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Top 10 Things to Do in Chongqing

Chongqing, is known as the “Little Hong Kong” and “8D Magic City” in the upstream of Yangtze River. Streets and buildings are all built along with the terrain, therefore Chongqing is called the Mountain City. Chongqing is the only southeast municipality in China, serving as the starting/ending point of breathtaking downstream/upstream Yangtze River cruise. As one of the most relaxing and rewarding way to discover the charm central part of China and savor the natural scenery, Yangtze River cruise becomes a must take tour while visiting China and the best way to explore the Three Gorges. Besides enjoying the leisure onboard activities, you can also visit numerous shore excursions including Fengdu Ghost City, Shibaozhai Pagoda, Shennv Stream and so on.

Besides, Chongqing is the birthplace of plenty tourist attractions such as antique architectures in Ciqikou Ancient town, astonishing night view in Hongya Cave, vivid rock carving at Dazu, natural wonders of Wulong. Tourists in Chongqing will not only be treated with the picturesque scenery to see but with delicious local spicy food to eat and native culture to experience.

A nice memory of the city will linger in the heart of every tourist. If you are still wondering about what to do in Chongqing, take a look at Top 10 Things to Do in Chongqing will help clear your mind.

 

Top 1: Relax on the Classic Sightseeing Yangtze River Cruise

Cruising on Yangtze River

Yangtze River Cruise

Chongqing is the starting point chosen by most travelers for their 4 days and 3 nights relaxing Yangtze River cruise. Cruising on Yangtze River is the most relaxing and rewarding way to appreciate the natural beauty of Three Gorges, witness the world great project - Three Gorges Dam and discover the history of China. Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world, flows through 11 provinces and cities from west to east. With regard to the highlight parts of Yangtze River, Three Gorges is definitely worth to mention. Three Gorges region with a total length of approximately 200 kilometers, the cradle of Wu culture, a golden tourism waterway. Cruising on Yangtze River is one of the top 10 things to do in China, would definitely highlight your trip. You can enjoy beautiful gallery of picturesque landscape of high mountains and flat river, visit ancient historical cultural relies, find mysterious Hanging coffins on the mountain cliff, listen to the story of soaring cliffs and drift along a fairyland branches. Towards the end of the journey, you would have a chance to visit the Three Gorges Dam - the biggest dam in China and the world largest hydroelectric station for the usage of flood control and power generation.

Boarding Time: from 16:00 to 20:30 (Boarding before 18:00 is recommended)
Best Time to Experience: from March to November
How Long to Spend: 4-5 days Yangtze River Cruise
Boarding Place: Chaotianmen Dock (Chongqing)
Address: Changjiang Binjiang Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing
How to Go There:
(1) From Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, take a taxi, it usually costs about 40-60 minutes for about 27km. Another option is to take Rail Transit Line 3 to Hongqihegou Station and transfer to Line 6 to get off at Xiaoshizi Station, walk out from Exit 7, walk about 1.4km, you will arrive at Chaotianmen Dock.
(2) From Chongqing North Railway Station, You can also arrive at Chaotianmen Dock from Chongqing North Railway Station by taxi, about 30 minutes for 12km. Or you can take Rail Transit Line 3, Line 6 or Line 1 to get off at Xiaoshizi Station.
(3) From Chongqing Railway Station, you can get on a taxi to easily get to the terminal for only about 10 minutes for 6km. Local buses are also available.
(4) From Shapingba Railway Station, you can also take a taxi, for 20 minutes about 16km. Or take the Rail Transit Line 1 and get off at Xiaoshizi Station.

Recommended Chongqing Tour including Yangtze River Cruise:

>> 4 Days Chongqing Essence Tour with Yangtze Cruise

 

Top 2: Learn More about Yangtze River and Three Gorges at Three Gorges Museum

Three Gorges Museum

Three Gorges Museum

As the biggest museum in Chongqing, Three Gorges Museum is already become a must go place for culture lovers. Paying a visit to this specialized museum before or after your Yangtze cruise experience, you can gain a better understanding about Yangtze River and the Mountain City. Wandering around Three Gorges Museum, you can see a large number of culture relics, including ancient human specimen, cultural relics of Three Gorges, bronze wares of the Ba and Shu States, Cultural relics of Han Dynasty, cultural relics of southwestern nationalities and paintings, calligraphies from Song to Qing Dynasty. It will also help you to learn the background history, the economic contributions and environment impacts on the construction of Three Gorges Dam.

