Among all the routes HKA flies to, Chongqing is one of the few city I have not step foot on. Hence I requested hubby to request for night stop and lucky enough he got a back to back Chongqing flight this month.
As usual last minute planning and upon checking the hotel has staff rate, I quickly list down the places I want to go and here I am writing about my little adventure on my own in Chongqing for 5D4N.
Out of the 4 days, 2 days hubs is around, so on those days we just explore the city since he can’t go far. And the other 2 days, I joined excursion tour out of the city.
As it was raining, we decided to spend our morning exploring Three Gorgeous Museum. Something which hubs dread, he’s not a museum person, totally opposite of me. From what I read, this is one of the biggest museum in China. It was built mainly to house relics that were dug out during the Three Gorgeous Dam Project. 4 levels to go through showcasing the usual Chinese Museum exhibits such as ceramic exhibits, calligraphy & paintings. Only two sections caught my attention.
- Hand painted Chinese fan, rarely I see these in Chinese Museum. They were beautiful. Most of them are 2 sided. One side with poem written on it. The other side with painting.
- Currency history in China, right from the days of copper coins. This was really cool as we always see them on TV, but not much of real ones. There were also notes issued by different banks back in early 1900s which eventually became a bunch of useless paper as it weren’t recognised during war time.
Right opposite the Museum was the Great Hall of the People, which looked very much like Temple of Heaven in different colour . As it was raining, we didn’t go there since you can’t go in, no point hanging outside.
Great Hall of the People
Below are some photos taken in the Three Gorgeous Museum.
Art Collection donated by Li Chuli.
A cabinet full of hand painted paper fans.
Beautiful scenery drawn on the paper fan.
Another beautiful scenery, in colours, drawn on the paper fan.
Porcelain vases & bowls dated from Song Dynasty.
Into the Art Sculpture Hall.
Terracotta Figurine Riding Horse, excavated from Fengdu.
Stone Tomb Gate from Donghan Period
Stone Coffin Donghan Period, excavated in Shapingba, Chongqing
Painting stone of No. 1 Tomb of Yangzi Mountain Chariots & Riders Starting Off
Coins when it was first introduced, made of copper.
Various currency issued from different bank during 1940s.
Note Currency which became useless eventually, folded in fan and hat.
Chongqing during Japanese Invasion, World War II.
One of the few document which I could read LOL, since most of it was written in Chinese with little translation. I’d love to read the content though.
Human Skeleton of the Bayu People.
Type of Stones found along Yangtze River.
Various boats used along Yangtze River.
Next we went to Hongya Cave for some shopping. This is also a tourist must do when you are in Chongqing. Apparently Hongya is very important historically, but this is only a replica as the original site has been demolished / destroyed . Nothing interesting here, except Level 4 where you can buy snacks to bring home. I’d strongly recommend you to get some chilli. They are pretty delicious (not spicy) and addictive. At Level 10, you may also walk out to the viewing deck for a nice view of the bridge.
Hubs left for HK early morning today. I engaged myself with a crazy tour to Wulong Karst, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Why crazy? First, my 1st time travelling with China tour. Yes, we’ve been to many China cities, but all were self guided, no tour and never alone. Two, it’s 3 hours drive from the city!!! I kid you not. It’s like going to Penang . The bus was packed and because I was last to board the bus & the only single traveller, I had to sit in the middle of the last row. Weren’t too please with this arrangement but no choice.
I was pretty impressed with the tour guide though. She started off briefing everyone about the Do’s and Don’ts. She had two list. The ones for the bus, and the ones for the tour site. We all know how uncivilised Chinese travellers are, hence this is indeed very comforting seeing them making an effort to educate their travellers starting from local tours. They even had rubbish bins places along the bus walkway for them to throw rubbish. After that she talked about the fees, what are the extras we had to pay and some stories about Wulong Karst. I could muster probably 80% of what she say. Making mental notes of important bits (eg where to meet after the tour) as I didn’t want to be left behind by the bus since I was travelling alone. I also take note on some of the faces (those sat next to me), just in case I was lost or gonna be late for the bus. As usual, there were some unhappy Chinese tourist in the bus, due to having to pay extra money for stuff that weren’t covered. I slept most of the time throughout the since I couldn’t take photos.
