Welcome to the spicy city located in Southwest China! Chongqing is actually an administrative municipality, one of four in China (the others are Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin). Besides being famous for its spicy food, Chongqing is also well known for giant skyscrapers and beautiful scenic views along the Yangtze and Jialing rivers. It is a central hub for economic and transportation in central China and offers a wide variety of attractions to see and do.
Here’s a guide for visiting Chongqing, including:
- How To Travel To Chongqing
- When To Visit Chongqing
- Where To Stay in Chongqing
- Things To Do in Chongqing
How To Travel To Chongqing
As a major city in China, it’s very easy to travel to Chongqing! There’s an international airport, many train stations, and many city buses. Once you’re in the city, there’s a well connected metro system with English, as well as taxis, didis, and buses. I found it very easy and convenient to travel around Chongqing.
When To Travel to Chongqing
Located in central/southwestern China, Chongqing has hot summers and mild winters. Chongqing is often called the “Fog City,” as it’s geographical location between the Yangzte River and Jialing River creates excess water vapor that precipitates to fog when the temperature changes during the day and night. Chongqing usually has over 100 foggy days a year, so chances are it will be foggy on some days you are there. Overall, Chongqing is nice to see any time of the year, but it’s recommended to avoid the high summer time as its very hot and humid.
Where To Stay in Chongqing
Chongqing is a giant municipality, with over 9 million people alone in the city proper area, and more than 30 million in the whole region. The city has many districts spread out around the large area.
I recommend staying in Jiefangbei area, which is right in the heart of Chongqing. It’s centrally located which makes it convenient to travel around to other attractions. There are plenty of hotels and hostels in this area, as well as lots of shops, restaurants, convenience stores, and mall. I used Trip.com to book a hotel and got a great deal at a hotel called IU Hotel (Chonqing Jiefangbei Center). It was very basic, but the location and price was the most important thing to me.
There were multiple metro stations nearby within walking distance, as well as the Yangtze cablecar and the Hongyadong scenic area. Note: if I lived in Chongqing I wouldn’t want to live in this area, but for a short visit it’s great!
Ultimately, the area you stay in depends on how much you want to spend, what attractions you want to see, and how much you are concerned about the location.
Best Things To Do in Chongqing
There’s so much to see and do in Chongqing! Chongqing offers something for everyone: whether you’re a nature lover, a city dweller, a foodie, or a night owl, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Check out my 3 Day Chongqing Itinerary: Best Things To See in 72 Hours for more details about these locations!
- Hongyadong Cultural Area
- Eat Chongqing Spicy Food
- Visit Chongqing Temples
- Walk Around The Parks
- Liziba Station
- Zhongshuge Bookstore
- Yangzte River Cable Car
- Yangtze River Cruise
Hongyadong Cultural Area
Hongyadong is a large-scale stilt house complex built alongside a steep clip on the bank of the Jialing River. It’s free to walk through and is filled with many shops and restaurants. It’s great during the day, but the night time is when it really comes alive! Make sure you cross the road for great pics at night.
Eat Chongqing Spicy Food
Chongqing is known for its spicy food. And by spicy I mean super numbing spice! After the initial sensation fades, you’ll be craving more. Try the famous Chonqing hot pot while you’re here, as well as the xiao mian (小面), a famous kind of noodle you can find anywhere in the city.
A bowl of xiaomian usually uses more than 10 different spices, like Sichuan pepper, chilies, spring onions, etc. There are many topping options like beef or pork. I tried the beef xiao mian and it was so good!
Visit Chongqing Temples
Chongqing has many famous temples! My favorites are the Hongen Daoist Temple 鸿恩寺公园 and the Guanyuemiao Temple, but there are many others to see.
Despite being a big city filled with skyscrapers, Chongqing also has many nature areas and parks to explore! The city does a great job with balancing the urban and nature area. Many parks and gardens are built up high in the city and offer great views. I went to Eling Park and was reward with a lovely 360 view of Chongqing!
Yangtze River Cablecar
A cablecar ride over the famous Yangzte River is a great way to get a nice view of the city, and also cross to the other side. It costs 20 RMB for one way, or 30 RMB for a round trip. After you cross from Jiefangbei side you can walk around Nanbei lu area before taking the cable car back.
*Tip* It can be very crowded taking the cable car from the Jiefangbei side. If the line is extremely long, you can take a taxi to the Nan’an side of the river, then take the cable back.
Liziba Station Station
Liziba Station is famous in Chongqing because the metro line runs right through a 19 story apartment building. I read many articles about this building years ago and was very excited to see it in person!
This famous bookstore is Zhongshuge branch. It’s a very popular site to visit (and take photos in) because of it’s unique ladder hall, which is filled with mirrors and looks like an optical illusion.
Nanbinlu/Beibinlu City Views
For some awesome city views, stroll along Nanbinlu or Beibinlu! If you go to Nanbinlu you can walk along the river and see iron statues and paintings or go to Landmark Riverside, a restaurant and shopping complex which has amazing views of the peninsula. Nan Shan (South Mountain) is also on that side and has some viewing platforms and a temple overlooking the city.
Ciqikou Ancient Town
Ciqikou is an ancient part of Chongqing that is now a famous walking street. You can try many street foods here and browse the shops. There were many entertaining shop keepers advertising their goods here!
Other Things to Do:
There are many more things to do in Chongqing! From hiking, Chongqing Zoo, Wulong Karst, Guotai Artistic Center, Botanical Garden, Three Gorges Museum, People’s Assembly Hall or just walking and enjoying the city views, there are many options.
Take a Trip to Chongqing
As one of China’s biggest cities, Chongqing offers a unique cultural experience! From exploring the giant urban scene to trying the spiciest hot pot of your life, you’ll find plenty of things to enjoy in Chongqing. For more details, also read about The Best Instagram Spots in Chongqing!
Check out some of my other recent trips in China:
- Harbin Ice and Snow Festival Travel Guide
- Snowy Sunrise at Jinshanling Great Wall
- Furong Ancient Town: The Magical Waterfall Village of Hunan, China