Chongqing– Qianjiang District straddles the border along Hunan Province around three hundred kilometers east of the Chongqing Urban Area. On a two-day whirlwind tour of the main tourist attractions near the urban area, iChongqing reporter James travels to Qianjiang on a leisurely green train in a soft sleeper carriage. He then returns in style on a domestic flight within Chongqing Municipality, lasting well under an hour.
Zhuoshui Ancient Town is a blend of the modern and old, as part of the attraction was rebuilt after a significant flood in the early 1980s. The word ‘Zhuo’ in the name meant to cleanse in ancient times, and so the modern name implies the hope that visitors can wash away their troubles during their stay here.
Since the Tujia ethnic group accounts for over half the population of Qianjiang District, Zhuoshui has many features of Tujia culture on display, such as bronze sculptures that portray traditional hunting and their honest commercial practices, while patterns carved into wooden door panels that hold deep symbolic meanings. In addition, the many shopfronts offer sets of attractive Tujia clothing, ornaments and special delicacies.
During this visit, I also experienced a speed boat ride along the river, followed by a more leisurely tour by raft along a stretch of water separating the mainland from a mid-river island, which gave the vague impression of floating along a Venetian canal. The boat rides are highly recommended and provide a new perspective of the surroundings after exploring the old town and bridge on foot.
Puhua Underground River stretches around 1.6 kilometers through a series of geological wonders, including steep karst cliffs, natural bridges, and deep caves. Return boat trips are offered along the deep turquoise waters of the underground river. Once inside the cave, a spotlight projects through the darkness and lights up the incredible rock features in their various shapes and colors. In the middle of summer, the air temperature within this small valley plummets to give a refreshing break from the heat outside. In many ways, the scene resembled the Natural Three Bridges of Wulong. It blended with the mesmerizing emerald waters and valleys inside the Ayi River attraction in Pengshui County.
Qianjiang City Grand Canyon is a stunning karst landscape within the urban area. Visitors can explore the Guanyin Temple, stand on a centrally placed square in the middle of the valley, and hear one’s voice echoing. Later, they can pass a natural stone forest before descending through the canyon along a plank road set into the cliff face. Despite not being a big fan of heights, the clever design offers plenty of opportunities to admire the views. People who just want to enjoy the atmosphere can walk alongside the cliff on the solid, opaque ground. The city area is visible from within the canyon, making this a unique natural feature that doesn’t require a long journey out of town.
A long-awaited high-speed rail line connecting Qianjiang and Chongqing is projected to open in 2025 and reduce overland travel times between the cities down to 40 minutes. In the meantime, Qianjiang still remains a fantastic travel option for a two-day trip or longer, and in this latest travel blog, I will show you the top highlights based near the downtown area!