We finally arrived around 1230PM. First stop is of course some place to sell you stuff. China right. We were given briefing about the local plants and herbs in Wulong. Famous for orchids and some Chinese Herbs. I could only understand & translate (for my own understanding) half of what they were explaining given my very limited Chinese vocabulary.
Then, we went to a restaurant and were served with some strange food. Cucumber with chilli padi . I only ate those that looked familiar to me .
Cucumber with chilli padi…no I didn’t eat this dish.
Beans with pork. This was not bad.
After lunch, we were made to go into some exhibition hall, where they display various type of stones, found all over Southern China. Here are some of the stones which caught my attention.
Precious Jade, found in Guizhou Qinglong
Emerald, found in Yunnan
Desert Rose Stone, found in Inner Mongolia
Crystal Pyrite, found in South China Karst
We finally reached Wulong Karst around 130PM. First, we went to the viewing platform. I didn’t know it was so high up until I googled it just now. 820 feet above ground, 4,000 feet above sea level. It was quite fun at the beginning when I step onto the platform. I was happily snapping photos and walking at the side (where the railing is). Then when I walk to the middle of the platform, where you can see through right to the bottom, it scared the out of me. Obviously I weren’t prepared for such height. I literally drag my feet across the other side instead of walk, for fear of the platform might collapse .
View from the viewing platform. Awesome right.
This was where I started panic.
After my brief scare on the platform, we were directed to walk across the street, and we walked all the way down to see the 3 Natural Bridges itself. It was quite a long walk, with endless steps. It is indeed quite a sight upon arriving at the bottom of the Natural Bridges. It’s so magnificent. The Natural Bridges namely Tianlong Bridge, Qinglong Bridge & Heilong Bridge is so huge and deep. This was also where Transformer: Age of Extinction & Curse of the Golden Flower was shot. Aside from the 3 bridges, there are also some natural rock formation which is note worthy. Here are some of the photos taken at Wulong Karst.
The 1st Natural Bridge, also known as Sky Dragon (Tianlong) Bridge.
Part of Tianfu Post House, outdoor scene of the Curse of the Golden Flower Movie, directed by Zhang Yimou
View from midpoint of the Tianfu Post House. Regret not going further up, would have gotten a better photo.
Closer look of the Sky Dragon (Tianlong) Bridge.
Heading towards Green Dragon (Qinglong) Bridge.
Look up to Green Dragon (Qinglong) Bridge and saw this.
Karst Waterfall streaming down near Green Dragon (Qinglong) Bridge.
The bridge opening of Qinglong Bridge is like a broadsword, with vivid handle and blade. It can be seen more clearly in the lake.
Awesome view as I pass Green Dragon Bridge.
Look up and this was what I saw, below Green Dragon Bridge.
Jumping carp, can you see the shape?
Walking further to the next bridge.
Always look up while you are walking as you will spot some amazing shape karst.
Almost reaching Black Dragon (Heilong) Bridge.
More Karst seen here, in a very narrow gap.
After passing Black Dragon (Heilong) Bridge, look back and see a Gorilla face.
After passing Black Dragon (Heilong) Bridge, we will come to the four springs of Black Dragon (Heilong) Bridge. Such a beautiful sight.
Another part of the spring. Love the reflection on the spring itself.
Rock of Happy Couple.
Next, we took a shuttle bus to Longshuixia Fissure Gorge. It is a typical karst landscape associated with orogenic movement. 5km length and 500m depth make it a magnificent and fantastic valley, which has steep cliff, original vegetation and stream waterfalls. The walk path is pretty narrow and some parts of it you have to bend down. But the scenery is breathtaking. No regrets spending 3 hours on the road.
View of the waterfall from top. We were all stuck at the top (lining up to take elevator) for almost 20 minutes before we could go nearer to the Waterfall.
The one and only bug that I spotted while walking to the waterfall.
The narrow walkway. They try to preserve this area with minimal structural items built. Just simply steps and hand railing.
Many more steps to go for me…
I simply love this view of bridge connecting the area leading to waterfall.
This is the waterfall. Amazing depth and so windy while we walk past.
Water flowing through the stones at the bottom of the waterfall.
More walking at the Longshuixia Fissure Gorge.
Stones covered with moss.
Another waterfall, a smaller one, under the manmade bridge.
Clear blue water pool.
We left Wulong close to 6PM and finally arrived back in Chongqing at 9PM. What a long and tiring day.