Coming out of the Three Gorges Museum, in order to pull yourself out of the solemn atmosphere, you can pay a visit to the Great Hall of People in Chongqing right in front of you. Great Hall of People, one of the remarkable structures in Chongqing, imitated the exterior of Temple of Heaven in Beijing while constructing. This architecture is combined the traditional Chinese palace architecture style and the large-span structure of western architecture. No matter you overlooking from a distance or standing at the front door, you can always feel the magnificence of this architecture.

Opening Hour: from 9:00 to 17:00 (close on Monday)
Best Time to Experience: all year around
How Long to Spend: 2-3 hours
Ticket Price: for free
How to Go There:
(1) The museum is about 25km from Chongqing Jiangbei Airport, takes about 1 hour by taxi; About 9km from Chongqing North Railway Station, takes about 20 minutes by taxi; About 5.6km from Chaotianmen Dock, takes about 11 minutes by tax.
(2) Take Rail Transit Line 2 and get off at Zengjiayan Metro Station then walk around 500m to the museum.

Recommended Tours including Three Gorges Museum:

>> 4 Days Chongqing Essence Tour with Yangtze Cruise

 

Top 3: Appreciate Antique Architectures in Ciqikou Ancient Town

Ciqikou Ancient Town in Chongqing

Ciqikou Ancient Town

Ciqikou Ancient Town, the epitome of Chongqing in the past, refers to one of the best things to do in Chongqing. Ciqikou Ancient Town has 12 streets in total, and most of the architectures were built in Ming or Qing architecture style. Delicate specialty stores, featured snack stores and old style teahouses can be seen all over the town. If you don’t like the crowd, leave the main street and shuttle from the small alleys will take you back to ancient urban life, walking along the uneven stone path, down one side is the red tile wall, down the other side are some characteristic handicrafts shops, make you feel like in a dream. You can also appreciate antique architectures through visiting featured folk houses, Zhong Family House is a great place to see East Sichuan folk houses, built around 1890, exhibits ancient bed and tables of Qing Dynasty. It has the flavor of Beijing quadrangle dwellings and also has the exquisite feature of architecture in south China. Feel a little tired after a longtime walking? Take a rest in an Artist Teahouse, you can drink your tea while enjoy the folk arts and various opera performances.

Opening Hour: all day
Best Time to Experience: all year around (Summer in Chongqing is very hot, so it’s better to avoid visiting in July and August)
How Long to Spend: 1-3 hours
Ticket Price: for free
How to Go There:
(1) 30km from Jiangbei Airport, 31 mintues by taxi; 15km from Chongqing North Railway Station, 25 minutes by taxi; 20km from Chaotianmen Dock, 30 minutes by taxi.
(2) Take Rail Transit Line 1 and get off at Ciqikou Station.

Recommended Tours including Ciqikou Ancient Town:

>> 1 Day Chongqing Short Stay Tour

 

Top 4: Immerse in the Splendid Night View of Hongya Cave

Nightview of Hongya Cave

Nightview of Hongya Cave

Have you ever watched a Japanese animated film named “Spirited Away” created by the grand master of Japanese animation Hoyao Miyazaki? Did you still picture the wizardly and isolated Mother Tang’s bathing house in your head? The darkness falling the constructions in transfixing patterns of light and color makes it even more attracting. Don’t you want to stand a chance to take a glance and step into this wonderland in the real world? Visiting Hongya Cave at night will fulfill your dream. With more than 2300 years history, Hongya Cave was a large scale stilt house complex served as military fortress in the past. Being built along the waterfront cliff beside Yangtze River makes Hongya Cave a perfect place to enjoy the night view of Chongqing and admiring Yangtze River Bridge. It’s indeed very crowded, but it also makes the night more alive, once you get past the hordes of people, there are variety kinds of restaurants in Hongya Cave, and you can find a place you like, take a rest there and enjoy the splendid night view.

