Pick up the free monthly English magazines, Chengdoo and More Chengdu, in hotels and Western-style restaurants for its listings of entertainment, dinning, and shopping in Chengdu.
Chengdu has enough good, English-speaking independent travel agents that you needn't bother with CITS and its generally higher rates. The best deals can be found inside and in the vicinity of the Jiaotong Binguan (Traffic Hotel). The Traffic Travel Service (inside the hotel) and Tianfu International Travel Service at the entrance to the hotel both book air and train tickets and offer a variety of tour packages. For a private guide, Mr. Tray Lee is a highly recommended freelance guide. His prices are competitive, his English excellent, and he's always reachable by mobile phone (tel.0139/8160-5307; message only 028/8555-4250; fax 028/8556-4952; firstname.lastname@example.org). His "Sichuan Opera" tour costs ¥80 for admission, a backstage visit, one-way transportation, and an English-speaking guide. Die-hards stay for the whole 4 hours, but that's not required. BikeChina Adventures (www.bikechina.com), an American company based in Chengdu, arranges adventure bicycle tours through any part of China.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.