There are long distance buses from stations to dazu, we used CaiYuanBa station, ticket is 53 yuan, ride is supposed to be 2 hours, but due to the traffic, it took nearly 3 hours. From dazu bus center to the grottos, you would need to either take a public bus or a taxi, we shared a taxi with another couple, it was 40 yuan.. The admission is 120yuan.
After an afternoon visiting Chongqing it was time to board the boat for the Yangtze River cruise. The river was a long way down from the street level and you had to go down a lot of stairs along a steep wall. There I found that the boat is moored along way out in the river which was shallow at this time of year (April) and was approached over a series of decks joined by floating pontoons - just like a Bailey Bridge.
There were porters everywhere and the going rate was 10 CNY per bag. They slung the bags onto a pole which they then hoisted onto their shoulder and off they went. I had trouble keeping up with them. Nearly all of the stores for the voyage were brought aboard the same way.
On the main pontoon there was a brass band playing to welcome you aboard.
Then you had to find your boat - not as easy as you would think. They moore side by side sometimes 3 deep and you had to go through one or two other boats to get to yours. The same system used by the Nile boats in Egypt.
Eling Park is the earliest private garden to be built in Chongqing. It is built on a high piece of land between the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers and is known for its superb views over the city.
Also known as 'Courteous Park' it was built as a private garden in 1909 and was originally the home of a wealthy merchant. It became the home of Chiang Kai-shek during the war against Japan and several embassies were built there. In 1958 it became a public park and was named Eling or 'Goose Neck' Park because of its narrow shape.
The park has many species of plants and small landscapes and has a beautiful stone bridge with intricately carved railings in the shape of rope. The lake is stocked with fish and is a popular place with the local people.
The 'Flying Tigers' is the name given to the 1st American Volunteer Group who work with the Chinese Airforce during World War Two.
Major Claire Chennault, an American from Louisianna, was hired by Chiang Kai-shek as one of a group of instructors and advisors for the Chinese Air Force. He was serving in China when the Japanese invaded China in 1937 reaulting the the move of the capital to Chongqing. The Flying Tigers are famous for keeping open the 'Hump Route' - the route over the Himalayas from India and Burma used to transport supplies into the otherwise blockaded China.
The museum in Chongqing, although not well publicised is very interesting with many photographs and artefacts of the time. A museum attendant gives visitors an informative talk on the Flying Tigers.
The museum is still raising funds and shares the building with an art gallery. There is also a Chinese artisan of watercolour painting on rice paper who sells his art to help the museum.
The Dazu Rock Carvings can be found at any of 75 protected sites located in the steep hillsides of Dazu County (Chongqing Municipality). They are a series of religious statues and carvings showing aspects of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism and can be dated back as far as 7th century AD. The best examples are found at Mount Baoding and Mount Beishan.
The carvings were made over a period of time, some as early as 650 AD but were mostly created starting in the late 9th century at Mount Beishan. The elaborate work at Mount Baoding was a life work of the monk Zhao Zhifeng during the 12th century. He dedicted 70 years of his life to the work.
It was only in 1961 that the carvings were opened to the Chinese public and a muddy track kept them reasonably unknown until 1975. This helped keep them safe during the Cultural Revolution when anti-religious vandalism was rife. In 1980 the carving were opened to foreign visitors. The carvings were listed as a World Heritage Site in 1999.
Our local guide Albert had great knowledge of the area at Mount Baoding and explained a lot about the concepts and of, and differences between Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. One of the features of this site is the 'Reclining Buddha' or 'Buddha Entering Nirvana'
1. Jiefangbei --- the central business district and the center of economic development of Chongqing
The Jiefangbei commercial Pedestrian Street centers this well-known shopping area. Clusters of modern shopping malls and exclusive shops line the roadsides. Banks, theatres, KTV clubs, bookstores, hotels, bars and pubs are also quite easy to find. Some of the main buildings worth seeing include Chongqing Department Store, New Century Department Store, Commercial Mansion, Friendship Shopping Center, Carrefour Supermarket and New Oriental Women Plaza.
2. Chaotianmen Market -- the biggest market in Chongqing
Located on East Jiefang Road, Chaotianmen Market is dealing primarily in Garment wholesale and is reported that goods traded in the market come from or are sold to more than 200 counties in Sichuan, Hubei and Hunan provinces. Shoppers can expect to find stylish clothes and very reasonable prices. Still, bargaining with the vendors in most stalls and shops will ensure a great deal.
3. Nan Bin Road -- a newly opened flower market
Nan Bin Road has become a leisure hotspot for locals and tourists. Over 100 flower shops, handicrafts stores and tea houses line both sides of the street. Flower houses in European and traditional Chinese styles provide a picturesque setting for enjoying the vibrant colors and scents of the merchants' offerings that await you. In addition to the various kinds of blossoms, you can also find many delicate potted plants. Located at the entrance of Huang Ge Du Park, Nan Bin Flower Market is a great place to unwind day or night.