Opening Hour: all day
Best Time to Experience: all year around, after 19:00
How Long to Spend: 2-3 hours
Ticket Price: for free
How to Go There:
(1) 22km from Jiangbei Airport, 9.4km from Chongqing North Railway Station and 2.8km from Chaotianmen Dock.
(2) You can take Rail Transit Line 2 and get off at Linjiangmen Station, walk about 500m northeast. Take Rail Transit Line 1 and get off at Xiaoshizi Station, walk about 500m. You can also choose local buses to get there.

 

Top 5: Take LRT and Experience the Unique Geography in Chongqing

Chongqing Transportation

Chongqing Transportation

Have you ever seen a metro crossing the building in your country? There is a place in Chongqing providing you with this kind of experience. If you have spare time, do come to try this metro trip. You can take Rail Transit Line 2 to have a miraculous experience of carriages passing through the building, then get off at Liziba Station and walk to the viewing platform to see the light rail across the building from a distance. Chongqing is referred to as the “8D Magic City”. Streets and buildings are all built along with the terrain. It is possible in Chongqing that you enter a building on the 1st floor and departure on the 10th. Due to the special terrain, it is impossible for Chongqing people to ride bikes. So they always travel on foot, by car or by taking some public transportation such as local bus or LRT.

Opening Hour: Rail Transit Line 2, from 6:10 to 22:30
Best Time to Experience: all year around
How Long to Spend: 30 minutes
Ticket Price: start at 2 yuan
How to Go There:
(1) 28km from Jiangbei Airport, 11km from Chongqing North Railway Station and 7.2km from Chaotianmen Dock.
(2) Take Rail Transit Line 1 and get off at Liziba Station.

 

Top 6: Admire Natural Beauty of Wulong Karst Geology Park

Three Natural Bridges

When entered into Wulong Karst National Geology Park, you will be amazed at the marvelous workmanship of natural karst scenery. The two hottest attractions are Three Natural Bridge and Furong Cave. Three Natural Bridges are the largest natural bridge group in Asia. Many visitors learn about this place through the movie Transformers 4. Featured in classic karst landform, the magnificent scenery is full of life, tress grow directly from stone and spring water flows even at the top of the bridges, spilling by drops and shining like pearls. Different from mountain’s overlook, in Wulong Karst National Geology Park, you need to look up to feel the astonishing beauty of nature. It’s a must for photography lovers. If you are interested in limestone, visit the Splendid Hall in Furong Cave, learn the evolution process of history through ranges shapes of the stalactites in the cave.

Opening Hour:
(1) Wulong Karst National Geology Park, from 8:00 to 17:00
(2) Furong Cave, 1st March-31st October from 8:30 to 16:30, 1st November-28th February from 9:00 to 16:00
Best Time to Experience: Spring, Autumn and Winter
How Long to Spend: 1-2 days
Ticket Price:
(1) Three Natural Bridges Scenic Spot, 135RMB per person; Longshuixia Gap 115RMB per person
(2) Furong Cave, March 1st—November 30th 120RMB per person; December 1st—February 28th 65RMB per person; March 1st—November 30th
How to Go There:
(1) 186km from Chongqing to Wulong.
(2) Take train at Chongqing North Railway Station and departure at Wulong Station, then trans taking minibus from Wulong Bus Station to the Tourists Center on Xiannv Town. After purchasing the entrance ticket, take the travel bus to Three Natural Bridges. Tourists can also take bus to Wulong first, then transfer to Xiannv Town.

Recommended Tour including Wulong exploration:

>> 3 Days Chongqing & Wulong Karst Landscape Exploration Tour

 

Top 7: Explore the Must-go UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Dazu Rock Carvings

Dazu Rock Carvings

Dazu Rock Carvings

Can’t wait to explore two famous UNESCO World Heritage sites in Chongqing? Let Dazu Rock Carvings to satisfy your cultural needs and leave the natural feast to Wulong Karst National Geology Park. Both two places are not in Chongqing downtown, so you need to take private cars, tour buses or trains to get there.

Dazu Rock Carvings is the religious cliff carving crafted during late Tang Dynasty to Early Song Dynasty. Most carvings are related to Buddhist culture, a few reflect the theme of Confucian and Taoist beliefs. Dazu Rock Carvings is the general term for all the rock carvings in Dazu District. There are 102 places in Dazu has rock carving, however Baodingshan Rock Carvings and Beishan Rock Carvings are visited by most tourists. If your time is limited, Baodingshan Rock Carvings is a place must go to. Carvings there stand for the highest sculpture art of China. Baodingshan Cliff statues were carved in the Song Dynasty, and there are Buddha statues engraved on the mountain rocks for about 2.5km, including the carvings at the Big Buddha Bay and Small Buddha Bay with Shengshou Temple at the center. There are more than 360 giant sculptures, the most famous of which are including the Six Reincarnations, the Vast Precious Pavilions, the three scared statues of Huayan and Thousand-hand Kwan-yin.

