Chongqing Travel Guide

" Everything you need to know before traveling to Chongqing"

Chongqing is a provincial-level municipality in the south-west of China. This fantastic city has faced a rapid economic development in recent decades while preserving stunning natural beauties. Chongqing is a combination of top-notch natural landscapes, mouth-watering foods, and commercial sites.

The existence of two famous rivers, Yangzi and Jialing, as well as other natural sights like steep hills and the Three Gorges, has made the city a real tourist area, which should not be missed by any visitor of China.

  • Local Name Ch'ung-ch'ing (重庆市)
  • Country China
  • Population (2016) 30,484,300
  • Time Zone UTC+8 (China Standard)
  • Area Code 23
  • Website CQ.gov.cn

Why Visiting Chongqing?

Chongqing is the fastest-growing tourism city in China and is one of the Yangtze River’s main ports. The river and its attractions such as the Three Gorges play a very crucial role in this growth.

Besides attractions, Chongqing’s downtown area, known as Jiefangbei, is very modern and beautiful, filled with shops, malls, and skyscrapers. The central square of Jiefangbei is known as the “Time Square” of Chongqing. 

Chongqing is one of the famous Sichuan Dish’s main hubs with a very hot and spicy taste. No visit to Chongqing will be complete if you don’t try the hot pot of this city.

Generally, the city’s natural attractions like Hongya Cave, E’ling Park, Wulong Mountain Forest Park, etc. are the main reasons for tourists visit this fantastic city at least once in their life.

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What to See in Chongqing

  • Black Mountain Valley
  • Chaotianmen Dock
  • China Three Gorges Museum
  • Chongqing Happy Valley
  • Chongqing Zoo
  • Ci Qi Kou
  • Dazu Rock Carvings
  • General Joseph W. Stilwell Museum
  • Hongya Cave
  • Jiefangbei CBD
  • Jinfo Mountain
  • Madame Tussauds Chongqing
  • Northern Hot Springs Park
  • People’s Assembly Hall
  • People’s Liberation Monument
  • Shenlong George
  • Simian Mountain
  • Southern Hot Spring Park
  • The Three Gorges
  • Wansheng Stone Forest
  • Wulong Karst
  • Yangtze River
  • Youyang Taohuayuan Scenic Area

Best Time to Visit Chongqing

The best time for visiting Chongqing is Autumn as the weather is pleasant and cool. However, you can enjoy Chongqing other times of the year as well!

Spring (March - May)

  • Temperature: 14 °C  (57°F ) – 22°C (72°F)
  • Features: The weather in spring has sharp temperature intervals. You may see some warm days and then, sudden cold days.
  • Recommendation: Dazu Grottoes is the best in Spring

What to wear?

Overcoats, sweaters, and long-sleeve shirts.

Summer (June- September)

  • Temperature: 25°C (77°F) – 24Chongqing Travel Guide 2C (75Chongqing Travel Guide 2F)
  • Features: Long and hot days.
  • Recommendation: Taking Yangtze River cruise is the best choice in summer

What to wear?

T-shirts, skirts, shorts, and any summer clothes.

Autumn (October to November)

  • Temperature: 19°C (66°F) – 14°C (57°F)
  • Features: Cool and pleasant
  • Recommendation: Don’t miss Garden Expo Park in autumn.

What to wear?

T-shirt, thin sweater, and coat

Winter (December - February)

  • Temperature: 9°C (48°F) – 10°C (50°F)
  • Features: Mild and gloomy with rare snows
  • Recommendation: Drink more water and decrease long outdoor activities

What to wear?

Sweaters and thick jackets are great for winter

How Long To Stay?

Three full days is enough for visiting Chongqing. You can spend your first day visiting Dazu Carves, second day for Wulong, and the third day for the attractions in downtown.

Things to do in Chongqing

It is very hard to decide what you can do in such a massive part of the country, which is why we give you our top recommendations. Since it is perhaps one of the largest cities you find in your travels, it has much more activities and fun places to visit, but deciding on the top 10 can change the traveling experience for better or worse. 

