Chongqing's enclosure deep inland in the west of China hasn't stopped it becoming one of the country's largest and most vibrant cities. Jutting out onto the Yangzte River on a skyscraper-packed peninsula, Chongqing is home to over five million people and is the main tourist center for visits to the Three Gorges Dam.
Chongqing's undulating topography means that it is one of the few cities in China where the bicycle is not king. Instead, commuters whiz about on a futuristic monorail and a superb public bus and metro system that has a multilingual announcement system. Money pouring in from construction and tourism related to the Three Gorges Dam keeps the city booming.
Chongqing was the heart of the communist movement's early years and the city served as the capital of China during the years of WWII. Apart from its speedy sense of futurism, Chongqing is a richly historic place with fascinating heritage attractions tucked into almost every hill and valley.
Very much the ‘Times Square' of Chongqing, Jiefangbei is a massive paved plaza ringed by 3,000 shops and businesses and what seems to be an uncountable stock of skyscrapers. Everything from the stock market to the biggest shopping malls and department stores in the city are located here.
While a great deal of Chongqing was destroyed by the Japanese during WWII, some of the heritage has been recreated in HongYaDong where old style houses on stilts and wooden aqueducts appear to hang precariously off the side of a very steep mountain. HongYaDong is just near Jiefangbei.
Part amusement park, part white elephant, Foreign Street is north of Jiefangbei and contains novelties like an Australian bar, an upside-down house, other various international models and the world's largest public restrooms.