I quickly spoke to the hotel concierge and arrange for next day’s tour to avoid the same issue happening again like the 1st day.
Today, I’m on the road again. But it is not so far compared to yesterday. I’m heading to Dazu Rock Carvings. Another UNESCO Heritage in Chongqing. I got a better seat today, right next to the window (although it’s the last row), hence I took some photos during the roadtrip.
Road trip view.
We travelled 2 hours out of the city, and our first stop were again some place they try to promote local tourism. Next we stopped by a restaurant for quick lunch. The food today was much edible compared to yesterday .
Fruit truck selling fruits outside the restaurant. Tempted, but didn’t buy.
There are many notable Rock Carvings in Dazu County. We are to visit Baodingshan. We finally arrive at Baodingshan around 12PM. Tour guide gave us specific instruction to walk into the entrance of Baodingshan. It’s about 2KM walk to just the entrance itself. But since it’s mainly flat road and they’ve constructed this very beautiful walkway, the 2KM was pretty bearable. The history of Dazu Rock Carvings was dated back to 650AD during the Tang Dynasty and continued during Ming Dynasty & Qing Dynasty. Among the rock carvings, there are more than 50,000 statues and over 100,000 Chinese characters of inscriptions and epigraphs. The Buddhist statues dominate in this rock carving group, and the Taoist and the Confucian stone figures can also be seen.
Most of the carvings tells stories about Buddhism. The thing I like about today’s tour, was that each of us were given an audio device. We could listen to the tour guide’s explanation as we walk and explore the area, within 50m. This was much more effective compared to yesterday, where the tour guide only explain to us in the bus and didn’t bring us around. The 2 most notable carvings in Baodingshan is sleeping buddha & 1000 palm kuan yin. What we see today are the result of extensive restoration has taken place for the past 8-10 years to restore & protect these carvings.
Here are some photos taken at Baodingshan Dazu Carvings.
Thousand hands, thousand eyes
Thousand hand Kuan Yin
Paddy field along the way back to Chongqing.
We arrived back in Chongqing around 5PM. I went back to hotel to shower and rest before heading out to look for food around Liberation Monument (Jiefangbei), which is just behind my hotel, Intercontinental. This is like Chongqing Times Square. Eventually, I end up eating at Pizza Hut after failing to find a proper restaurant that comes with English Menu .
Another rainy day today. With the hope of rain will stop by noon, we brave ourselves to Huguang Assembly Guild Hall. The Huguang Assembly Guild Hall has a history of over 200 years. Merchants and traders from other nearby cities such as Hubei, Guangdong, Hunan & Guangxi that travels to Chongqing for businesses will gather at this Guild Hall. It serves as a place for entertaining & meetings while traders were in Chongqing. Various sections of this Hall is identified with different names, for people coming from different cities. According to history, this place was first built in 1759 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Because it was at the Yangtze River Mouth, it was subjected to flood. There were famine, plague and war, which causes the population to decrease in Szechuan (Chongqing was then part of Szechuan). Due to this, the Qing Dynasty encouraged migration of people from the West to settle in Szechuan/Chongqing, since it was once the capital of China.
Below are some photos taken in Huguang.
Emperor Yu’s Palace. He’s a highly reputed Hero of Water Control.
Ancestor Worship Hall.
After we left Huguang, we went to Ciqikou Old Town, which is also known as Porcelain Town. Ciqikou is on a hill above the Jialing River in the western part of Chongqing city. It is a small section of city with about two city streets and back allies that are set aside as a pedestrian shopping and dining area. It was once a prominent market and trade town next to Chongqing. In the Ming Dynasty, it was a river port and market town. Goods were transported over land and water. Now it is just another old town like those in other cities, a place for tourist to buy souvenirs and eat their heart out.
The rain was getting heavier, hence no photos taken at Ciqikou. We had beggar chicken for lunch. Yummy chicken wrapped in lotus leave and paper, covered with mud and baked/grilled on the hot stove. Chicken was moist and juicy. Then we came upon a shop selling teapots and spent some time there shopping for teapot, then tea itself.
We had dinner in a restaurant near our hotel named Memory Tongue. Szechuan hot and spicy food. Since it is our last night in Chongqing, we head back to hotel early to pack up and sleep.
It is definitely a trip I enjoyed very much. 2 more UNESCO Heritage in the pocket .