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Chongqing, the secret metropolis of China, is a city of extremes that defies description.  Towering futuristic skyscrapers cut through forests of old buildings.  Fiery hot and numbing local dishes with a flavor so bold even Chinese pause before a bite.  Equally “fiery” local spirit pulses through every local in the city, from business people making deals over hotpot to the “stick-stick men” – the unique porters of the city – that carry the wares that make the business thrive.  Surrounding the booming metropolis itself is a blanket of forested mountains, towering peaks and crashing waterfalls that beckon the visitor.  From the city’s skin to the soul, getting to know  Chongqing is an experience you’ll never forget.

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The panorama of Chongqing at night (Photo by He Xinming).

The cityscape of Chongqing is the first thing that strikes visitors.  Chongqing is a “mountain city”, and this landscape stands unique among the major cities in China.  Walk-ways soar above your head and beneath your feet.  Stairs crawl up and down the city, sometimes ending in a maze of alley-ways.  There are always new surprises to be found.  To add to this 3-dimensional landscape is the stunning skyline of Chongqing.  Mirrored by the Jialing and Yangtze rivers, the dancing, swirling, kaleidoscopic skyline of Chongqing can be viewed from all over the city, with each view offering something fresh and new.

After marveling at the city, you must taste it – and the food in Chongqing is nothing like you’ve ever had before.  The unique “spicy-numby” flavor of the local cuisine will blow you away and leave your taste-buds titillated and ready to explore each of the unique local delicacies in every county.  Chongqing is full of flavor – literally.  Locals frequently travel long distances and brave longer lines just to get a bite of a famous dish.  Chongqing cuisine is famous all over China, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world finds out.

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The unique “spicy-numb” flavor of the local cuisine will leave your taste-buds titillated.

At the heart of Chongqing are its people, and with a mountain city this extreme, you can bet that its people are going to be some of the hardiest, spirited people you’d find – and you’d be right. The spirit of the city is summed up with the Chinese word geng zhi, which means “straight-up”, and owes to the special geography and history of the city – back to the warriors of the mysterious Ba culture over 2000 years ago, whose relics can be seen today.  Whether it’s locals playing a unique drinking game over a bubbling cauldron of hotpot, “stick-stick” men beating the heat with a card-game, or famous “Chongqing beauties” chasing the night in one of Chongqing’s many nightlife hotspots, the locals are warm and welcoming to visitors curious enough to discover their unique city.    

Chongqing is a secret metropolis – but not for long.  Chongqing is at the forefront of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and is quickly opening its doors to the world.  With one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the future for Chongqing looks brighter than ever.  More and more people from all over the world are falling in love with this unique “mountain city”, and you can be a part of it.  In the end, Chongqing is a place that has to be seen to be believed, and it’s waiting for you to discover it.

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