Stroll in Hongya Cave

When deciding on which cities you want to visit in China, you have to put Chongqing on your list and make sure you visit the Hongya Cave. This place is a very popular place for travelers since it is ancient with very large silt houses that were part of a fortress. It is on the waterfront cliff beside the Yangtze River surrounded by streets filled with bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. You should never miss walking around this area during the night when the beautiful lights are lit.

The Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise

One of the top things to do in Chongqing and perhaps all of China is going on a Yangtze River Cruise. This river runs through 11 provinces and offers a unique path for traveling by water. While relaxing and enjoying the view, you also get the chance to see the Three Gorges Dam. The most recommendable thing about this journey is taking the cruise while leaving the city and heading to Yichang to make the most of the trip. This cruise can take 3-4 days, but it is not something to be regretted. 

Try the Hot Pot

The Hot Pot of Chongqing is a famous dish in the province as it is part of their life. It is very spicy even for people who like spicy food, but it is also a part of their culture that you might want to try. The exotic ingredients and the amazing taste of this hot and boiling pot is not something you could turn down, so if possible, make sure to give it a try. 

Travel to the Past in Ci-Qi-Kou Old Town

If you like to see more of the ancient architecture of Chongqing, you should head out to Ci Qi Kou Old Town. This town is a place to have fun or relax, even for the locals. If the crowds of the megacity are unbearable or you just want more historic areas, make sure to dedicate at least several hours to the Ci-Qi-Kou Old Town. Exploring around may only talk several minutes or just an hour, but we recommend visiting the tea houses and restaurants. As you are exploring in this town, you might also want to go and catch a show.

 Visit the Wulong Karst National Geology Park

Put on appropriate clothing and shoes for a Visit to the Wulong Karst National Geology Park. This wonderful park is a large area that is something you must visit for several reasons other than the scenery. One of the reasons for some travelers is that this park appears in “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” showing a portion of its landscape. The primary reason for most travelers and adventurers is the highlights of the park-like Three Natural Bridges, Furong Cave, and Houping Giant Doline. Each of these highlights has their own beauty and is recommended for a visit, but if you do not have enough time or energy for them all, you might want to pick which section you want to see.

Photo by Lauri Väin via Flickr

Do Not Miss Dazu Rock Carvings

One of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Chongqing is the Dazu Rock Carvings in Dazu districts. On this site, you can see thousands of sculptures and carvings, some of which date back to the 9th century. These statues and sculptures are highly rooted in the beliefs of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The most detailed and best-preserved one of them are the Beishan Rock Carving and Baodingshan Rock Carving, but if you have time, you might want to see them all.

Refresh at Natural Hot Springs

Did all the walking around make you tired? Does all that adventuring around the world make your bones ache? Or are you just looking to relax and refresh? Well, the Natural Hot Springs of Chongqing, as well as their Hot Springs Resorts, can help you with all of these problems and more. Some of these Hot Springs are thousands of years old and there are many of them near almost all the mountains of this province. In addition to Natural Springs, there are spas that make you feel much better. These Springs and the spas have also made this city a top destination for medical reasons. The most popular place you can try is the Ronghui Hot Springs Resort, but they are not the only ones in town.

Go to the Chongqing Zoo & See Giant Pandas

If you want to see the famous Pandas of China, here is your chance. You can head on over to the Chongqing Zoo, where some of these Giant Pandas live. They are an endangered species, but they are under the care of their keepers right next to other types of animals that belong to China. Visiting the pandas can never get old as these bamboo lovers play and live. Be sure to see them before you leave this city.

Photo by Gwydion M. Williams via Flickr

Learn the History of Chongqing at Three Gorges Museum

This museum takes its name from the Three Gorges Area because it is located along the Yangtze River and inside the Yuzhong District. You should pay the museum a visit to learn about the history and see the cultural aspect of the lives of people of Chongqing. It may not be on the top of the list, but it is just as recommendable as it will make the rest of your trip more enjoyable. Three Gorges Museum is older than it looks and has more items and artifacts than you can imagine since there used to be another museum in the very same spot with the same name. you could say this building is a more complete version of the last one, which makes it all the better for a few hours of exploring.

