A city of you are going to fall in love with..
Chongqing is a truly fascinating city and one that is well worth checking out at some point in your life – even if you never get the chance to live there. The city can be broken down into what is the city proper and the greater municipality of Chongqing. The urban area is actually quite small by comparison and has a population of around 9 million, whereas the municipality which was created by cutting it out of Sichuan back in 1997 has a population of around 32 million – making it one of the largest population centres in the world.
As a young person living in Chongqing, you certainly won’t be short of things to see and do. There are lots of tourist attractions to check out such as Hongyadong 洪崖洞, which is right next to the Yangzte river and a magnet for tourists. You can also take a sunset boat ride along the Yangtze and take in the cityscape.
The city itself is pretty impressive, especially for anyone visiting from eastern China and used to relatively flat cities built on plateaus with Ofo and Motobikes strewn all over the place. When you come to Chongqing, you won’t see any of that. The city is also known as Shancheng山城 or “Mountain City” and for good reason. No matter where you are, you just seem to be constantly going up and down hills making it one of the most picturesque cities in China. On top of that, you have the ubiquitous skyscrapers and the megastructure which has just been recently finished, called Raffles City in Yuzhong which has the longest skybridge in the world stretching across four connected skyscrapers.
Dazu rock carvings
These rock carvings were constructed in the 7th century AD and are now a UNESCO world heritage. They were off limits to foreigners for many years and were nearly destroyed during the cultural revolution. Definitely worth a trip to any intrepid traveller.
This is probably one of the highlights of any trip to Chongqing and the food the city itself is most known for. Hotpot restaurants are ubiquitous across the city and a big draw for other Chinese tourists who absolutely love this food. I’ll let you try it and then you can make your own mind up.
The city is extremely cheap and affordable. You can easily rent a nice one-bedroom apartment for a couple of thousand kuai ($300) a month and bills on top of that are relatively negligible. Being a foreigner, you can go out to one of any number of clubs and drink for free. There’s no need to pay so long as you can find the person that deals with the foreigners at one of the main clubs in Jiulongpo or Jiujie (Space is highly recommended and rammed every night).
Chongqing is one of the Chinese ovens, so if you like really hot long summers then you’re in the right place. Others need not apply. The winters are relatively mild but do a bit chilly. The city is known for is fog – not to be confused with smog found in Beijing and the like – which seems to be an omnipresence in the city.
Getting in and out
Chongqing is fairly easy to get to from within China and increasingly more easy to get to from outside of China without the need to fly through other Chinese hubs. The city is served by a massive airport which can be reached by train from the centre of the city. It has three major railway stations in the north, west and centre. Flights in and around China are dirt cheap. Flights abroad can still be purchased cheaply but will be more expensive.
To conclude, Chongqing is one of my favourite Chinese cities and comes highly recommended. Even if you only get the chance to pass through on your way to southeast Asia, it’s definitely worth checking out!