This is part 2/4 of my Central China trip in October 2018.
Chongqing, China can best be described as the biggest city you’ve never heard of. It’s a city you can physically feel growing– Chongqing has a bright future ahead
This city feels raw, especially as a westerner. I passed by tens of thousands of people on the crowded streets without seeing anyone non-Chinese. That was the thrill of it: buildings with the height of New York, combined with the brightness of Shanghai, but with one main difference: the looming giant shadowing over it.
A testament to Chongqing’s rapid growth is Raffles City Chongqing— if that name sounds familiar, it’s the same building group behind Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. This, if anything, is the key to this city’s future success, mark my words.
Airbnb is not allowed for foreigners in this city (Chengdu was fine) so I recommend the Somerset in Jiefangbei. Excellent location (right in ‘times square’, excellent services, and a nice lobby bar!
The highlight of this city is Hongyadong. It’s a multi-level shopping and food complex with the architecture of an ancient castle. Notably at night, Hongyadong can’t be described as anything other than entrancing. Not to mention the unbeleivable views across the river.
At night, Chongqing’s skyscrapers not only light up, but put on an incredible LED show– I hope the photos I provide give this some justice. Chongqing’s grand theater is the pinnacle of this.
Chongqing has a cable car that goes across the river, too. This is great at all times of day, but beware the crowds! As the Chinese say, “人山人海”. (Mountain people, mountain sea). It means that in China, there are always crowds, no matter where you go!
Take a 25-minute train ride out from the city center to see Ciqikou– an ancient village-turned sprawling marketplace. It’s loud, obnoxious, and exactly what you need to hunt for the best hawker stands and amazing gifts!
Unlike Chengdu (a quick train ride away), Chongqing may not offer as many juicey tourist experiences– if you’re unfamiliar with Chinese cities, this might not be the first one you want to visit, unless if you’re heading to Chaotianmen docks to board a world-famous cruise down the Yangtze river, like me.
That 4-day cruise, and the half-day in the city of Yichang will be the next part of this series.
Don’t be intimidated with the size of this city- thanks to good transportation infrastructure, it’s easier to tackle than you think.