Yangtze River, the mother river of China and known as Changjiang River in China, is riginated from Tibetan Plateau, Yangtze River passes through Yunnan Province, Sichuan Province, Hubei Province, Hunan Province, Jiangxi Province, Anhui Province, Jiangsu Province and Shanghai City and eventually flows into the East China Sea. The whole drainage area of Yangtze River is more than 1,800,000 square kilometers and it covers 20% of China’s territory. The section of Yangtze River in-between Chongqing and Yichang is challenging in sail due to its complicated water condition. Yet its scenery is the most magnificent. The area is generally known as Three Gorges area, including Qutang Gorge, Wuxia Gorge, and Xiling Gorge.
Yangtze Cruise is absolutely a unique experience in China. The Yangtze River Cruise will take you through the cradle of China, while giving you the opportunity to see some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable. Highlights of a Yangtze River cruise tour are not only the magnificent waterside scenery of the gorges, but also shore excursions to Fengdu Ghost Town, Shennong Stream, Three Gorge Dam…etc. There are three parts divided for Yangtze Cruise, which are The Upper Reaches, The Middle Reaches and The Lower Reaches.
The main reason to come to Chongqing is to take a cruise on the mighty Yangzi River down river to the massive but controversial Three Gorges Dam near Yichang. I booked a first class cabin (as I was travelling on my own and didn't fancy sharing with other Chinese travellers) at a hostel called The Mix Hostel in Chengdu for around Y1490. This included a bus from Chengdu to Chongqing, 3 nights on the boat and a trip along the Little Three Gorges. I arrived on my boat, called the Chang Hang Jiang Shan II, at about 7pm after being taken to the wharf by the cruise company. The itinerary along the way consists of visits to temples, a city called Fengdu, known as the Ghost City, some waterfalls and the Three Gorges themselves known as Qutang Xia, Wu Xia and Xiling Xia. They are not as spectacular as they once were due to the rise in level of the river but still impressive all the same. The best part of the trip was a visit to the Little Three Gorges as the river here, called the Daning, is shallow and the cliffs are very narrow. Make sure this is included in your trip. For more information visit my Yangzi River trip page below.
Ciqikou is an ancient town located on the south bank of the Jialing River about 14km west of Chongqing. According to the history records, Ciqikou was first founded some 1,700 years ago. It then became a commercial dock both by land and water dating from Ming Dynasty. Chongqing itself has undergone many changes over the centuries, changes that have not been reflected in Ciqikou with the consequence that the town conveys an impression of what Chongqing would have been like in the distant past. This fact has been recognised by the State Council and in 1998 Ciqikou became a protected cultural site. The buildings have been restored and preserved for tourists and the main street is lined with shops, teahouses and restaurants selling local specialities. With all this in mind, the town gets very busy with Chinese tourists which make the narrow streets very busy but I stayed here in a hostel (see hotel tip) and liked it far more than if I stayed in Chongqing!
This square, which means Gate Facing Heaven), is Chongqing's wharf district and is located at the top of the peninsula where the Jialing River flows into the Yangzi River. It's here where you'll board your boat if you're cruising down the Yangzi River towards the Three Gorges Dam near Yichang. A viewing platform was built in 2000 and offers a great view of the cruise boats and rivers.
There are actually two cable car rides in Chongqing that cross both rivers - the Jialing and the Yangzi. I took the Yangzi River Cable Car as I wanted to see the river from high up but what you also see are the rather unpleasant apartment blocks which are just horrid. This particular crossing was the first in the city and has a length of 1166 meters.
This temple, known, also, as Luohan Si, was built during the Ming dynasty and is famed for its hall crowded with luohan (those freed from the cycle of rebirth). The Indian Buddhist pantheon has just 18 luohan, but the Chinese have added hundreds of their own, including Buddhist figures, folk heroes and even Taoists. The hall has 524 life-sized statues; some sit serenely, while others have grotesque faces.
Open: 8am-5pm. Admission: Y10.
Jiefangbe, or the People' s Liberation Monument, formerly known as the Monument of Victory in the War of Resistance, a 27.5 meter high structure, was renamed and had its new name inscribed by Liu Bocheng on October 1st, 1950. This drab clock tower is to celebrate the Communists' liberation of the city from seventy years of colonial and right-wing occupation.
In 1951, under the leadership of Marshal He Long, an auditorium was to be built at Chongqing to accommodate domestic and overseas guests. Completed in 1954, it was named the Chongqing People's Assembly Hall in 1955.
The hall complex is a cluster of attached structures which contain the hall and three attached buildings respectively to the east, south and north. Collectively, they cover 66,000 square meters (about 16.3 acres) of which the hall accounts for 18,500 square meters (about 45.7 acres). The hall is 65 meters high (about 213 feet) and has a capacity of more than 4,000 seats.
Bayu, located in China's south-west corner, has been largely separated from the outside world since ancient times. It boasts some of the most ancient human art relics. Exhibits include animal bones, pottery, bone tools and instruments, bronzes, weaponry and musical instruments.