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Book a flight to Chongqing with Qatar Airways and experience a unique mix of ancient rock carvings and suspended coffins, amusement parks and abandoned military bases.
At the confluence of the legendary Yangtze and Jialing Rivers, stands Chongqing, China’s biggest inland city, with a land area of 82,300 square kilometres. A Relatively modern metropolis, it served as the country’s capital for several years during the 20th century. Chongqing also has a booming industrial sector and is known as a major manufacturer and distributor of automobiles, iron, steel and aluminium.
However, surrounded by mountains and rivers, there is more to this city than metal works and production lines. Its commercial façade belies a wealth of natural attractions, including lush forests, water reserves and an underground cave. On your visit to Chongqing, you will find that there are plenty of activities to keep you on your toes.
Start your Chongqing tour by visiting its Second World War military headquarters; then take a cruise down the Yangtze River and head for Fengdu, where an underground cave, featuring majestic snow-white stalactites, awaits you.
It is Chongqing’s political history as China’s capital during the Second World War that has led to the construction of most of its present-day attractions. These include the old home of Zhou Enlai, a leading Communist figure, and the former military headquarters of political leader Chiang Kai Shek. Both structures have been converted into museums and are open to the public.
When you travel to Chongqing, include a visit to the Great Hall of the People, and Zha Zi Dong, a historic disused prison that is now a museum and both are well worth your time. Trip to Chongqing should also include a visit to Foreigner Street, an amusement park that features bizarre attractions, such as an upside-down house and a miniature train.
However, most of Chongqing’s natural attractions can be found on the other side of the Yangtze River. Head to Fengdu, on the river’s northern bank, and visit the Snowy Jade Cave, an underground cavern featuring white, jade-like stalactites. Stalactites here are believed to have the fastest growth rate in the world, at 33mm per 100 years, versus the global average of 1mm.
Fengdu is also home to rare wildlife, including macaque, wild boar, and golden pheasant.
Meanwhile, on the steep hillsides of the Dazu area, you will find five clusters of rock carvings depicting everyday life in China. The attraction, which dates from the 9th to the 13th century, has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
A cruise down the beautiful Yangtze River, the cradle of China, is one of the highlights of any trip to Chongqing. Take a Three Gorges cruise along the river, to soak up the beautiful scenery and quirky cultural attractions, including centuries-old coffins suspended on precipitous cliff faces. This ancient burial custom was practised in China and other parts of Asia.
You should also take a cable-car ride over the river for spectacular views of the city. Because Chongqing is famous for its hot springs, many spa resorts, offering various treatments, can be found in the area.
You can also pay to travel on the longest escalator in China, at 112 metres, next to the Lianglukou railway station.
Chongqing is a harbour city and, as such, has a wide variety of food on offer, especially along the riverside. Nanbin Lu is one of the most popular areas here, with views of both the Yangtze River and the illuminated city. There are both Western and traditional restaurants in the city centre. In the Maison Mode Plaza there are many street restaurants, if you want an authentic local experience.
Traditional restaurants in Chongqing usually serve Sichuan cuisine, including kung pao chicken, and shui zhu yu (poached fish served in sizzling oil with dried chilies and Sichuan peppers).
Many of the smaller restaurants specialise in fusion dishes, with everything from American sirloin steak to Japanese tempura and sushi on offer.
When travelling to Chongqing for shopping, you should head straight for the Jiefangbei, the city’s commercial business district. Here you will find some of the city’s major shopping malls, such as Chongqing Department Store, New Century Department Store, and Jinshan Commercial Mansion. As well as shopping for designer goods, you can dine in one of the many cafés and restaurants in the malls.
Arguably the most popular retail destination in the city is Chaotianmen Market, where haggling is a must. You can find an assortment of goods here, from textiles and handbags, to teapots and souvenirs.
If youare looking for high-quality tea to bring home to your family and friends, then look no further than Chongqing. The area has a long history of cultivating premium-grade tea, so watch out for local tea varieties, such as Chongqing Tuo, Yinping silver needle, and Xinong fur tip.
Essential facts about Chongqing
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip