Chongqing (重庆; Chóngqìng, formerly spelled Chungking) is fast becoming the most economically important city in the interior West China, with an urban population of around 8.8 million. In addition to the central urban area, the municipality of Chongqing also includes some 80,000 km² (31,000 sq mi) of the neighboring countryside and smaller towns, with approximately 30 million people altogether.
Chongqing is also the launching point for scenic boat trips down the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges Dam. The spectacular Buddhist Dazu are three hours west of Chongqing City in the outlying Chongqing Municipality and are listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chongqing is notorious for its hot and humid climate. The air quality, winter or summer, can be challenging to people with respiratory problems due to massive amounts of smog. Chongqing has been ranked by the World Bank as one of the most polluted cities in the world.
Chongqing Municipality has a population of 32 million and is located in the People’s Republic of China. It was earlier part of the Province of Sichuan.
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Chongqing urban area (covered in this article) consists of the following nine districts: Yuzhong, Dadukou, Jiangbei, Shapingba, Jiulongpo, Nan’an, Banan, Yubei, and Beibei.
History of Chongqing Municipality
When the Revolts overpowered the Ming Dynasty across China between the year of 1627 to 1645, they defeated Chongqing which was part of today’s Sichuan Province.
The first inland commerce port in China to be open to foreigners was in Chongqing in the year of 1891. It became a municipality under the Republic of China from 1929 onwards but Chiang Kai-shek’s provisional capital was bombed during the Second Sino-Japanese War by the invading Japanese but many lives were saved due to the protection formed by mountain ranges around Chongqing. During World War II, most of the industrial factories and universities moved from the East of China to Chongqing.
Fly to Chongqing
- 1 Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (about 21 km northeast of Chongqing in Lianglu Town, Yubei District). It is served by international flights from Asia, Middle East, Europe, Oceania and North America. It also serves most main domestic cities. It has two terminals (a third much larger terminal under construction, and a fourth is set for construction shortly after completion of the third).
- Terminal 1 – Closed for renovation. The re-opening date has not been announced.
- Terminal 2 – Serves four domestic airlines: China West Air, China Express Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and China Spring Airlines. Metro Line 3 and Line 10 connects this terminal to downtown Chongqing. Bus service is also available from the ground level of the terminal. Taxi to downtown Chongqing costs about ¥80.
- Terminal 3 – Serves domestic airlines and international airlines, connecting Chongqing to major international cities. Metro Line 10 runs through the transportation hub of T3. There is free airport shuttle service between T3 and T2, which takes approximately 15 minutes for each trip.
There are several ways to get from the airport to the city:
- Chongqing Metro Line 3 connects the airport to the city centre. The station is accessible from both terminals.
- The Airport shuttle bus departs from the ground level of Terminal 2 to 2 Shangqisi Lu airport bus stop in central Chongqing. There are two stops, so when you stand in line, look carefully.
- A taxi to downtown Chongqing would cost about ¥40-80.
Travel by train to Chongqing
There are three major train stations in Chongqing:
- x3 Chongqing Station (Chongqing Zhan – Caiyuanba 重庆站), Cai Yuan Ba Li Jiao Qiao, Yuzhong (CRT Line 1 & 3 Lianglukou Metro Station). Original station closest to the centre of Chongqing. Handles many long distance trains from many destinations across China. Some services are being transferred to Chongqing North Station, due to planned redevelopment of the station.
- x4 Chongqing North Station (Chongqing Bei Zhan 重庆北站), Kunlun Avenue, Yubei District (渝北区昆仑大道) (CRT Line 3 Chongqing North Station South Square Metro Station and CRT Line 10 Chongqing North Station North Square Metro Station. Buses are also available to the North Square Terminal from the Longtousi Metro Station on Line 3). There are two terminals at the Chongqing North Station. The newer North Square (北广场) terminal handles high-speed services to/from Chengdu. Many long-distance high-speed trains to other cities in China also depart and arrive here. The slower K and T series trains continue to depart from the South Square (南广场) terminal. The two terminals are linked via bus no. 663.
- xChongqing West Station (Chongqing Xi Zhan 重庆西站). Huge new station southwest of city center. No metro connection, take bus 213 from Shapingba Station. Serves Guiyang and Kunming.
High speed trains (G series) link to Chongqing North Station to Beijing in about 12 hours, and to Chengdu in about 1½ hours. In addition, there are slow trains that take about twice as long.
The longest railway trip from Chongqing is from Harbin to Chongqing North, a 48-hour, 3,535-km ride. The price of hard ticket is ¥344 and hard berth is ¥599.
Most train tickets can be purchased through the help of the hotel your are staying. The tickets are then delivered to the hotel for you to pick up.
Long distance buses travel to Chongqing from almost anywhere. There are numerous buses into Chongqing, most notably is the hourly service to and from Chengdu, Nanchong, and Xi’an. From the west Chengdu is 2½ hours and to the east Wanzhou is 3 hours, both on good highways and good buses. Avoid the “sleeper” buses as they must be the most uncomfortable way to travel ever invented.
Geography of Chongqing Municipality
The provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Shaanxi are neighboring provinces of the Municipality of Chongqing.
Local Economy of Chongqing Municipality
Chongqing has a booming economy, in fact it is the third fastest growing economy in the People’s Republic of China. The GDP in 2007 was 411.18billion Yuan with an annual growth rate of 15%. The per capita GDP was however below national average with 14,622 Yuan.