Chongqing (重庆; Chóngqìng, formerly spelled Chungking) is fast becoming the most economically important city in the interior West China, with an urban population of around 8.8 million. In addition to the central urban area, the municipality of Chongqing also includes some 80,000 km² (31,000 sq mi) of the neighboring countryside and smaller towns, with approximately 30 million people altogether.
Chongqing is also the launching point for scenic boat trips down the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges Dam. The spectacular Buddhist Dazu Rock Carvings are three hours west of Chongqing City in the outlying Chongqing Municipality and are listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chongqing is notorious for its hot and humid weather. The air quality, winter or summer, can be challenging to people with respiratory problems due to massive amounts of smog. Chongqing has been ranked by the World Bank as one of the most polluted cities in the world.
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Chongqing (105°17'-110°11' East, 28°10'-32°13' North) is humid year-round, cold December - February and hot June - September.
Chongqing is one of the four municipalities in China, the cities that are not part of a province but report directly to the national government; it is the only municipality that is not on the east coast, (the others are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin). It was historically a part of Sichuan province, and is culturally considered to be part of it.
Chongqing urban area (covered in this article) consists of the following nine districts: Yuzhong, Dadukou, Jiangbei, Shapingba, Jiulongpo, Nan'an, Banan, Yubei, and Beibei.
1 Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG IATA) is about 21 km northeast of Chongqing in Lianglu Town, Yubei District. It is served by international flights from Asia, Middle East, Europe, Oceania and North America. It also serves most main domestic cities. It has two terminals (a third much larger terminal under construction, and a fourth is set for construction shortly after completion of the third).
- Terminal 1 - Closed for renovation. The re-opening date is yet announced.
- Terminal 2 - Serves four domestic airlines: China West Air, China Express Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and China Spring Airlines. Metro Line 3 and Line 10 connects this terminal to downtown Chongqing. Bus service is also available from the ground level of the terminal. Taxi to downtown Chongqing costs about ¥80.
- Terminal 3 - Serves domestic airlines and international airlines, connecting Chongqing to major international cities. Metro Line 10 runs through the transportation hub of T3. There is free airport shuttle service between T3 and T2, which takes approximately 15 minutes for each trip.
There are several ways to get from the airport to the city:
- Chongqing Metro Line 3 connects the airport to the city centre. The station is accessible from both terminals.
- The Airport shuttle bus departs from the ground level of Terminal 2 to 2 Shangqisi Lu airport bus stop in central Chongqing. There are two stops, so when you stand in line, look carefully.
- A taxi to downtown Chongqing would cost about ¥40-80.
There are three major train stations in Chongqing:
- 3 Chongqing Station (Chongqing Zhan - Caiyuanba 重庆站), Cai Yuan Ba Li Jiao Qiao, Yuzhong (CRT Line 1 & 3 Lianglukou Metro Station). Original station closest to the centre of Chongqing. Handles many long distance trains from many destinations across China. Some services are being transferred to Chongqing North Station, due to planned redevelopment of the station.
- 4 Chongqing North Station (Chongqing Bei Zhan 重庆北站), Kun Lun Da Dao, Yu Bei Qu, Chongqing, China (CRT Line 3 Chongqing Bei Zhan Metro Station). There are two plazas at the New North Station. Chengdu trains depart from the newer North Plaza accessible from Longtousi Station 龙头寺 transfer by bus. Allow extra 30 min. It handles high speed services to/from Chengdu. Many long distance trains to many other cities in China depart and arrive here.
- 5 Chongqing West Station (Chongqing Xi Zhan 重庆西站), Sha Ping Ba Zhan Dong Lu ShaPingBa Qu, Chongqing, China (CRT Line 1 Shapingba Metro Station). Formerly Shapingba Station. Limited services to local destinations and eastern Sichuan province. Useful for trips to nearby destinations such as Guiyang or Dazhou.
The longest railway trip from Chongqing is from Harbin to Chongqing North, a 48-hour, 3,535-km ride. The price of hard ticket is ¥344 and hard berth is ¥599.
Most train tickets can be purchased through the help of the hotel your are staying. The tickets are then delivered to the hotel for you to pick up.
Long distance buses travel to Chongqing from almost anywhere. There are numerous buses into Chongqing, most notably is the hourly service to and from Chengdu, Nanchong, and Xi'an. From the west Chengdu is 2½ hours and to the east Wanzhou is 3 hours, both on good highways and good buses. Avoid the "sleeper" buses as they must be the most uncomfortable way to travel ever invented.
The main bus station is at Cai Yuan Ba (pronounced Tsai Yuan Ba, is the old station), next to the Chongqing train station. It is complete mayhem most of the time - people in Chongqing do not queue. Many hotels will sell rail tickets thus avoiding the madness of the station.
Other major bus stations include:
- Chaotianmen Station: Buses to points eastward (Fuling, Pengshui, Yunyang, etc.)
- Chen Jiaping Station: Buses to the west and in particular towards Sichuan Province
The metro and bus systems are advised as the best forms of transportation and are very cheap and efficient.
The first section of Chongqing's rapid transit system opened in 2005. Since then, major expansions have now linked major railway stations, major shopping districts and the airport, with more extensions under construction. Announcements are made both in Mandarin and English. No smoking is allowed and all services are air-conditioned, which is a reason alone to board one from between April to September! Don't forget your electronic ticket card to get out of the station. If you overshoot your stop, go to the service counter and add value to your card.
