Chinese City Without Bicyles? Two Days in Chongqing

Chongqing is a city that cannot be easily compared with any other city in China that I have been to so far. With 30 million people living in the area, I expected a crowded city, especially after I had heard that there is basically nobody using a bicycle in the city. But surprisingly the city, build on the hill between the junction of Yangtze river and Jialing river does not suffer from a bad congestion as Beijing does. The streets are simply too steep to go there by bike and some of the old ways are just stairways.

Cable car in Chongqing crossing the Yangtze river
Ride on the cable car crossing the Yangtze river.

When getting around in Chongqing we relied on taxis with a flag fall as low as 5 yuan (half of the 10 yuan one has to pay in Beijing), little mini buses or the cable car that crosses the Yangtze. However, when we toured some places located a little outside of the city centre, we had a the luck of having someone to drive us around. When taking part in the AIMUN conference at Beijing University I had met a student from Chongqing but studying in Beijing. We had kept in touch after AIMUN and when I was thinking of my travel planes she invited me to visit Chongqing.

So I did not have a local tour-guide, but I also could experience the Chinese hospitality. According to the Confucian words 有朋自遠方來不亦樂乎 a friend from afar is always welcome and thus during our time in Chongqing my travel mate and me were taken to the best places in Chongqing, and on our last evening the family invited us for Chinese Hot Pot (火锅) which is said to originate in Chongqing.

Chongqing Hotpot
Hotpot with friends from Chongqing.

The sights we went to included some old houses of the former business area in the city during the Qing dynasty, an area a little outside that was used to coordinate the war against Japan (during Second World War Chongqing served as capital under the Guomindang), the old market of Ciqikou that was a little touristy, but it still felt a lot different from places alike in other cities. It might be because there are not only tourists going there but also the local people come there on the weekends.
The skyline of the places were the Jialiang river merges with the Yangtze river is quite beautiful, it is also called “little Hongkong”, but I cannot compare this yet, because I will not be in Hongkong until the end of the month. To see the skyline, that especially shows its beauty during the evening when it is lit in colorful lights, we made a cruise on the Yangtze, and went to a place a little outside with a bird’s view on the skyline.
Since we did not have time to make a longer cruise down the Yangtze to the the Three Gorges, we at least went to the modern museum of the gorges and the construction of the dam.
One other sight we went to had been suffered from the flooding caused by the heavy rain a few weeks ago. The prisons were members of the Communists were held captive during the civil war were damaged, one could only see a small part. At least we had good weather during our stay, we only had a heavy rain once – but it lasted only some fifteen minutes.

Skyline of Chongqing during the night
Skyline of Chongqing at night.

The city itself is very vivid, and the people like “renao” places, as my Chongqing friend said. Since we had a relaxing day after these two days so I went to a bar in the center of Chongqing with other guests from the youth hostel on my last evening there. Even we did not got out of the club until after 2:30 in the morning, however we had no trouble to get a 夜校, a midnight snack.

We were also taken to a party of a the family’s friend for lunch – the party was hosted because their daugther had done well in her “gaokao” exams and can go to the school she had chosen.
I don’t know how I can thank my Chongqing friend for their hospitality. One the one hand it seams normal for them to treat guest like this and invite us to all those places, but one the other hand “it just does not feel good” as an American friend said, because you never know if you can give something back in such a nice way.


One Response to “Chinese City Without Bicyles? Two Days in Chongqing”

  1. Beautiful lakes and waterfalls at Jiuzhaigou « Beijing 2007 Says:

    […] Beijing 2007 « Chinese City Without Bicyles? Two Days in Chongqing […]

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