrance to Chengdu Zoo
Chengdu Zoo is a little outdated and badly in need of a refurbishment, so don't be shocked by some of the conditions the animals are housed in.