Line 1 Chaotianmen to Shapingba, Daxuecheng, east-west heavy rail metro line. Handy for visiting Ciqikou, Jiefangbei, or Chaotianmen.
Line 2 Jiaochangkou to Yudong, monorail line. Convenient for visiting the Zoo, Stilwell Museum, Jiefangbei, Jiulongpo, Peoples Hall and Three Gorges Museum.
Line 3 Ertang to Jiangbei Airport, monorail line running north-south. Convenient for Chongqing North Railway Station, Guanyinxiao, Chongqing Central Railway Station, EXPO Garden Center, NanPing, and airport.
Line 5, Expo Garden Center to Dalongshan, northeast-southwest, as of early 2018, it only serves the northern suburbs.
Line 6 Beibei/Yuelai to Chayuan, north-south subway line thru Yuzhong district (near Jeifangbei) in central Chongqing.
Line 10, Wangiazhaug to Liyuchi, north-south via airport, it only serves the northern suburbs (as of early 2018).
Buses are frequent and cheap, but unless you can read Chinese you have to know where they are going and choose the right number bus going in the right direction. If you are going to one of the city centres in Chongqing city, simply ask each bus if they go there. There are four city centres, so be sure you know the name of the place you want to go to:
- 6 Shapingba bus station (Sandplains) NW part of town and is an academic and university centre
- 7 Jiangbei (Northplace) which includes Paradise Walk shopping center - There are two bus stations near the pedestrian street (Guanyinxiao).
- 8 Nanping (Southernplains)
- 9 Jiefangbei, the primary centre of Chongqing, contains a pedestrian mall with a major shopping and entertainment centre and a series of supertall skyscrapers around the Jeifangbei monument. There are two bus stations in Jiefangbei, south and west of the monument.
Taxis in Chongqing are bright yellow small sized Suzuki sedans. They are relatively cheap (starting at ¥8 and ¥1.8/km, ¥8.9 and ¥2.25/km after midnight) and can be easily found 24 hours a day. Few drivers speak anything but Chinese, so you must know where you are going. Either have your destination written for you in Chinese, learn how to say it, or be able to direct the driver. A good way to use taxis is to gather cards from hotels, then simply show the driver the one you want to go to or is nearest to your destination.
Caution: Empty taxis are hard to find on extremely hot days. It is advisable to seek alternative transportation or stay indoors. This is because most taxis have A/C running, thus requiring more frequent natural gas refills. There aren't enough natural gas stations around and the pump pressure is frequently inadequate, so many taxis will be stranded lining up for gas.
Biking is the worst way to get around Chongqing. The mountains are difficult to climb, it is very easy to get lost (due to the many hills and valleys and the two rivers), and it is incredibly dangerous to bike on city streets.
Chongqing has the largest population in West China and is the focus of China's "Go West" development strategy. As a result, it is a very lively and rapidly modernizing city, although it does get a bit too hectic most of the time. On the surface, the city appears rough around the edges and a bit gritty and thus there may appear to be not much to do in the daytime, but further investigation will uncover a city with truly its own character and a number of interesting sites actually worth looking into.
Streets and architecture
- 1 Chaotianmen Square (朝天门广场), 1 Changjiang Binjiang Road, Yuzhong District (重庆市渝中区长江滨江路1号) (Many bus routes terminate here). A large public square at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers. Here you can see the importance of the river trade to Chongqing with nice views across the river to the new Chongqing Grand Theatre. Many river cruise ships terminate nearby and the night lights are spectacular to see. Free.
- 2 Ciqikou (磁器口 Chongqing Ancient Town), Shapingba District (沙坪坝区) (Metro Line 1, Ciqikou Station). Meaning "Porcelain Port" as porcelain has long been made & transported from here, in Shapingba, on the banks of the Jialing River. This is a step back in time with several streets of Chongqing as it was, (and still is in some places). It is mostly comprised of small shops selling tourist stuff, but does lead down to the river where it is possible to board a restaurant boat and where the present hostel is located. The temple at the top of the hill is worth a visit. Worth a visit for a couple of hours. Unlike similar places in China, this one is still in its original state and not a reconstruction. Walking uphill away from the river and main tourist area, it is still populated by regular families and homes as it has always been.
- 3 Foreigner Street (美心洋人街), Nan'an District (南岸区) (Either take bus no. 163, 320, or 338 and get off at Tenghuang Road (腾黄路) or take bus no. 163, 318, 320, 338, 375, 376, 607 or 816 and get off at the Panlong Roundabout (盘龙转盘). Alternatively, catch a ferry from Chaotianmen). An entertainment and amusement park area northwest of Jiefangbei on the other side of the river and a bit north, where foreigners have been encouraged to set up shops. You can find a church, an upside-down house, an Australian bar, a small train, the world's largest public restroom and many other overly kitschy attractions.
- 4 Hongyadong (洪崖洞), 88 Jialingjiang Binjiang Road, Yuzhong District (渝中区嘉陵江滨江路88号) (Metro Line 2, Linjiangmen Station, Exit D and Metro Line 1, Xiaoshizi Station, Exits 6 & 9). Near Jiefangbei, a recreation of the old Chongqing, clinging to the side of the mountain with many small shops. A tourist place but you can find recreations of old local crafts here and genuine local food. Free.
