Chongqing travel guide
Chongqing may appear dull and rough around the edges when you first view her but she is a lady with grace, style and a beauty that makes her simply wonderful when you get to know her. A city with one foot in the past and the other in the present, she has been promoted by the government’s interest in her tourism which has caused a ripple effect to other neighbouring cities.
Chongqing has been someone’s home for more than two million years, as proved by archaeologists and today more than five million calls it their home. It was known once as Chunking and in 1890 was meant to be a treaty port but the few westerners who lived here hardly made an influence on it. Today, the tourism industry in this city is booming and there are many things to do and experience here.
The first stop in your city guide to Chongqing is the the Arhat Temple. Around 1000 years ago was when this beautiful temple was first established and became the home to more than 70 Buddhist monks at the very peak of its fame. Today there are around 18 who call it their home. It is called Arhat Temple due to 500 arhat (Buddhist saints) sculptures made from terracotta which grace the temple grounds. In addition, the golden statue of the Buddha and a mural in the Indian jakata style showing the young prince cutting off his hair renouncing the world, make for a mesmerizing viewing.
The Chongqing Planning Exhibition takes you on an interesting journey on the history of the local region and tells you all about the Three Gorges Dam. Since Chongqing is made up of 40 different counties, there are 40 rooms downstairs, each dedicated to one county.
For a taste of ancient Chongqing, head to Ciqikou Ancient Town, or more commonly as porcelain village. Situated on the Jialing River in western side of town, this atmospheric section was constructed during the Ming Dynasty and the architecture has been lovingly preserved, giving it a more authentic feel. Five temples were built here but only Baolun Si has managed to survive all the odds which is really impressive since it was built during the Western Wei period (535 – 56 CE).
Red Cliff Village (Hong Yan Cun) is a vital part to the city’s tourism industry. This was the place where Mao Zhedong and Chiang Kai-Shek held the Chongqing Negotiations. To get here take the number 104 bus which will drop you off at the exhibition hall.
There are many hotels to choose from in Chongqing but do not expect large luxurious hotels. Instead, there are numerous smaller, comfortable options to pick from, each with friendly and efficient service.
Restaurants in Chongqing are both a delight and an experience. The local cuisine is called matou wenhua, known in English as dockside cuisine. Hotpot is a delicious local dish but you should also try Spicy Fine Beef Threads and Pulverous Nuby Peach. Be aware though that some restaurants serve dog meat during the winter months.
Chongqing is a fabulous place to visit. It is the largest city in the entire country but has one of the biggest personalities that you could imagine. Beautiful and unique, she is a city that you will fall in love with.