Chongqing- When it comes to finding the most popular city in South West China, the battle is often between Chongqing and its Sichuan neighbor Chengdu. Chengdu and Chongqing both have their signatures, Chengdu is famous for its Panda Breeding Center, and Chongqing is famous for its hotpot. But what else is there to explore in terms of unique attractions, and does it work making the 1-2 hours trip between the cities if you are here for a visit? Let’s find out!
There are many reasons why you, like Chongqing, might like Chengdu and the other way around. Here is the list of some of our favorite attractions of each place sharing the similarities.
1. Hongya Cave & Kuanzhai Alley (Wide and Narrow Street)
Hongya Cave is one of the most Instagram-able iconic spots in Downtown Chongqing. Located at the bank of the Yuzhong peninsula, along the Yangtze River, these traditional wooden dwellings keep the memory of Old Chongqing alive. history of 2300 years, it sits right next to some of the tallest and most modern skyscrapers in perfect harmony.
Take an exploration inside, busy wine bars, and delicious local food shops. The stunning beautiful night view of Hongya Cave is worth a visit.
Kuanzhai Alley in Chengdu is what remains of old buildings from the Qing Dynasty ca. 1636-1912 A.D.). This place has maintained its original looks for hundreds of years, and Kuanzhai alley also attracts millions of tourists every year. The Qing style Quadrangle courtyards and typical Qing Era buildings house shops that sell snacks and traditional food. You can also find fashionable bars and restaurants along the streets, making this very similar to Hongya Cave in Chongqing with its old architecture and mix of culture, snacks, cafes, restaurants, and bars.
2. Tongliang Dragon Dance & Face Changing Sichuan Opera
Renowned as China’s “number one dragon dance”, Chongqing’s Tongliang fire dragon dance performance is overwhelmingly spectacular. The dance is performed by a team of experienced dancers who manipulate a long flexible figure of a dragon using poles positioned at regular intervals along the length of the dragon. The dance team simulates the imagined movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner. The dancers performed in a shower of molten iron that sparkled like fireworks, creating an incredibly beautiful and fiery scene.
Bianlian, known as Face-changing in Chinese is an important aspect of Sichuan Opera, and the precise techniques that are used to change masks in modern Sichuan Opera is a closely guarded secret. They also wear vividly colored masks that they may change within a fraction of a second. The magic stunts such as quick face changes without makeup and the acrobatics such as jumping through burning hoops and hiding swords entertain and amuse audiences. The magical face changes are particularly famous, especially since no one seems to know how exactly how it is done.
3. Dazu Rock Carvings & Leshan Giang Buddha
With more than 50.000 Buddhist statues carved into the rock faces in 75 grottoes, the World cultural heritage Dazu Rock Carvings are one of the eight famous Buddhist carvings in the world. The steep hillsides of the Dazu area contain an exceptional series of rock carvings dating from the 9th to the 13th century. They are remarkable for their aesthetic quality, their rich diversity of subject matter, both secular and religious, and the light that they shed on everyday life in China during this period. They provide outstanding evidence of the harmonious synthesis of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
The Leshan Giant Buddha near Chengdu is the tallest Buddha sculpture in the world with a height of 71 meters, carved in the 8th century A.D. out of the hillside. The 9-meter-wide instep is big enough for one hundred people to sit on. The charm of the Buddha lies not only in its size but also in its architectural artistry. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Mount Emei in 1996. Facing the river, the Buddha has a symmetrical posture and looks, which have been beautifully captured in its solemn stillness.
4. Exploring the city Monorail & Bikes
In Chongqing, one of the best ways to explore the city is by monorail, which can take you to most places downtown. Due to the wavy terrain, you can have an extraordinary experience by taking the monorail. The monorail goes along the riverside and mountains, and even though the buildings. On the way, you can enjoy the beautiful scenic views and especially in the evening.
Thanks to the plain land of Chengdu, bicycles are a popular transportation tool. Take a bike tour around the city is favored by many visitors. Passing by flat roads and crossing fields and gardens, you can feel the pleasure of travel and enjoy the nice view of the city. Several greenways with a nice biking atmosphere and perfect biking tracks were built in the suburb.
5. Ciqikou VS Jinli
Ciqikou is another one of Chongqing’s top attractions and a place that not only offers historical Chinese architecture but also an abundance of history paired with modern dining and entertainment options. Ciqikou’s long history and its traditional long pedestrian street, dating back more than 1000 years, is the oldest shopping street in Chongqing.
If you enjoy this kind of scenic spot, you will also surely enjoy Jinli in Chengdu. A large area in a similar style to Ciqikou with beautiful gardens, and old-style buildings where you can enjoy snacks, traditional Chinese architecture as well as tea and opera performances. Jinli is in fact much larger than Ciqikou and a bit of a photographer’s dream to walk around for an afternoon.
That marks some of our comparison between Chongqing and Chengdu, but this is far from an exhaustive list. Stay tuned with us if you would like to take a deeper look at the differences and similarities between these two great cities.
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