Sichuan and Chongqing

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Sichuan and Chongqing - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Baoding Shan

    Public Art

    A UNESCO World Heritage site, these Buddhist caves rival those at Datong, Dunhuang, and Luoyang. The sculptures, ranging from teeny-tiny to...

    A UNESCO World Heritage site, these Buddhist caves rival those at Datong, Dunhuang, and Luoyang. The sculptures, ranging from teeny-tiny to gigantic, contain unusual domestic details, as well as purely religious works. There are two major sites at Dazu—Bei Shan and Baoding Shan. Work at the caves began in the 9th century during the Song and Tang Dynasties, and continued for more than 250 years.Baoding Shan is the more impressive of the two sites, where the carvings were completed according to a plan. Here you will find visions of hell reminiscent of similar scenes from medieval Europe; the Wheel of Life; a magnificent 100-foot reclining Buddha; and a gold statue of the 1,000-armed goddess of mercy.The best way to reach Dazu is to book a tour from Chongqing.

    Dazu, Chongqing Shi, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Mar.–Dec., Y180; Jan. and Feb., Y130, Y130
  • 2. Fengdu Ghost City

    Ruins

    Also known as Guicheng or the "city of devils," this city on the banks of the Yangtze is filled with temples, buildings, and statues depicting...

    Also known as Guicheng or the "city of devils," this city on the banks of the Yangtze is filled with temples, buildings, and statues depicting demons and devils. During the Tang Dynasty, the names of two local princely families, Yin (meaning "hell") and Wang (meaning "king"), were linked through marriage, making them known as Yinwang, or the "king of hell." Part of the old city has been submerged in the Three Gorges Dam project. You can take a series of staircases or a cable car to the top of the mountain.

    160 km (100 miles) east of Chongqing, , China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y80
  • 3. Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    High among the snowcapped peaks of the Aba Autonomous Prefecture of northern Sichuan lies the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, a spectacular national...

    High among the snowcapped peaks of the Aba Autonomous Prefecture of northern Sichuan lies the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, a spectacular national park filled with lush valleys, jagged peaks, a dozen large waterfalls, and most famously, a collection of iridescent lakes and pools. Jiuzhaigou has become one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, with more than 1.5 million people visiting every year.This UNESCO World Heritage site preserve's cerulean and aqua pools are among the most beautiful in the world, and the park's raw natural beauty has been compared to Yellowstone National Park. Also similar to Yellowstone are the crowds—throngs of Chinese tourists descend daily on this 800-km (497-mile) stretch of lush forests, piercing peaks, languid lakes, and clear pools.Jiuzhaigou is a natural reserve and a collection of villages, mostly of Tibetan and Qinang origin. (The name Jiuzhaigou means Nine Villages.) The park shelters 76 mammal species, including pandas, black bears, and deer. The climate is wet in the spring and fall, very snowy and cold in the winter, and bright and warm in the summer.

    Jiuzhaigou, Hunan, China
    0837-773–9753

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Apr.–mid-Nov. Y220; mid-Nov.–Mar., Y80
  • 4. Little Three Gorges

    Nature Sight

    At the entrance to Wu Gorge, you can take a smaller boat navigated by local boatmen to the Little Three Gorges. These three gorges—Dragon Gate...

    At the entrance to Wu Gorge, you can take a smaller boat navigated by local boatmen to the Little Three Gorges. These three gorges—Dragon Gate Gorge, Misty Gorge, and Emerald Gorge—are spectacular and not to be missed. They are striking and silent, rising dramatically out of the river. If you have time, take a trip to the old town of Dachang.

    , China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y240
  • 5. Tibetan Quarter

    Market/Bazaar

    Chengdu's tiny Tibetan Quarter is a fascinating place to explore. Shop for colorful Tibetan clothing and art, including religious objects such...

    Chengdu's tiny Tibetan Quarter is a fascinating place to explore. Shop for colorful Tibetan clothing and art, including religious objects such wooden beads, Buddhist prayer flags, and Tibetan scrolls. Make sure to bargain hard. If you can't make it to Tibet, stop for a cup of salty butter yak milk tea at one of the many restaurants lining the main drag.

