10 Fun Things to Do in Chongqing on Your First Visit

10 Fun Things to Do in Chongqing on Your First Visit

This huge city in southwest China has plenty of draws encompassing food, culture and nature. Here are some of the top attractions to visit and experiences to have in Chongqing.

Chongqing, in southwest China, is one of the country’s largest cities. It is a massive and densely urban area with around 30 million people! More if you count the greater municipality. Yet many people outside of China have never heard of it, let alone been there. On my recent trip to this growing megacity I found out that Chongqing is full of interesting streets, delicious food and helpful locals. Here are ten reasons why you should take a trip to Chongqing right now…

1. You can watch Jiefangbei light up at night

Image credit: Ajith Kumar

The busy downtown area of Chongqing, Jiefangbei, is a hive of activity with shops, restaurants and little street stalls. The central square of Jiefangbei is also known as the “Times Square” of Chongqing. At night, the many tall buildings and malls light up while locals and tourists alike stroll around this buzzing district.

2. Stuff yourself with the famous Chongqing Hot Pot

Image credit: Matt Ryall

Image credit: Al and Marie

No visit to Chongqing is complete without tasting this popular spicy Sichuan dish. Sichuan peppercorn is the key ingredient, which gives the soup a flavour called “má là” or “numb and spicy”. It’s a unique taste that is not just spicy but numbing or tingling in the mouth! If you have never had it, it’s a must try. Chongqing is serious about its Hot Pot (or Huoguo) and there are many places all around the city selling it.

3. See Hongya Cave by the riverside

Image credit: Ronald Woan

Image credit: Ronald Woan

Hongya Cave, or Hongyadong, is built on a cliff side facing the Jialing river. The large building complex is illuminated in the evening and many visitors come to see the lights and explore the shops and restaurants inside. Although it’s not a historical building, it gives visitors an idea of the type of buildings that would have been found on these riverbanks many years ago.

4. Escape the busy city at E’ling Park…

Image credit: Gwydion M. Williams

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When you need a break from the crowds, E’ling Park is a peaceful green spot in the city. This tranquil park is a great place to see local life as people come here to relax, practise tai chi and play games. Perched on a hill, it is also a good viewing point from which you can see the city and Jialing river.

5. Explore an ancient town

things to do in chongqing

Image credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones

Image credit: Andrey Samsonov

Ciqikou (Porcelain Village) is an ancient town in Chongqing. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, it was a port and market town famous for its porcelain production. Today it is one of the main attractions in the Chongqing area. Its steep and narrow streets are lined with small shops selling handicrafts and delicious local snacks. Off the main street, visitors can get a glimpse of the daily life of its residents.

6. Admire the natural beauty of Wulong Mountain Forest Park

things to do in chongqing

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things to do in chongqing

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Also read: Crossing the Three Natural Karst Bridges of Wulong

Further from the city, the forested Wulong Mountain is a beautiful natural area and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The spectacular landscape features natural wonders including a series of limestone bridges known as the Three Natural Bridges and Furong Cave. The park has also been used in the filming of movies such as The Curse of the Golden Flower and Transformers.

7. Visit one of the longest graffiti streets in the world

Image credit: China Residencies

Image credit: Drew Bates

Huangjueping is an interesting area in Chongqing with numerous art spaces and is home to the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. It also has one of the longest graffiti/doodle streets in the whole world with quirky painted buildings and original art pieces that merge into the surroundings. The district is popular with artists and creatives, a small but busy art hub in this huge city.

8. Travel above the mighty Yangtze

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Zip across the Yangtze river by cable car from Chang’an Temple in Yuzhong District to Shangxin Street in Nan’an District. For locals, the cableway is an easy and affordable way to cross the Yangtze river, but for tourists, it provides awesome views up and down the bustling riverway.

9. Eat even more Sichuan food

Image credit: Guilhem Vellut

Apart from the must-try hot pot, there are countless restaurants, cafes and food stalls to discover in Chongqing. From flat cold spicy noodles to mapo doufu and traditional sweets there is always something delicious to try.

10. Get a dose of culture and history

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Image credit: Keith Roper

The Three Gorges Museum is the biggest museum in Chongqing. It is one of the city’s landmark structures and showcases the history, natural environment and cultural heritage of Chongqing and the Three Gorges area. Just opposite the museum is the People’s Hall and a large square where both tourists and locals hang out.

With so many things to do and see in this vast city, you definitely won’t get bored. Just the thought of Chongqing’s spicy and delicious hot pot is enough to draw me back to this surprising vibrant metropolis.

About Author

Rebecca Mei Dook
Rebecca Mei Dook

Becca is a fan of impromptu travel, world cultures, ocean views and chocolate anything. When she's not travelling, you can find her either roaming the muddy paths of the English countryside or wandering around her favourite neighbourhoods in Singapore. After taking an AncestryDNA test, she now dreams about visiting all the places that make up her ethnicity.


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