GREAT MALL OF CHINA
Forget the pandas: Chengdu’s newest attraction is the 176hectare New Century Global Center, billed as the largest standalone building in the world. Big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses or three Pentagons under its undulating roof, the mega-structure is home to everything
from shops and offices to hotels, a 14screen IMAX theater, an ice-skating rink, a faux Mediterranean village, and a soonto-open water park complete with an indoor tropical beach. Illuminated 24 hours
a day by what has been described as an “artificial sun,” the building might even be vast enough to keep a sizable portion of the Sichuanese capital’s 14 million population entertained come the weekend.
DOING THE ROUNDS Above: Cheesemonger Syu Ai Ming at her artisan fromage stall The Cheese Ark; neon signage at PasarBella. Right: Just one corner of Chengdu’s massive New Century Global Center.