Chongqing, or Chungking, is considered a megacity located in southwest China with a population of 8.5 million as of 2016. It is also one of the National Central Cities of China as it is a primary manufacturing and economic center, as well as a hub for modern transportation, of both the upper Yangtze and Sichuan Basin. In recent history, Chongqing was also the former capital of the Republic of China during World War II, or locally termed as the Anti-Japanese War. The city enjoys a subtropical climate peppered with rainy days especially in late spring and early summer. Chongqing City is distinctive in its unique landscapes, having been built on a mountainous area and hugged by the rivers Yangtze and Jialing. Thus, locals refer to their city as either a ‘mountain city’ or a ‘city on rivers’. It is also surrounded by forests and caves, as well as a variety of water attractions including gorges, springs, and waterfalls. Contemporary Chongqing has a beautiful cityscape illuminated by millions of lights splendidly reflected in the waters at nighttime. Among its most popular tourist attractions include the Baiheliang Underwater Museum, Chongqing Art Museum, several Ming Dynasty temples, and the Dazu Rock Carvings, to name some.
1. A Variety of Fun AttractionsChongqing’s mix of traditional and contemporary attractions suits all types of tourism needs. Visitors looking for contemporary and easy activities can enjoy exploring its famous pedestrian streets that are fit for shopping and bargain hunting, as well as food trips. For a romantic and relaxing ride, the Yangtze River Cruise is a popular alternative. The city also boasts a dozen choices for hot spring, whether it’s the more luxurious spas or the simpler, cheaper community-run ones. For those wanting time for self-reflection, the city has temple complexes where visitors can spend some quiet times perhaps contemplating on a huge golden Buddha surrounded by lush valleys and a natural lake.
2. A City of Culinary DelightsChongqing is a spicy food lover’s paradise due to its spicy and pungent Sichuan cuisine, thanks to its liberal use of chilis and Sichuan peppercorn. A proper food tour will take you to try out the local specialties involving some dumplings and a host of pickled vegetables, for starters. Then there’s the well-known Chongqing hotpot with the ubiquitous central pot placed right on the table, accompanied by a spicy broth or soup, and a plethora of meats and meat parts, ranging from beef and pork, tripes and kidneys, and even some intestines thrown in for good measure. An order of spicy chicken marinated in chili peppers, garlic, and ginger is great with beer on the side. Another famous dish is Chongqing Xiao Mian, a filling noodle dish drizzled in chili oil and other spices and flavorings.
3. Sophisticated Transportation SystemChongqing takes pride in its huge variety of advanced public transportation system and infrastructure. Considered an important transportation hub in southwest China, it offers a metro subway system, intercity railway, a huge bus network, and a monorail network, which is believed to be the largest in the world. It offers an aerial tramway, the only Chinese city to have one, spanning 1,160 meters (3,810 feet) long and connects the Yangtze River’s northern and southern banks. The tramway is a world-class tourist attraction that attracts a passenger volume of around 10,000 every day. Furthermore, the city has a busy river port offering cruises, as well as major highways, and tunnels. It has 31 bridges that runs across the Yangtze river and within the city.
Chongqing Tourist Spots
1. Jiefangbei Pedestrian Street: Chongqing’s Commercial HeartCalled locally as Jiefangbei Shangye Buxingie, this famous and lively Pedestrian Street is located right smack in what is considered the most prosperous center in downtown Chongqing. Jiefangbei refers to the People’s Liberation Monument, or what used to be known as the Monument of Victory in the War of Resistance (otherwise referring to the Anti-Japanese War). The monument stands 27.5 meters high and has become a marker for this famous street surrounded by contemporary classy and ‘glassy’ office buildings, department stores, and hotels. The Pedestrian Street is often compared to Tokyo’s Shibuya District or even the New York Times Square. Visitors will have a fun time navigating its more than 3,000 stores, dozens of sprawling malls and shopping hubs, entertainment venues, cafes and restaurants, as well as stock market and banking offices and other companies.
2. Dazu Rock Carvings: A Must-Visit UNESCO World Heritage SiteThe Dazu Rock Carvings is about an hour’s drive from downtown Chongqing that would take you back to as early as the 7th century poring over sets of carvings and Chinese religious sculptures and figures. Said to be a depiction of Taoist, Confucian, and Buddhist beliefs, the rock carvings is just a part of the 75 protected areas housing about 50,000 statues and hundreds of thousands of Chinese inscriptions. Open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rock carvings is a perfect day trip, the foremost site of which is the Baodingshan or Treasured Summer Hill area. The second most important location is Beishan, where visitors can view a pagoda and intact sculptures. If you have extra time to spare, the farm lands around the area is quite scenic and worth exploring.
3. Ci Qi Kou Old Town: A Glimpse of Chongqing’s Traditional Way of LifeProviding an escape from Chongqing’s bustling city center, Ci Qi Old Town located in Shapingba District is the perfect getaway. A port and commercial town during the Ming and Qing dynasties, Ci Qi is fondly called Porcelain Town because it was a well-known for its porcelain products. Spanning 291.6 acres or 1.2 square kilometers, the Old Town has been a protected cultural site since 1998, with a history going way back over 1,700 years. Shops lining the streets offer traditional handicrafts, groceries, drugstores, and lots of stalls selling roasted nuts and seeds. Teashops and restaurants offering traditional drinks and eats also abound for visitors. The Old Town is a photographer’s delight due to the colorful buildings painted blue, white, with red doors and lattice windows. Among its more popular spots are its quaint teashops, embroidery workshops, and artists’ studios.