Massive in size with an abundance of natural beauty surrounding the area, Chongqing is probably the biggest megalopolis you’ve never heard of. To spend a couple of days visiting this colossal city is definitely not enough. With a rich Chinese heritage that is reflected in the people, architecture and cuisine, a string of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore, and the fast-paced world that comes from its vast development, Chongqing certainly packs a mighty punch when it comes to being a family holiday destination.
Best of Chongqing
1. Yangtze River Cruise
There’s no better way to view the cradle of China than from the famous Yangtze River Cruise. The multiple-day cruise offers spectacular views of China at its best atop luxury cruise ships that usually depart from or dock at Chongqing Port itself.
2. Red Cliff Village Museum
A former base for the Communist Party of China, this revolutionary museum now presents a lot of cool stuff from the wartime including photos, memorabilia, essays, furnishings and more. Among the most interesting items are scripts written by Mao Ze Dong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in 1949.
3. Furong Cave
Awarded as one of three greatest caves in the world by World Cave Association, this huge limestone cave is truly a feast for the eyes. The natural rock formation inside the cave was formed in the Cambrian-Ordovian Period hundreds of millions of years ago.
4. Great Hall of the People
Construction of this architectural symbol of Chongqing began in 1951, but its overall design was inspired by traditional Chinese heritage and mirrors those of China’s ancient classical dynasties, resembling an enlarged version of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
5. Longshui Karst Fissure Gorge
The many sharp bends and steep gradients may be challenging, but the Longshui Karst Fissure Gorge is worth every step. Explore the narrow gorge that can reach up to 210m deep, as the rapid river flows between the steep walls – it’s an amazing experience!
6. Dazu Rock Carvings
This fascinating temple complex west of Chongqing houses more than 50,000 remarkable Buddhist carvings, sculptures and statues. This UNESCO World Heritage Centre is renowned for the sculptures’ harmonious depiction of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
The centre of the city is marked as Chongqing’s commercial heart, where the People’s Liberation Monument structure stands tall in the city’s Times Square. The shopping square surrounding the monument is a famous pedestrian street lined with shops and restaurants.
Chongqing’s ancient town of Ciqikou stands timeless by the banks of Jialing River. Its name “Porcelain Port” depicts the port’s main trade, and the ancient town is worth a visit for its small ancient streets, temples and shops that have been meticulously preserved.
9. Hechuan Fishing Town
History buffs will find this place fascinating, as it is the location of some of the most interesting historical events, including the resistance against the Mongolian army during the Song Dynasty, the death of prominent Mongol leader Mongke Khan, as well as hundreds of battles throughout the years.
10. Three Natural Bridges
No poetic notions can fully grasp the spectacular wonderment of the world’s most magnificent natural bridges. The series of limestone bridges are named after Sky, Azure and Black dragons, and was even featured in scenes of the movie Curse of the Golden Flower.
11. Zha Zi Dong
What used to be a 1940’s era prison is now open to the public to visit and get a feel of the spine-chilling side of China’s interesting political history. A tingling sensation comes over as you enter the place, reminiscing the horror in 1949 when nearly 300 communist political prisoners were massacred at the end of the Chinese civil war.
12. Hot Pot
Chongqing’s claim to fame is the famous Sichuan Hot Pot. Red peppery boiling brew of gut-burning soup is synonymous with the city, and goes well with beef, pork, lotus, vegetables and many others. Best consumed during winter with glasses of water at hand!