The old Chongqing Airport - truly dreadful...like an open sewer, only worse - has been replaced by a brand new terminal constructed out of glass and corrugated iron sheeting.
It is far larger than necessary, so is quiet and uncrowded. The west-facing eight-storey high glass wall doesn't seem to have any sun-flitering material as one might expect, so the terminal hall really heats up in the afternoon. You would have thought people would realise that this is why you don't get many greenhouses in the sub-tropics!
Check-in is easy, but note that the security is at each of the two piers, so make sure you double-check your gate number.
There is just one cafe in each of the piers and the prices are almost double what they are in the seven empty cafes in the main terminal building.
The first part of Chongqing's new monorail system opened in June 2005. The current system is only somewhat useful for getting around in the city centre, but major expansions are under construction, including a link to the major railway station. It's very modern and clean and inexpensive with journey's costing between Y1 and Y3 depending on how far you go.
Shuttle bus is available between Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport and Shangqing Si(about 3.25km away from Jiefang Bei, the downtown of CHongqing).
From airport to Shangqing Si: non-scheduled shuttle service provided daily from the first flight arrival till the last one. Bus departs once it is fully seated and makes a stop at Chongqing Foreign Trade Building.
From Shangqing Si to airport: 6:00am-9:00pm, bus departs every half hour and makes stop at Chongqing Little Swan Hotel.
Fare: RMB 15.
Taxi: usually RMB80.
Watch out the meters they use and remember the plate no. or call police if they charge you more than RMB100 and give you informal receipt.
In the past there was only an extraordinary slow train connection between Chongqing and Chengdu - making it irresistable to avoid the bus. Train really took about 10h.
BUT that is a thing of the past now! There is a new train connection with only ONE stop in between, which reduces thr time to 4,5/5h, which is comparable to the bus BUT way cheaper with 54 Yuan in August 2006.
Because of the Highway between Chongqing and Chengdu - which really deserves the name highway - you get to from Chengdu in around 4,5h.
Prices went up a little, in August 2006 I paid 120 Yuan for thos route.
We travelled down from Chongqing to Yichang, below the Three Gorges Dam. No mater what the travel snobs tell you that "it ain't what it used to be", the Three Gorges are spectacular and still will be when the water is at the final 175m level (it was at 157m when we travelled in May 2004).
There are many cruise liners of differing varieties making the trip, and at least one now makes the trip from Shanghai to Chongqing. Most of the cruise companies have their own websites, with a lot of information about each ship. You can save a lot of money by booking directly with the shipping company.
Our vessel, the Galaxy 1 was one of the larger ships, but we saw others larger still. There is a definite routine on-board, with meals at very set times, and the restaurant on the ship was unneccessarily crowded as they preferred everyone to eat at the same time. There were simply too many people squeezed around the table.
The cabins were all two-berth, with an outside view. The cabins were not big, but we felt they were big enough.
We really liked the Galaxy 1, and felt that we got real value for money (and we were travelling during the May Golden Week!).
On reflection, we would rather have travelled up the river, rather than downstream, as we missed the final gorge (we passed it during the night) and passed the enormous Yichang Ship Locks starting at 1am. Much of the last night is spent inside the locks.
But which ever way you travel, you will miss some places because they are passed during the night. The upstream voyage takes an extra day for obvious reasons!
Unlike many Yangtze ships we saw, the Galaxy 1 has a number of outside decks, including one at the lower bow, one beneath the bridge, two at the back and one right up on the roof.
Finally, note that it is very difficult to do justice to the Three Gorges photographically. The sheer scale and magnificence is so difficult to capture: this remains one of the great river journeys of the world.
On our first evening of travel we stopped in a town called Wanxian. It is a cool looking city that is set up on hill. We arrived at night so we could see the lights dotting the hill side. The ferry boat docks in the channel of the river and there is still a long walk to get from the boat to the land. (There are small planks for people to walk on so if you are not sure footed you will not want to try getting off the boat unless they have different services now.)