Opening Hour: from 8:30 to 18:00
Best Time to Experience: all year around
How Long to Spend: over 3 hours
Ticket Price:
(1) March 1st - November 30th Baodingshan 135RMB, Beishan 90RMB,joint ticket 170RMB
(2) December 1st - February 28th Baodingshan 90RMB, Beishan 70RMB, joint ticket 120RMB
How to Go There:
(1) 160km from Choongqing to Dazu.
(2) You can take a tour bus at Caiyuanba bus station or Longtousi bus station to Dazu county, then change to local bus No.205, 30 minutes later, you will arrive at Baodingshan Rock Carvings scenic spot.

Recommended Tour including Dazu Rock Carvings:

>> 2 Days Chongqing Highlights Tour with Dazu Rock Carvings

 

Top 8: Overlook the Magnificent Panoramic Beauty of Chongqing City

Yangtze River Cableway

Yangtze River Cableway

Chongqing is known as “Little Hong Kong” in China mainland. Local landform is dominated by hills and mountains, and a large portion of the city are occupied by slope area. Thanks to the waved landform, you can enjoy the city view from different angles and in different ways. Here are three recommended ways to enrich your journey.

Leave behind the “hustle and bustle” modern life and wander in an oasis - E’ling Park. It’s better to visit during daytime about 1-2 hours. In E’ling park you can experience the garden art, stand on the top of Liangjiang Pavillion and look down at the confluence of Jialing River and Yangtze River in the distance.

Haven’t seen enough about Yangtze River? Why not take a closer look at it. Taking the Yangtze River Cableway is the most popular way to fly over the Yangtze River. The cable cars start at Chang’an Temple in Yuzhong District, cut through high-rise buildings, smoothly pass over Yangtze River and send you to the other side of Yangtze River within 4 minutes.

There is no place better to see panoramic night view of mountain city than Yikeshu Viewing platform in Nanshan region. As impressed as your initial introduction to Chongqing during daylight hours, it’s at night that the city truly shines

Opening Hour:
(1) E’ling Park, from 7:00 to 22:00
(2) Yangtze River Cableway, 1st March - 31st October from 7:30 to 22:30, 1st November - 28th February from 7:30 to 21:30
(3) Nanshan, from 9:00 to 22:30
Ticket Price:
(1) E’ling Park, for free
(2) Yangtze River Cableway, one way ticket 20RMB per person, round ticket 30RMB per person
(3) Nanshan, Adult Ticket Price 30RMB per person
How to Go There:
(1) E’ling Park, take Rail Transit Line 1 and get off at E’ling Station, walk out from 2A exit. 30km from Jiangbei Airport, 12km from Chongqing North Railway Station and 8km from Chaotianmen Dock.
(2) Yangtze River Cableway, take Rail Transit Line 1 and get off at Xiaoshizi Station, walk out from 5 exit. 24km from Jiangbei Airport, 9km from Chongqing North Railway Station and 3.1km from Chaotianmen Dock.
Nanshan Yikeshu viewing platform, take local bus 346 or 347 and get off at Sizhong Station. 22km from Jiangbei Airport, 13km from Chongqing North Railway Station and 7km from Chaotianmen Dock.

Recommended Tours including E’ling Park:

>> 1 Day Chongqing Short Stay Tour

 

Top 9: Try Spicy Hot Pot and Various Local Food

Chongqing Food

Chongqing Hot Pot

Leave Chongqing without trying any local food? What a waste! Chongqing is renowned for their representative food - hot pot. A pot of boiling spicy soup is placed in the middle of the table, while guests choose from a variety of ingredients to place inside. Once you step on this land, you will smell spicy flavor filled in the air and assaulted your sense. No matter at the avenues or alleys, you can always find hot spot everywhere. Liu Yi Shou and Qin Ma hot Pot are famous hot pot brands in Chongqing. If you afraid that you can’t stand the level of spicy, you can also choose a clear soup one. Besides the hot pot, why not try some local snacks, such as Xiaomian, Hot and Sour Rice Noodles, Spicy Grilled Fish, Shancheng Small Glutinous Rice Balls and Crispy Fried Meat. Bayi Food Street is a perfect place to try some local snacks. After meals, only need several minutes’ walk and you can see the Chongqing People’s Liberation Monument located in the central square of Jiefangbei. Jiefangbei CBD is the most prosperous commercial pedestrian street in Yuzhong District, if you are fond of shopping, it would be a great place for you!

