Chongqing & Yangtze River
A city I had never heard of until I landed in it, Chongqing has a population of 32 million people. The skyline includes skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper.
As with any large city, there are plenty of things to do, but the highlight is to head to Ci Qi Kuo, a little marketplace near the river that gives you a sense of what the city used to be.
It's entertaining to see the merchants making candy here and to check out the stores, or to simply enjoy a drink on the waterfront!
There is also a nice square, that holds the People's Assembly Hall & The Three Gorges Museum. These stops are great for people watching, and a pleasant place to relax for a bit.
Other than these locations, I would suggest getting out into the mountains for hiking and better opportunities for great photographs.
You can take a boat cruise down the Yangtze River for a couple of sights that you will rarely see at other places. A three-day boat ride down the river will end at YiChang, and offer you a unique view of the river and surrounding mountains with a couple of excursions on land.
One of destinations on the trip includes the hanging coffins in the cliffs. These coffins date back to the 600’s and have been preserved due to their location and how they were made. They receive little rain and sunshine, and were crafted from a special hardwood found in the Chinese forests. It is curious to see coffins suspended hundreds of feet above you.
At the end of the cruise, you'll come to The Three Gorges Dam. It is an extremely controversial dam, although most are, because the dam flooded archaeological and cultural sites and displaced some 1.3 million people. It also caused significant ecological changes, including an increased risk of landslides.
Overall, the boat cruise is an ideal trip for anyone interested in taking in the scenery in a relatively peaceful way. For those who are more active when travelling and prefer to explore as much as possible on foot, having to remain on board a ship for three days is not particularly ideal. If you do enjoy cruises, this is a pleasant way to enjoy the river and get to your next destination!
I'm not a huge fan of Chongqing but if you are venturing through the town make sure to stop and get Hot Pot somewhere. I would also make sure to venture out into the mountains to get away from the chaotic city.
The Yangtze River journey is ideal for the more relaxed traveler, but I would not suggest it for those looking to have a more hands-on travel experience.
Use the weather to your advantage. A lot of the weather you run into in China is foggy and wet. Use this to your advantage by producing silhouettes!
Photography Gear Recommended
- 24-70mm lens
- 70-200mm lens
- 200-400mm lens or 2x extender
Non Profit Highlight
International Rivers works to protect rivers, and promote real solutions for meeting water, energy, and flood management needs around the globe. They work closely with a global network of dam-effected people, environmentalists, human rights advocates, and experts to fight destructive river projects and promote better alternatives.
In regards to the Three Gorges Dam, International Rivers is working to ensure that the right lessons are drawn from the large negative impact of this project to help guide future projects correctly.