- 5 Great Hall of the People (重庆人民大会堂) (Access through pedestrian tunnel from Zengjiayan metro station on line 2.). Chongqing's Great Hall of the People (and the People's Square in front of the Hall) is an architectural symbol of Chongqing City. Its construction began in 1951, but its design is traditional and mirrors those of China's ancient classical dynasties. It somewhat resembles an enlarged version of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The People's Square was only completed in 1997 and is decorated with trees and flowers. The ground of the square is paved with smooth marble tiles; there is magic music fountain; at the southern end of the square stands a stage for performances in the open air. You may see thousands of people dancing on the square in the numerous beautiful lights in the evening. The buiding is to be seen from the outside, no need to pay the admission fee. ¥10.
- 6 Jiefangbei Pedestrian Street (重庆解放碑步行街, Jiefangbei Shangye Buxingjie), Yuzhong District (渝中区) (Metro Line 2, Linjiangmen Station). The center of downtown Chongqing. Jiefangbei, or the People’s Liberation Monument, formerly known as the Monument of Victory in the War of Resistance (World War II), is a 27.5-meter-high structure. Around the monument is a broad, paved pedestrian square lined by numerous glassy office skyscrapers and highrise hotels, reminiscent of New York's Times Square or Tokyo's Shibuya district. Jiefangbei Shopping Square, completed in 1997, has a 400 by 350 meter footprint. Around the square are more than 3,000 stores of various kinds, including more than two dozen large malls and shopping centers, dozens of star-graded hotels, and offices such as banks, stock markets, trade and finance companies, postal and telecommunication services, and places of entertainment.
Art museums and galleries
- 7 Beibei Art Museum (北碚区美术馆), 26 Gongyuan Village, Beibei District (北碚区公园村26号) (About 580 meters northeast of Beibei Station on Metro Line 6. After exiting the station, walk northeast down Zhongshan Road, then turn right when you come to Jingning Road), ☎ . Spring and winter: 09:00-17:00, Summer and autumn: 09:00-19:00, closed on Mondays. Free.
- 8 Changjiang Museum of Contemporary Art (Yangtze River Museum of Contemporary Art, 重庆长江当代美术馆), Yangtze River Art Square, Nanbin Road, Nan'an District (南岸区南滨路长江艺术广场) (Take bus no. 338, 373 or 375 and get off at the Nanbin Road Clock Tower (南滨路钟楼)), ☎ . 10:00-18:00, no entry after 17:00, closed on Mondays. Free.
- 9 Chongqing Art Museum (重庆美术馆), Guotai Arts Center, 1 Linjiang Road, Yuzhong District (渝中区临江路1号国泰艺术中心) (Metro Line 2, Linjiangmen Station, Exit D), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. Free.
- 10 Huaren Contemporary Art Museum (Museum of Contemporary Chinese Art, 华人当代美术馆), 59 Hubin Road East, Huixing Subdistrict, Yubei District (渝北区回兴街道湖滨东路59号) (Bus routes 616, 619, 656, 688, 697, 853, and 880; the museum is 2km south of Huixing Station on Metro Line 3, you can catch bus no. 880 from the station), ☎ (enquiries), (reservations). 10:00-17:00. Established in 1995 with the assistance of the director of the National Art Museum of China, the museum is claimed to be the PRC's first privately-owned art museum. The museum features works by contemporary artists from all over China. ¥25.
- 11 Long Museum Chongqing (Dragon Art Museum Chongqing Branch, 龙美术馆重庆馆), Levels 1-3, Building A, Guohua Finance Center, 9 Juxianyan Plaza, Jiangbei District (江北区聚贤岩广场9号国华金融中心A栋1-3层) (Metro Line 6, Grand Theater Station), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:30-17:30, closed on Mondays. A private art museum established by the wealthy collectors Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei. The museum also has two branches in Shanghai. Groups of 26 people or more are required to make a reservation at least 2 days before their visit. ¥100 (including tour guide).
- 12 TestBed 2 (二厂文创园), No. 1 Eling Main Street, Yuzhong District (渝中区鹅岭正街1) (A free shuttle bus is available from Liziba Station on Metro Line 2. You can also catch bus no. 829). A renovation project partnered with Harvard University transformed this Republic era banknote printing factory into an artsy space that has gained nationwide popularity. Located at a hilltop in Yuzhong District, TestBed 2 is not just another spot for enjoying the mountainous cityscape, but also a great stop for the best restaurants, bars, cafes and designer shops in the city. From here, a short hike up to Eling Park will take you to the highest viewpoint on the Yuzhong peninsula.
- 13 Three Gorges Museum (三峡博物馆), 236 Renmin Road, Yuzhong District (渝中区人民路236号) (Metro Line 2, Zengjiayan Station, Exit A), ☎ , . 09:00-17:00 (last admission at 1600) from Tuesday to Sunday. Across the People's Square is Three Gorges Museum, well worth a visit for its exhibits on the Ba culture and the area of the three gorges downriver from Chongqing. Also noteworthy are a series of exhibits on life in Chongqing during the Qing dynasty, the early republic, and the World War II era. Free.