Opening Hour: from 10:00 to 24:00
Best Time to Experience: all year around
How Long to Spend: 1-2 hours
Ticket Price: for free
How to Go There:
(1) 26km from Jiangbei Airport, 9.2km from Chongqing North Railway Station and 4.3km from Chaotianmen Dock.
(2) Take Rail Transit Line 1 and get off at Jiaochangkou Station.

 

Top 10: Head for Chongqing Zoo to Visit Giant Pandas

Chongqing Zoo

Giant Pandas in Chongqing Zoo

Chongqing Zoo is a large modern zoo surrounded by charming mountains. If you love pandas but don’t have time head to Chengdu, Chongqing Zoo would be a good place for you to have a chance to take a closer look of giant and red pandas. Together with four new born baby pandas in 2019, there are total 12 pandas in Chongqing Zoo. You can observe pandas eating bamboos from different angles, with good luck, you can also see them playing with each other, tumbling and climbing tress. Other than pandas, there are more than 230 species of animals, birds and fishes, living in the visiting areas, such as Tiger Hill, Bear Hill, Gorilla House, Kangaroo Park and so in. While visiting, you will be amazed at the wonderful range of animals here and also their living conditions.

Opening Hour: animal display time, from 8:30 to 17:00
Best Time to Experience: all year around
How Long to Spend: 3 hours
Ticket Price: 25RMB
How to Go There:
(1) 33km from Jiangbei Airport, 18km from Chongqing North Railway Station and 14km from Chaotianmen Dock.
(2) Take a Rail Transit Line 2 and get off at Chongqing Zoo Station.

Recommended Tours including Chongqing Zoo:

>> 4 Days Chongqing Essence Tour with Yangtze Cruise

 

How to Plan your Chongqing Tour

After reading top 10 things to do in Chongqing, I beat you have already learned more about Chongqing. Now, it’s time to plan your Chongqing tour. Chongqing is the starting or ending point of Yangtze River cruise. The cruise tour is the best way to enjoy the splendid view of the Three Gorges and experience different lifestyle of people who lived alongside the river. Yangtze River Cruise is a must take if you are visiting China. Before or after your Yangtze relaxing tour.

>> 4 Days Chongqing Essence Tour with Yangtze Cruise

If you only have limited time, but want to explore the mountain city, spend 1 or 2 days to explore city downtown, 1-2 hours to walk through the Ciqikou Ancient Town, try local public transportation Rail Transit Line 2 to experience the thrill of crossing a building, overlook the distinct confluence line of Yangtze River and Jialing River, visit China’s national treasure pandas, immerse in the colorful night.

>> 1 Day Chongqing Short Stay Tour

If you plan to stay several more days, strongly recommend you to visit two UNESCO World Heritage spots in Chongqing. Wulong Karst National Geology Park touring usually needs at least two days and Dazu Rock Carvings needs at least one day to explore.

>> 3 Days Chongqing & Wulong Karst Landscape Exploration Tour

>> 2 Days Chongqing Highlights Tour with Dazu Rock Carvings

If you have more questions and have your own ideas for your Chongqing tour, you can contact us directly or cutomize your trip with us.

Yangtze River Cruise Yangtze River Cruise
The Confluence of Two Rivers The Confluence of Two Rivers

Recommended Chongqing Tours

Top 3 Chongqing tours chosen by most customers to explore Chongqing in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Shennong Stream
6 Days Shanghai & Yangtze Cruise Tour (Downstream)

Shanghai / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang

Temple of Heaven Tour
11 Days China Golden Triangle Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

Beijing / Xian / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Shanghai

The Lesser Three Gorges
7 Days Nature Tour to Yangtze River & Zhangjiajie

Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Zhangjiajie

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >