Tea House on the Sha River
They are not just places to come and drink a morning cup of tea, but they act as community centers.
The line between mah-jong house and tea house is quite blurred. Of course, every mah-jong house will serve tea but most of them feel more like a place to specifically play mah-jong, rather than sit back, relax and drink tea. However, the tea house on the Sha River has a different feeling. This is probably the most local of the three tea houses we have talked about. Pengzhen and Niang Niang Miao definitely still have a lot of culture and character, but it is not unusual at all for foreigners and tourists to come through there, take photos, or sit down for a cup of tea. The same cannot be said about the tea house on the Sha River.
To get to this tea house you need to go to LiJiaTuo subway station and take a short walk crossing over the river. As you walk out of LiJiaTuo subway station it feels the same as many of the Northern areas in Chengdu. It definitely has an older characteristic but still very much feels like you are in the city. This is where the tea house on the Sha River changes that feeling. As soon as you cross a small bridge over the river, you suddenly feel like you are in the country side. There is green grass and farm houses, wild dogs and unpaved paths. In the day, there are people sitting outside by the river drinking tea, painting, and just watching life go by; at night, most people move inside a small 3 walled barn where they play mah-jong.
As soon as you cross a small bridge over the river, you suddenly feel like you are in the country side. There is green grass and farm houses, wild dogs and unpaved paths.
As a visitor there you will surely be noticed, but the local residents are very friendly. While there, we were offered to play mah-jong, drink baijiu (Chinese white wine), and of course have conversations over tea. Most of the locals we met go there every single day. One old man told us he had been coming to the same tea house, sitting at the same table, for over 20 years. This is true for many of the patrons who come to these tea houses; they are not just places to come and drink a morning cup of tea, but they act as community centers, places for the older generation, to come together every day, to support each other and keep each other company.
Near LiJiaTuo Metro Station (see travel for instructions)
Recommended time to visit:
In the morning you will find people relaxing outside drinking tea. In the evening until as late 1am, you will find people playing mah-jong and drinking baijiu.
Take the line 3 metro to LiJiaTuo exit C. Then walk towards 上三洞桥 bridge, take a left turn and cross over 上三洞桥 bridge to the other side of the Sha (沙河) River. Take a left once over the bridge and walk along the river until you find the tea house.
Sit down and have a cup.
It is in tea houses like these, where you can really see the more relaxed side of Chengdu you hear so much about; a side where life really does move a little slower. It is amazing how much culture is preserved in these tea houses, and how much you can learn about the city and its people over a cup of tea. So, we realised, before we were missing something. It’s true, Chengdu is a busy and noisy and sometimes even a chaotic city, but if you know where to look there are still pockets to explore in this city that are slow, that are relaxed, that are like no other in this World.