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If you're after a China experience where the cuisine is fiery and pandas can be found in the forests gnawing on bamboo, Sichuan Province in southwestern China is a good bet. Sichuan's capital of Chengdu is smack-dab in the middle of the province, and the logical point to begin your sojourn. Chengdu's flat, gridlike layout is ideal for strolls and biking. It's also acclaimed for its many outdoor gear shops that can equip one for any of Sichuan's local and neighboring natural wonders.
For those interested in witnessing the mighty Three Gorges Dam, the city of Chongqing, 150 mi southeast of Chengdu, is where the best Yangtze tour boats begin their journey downriver, through the Gorges and to the dam.
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