Saturday, August 11, 2018

Travel Guide: Chongqing

Chongqing has such a large population. In some cases, more people live in it than entire countries' populations. I visited this gigantic metropolis twice during a handful of trips to China. I didn't do much the first time around because I was just passing through. On the second visit, I made a couple of day trips to see more of the region.


I made a guide on what to do, how much you might spend and how to get in and out of Chongqing, based on my experiences.

Things to Do


Ciqikou





This old town got the name Porcelain Village because of the industry that thrived in it centuries ago. You'll find all sorts of shops, artworks and quaint cafes along its streets and alleys. It is also a great place to get a glimpse of the city's history and culture.

People's Assembly Hall



This massive park has beautiful buildings and a local feel, and combines an east and west design aesthetic. Locals gather here late in the afternoon or in the evening after work or school to do all sorts of activities or just hang out with friends and relatives. It's a good place to walk around after exploring the city and nearby attractions

  • There's a CNY10 entrance fee (FYI: I didn't go inside any of the buildings)
  • Visit at night to see the structures lit up

Cityscape



Like any modern city; the city skyline lights up the night sky with various colors.

Other places of interest in the city include:

  • The Three Gorges Museum
  • Chaotianmen Dock
  • Hongya Cave
  • CBD of Jiefangbei
  • E'ling Park
  • Zhongshan Ancient Town

Day Trips


Three Natural Bridges





Here's a short video of one of the bridges:


This destination is a possible day trip from the city, click the link for more information about this attraction: Three Natural Bridges.

Longshuixia







Here's a short video  of my walk through the gorge:


The gorge is a nice trip from the bustling city, click on the link for more details: Longshuixia (Gorge).

The Gorge and the Bridges are in Wulong, you can get to the latter by bus or train; and then another bus once you get to the station.

*If you only had time for one and not both, I would recommend Longshuixia.

Dazu Rock Carvings




Located in Dazu, you can visit these ancient rock carvings as a long day trip from the city. Click on the link for more information: Dazu Rock Carvings.

Other day trips include:

  • Simian Shan
  • Wuling Mountain
  • Jindao Canyon
You can also arrange multi-day cruises/boat trips along the Yangtze River and Three Gorges.

How to Get to Chongqing

By Air

Chongqing is one of the biggest cities in China, which means there are several domestic and international flights coming and going at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.

You have options when it comes to going to and leaving the airport:

  • The airport shuttle takes a out 40 minutes and costs around CNY15. The route is Shangqisi-Airport and vice-versa.
  • Taxis are available and costs approximately CNY50 to get to the downtown area.
  • Subway lines 3 and 10 have links to the airport
By Land



There are many trains that come and go in the stations within the city from different parts of the country. You can check Trip.com for information about schedules and available tickets.

There are also bus stations that go to different provinces or nearby destinations some of which are:

  • Sigongli Transportation Hub
  • North Bus Station
  • Chongqing Bus Station
  • Chenjiaping Bus Station

Around the City

There are many city buses plying various routes, but my preferred choice of exploring this urban sprawl is the subway, cheap, fast and connected to long-distance bus and train stations, and attractions.

Chongqing's such a big city, but I rarely found locals who could speak fluent English (which could intimidate some). It really helps to know some or a bit of Chinese to make your trip a little less stressful. There are some signs in pinyin (Chinese spelled using English letters), but a lot are in Chinese.

FYI: I know some Chinese, I understand better than I speak.

Where to Stay

I stayed at Only Cafe and Backpacker Hostel during my two visits. The place and dorm rooms are nice and cozy. They have fan and AC dorms; both are still cheap. They have a small gym and hangout area. The shower rooms and toilets were clean. They also had helpful information about the things you can do while in the city or whenever you want to go on day trips. The staff spoke decent English.

Expenses

*Everything's in Chinese Yuan.

1st  Visit

101.5 - Train to Chengdu
48 - Food and drinks
45 - 1 night dorm bed at Only Cafe
40 - Transportation and miscellaneous   
236.5 - Total for 1 night and 1 full day

2nd  Visit 
*I spent more because I stayed longer and was able to do more things during this visit

128 - Train to Guiyang
155 - 3 nights dorm bed at Only Cafe
170 - Food and drinks
64.5 - Transportation
24 - Bus to Jiangjin
28.5 - Bus to Simianshan
24.5 - Train to Wulong (hard seat)
55 - Bus to Chongqing from Simianshan
250 - Ticket for Three Natural Bridges and Longshui Gorge
60 - Bus fare from Wulong to Chongqing
93 - Round trip train tickets to Dazu from Chongqing North Station
12 - Bus fare for Dazu Station round trip (from train station)
6 - Bus 205 fare to and from Baodingshan
135 - Ticket for Baodingshan Rock Carvings                                                  
1205.5 - Total



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