Chongqing On a Budget
Chongqing is notorious for their hot and humid weather in the summers, with temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August. The rest of the year sees fairly mild weather with temperatures staying between 50 and 75 degrees from autumn to spring. Chongqing does have a bad smog problem, especially in summer and winter, and is listed as one of the top ten most air-polluted cities in the world.
SightsWhile the city may look industrial, you'll find it has a lovely character well worth exploring. Head to HongYaDong to see a recreation of old Chongqing that is built alongside a mountain. Here, you'll find some small shops and great spots to take in the views of the city. At Jiang Jieshi, you'll find the old military headquarters from when the city was the capital of China in WWII. Due to it being all the way up in the Nanshan Mountains above the city, the headquarters were left untouched by enemy forces and are very well preserved. Enjoy a walk along Ciqikou, meaning porcelain port, on the Jialing River where porcelain has been made and transported around the world for centuries. There are a number shops, well preserved buildings, a boat restaurant, and an original temple at the top of the hill.
NeighborhoodsChongqing is quite a large city, with 26 districts, most of which are either residential or industrial and therefore of little interest to tourists. The major districts of interest are:
Yuzhong District, which is the central district of Chongqing and the primary political, economic, and entertainment part of the city.
Nan'an District, a historically important district that is full of natural and historical wonders. Here, you'll find Nanshan Mountain and the Ciyun Temple.
Shapingba District, one of the main education districts in the city and home to the Ciqikou and monuments from the Anti-Japanese War.
Jiangjin District, which dates back over 1500 years and is famous for the beautiful Simian Mountain that features lakes, forests, and waterfalls.
ActivitiesRelax and take in the sights of Chongqing from a river cruise along the Yangtze River. There's also a nighttime tour boat that will take you along both the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers where you can enjoy the stunning skyline all lit up at night. If you prefer to be out of the water, you can take a cable car ride over the Yangtze River to get a stunning view of the city.
Chongqing is renowned for their hot springs, with a number of options ranging from large complexes with spa treatments to community based smaller ones. Tour buses are available to take you around to the major hot spring locations like Northern Hot Springs Park and Tianci Hot Springs.
Food and DiningChongqing is a harbor city and loves to include freshly caught seafood in their dishes. Hot pot is also a popular option here, with hot pot restaurants galore. You can find everything from the traditional spicy hot pots to ones that have no spice and are essentially just bone broth. If you're looking to dine with a view, head to the Nanbin Lu area where you'll get great views of the Yangtze River and city skyline.
Bars in Chongqing are plentiful, ranging from clubs to sports bars and pubs. You'll find beer is the most popular drink, although be sure to ask for it from the tap and not the slop tray! For men, be careful of the girls sent over to entertain you, as you'll often leave the bar expected to pay large sums for their company.
TransportationFor shorter routes to and from Chongqing, it is recommended to book ahead. The best prices for buses and trains in China can be found on 12Go. They let you search across all bus, train, and airline routes throughout Asia.
Chongqing has their own international airport as well as three large train stations and a long distance bus depot. Due to the maze like landscape of the city, walking is ill advised to tourists as getting lost is very easy. The subway, monorail, and bus systems are fairly easy to navigate to help you get around. Taxis are hard to find in the summers and tend to be expensive. Drivers rarely speak anything but Mandarin, so its best to have the address written down in Mandarin so that you end up in the right place.
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