See the City and Yangtze River from Cableway

Although it was not intended to be a tourist attraction, because of its exotic nature, the Cableway over Yangtze River became popular. It is not the tallest part of the city either, but it will take you on a trip over the river for more than 1000 meters as you see everything that is beneath the cable car. This means of transportation was first put to use in the 1980s to get people to their working places across the water. It may not sound that much exciting until you try it for yourself. If possible, catch this ride at night for a better image of the surrounding areas.

Where to Stay in Chongqing

Jiefangbei CBD

Jiefangbei is the best choice for first-time travelers to stay in Chongqing since it’s in the city center. Chaotianmen Dock and Chaotianmen Business District are easily accessible from this area.

Yuzhong District

Yuzhong District is the closest area to Chongqing’s main attractions, such as the Three Gorges Museum, the Three Gorges, E’ling Park, etc.

Nanan District

Nanan District is the best choice for having a fantastic night view of Chongqing city. Wulong Karst Geopark is easily accessible from this area.

Jiangbei District

Jiangbei District is the best choice if you have an early morning flight as it’s located near the airport.

How to Get to Chongqing

Chongqing is one of the fastest-growing cities of China, which offers convenient and advanced transportation system.

By Plane

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport

Address: About 13 miles (21km) northeast of Chongqing in Lianglu Town, Yubei District.

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport is one of the five largest airports in southeast China operating 120 domestic and international flights.

International Airlines

  • Qatar Airways
  • Oriental Thailand Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Finnair
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Air Asia
  • Finnair
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Air Asia

Domestic Airlines

  • Sichuan Airlines
  • West Airlines
  • China Express Airlines
  • Spring Airlines
  • China Airlines
  • Chengdu Airlines
  • Anying Airlines
  • Loongair
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • China United Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Chongqing Airlines
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Kunming Airlines
  • Tianjin Airlines
  • Lucky Airlines
  • Okay Airlines
  • Hebei Airlines
  • Juneyao Airlines
  • Capital Airlines
  • Fuzhou Airlines
  • Air China
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Shandong Airlines
  • Tibet Airlines

Wanzhou Wuqiao Airport (WXN)

Address: South bank of Yangtze River, Wanzhou District, Chongqing City.

Wanzhou Wuqiao Airport is the second airport in Chongqing offering flight with these airlines:

Domestic Airlines

  • Air China (CA)
  • Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines (GX)
  • Guizhou Colorful Airlines (GY)
  • Hebei Airlines (NS)
  • Kunming Airlines (KY)
  • Shandong Airlines (SC)
  • Shenzhen Airlines (ZH)
  • Tibet Airlines (TV)
  • Urumqi Airlines (UQ)
  • West Airlines (PN)
  • Xiamen Airlines (MF)

By Train

Chongqing Railway Station offers train services to all capital cities of china except for Yinchuan, the capital city of Ningxia.

Chongqing Railway Station

Address: Caiyuan Road, Yuzhong District

Major destinations

 
  • Beijing
  • Chengdu
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Lanzhou
  • Tianjin
  • Urumqi
  • Xi’an
  • Zhengzhou

Chongqing West Railway Station

Chongqing West Railway Station is the largest railway station in the city.

Address: Near Huayu Road in Shapingba District

  • Changsha
  • Chengdu
  • Fuzhou
  • Guiyang
  • Guilin
  • Hong Kong
  • Huaihua
  • Kunming
  • Lanzhou
  • Lijiang
  • Luoyang
  • Nanchang
  • Nanjing
  • Nanning
  • Qingdao
  • Shenzhen
  • Suzhou
  • Urumqi
  • Yangshuo

Chongqing East Railway Station

Chongqing East Railway Station is the fourth largest railway station in Chongqing.

Address: Changshengqiao Town, Chayuan District.

Major Destinations

  • Ankang
  • Changsha
  • Chengkou
  • Fengdu
  • Fuling
  • Huaihua
  • Jiangjin
  • Kaizhou
  • Kunming
  • Luzhou
  • Nanchuan
  • Pengshui
  • Wanzhou
  • Wulong
  • Xi’an
  • Xiushan
  • Yibin
  • Yongchuan
  • Youyang
  • Zhaotong
  • Zhashui
  • Zhongxian

Chongqing North Railway Station

This station helps you to reach these destinations:

  • Beijing
  • Changsha
  • Chengdu
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Guiyang
  • Hangzhou
  • Hefei
  • Huaihua
  • Jinan
  • Lanzhou
  • Lhasa
  • Nanchang
  • Nanjing
  • Nanning
  • Qingdao
  • Shanghai
  • Shenzhen
  • Suzhou
  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Xiamen
  • Xi’an
  • Yichang
  • Zhengzhou

By Long-Distance Buses

There are six main bus stations in Chongqing with very convenient buses, including Chongqing Bus Station, Shapingba Bus Station, Sigongli Transportation Hub, and Chenjiaping Bus Station.

Chongqing Bus Station

Address: No.6 Caiyuan Road, Yuzhong District, adjacent to Chongqing Railway Station

  • Chengdu
  • Dazu Rock carvings
  • Dujiangyan (Sichuan)
  • Emei (Sichuan)
  • Guiyang (Guizhou)
  • Haikou (Hainan)
  • Jianwei County (Sichuan)
  • Kunming (Yunnan)
  • Leshan (Sichuan)
  • Meishan (Sichuan)
  • Mianyang (Sichuan)
  • Nanchong

Shapingba Bus Station

Address: No.58 Tianchen Road, Shapingba District

  • Chengdu
  • Fuling
  • Leshan
  • Longchang County (Sichuan)
  • Neijiang (Sichuan)
  • Nanchong

Sigongli Transportation Hub

Address: No.61, Sigongli Street, Nan’an District

  • Qianjiang
  • Yibin
  • Xiushan
  • Wulong

Chenjiaping Bus Station

Address: No.39, Shiyang Road

  • Chengdu
  • Chongqing Wildlife Park
  • Dujiangyan
  • Emei
  • Fuling
  • Leshan
  • Mianyang
  • Nanchong
  • Yibin (Sichuan)

Get Around In Chongqing

Metro

Metro is the best public transportation in Chongqing.

LinesRoutes
Line 1 Xiaoshizi – Jiandingpo
Line 2  Jiaochangkou – Yudong
Line 3  Main Line: Yudong – Jiangbei Airport – Branch Line: Bijin – Jurenba
 Line 5 Dalongshan – Garden Expo Center
Line 6 Chayuan – Beibei/Yuelai
Line 10 Liyuchi – Wangjiazhuang

City bus

There are 511 bus lines in Chongqing, offering a very convenient service to get around the city. Like other cities in China, there are two kinds of city buses in the city, including ordinary and air-conditioned ones. Regular buses cost 1 RMB, and air-conditioned buses cost 2RMB.

Taxi

Taxis can be found almost everywhere in Chongqing. They cost 10 RMB for the first 3 km and 2 RMB for each additional km.

Flight to Chongqing (CKG)

Chongqing Food & Drink

Since Chinese Cuisine is regional, there is hardly a city or town in this country that does not offer something unique in that area. And most of these regional dishes have the stuff of legends or logical explanations behind them. In any case, when you travel to China, it is best to know what types of food you have to try before anything else. Even if you do not want to try new things, it is a good way to try what the locals eat to have a slightly better understanding of their way of life.

 In this list of “What to Eat in Chongqing,” you will read about the top five dishes that you do not want to miss. If you liked these five, we have several more recommendations as well, although without details.

Hot Pot

If you want to try something related to the history of Chongqing and their culture, the Hot Pot should be on the top of the list. However, you should keep in mind that although it is the top recommendation and an original dish of this region, it can be too spicy for some people. It is a dish of boiling hot broth that has chili (and lots of it), fish, and other kinds of sliced meat, fresh vegetables, and noodles. It is rich with flavors and very nutritious and best tried with a group of others.

 The cultural aspect and the history of this food are, that it used to be served to several people in the cold winters of Chongqing. It soon became a way of living in this city as it was part of their social life as well as a meal. If you want to get a better feeling out of this dish, try it in winter and bring your friends!

Hot & Sour Noodles (Suan la Fen)

Suan la Fen or hot and sour, sweet potato noodles are a small and rather cheap dish that can be found in both restaurants and street vendors. It is a dish belonging to either Beijing and Sichuan but since hot foods are a regional specialty, it is a good idea to try this food here as well. The noodles are prepared in a special way, which can be seen when some food vendors prepare it before your eyes. But the exotic noodles are not all, as the taste of garlic, peanuts, green onions, with a bit of chili on top of minced pork is beyond words.

Photo by Prince Royt via Flickr

Chongqing chicken (La-Zi Ji)

Lazi Ji, also known by most English menus as the Chongqing chicken, is yet another dish that can be found almost everywhere in China. To make this, the chicken is cleaned and chopped whole with bones before being marinated. Then, the chopped pieces are marinated in a strong soy-based mix, and then they are fried with dry pepper. There is so much red and green chili that can burn even the hot-food lovers! It is too spicy but nevertheless great food to try. If you do not tolerate too much spice, you might be lucky enough to find a milder version. If you can endure the chili, be sure to try it.

Mapo Doufu

This food was born in Sichuan, but you can find it as a very delicious dish in Chongqing since hot and spicy meals are favorites in this city. It has tofu in fermented black beans, a thin layer of chili oil, and minced meat that is usually beef. This mix may look like it will melt the dish, the table, and the floor, but it is not as hot as it seems. It is spicy but not as much as the other foods. Some of the ingredients such as the vegetables and the meat may vary in some restaurants but it is mostly the same in all of Chongqing.

Photo by George N via Flickr

Photo by Charles Haynes via Flickr

Dan Dan Mian

Dan Dan Mian is very famous and quite popular among both locals and tourists. It is a simple dish that you can find even in western countries and is not originally from Chongqing, but their method of cooking and local ingredients makes it something you have to try in this city. The main ingredients are noodles, pork, chili, garlic, and vinegar, and a lot more optional ingredients that you should try in more than one place.

Where to Go?

For a megapolis, Chongqing is filled with numerous options for good places to eat at. One place you should try when looking for great food and snacks is the food street known as Bayi Street. Most of the food you can find in this part of China is spicy and hot, as is clear from our list of top recommendations, but you can always find milder and safer foods. While there, keep an eye out for bars and coffee shops as well to try other local things you can eat.

More Food to Try:

Although most of their food is hot, there is always more to find. These dishes also have spicy versions and less spicy ones, but you may have to look a little. The main ingredients of Chinese Cuisine are mostly rice and fish, as well as noodles offering a wider variety of dishes to try. As you are strolling around and exploring Bayi Street, you should try these dishes as well:

Shuizhu Yu (marinated and boiled fish) – Shao Kao (grilled skewers) – Tang Yuan (sweet rice balls) – Hong You Chao Sou (pork dumplings in spicy sauce) – Xiaomian – Kung Pao – Zha Cai (pickled cabbage)

Shopping in Chongqing

The best shopping districts in Chongqing

Jiefangbei (解放碑)

Jiefangbei is the most popular commercial district in Chongqing, containing over 20 large shopping centers, restaurants, bookstores, etc. It’s the best place for fashion shopping and high-tech products. The city’s biggest snack bar is located 300 meters from the Jiefangbei district, offering a wide range of local snacks.

Address: Min Zu Road, Yu Zhong Qu, Chongqing, China

Shapingba Three Gorges Square (沙坪坝三峡广场)

Address: Three Gorges Square, Shapingba District, Chongqing

Shapingba Three Gorges Square is the second commercial center in Chongqing, containing many world-class company branches and commercial centers.

 

Photo by Daniel McDermott via Flickr

Photo by Thomas Bächinger via Flickr

Guanyinqiao Walking Street (观音桥步行街)

Address: Yu Zhong Qu, Chongqing, China

Guanyinqiao Walking Street is one of the top-ten shopping districts in China and the most popular one in the Southwestern of the country. This area offers entertainment, fitness centers, restaurants, etc. as well as the shopping centers.

What to buy in Chongqing

Shu Embroidery

Shu Embroidery, also known as Sichuan Embroidery, is one of China’s famous artworks reputed as Sichuan’s treasure. Unique and beautiful designs such as flowers, birds, landscapes, fish, etc. are eye-catching.

Jiangjin Swelled Candy Rice

Jiangjin Swelled Candy Rice is one of Chongqing’s most famous specialties made of glutinous rice, walnuts, peanuts, sesame, sugar, etc. which creates a sweet and crispy taste. This specialty is very popular in other cities in China as well.

Photo by City Foodsters via Flickr

Photo by ink stone via Flickr

Photo by Koichi Oda via Flickr

Tea

Chongqing is one of the best places in China to buy high-quality tea. Silver Needle Tea, one of the most popular Chinese tea, is yield in this city. Besides, Silver Needle Tea, another famous tea in China, is also yielding in Chongqing.

Herbal

Some of the most useful herbals in China, such as Chinese goldthread (Huang Lian), Gastrodia elata (tianma), and the bark of eucommia (duchong) grow in Chongqing. Make sure to bring some to your home!

Chongqing Travel Tips

Have some toilet paper in public areas

Public toilets in Chongqing, like other China cities, don’t provide toilet papers, so make sure to have them when you are out.

Be prepared for squat toilets

In Chongqing’s public areas, you will see that most of the toilets in public areas are squat toilets, so be prepared for them!

Have rain clothes

Rain is a regular in Chongqing, so having rain clothes and umbrellas are highly recommended

Bring cash

Having cash is necessary in Chongqing as you can barely find a place, store, etc. to accept credit cards.

Foreign Embassies & Consulates in Chongqing

British Consulate-General in Chongqing China
Address Suite 2801, Metropolitan Tower 68 Zourong Road Yu Zhong District Chongqing 400010 China
Phone (+86) (23) 6369 1400/1500 General
Fax (+86) (23) 6369 1525
Cambodian Consulate in Chongqing, China
Address #1902, Building A, No 9, Yang He Road, Jiang Bei District, Chongqing, China
Phone (8623) 89116416, 89116417
Fax (8623) 89111369
The Consulate of Canada in Chongqing, China
Address Suite 1705, Metropolitan Tower, Wu Yi Road, Yu Zhong District, Chongqing, 400010, China
Phone (8623) 6373-8007
Fax (8623) 6373-8026
Danish Consulate in Chongqing, China
Add Room 3101, Daduhui Building, Jiefangbei, Yuzhong, Chongqing, China
Tel (8623) 63726600
Consulate-General of Japan in Chongqing, China
Address 37/F, Metropolitan Tower No.68 Zourong Road Central District 400010 Chongqing China
Phone (86-23)6373-3585
Fax (86-23)6373-3589
Hungarian Consulate in Chongqing, China
Address Room 1,2,3,Floor 6, Marriott Hotel, Chongqing, China
Tel (8623)63001878
Philippine Consulate in Chongqing, China
Address Suite 2903-2905, Metropolitan Tower, No.68, Zhou Rong Lu, Yu Zhong District, Chongqing, 400010 China
Tel (8623) 6381-0832
Fax (8623) 6372-9809

Exchanging Money

Exchanging money is easy in Chongqing. You choose airport, Bank of China, Hotel Services, etc. for exchanging your money.

Bank of China in Chongqing
 Address218 ZHONG SHAN YI ROAD, YU ZHONG DISTRICT, CHONGQING, CHINA
Swift BKCHCNBJ59A
Tel(86) 023-63889234
Fax(86) 023-63889217
Postcode 400013

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