Culture and history museums
- 14 Chongqing Museum of Ba-Yu Folk Customs (重庆巴渝民俗博物馆), Er Zhi Lane, Shuanglong Avenue, Yubei District (渝北区双龙大道二支巷) (Metro Line 3, Bijin Station, Exit 1. The museum is in the southern part of Bijin Park), ☎ . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. Free.
- 15 Chongqing Museum of Famous Historical Figures (重庆历史名人馆), 1 Chaodong Road, Yuzhong District (渝中区朝东路附1号) (Metro Line 1, Xiaoshizi Station, Exit 8. The museum is at the southern end of Chaotianmen Square), ☎ , . 09:00-17:30, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. Free.
- 16 Chongqing Natural History Museum (重庆自然博物馆), 398 Jinhua Road, Beibei District (北碚区金华路398号) (Bus routes 560, 580, 583, 590 and 592. You may catch bus 560 or 583 from the Zhuangyuanbei Metro Station on Line 6), ☎ . Tu-Su 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:00. One of the largest natural history museums in China. It is particularly noteworthy for its impressive collection of dinosaur skeletons. Free.
- 17 Chongqing Science and Technology Museum (重庆科技馆), 7 Wenxingmen Street, Jiangbeicheng, JIangbei District (江北区江北城文星门街7号) (Metro Line 6, Grand Theater Station, Exit 3), ☎ . 09:30-17:00, closed on Mondays. Free.
- 18 Huayan Tourist Park (华岩旅游风景区), 151 Huayan Village, Jiulongpo District (九龙坡区华岩村151号) (Take bus no. 268, 325, 425, 499, 843 or 891 and get off at the Huayan Temple bus stop. You can catch bus no. 425 from Shiqiaopu Station on Metro Line 1), ☎ . 08:30-18:00. A temple complex including a Buddhist monastery and a large golden Buddha overlooking the whole place. Tucked in a green valley on a small lake, surprisingly in the middle of an urban built up area of Chongqing City. Free.
- 19 Luohan Temple (Arhat Temple; 罗汉寺), 7 Luohan Temple Street, Yuzhong District (渝中区罗汉寺街7号) (Metro Line 1, Xiaoshizi Station, Exit 6), ☎ . 08:00-17:00. A Buddhist temple dating from the Song Dynasty, which used to be known as Zhiping Temple (治平寺). During the Qing Dynasty, the temple was extensively renovated and it was during this time that it was renamed Luohan Temple. Luohan (罗汉) is the Chinese word for the Sanskrit term 'arhat', which in the Chinese Buddhist tradition basically means a person who has reached a certain stage along the path of enlightenment. Not suprisingly, the temple is filled with statues of arhats, though these are fairly new, as all the original statues were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. ¥10.
Parks and nature
- 20 Chongqing Garden Expo Park (EXPO Garden Center, 重庆园博园), 1 Longjing Road, Yubei District (渝北区龙景路1号) (Metro Lines 3 & 5, EXPO Garden Center Station), ☎ . 9:00-17:00. The park was originally established in 2011 for the 8th China (Chongqing) International Garden Expo and has since become one of the city's most popular parks. ¥20.
- 21 Chongqing Zoo (重庆动物园), No. 1 Yangjiaping Xijiao Yi Village, Jiulongpo District (九龙坡区杨家坪西郊一村一号) (Metro Line 2, Chongqing Zoo Station, Exit B), ☎ . Ticket office open 07:00-18:00, Zoo open 08:30-17:00. Normally ¥30, but only ¥20 in December.
- 22 Geleshan National Forest Park (Gele Mountain National Forest Park, 歌乐山国家森林公园), Forest Road, Geleshan Town, Shapingba District (沙坪坝区歌乐山真森林路) (Take a train to Lieshimu Station on Metro Line 1, catch bus no. 210 on the east side of the station and get off at Baigongguan (白公馆). From there, you can either walk the rest of the way or take a cable car), ☎ . Ticket office open 09:00-16:30, Park open 08:00-18:00. ¥10.
- 23 Jinyun Mountain National Nature Reserve (Jinyunshan National Nature Reserve, 重庆缙云山国家级自然保护区), Jinyun Road, Beibei District (北碚区缙云路) (Take a train to Beibei Station on Metro Line 6. After exiting the station, head west to Beiquan Road (北泉路) and catch bus no. 520 from the Wulukou (五路口) bus stop), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 07:00-18:00. ¥15.
- 24 Nanshan Botanical Gardens (南山植物园), 101 Nanshan Botanical Gardens Road, Nan'an District (南岸区南山植物园路101号) (Catch bus no. 384 from the Nanping Bus Terminal and get off at the final stop), ☎ . 09:00-17:30. ¥30 to ¥50 depending on how many attractions you wish to visit.
- 25 Shengdeng Mountain Forest Park (Shengdengshan Forest Park, 圣灯山森林公园, 圣灯山原始森林公园), Tiaoshi Town, Banan District (巴南区跳石镇) (First take a metro train to Yuhu Road Station (鱼胡路站) on Metro Line 3, then walk to the Jiuzhouwan Bus Station (龙洲湾枢纽站) and catch bus no. 910 to Tiaoshi Town. Upon arrival at Tiaoshi, you will need to transfer to bus no. 913 to get to the park), ☎ . 08:00-17:00. Shengdeng Mountain is 1064 m above sea level. Legend has it that the emperor Jianwen of the Ming Dynasty built a house here and lived here when he took refuge. Hence, the Chinese name of the mountain is sometimes written as '圣登山', which literally means a mountain which was climbed by a sage. ¥40.
