Chongqing was our first stop in China this trip and it was quite enjoyable even when many people have probably never heard of it. In China it is worthwhile to take a look to these second tier cities, there is a lot to enjoy about them; from local markets, to ancient temples and futuristic architecture.
This city has the largest surface area in China, its population is in constant boom and the first impression may be rough for the visitor because the city combines modern and ancient areas in a combination of colors, traditions and sounds. Once you lose the fear it is easy to discover a friendly city with delightful cultural opportunities and as always in China many, many places to enjoy first class shopping.
What is immediately impressive about Chongqing is its size and growth. The city is bustling with millions of people and yet it is organized very well. We found the place to be vibrant with unique cuisine, modern skyscrapers, beautiful squares and a lot to do and see.
Chongqing is a singular combination with super tall sky scrapers surrounded by lush mountains. These shape the local geography and how people live in it. The hills and gorges mean there are lots of big span bridges and tall high rise buildings to make use of the space. Cruises of the rivers especially the Yangze are popular, however we chose to stick to the terrain.
Food stalls can be found everywhere and the typical style here is extra spicy. There are Western chains to be found around town such as Starbucks and the beautiful downtown hotels such as JW Marriott and Westin offer prime accommodations and service at a fraction of what you would pay in another city this size outside China.
We were only able to get around expediently because of the city’s CRT or skytrain system. It is not bounded by traffic, branches out all over the area and is continually expanding. It costs just a couple of Yuan to ride and you can pick the destinations in English on the vending machines.
We ventured on our own into different areas of the city. We really enjoyed Huayan Temple most of all. We chose to walk from the nearest metro, it was a long walk but we enjoy the exercise and it gives a singular view of the city and a little window into the daily lives of people. The temple reflects ancient-style architecture and beautiful golden Buddhas. The grounds are manicured to perfection and nice to walk and there is a well regarded vegetarian restaurant worth trying.
Another area that caught our eye People’s Liberation monument and plaza which is the heart of downtown shopping, tourism and urban scenery. It is actually called Times Square and it has many similarities with all the luxury shopping. Once in the hotel we were able to enjoy an afternoon of relaxation and wellbeing. It was the perfect way to finish our exploration and enjoyment of Chongqing an unknown city to most and a worthwhile destination to be added to any itinerary of a visit to China.