The climb up to the city is like a step back in time. Wonderful stone steps and families and business people coming and going with their goods and travel trunks.
While walking around with my Dutch friend we decided to sit down at an outside type place and have a beer. There was a group of local guys at the next table that seemed very friendly. The next thing we knew they had joined us and we were having plenty of laughs and smilles all around even though we couldn't understand each other. After several bottles of beer me and Ger decided it was time to head back to the Ferry boat before we got too drunk...I can't imagine trying to navigate those narrow planks if I was any drunker!
When it was time to pay up Me and Ger were going to share the bill and pay for all the beers at the table. Well that created quite a commotion!!! haha The local guy wanted to pay and we wanted to pay...he was shouting at us (in a friendly way) and we were shouting back!! Well he seemed very happy to have paid so in the end we let him. And we and handshakes and shay-shays all around and said goodbye and made our way back to the boat.
We are lucky that we went back to the ship when we did as it left at 1:30 am...We were told that it left at 4:30 am...Hopefully they would have sent someone to find us!! So for our 2-3 hour visit to to Wanxian ended up being a wonderful experience!! I don't have any photos from this evening to share but I hope you enjoyed the story.
I took a boat down the Yangtze. The one in the picture to be precise. It was a fun 1½ day trip to Yichang! I was in 4 berth room with 3 other guys that didn't speak English so it was quite interesting! You could see how high the river must get during the rainy season by the discoloration on the hillsides.The 3 gourges area was magnificent! This trip is going to be all but a memory now...as the river has and will be changing more as the worlds largest dam project is underway at the the 3 gorges!
The cost for me to make this voyage was 30.30 Renmibi (US$5.76) Again this was 1987 and I'm sure prices have changed. This also wasn't one of the new fancy Cruise ships either. I believe what I had was 3rd class. There was a 4th class but they would not sell me a ticket for that as I was a foreigner!!
It should be understood that the Chongqing city itself is a fine place to see (I also have to indicate since part of the city is under construction, it may give you a not as good as I said impression). Landscapes around the city seems more attractive, specially to those who love nature travel. To the east, it is the Three Gorges; South, wonderful natural buildings (refer to my travel page: Chongqing Landscape); West, Dazu Rock Carvings (with a more-than-1-thousand-year history). To these spots except Three-Gorge, the best way is to take bus.
Once more, i'm compeled to pass along this great tip. For those with limited time on China, I highly recommend to fly between major cities. It is dirt cheap! The flight from Kunming to Chongqinc cost me around $50 US in 2001.
Transportation here is very convient and cheap.
Bicycle is not useful here because Chongqing city is built in the mountain. There are many slopes in this city. My recommendation is walking along the flagging and enjoying the scenery here. By the way, the taxi here is dirt cheap by comparing with othe big cities.
Trains are weird in China with lots of spit. 52 hours second class with no one who wants to talk to you all the way from ShangHai- go ahead- dive it a try.
Or if you want to go in style- fly. THis picture was taken at the airport in GuangZhou but if you can read it, it says something about how they think of foreigners.
Taxi and bus are the way to go. A couple idiotic friends of mine rode bicycles all over the city- it's amazing they're alive today. You do not see bikes in ChongQing.
by plane from major Chinese cities
as there are lots of mountains,train travel will bring you much trouble
by ship from Wuhan along the Changjiang River and you'll get a wonderful view of the Three Gorges on the way
It's impossible to ride a bike here as a result of the hills.
People often say that if you want to ride a bike in Chongqing,it will result in that the bike ride you.
I had a sleeper berth on the train from Guiyang to Chongqing. which cost 13 RMB which was about US$2.50 for the 11 hour ride. But that was 1987 so I'm sure the price has changed.
Theres over 100 of these large passenger River Boats travelling the Yangtze through the Three Gorges section . They carry around 800 passengers.