- 26 Tieshanping Forest Park (铁山坪森林公园), Jiangbei District (江北区) (Catch a train to Liyuchi Station on Metro Line 10, exit via Exit 3A or 3B and look for the Chang'an Motors (长安汽车) bus stop. From there, catch bus no. 813 to get to the park), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open all day. Free.
Chongqing served as the capital of the Republic of China for seven years during the late 1930s and early 1940s during the Anti-Japanese War (World War II). It was also the site of important events during the Chinese Civil War (ended 1950). With this political history comes a number of historic sights which are worth visiting.
- 27 Chiang Kai-Shek's Mount Huang residence (黄山蒋介石官邸, 蒋介石旧军事总部 Chiang Kai-Shek's old military headquarters), Mount Huang Scenic Area, Nan'an District (南岸区黄山风景区) (The location is a bit out of town and a taxi is the easiest transport. However, buses are also available. Catch bus no. 384 from the Nanping Bus Terminal and get off at Mount Huang (Huangshan)), ☎ . 09:00-17:30, no tickets sold after 16:30. When Chongqing was the capital of China during World War II, Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-Shek) established his military headquarters up in the mountains above Chongqing. As a result the Japanese bombers never found it, and it is now a museum, preserved as it was during the war. There are many buildings in the beautiful compound and you can visit his work room with the motto over his desk "all officials must serve the people" (in free translation), his bedroom, and his meeting room, and sit in his chair where he negotiated with the American advisers, with his American educated wife usually to his left. The residence is usually referred to as Chiang Kai-Shek's Mount Huang (or Huangshan) residence in order to distinguish it from Chiang's other official residences (he had no less than four official residences in Chongqing alone). Together with the other buildings in the compound, the residence forms part of the Chongqing Sino-Japanese War Sites Museum (重庆抗战遗址博物馆). ¥20.
- 28 Democratic Parties History Museum of China (中国民主党派历史陈列馆), 35 Jialingqiaodong Village, Shangqingsi Subdistrict, Yuzhong District (渝中区上清寺街道嘉陵桥东村35号) (Metro Line 2, Niujiaotuo Station, Exit C), ☎ , . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30. A museum about the history of China's minor political parties, three of which were founded in Chongqing. The museum incorporates a historic building known as the Teyuan (特园), where in March 1941, Zhang Lan, Liang Shuming, Huang Yanpei and several other individuals established the League of Chinese Democratic Political Groups, the forerunner of what later became known as the China Democratic League. Free.
- 29 Guiyuan (桂园), 65 Zhongshan Si Road, Shangqingsi, Yuzhong District (渝中区上清寺中山四路65号) (600m from Niujiaotuo Station on Metro Line 2), ☎ . 9:00-16:30. The house where the Chongqing negotiations between Mao Zedong and Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-Shek) took place in 1945. Free.
- 30 Joseph Stilwell Residence (史迪威故居, 史迪威将军旧居, 重庆史迪威博物馆 Stillwell Museum), No. 63 Jialingxin Road, Liziba, Yuzhong District (渝中区李子坝社区嘉陵新路63号) (200m from Fotuguan Station on Metro Line 2), ☎ . 9:00-17:00. Not far from Red Rock Village is the former residence and office of General Joseph W. ("Vinegar Joe") Stilwell, who headed American operations in China during the Anti-Japanese War. Stilwell is an impressive person, not only for his leadership ability but also for his understanding of China and Chinese culture (he could write in Chinese with a brush). His former residence is a 1930s modernist house with great views overlooking the Yangtze river. The main level is set up as it was during Stilwell's tenure. The lower level is filled with photos and bilingual descriptions of the Chinese front during the Second World War. ¥15.
- 31 Liziba Park (李子坝公园, 李子坝抗战遗址公园 Liziba Sino-Japanese War Relics Park), Liziba Zheng Jie, Yuzhong District (渝中区李子坝正街) (Between Fotuguan and Liziba Metro Stations (Line 2) and downhill from the Stilwell Museum). On the banks of the Jialing River, this is a newly developed park housing many original and relocated historical buildings when Chongqing was China's wartime capital. It includes old bank buildings, government offices and the residences of local warlords. Some military pillboxes are also preserved here. Free.
- 32 Red Rock Village Revolution History Museum (重庆红岩革命历史博物馆, Chongqing Hongyan Revolution History Museum), No. 52 Red Rock Village, Yuzhong District (渝中区红岩村52号) (Near Shapingba centre on the road following the river. Take bus no. 210, 215, 219, 261, 262, 318, 410, 501, 503, 802, 808 or t002), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30. Incorporates several historical sites and museums spread out along the Jialing River. The main visitor center is located at the Red Rock Village Revolution Memorial Hall (重庆红岩革命纪念馆) where a worthwhile exhibition explains the historical background. Free.
- 33 Song Qingling's former residence (Soong Ching-ling's former residence 宋庆龄故居, 宋庆龄旧居), 131 Zhongshan San Road, Yuzhong District (渝中区中山三路131号) (The house is about 100 meters south of the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel, just north of Lianglukou station at the intersection of Metro lines 1 and 3), ☎ , . 9:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. This was Song Qingling's (Song Qing-ling's) residence from the period of the Second World War when Japan occupied much of China and Chongqing was the temporary capital. There were three Song (also spelled Soong) sisters. The eldest married a businessman. Middle sister Qingling married Sun Yat Sen, the founder of modern China. She was herself an important political figure, especially after his death. The youngest married Chiang Kai Shek. A saying about them is "One loved money, one loved power, and one loved China". Qingling is the one who loved China. There is an interesting movie with an English soundtrack, and a book ("The Soong Dynasty") about the family. This house wedged in between tall, ugly buildings is a nice German design (the original owner was an engineer who studied in Germany) that is not unlike many of the pre-liberation colonial architecture that can be found here and there in and around Chongqing. ¥2.
- 34 Zhazidong (渣滓洞), Shapingba District (沙坪坝区) (Take a train to Lieshimu Station on Metro Line 1, then transfer to a bus. Bus 210 goes to Baigongguan. Bus 821 terminates at Yangjiashan (杨家山), about 800m southeast of Zhazidong), ☎ , . 9:00-17:00. This is one of two Guomingdang prisons in Shapingba, the other being Baigongguan (白公馆). Both are at the base of Gele Mountain in the Matrys' Cemetery. (A shuttle bus ticket may be purchased for ¥20 in front of the entrances to Zhazidong and Baigongguan, providing transportation between the two prisons and other nearby historical sights.) Zhazidong offers a unique look at a 1940s era prison and the horrors that took place there when nearly 300 communist political prisoners were massacred at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. The entire area was also once the location of the Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SACO), a camp where Jiang Jieshi's (Chang Kai Shek's) elite troops were trained. Unfortunately the atrocities that took place and the American presence are often connected, while it's not universally agreed that they were. Free.
- 35 Zhou Enlai's old residence (周公馆, 周恩来故居), Zhongshan Si Road, Yuzhong District (渝中区中山四路) (Metro Line 2, Zengjiayan Station, Exit C. The house is right outside the station.), ☎ . 9:00-16:30. Zhou Enlai worked as a member of the Communist Party alongside Mao Zedong. Unlike Mao, Zhou was well-liked by the Chinese people and his death led to the Tiananmen Incident in the 1970s (not to be confused with the more famous incident in 1989). It is by the Jialing river north west of Jiefangbei, and is now a museum and open to the public. It has been preserved as it was the day it was used. Free.
Other historical sites
- 36 Huguang Guild Hall (湖广会馆), 1 Bajiaoyuan, Changjiang Binjiang Road, Yuzhong District (渝中区长江滨江路芭蕉园1号) (Metro Line 1, Xiaoshizi Station, Exit 8), ☎ . 9AM-5PM. Built in 1759 and expanded in 1846, the Huguang Guild Hall is a complex of buildings that were formerly used as meeting centers for merchants from other parts of China. ¥30.
- Yangtze River Cruise. Yangtze River Cruise will take you through the cradle of China, while giving you the opportunity to see some spectacular scenery.
- Tour Boat. A 1-hour trip on Jialing and Yangtse (Chang Jiang) rivers for ¥58-88 or more depending on class) give you a night view of Chongqing's modern skyline. All the boats depart from the Chaotianmen dock, which is at the northeast extremity of the Yuzhong district.
- 1 Cable car ride. There is a cable car ride over the Yangtze River (another over the Jialing river is no longer in operation). A ¥5 one-way 5-minute trip over the river gives a great view of the city.
- Hot Springs. Chongqing is recognised as a renowned area for hot springs. There are dozens of options ranging from large complexes with their own hotels, ornate gardens and spa treatments, to smaller community based hot springs. Northern Hot Springs Park, Tianci Hot Springs and Southern Hot Springs Park are the largest of these facilities. There are special tourist buses available to these sites.
- 2 Caiyuanba Escalator (Next to Chongqing Railway Station & Lianglukou Metro Station). Claimed to be the longest single escalator in Asia, it saves travelers having to climb the steep steps, hundreds of metres up or down between the train station & Chang Jiang Yi Road. Curiously it is a paid service in both directions. ¥2.
- Preserved Dried Beef (Niu Rou Gan)
- Spicy Fine Beef Threads (Deng Ying Niu Rou)
- Curiously Flavoured Horsebean (Guai Wei Hu Dou)
- Pulverous Nuby Peach (He chuang Tao Pian)
- Hot Pot ( Chongqing huo guo )
- Chongqing Strange Taste Horse Beans (Guài wèi cándòu)
- Noodle (Chongqing XiaoMian, in addition there's also Dan-Dan Mian)
- [dead link] Carpenter Tan (Tan Mu Jiang). This local carpentry shop is worth a visit for its fine wood artwares.
Chongqing is a harbor city and with this comes what is called dockside culture (matou wenhua). This culture is blamed for a lot of things from cursing profusely to... Hot Pot. While many great restaurants abound in the city, memorable dining is best along Nanbin Lu with incredible night views back across the Yangtze River with the Jeifangbei city skyline lit-up. Here are some examples of the city's many offerings.
Hot Pot (火锅 huǒguō, lit.: firepot) is one of Chongqing's claims to fame. In cities across China, one can find hot pot restaurants, but only Chongqing people can really stand a real hot pot, so if you want authenticity, get it while you can in Chongqing.
When ordering hot pot you have a choice between three kinds. First, the spicy version called red soup (hong tang). Then there is one without any spices. This is basically a bone soup, and it is tasty. To get this, simply ask for "yuan wei" or tell them "wo bu yao la" which means "I don't want the spicy stuff!" Finally there is a compromise with Yuan Yang Hot Pot (Yuan Yang Huo Guo), which is basically a pot split down the middle with the spicy stuff on one side and the mild on the other.
For those who like spicy but do not like it too spicy, it is possible to order red soup without the jolt (wei la hong tang). It is a nice mild experience.
For those who can not speak Chinese, it would be best to grab a Chinese friend to take you, though be warned, you will have to put up with a lot of drinking, you will be forced to smoke more than you normally would, and some of the things they go slipping into the pot might not be your cup of tea. You will also have to be aware that you will be fed with a lot of dishes from your Chinese friends because they like to see your bowl is full of food. You might feel a little uncomfortable being fed like a child, but that is the way Chinese people show concern and enthusiasm towards their friends, especially when eating hot pot.
Suggested dishes at nicer restaurants
- Twice cooked spicy pork slices 回锅肉 (huiguorou)
- Fish slices in sour and spicy pickled vegetable soup 酸菜鱼 (suancaiyu)
- Fried pork fillet slices in sweet and sour sauce 糖醋里脊(tangculiji)
- Steamed fatty pork with preserved vegetables (shaobai)
- Fish flavoured aubergine 鱼香茄子 (yuxiangqiezi)
- Onions and parsleys in spicy mustard (laohucai)
- Fish with tofu (doufuyu)
- Fish flavoured pork shreads 鱼香肉丝 (yuxiangrousi)
- Chinese bouilli (hongshaorou)
- Gongpao Chicken (gongpaojiding)
- Black agaric and pork slice stir-fries (muerroupian)
- Pork/beef slices in hot and spicy soup 水煮肉片 (shuizhuroupian) (very spicy)
- Numbing and spicy tofu 麻婆豆腐 (mapodoufu) (spicy)
Suggested dishes at noodle shops
All dishes served in the noodle shops can be either spicy flavoured or plain flavoured.
- Noodle with no toppings (Chongqing xiaomian) ¥3.0
- Beef noodle (niuroumian) ¥6.0
- Cold noodle (liangmian) ¥2.5
- Rice/soybean pudding slices (liangfen'r (fer)) ¥2.5
- Szechuan dumplings (hundun (T'sao sou)) ¥4
Overall it is also a good experience to try some dog meat (gourou) in winter.
There are many "Western restaurants", but it is very difficult to find any real western food in them. Many smallish restaurants will have a reasonable stab at spaghetti bolognaise, and some will have menus in "Chinglish" and even pictures of dishes. However as an exception, you can find quite nice fusion dishes (ranging from Japanese Sushi and Tempura to American Sirloin Steak
- Friendship Restaurant (Next to the Maison Mode Plaza in Jeifangbei). You can also find loads of street restaurants around this area.
- Ali&Ade (On the second floor of the Pacific Department Store, inside the Metropolitan Plaza (Daduhui) right next to the Harbour View Hotel in the downtown area of Jiefangbei).
- Casablanca (In Dekang Department Store, in the downtown area). Western restaurant. Less than ¥50 for a decent meal served with a nice drink, salad and dessert.
- Why Not (Shapingba). A Belgian style restaurant owned by a Belgian couple. Authentic fries and an eclectic menu at below the ultra-high Jiefangbei prices.
- Noeva Venezia (In Wanda Plaza, Nanping, Nan'an, upstairs on the outside arcade near WEB English, opposite the Kiberlite Diamonds store on the ground floor of the plaza.). Western restaurant. Less than ¥50 for a decent authentic Italian Pizza..
- Susie's Pizza, In Shapingba 3 gorges Square (on the 12th floor above the McDonalds in the Centre of Shapingba), ☎ . 11:00-21:30. Has all of the classic flavours and some local Chongqing flavours like hotpot pizza. The restaurant is small and clean. From ¥50.
There are many bars in Chongqing, but most are underpopulated. Generally the local bottled beer is ¥10, and the variety includes several local beers and even Guinness (expensive) on occasions. If you go to one of the small restaurants to eat, you can buy bottles of local beer at ¥3 upwards.
As a warning, some bars have adopted a less pleasant method to send pretty girls to accompany and entertain you, and then ask for huge additional sums when you leave. Take care.
- Marriot Sports Bar. Several branches offer the closest thing to proper beer, but be sure they get your beer from the pump and not the slop tray. A pint of Guinness will cost you ¥58, but during happy hour you can get two for one. Foosball, Pool and Darts available.
- 1 Semi underground entertainment centre (Just west of Jiefangbei War Memorial, at the same place as the CRT Jiaochangkou Station.).
- 2 Underground arcade (In Jiangbei (north), the entrance is across from the big hotel near McDonalds). Many bars and restaurants.
- Cici Park, Lingjiangmen (Next to the nr. 2 hospital on the square after climbing the stairs). Serve reasonably priced drinks and has a foosball table, good atmosphere and offers some hallucinating material! ¥12 for a pint.
- Outside beer gardens (Above the underground arcade). Serve reasonably priced drinks and is always crowded with good atmosphere and live premiership matches on big screens, do not eat here though!
- Shapingba (west). A young people and university place and have many places for entertainment.
- The Harp Irish Pub, 9F Hong Ya Dong (near Carrefour, downtown Chongqing), ☎ . 11:00-04:00. This is where all the expats in Chongqing now hang out. It is the only real western bar experience in the city, just opened in 2010. It has sports TV, 6 beers on tap, and 36 imported beers, 16 single malt scotches, 15 vodkas, 8 gins, etc. Great food, and English speaking staff make this a winner in Chongqing.
- Cactus Tex-Mex Bar & Grill (Cactus Tex-Mex), 9F Hong Ya Dong, ☎ . 11am-4am. Mexican bar & restaurant. Serves Mexican food & Western food from all over the world
There are hundreds of hotels all over the city ranging from dormitary style for ¥30 per night, through three star equivalent hotels for ¥150, up to the numerous top western hotels for ¥600-2000 per night, and many more are being added and are under construction. Most hotels are rarely fully booked. You can always check the room before you commit.
- Yangtze River Youth Hostel (玺院国际青年旅舍), 重庆市渝中区长江滨江路80号 (80 Changbin Road, Yuzhong District), ☎ (English speaking). Possibly the best option for budget accommodation in Chongqing. Centrally located, exceptionally clean and has great and helpful staff. Offers a range of rooms. Also offers a range of budget tours. ¥30-180.
- Sunrise Mingqing Hostel (尚悦明清客棧), 重庆市渝中区下洪学巷23号 (棧解东路26中对面), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hidden on the stairways between ChangBin Lu and ZhanJieDong Lu this hostel provides 6 beds in a dark dorm and 14 rooms from ¥140 in a very quiet and CQ courtyard-style building. ¥45-150.
- Chongqing Jinjiang Oriental Hotel, No. 6 Xihu Road, Yubei District, ☎ . 313 air-conditioned guest rooms. From ¥457.81.
- Chung King Hotel. Prices are not overly expensive, rooms are slightly on the small side but on the whole well decorated and furnished. Rooms come with pay-per-view and regular satellite TV. A couple of the channels are in English. Even better, room service will happily provide you with the best club sandwich east of Britain. Somewhere in the hotel is a Western restaurant which will provide you with the biggest spaghetti bolognaise you have ever seen. The friendly staff in the lobby can provide you with currency exchange, luggage holding and travel tickets.
- DLT Hotel, 173 Renmin Road (Just behind the Great Hall of the People). Completely renovated in 2007. From about ¥320.
- Golden River Motel (金江商务宾馆), NO.1 Wen Hua ST,Yuzhong District 重庆市渝中区文化街1号 (药材市场与朝天门市场中间), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The hotel is accessible from all directions and very close to CBD area, beside the heritage site park of Song Dynasty. The hotel has more than 50 guests rooms, including various types of suite and commercial guest room. From ¥150.
- The Grand (Shapingba). From ¥150.
- HomeHome Inn, 6 Fenghuangia, Nanjimen. Friendly English-speaking staff. ¥280 for a double with Chinese/Western breakfast.
- Railway Guesthouse (At the Chongqing Train Station (there are two train stations in Chongqing, the old station and the new northern station in Jiangbei)). 4-bed ¥100, 2-bed ensuite with a/c ¥160.
- Somerset JieFangBei Chongqing (重庆盛捷解放碑服务公寓), Block B Hejing Building, No 108 Minzu Road, Yuzhong district, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Each of its studios to two-bedrooms apartments features separate living and dining areas, an ensuite bathroom, a kitchen, home entertainment system, scenic views and Wi-Fi access. Daily rates starts from ¥350.
- Yudu Hotel, 168 BaYi Road YuZhong District ChongQing (50m. south of Jiefangbei square), ☎ . Has a rotating restaurant on top. ¥180+single/¥280+double.
- 1 Somerset Yangtze River Chongqing, No. 151 Changjiang Binjiang Road, Yuzhong District, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Overlooking the Yangtze River, the property offers studio, one, two and three bedroom serviced apartments. Each apartment is equipped with a home entertainment system and living areas.
- Regent Chongqing, 66th Jinshamen Road, Jiangbei District, Chongqing, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Niccolo Chongqing, Tower 1, Chongqing IFS, No.1 Qingyun Road, Jiangbei District, Chongqing, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- The Westin Chongqing Liberation Square, 222 Xin Hua Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, ☎ .
- Hilton Chongqing (No 139 Zhong Shan San Lu, Yuzhong District, Chongqing), ☎ .
- InterContinental Chongqing, 101 Minzu Road, Jeifangbei CBD, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. in the central square
- JW Marriott Chongqing, 77 Qing Nian Road, Jeifangbei CBD, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, ☎ .
- Hyatt Regency Chongqing, 11 Paradise Walk, Jiangbei District, Chongqing, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. New hotel.
Upon arrival, foreign travelers are required to complete entry registry within 24 hours at your staying hotel or at the nearest immigration office, aka Public Security Bureau (PSB).
- Dazu Rock Carvings (Three hours' drive west of Chongqing city). The spectacular Buddhist carvings date from the 9th to the 13th century and are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. There is also a fascinating temple complex on the grounds. The caves can be reached by bus from the main long distance bus station in Chongqing (Chen Jiaping).