    Wuhuoci Heng St., Wu Hou Ci, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610041, China
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  • 6. Wangjianglou Pavilion Park (Bamboo Park)

    Viewpoint

    The four-story wooden pavilion in Wangjianglou Pavilion Park, dating from the Qing Dynasty, offers splendid views of the Fu River. The poet...

    The four-story wooden pavilion in Wangjianglou Pavilion Park, dating from the Qing Dynasty, offers splendid views of the Fu River. The poet Xue Tao, who lived in Chengdu during the Tang Dynasty, was said to have spent time near the river, from which she apparently drew water to make paper for her poems. The pavilion stands amid more than 200 species of bamboo, a plant revered by the poet. A perfect place to stroll early mornings while the older population practice tai chi and the "Chinese yo-yo." Don't rush out before enjoying a cup of inexpensive, Y10, Mao Feng green tea (a local specialty grown in the nearby mountains). It is the perfect escape to the messy city!

    30 Wangjiang Rd., Chengdu, Sichuan, 610021, China
    028-8522–3389

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y20
  • 7. Wenshu Monastery

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Named after Manjusri, the bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom, Wenshu Monastery is one of the most important (and well-preserved) Zen Buddhist...

    Named after Manjusri, the bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom, Wenshu Monastery is one of the most important (and well-preserved) Zen Buddhist monasteries in China, and has been around almost as long as the religion itself. It was originally constructed during the Sui Dynasty, around the same time as Zen Buddhism's emergence in China. The monastery and accompanying temples have since been destroyed several times, most notably during the Ming Dynasty, after which the monks are said to have continued sitting among the ruins chanting sutras. It is notable for hundreds of antique statues crafted from a variety of materials that have survived upheavals of times past better than the actual buildings. The attractive 11-tiered Thousand Buddha Peace Pagoda is actually a rather late addition—it was built in 1988 based off an original Sui Dynasty pagoda. The on-site tea garden is a great place to relax in the afternoon.

    15 Wenshu Yuan St., off Renmin Middle Rd., Chengdu, Sichuan, 610017, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 8. Yangtze River Cable Car

    YuZhong District | Viewpoint

    Get a bird's-eye view of Chongqing, one of the world's biggest cities. Ideal for taking photos of the city and the two rivers, it's a good...

    Get a bird's-eye view of Chongqing, one of the world's biggest cities. Ideal for taking photos of the city and the two rivers, it's a good opportunity to rise above it all and get a grip on the massive scale of the metropolis.

    151 Xinhua Rd., Chongqing, Chongqing Shi, 400010, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y2, Y20
  • 9. 18 Steps

    Neighborhood/Street

    18 Steps is one of the coolest places in the city, literally and figuratively. The neighborhood is just south of the Liberation Monument, and...

    18 Steps is one of the coolest places in the city, literally and figuratively. The neighborhood is just south of the Liberation Monument, and hasn't changed since the early 20th century. The name refers to the steps leading from the upper level of Jie Fang Bei down to the slums below. The infamous 18 Steps tunnel, the scene of horrible carnage during WWII, serves as a congregation point for the whole neighborhood. Find the tunnel, pull up a mat, and sip tea while the locals stare at you incredulously. At the top of the steps is a teahouse with a treasure trove of WWII memorabilia.

    Jie Fang Bei District, south of Liberation Monument, Chongqing, Chongqing Shi, 400010, China
  • 10. Badong

    Town/Village

    At the city of Badong, just outside the eastern end of Wu Gorge, boats leave for Shennongjia on the Shennong River, where you can take in the...

    At the city of Badong, just outside the eastern end of Wu Gorge, boats leave for Shennongjia on the Shennong River, where you can take in the costumes and traditions of Tujia and Miao ethnic minorities.

    , China
  • 11. Chaotianmen Docks

    Marina/Pier

    Not as busy and bustling as once upon a time, Chaotianmen Docks lets you get a glimpse of China at work. Here you can witness the merging of...

    Not as busy and bustling as once upon a time, Chaotianmen Docks lets you get a glimpse of China at work. Here you can witness the merging of the muddy-brown Yangtze River and the blue-green Jialing River. Chaotianmen Square has great skyline views.

    Shaanxi Rd., Chongqing, Chongqing Shi, 400010, China
  • 12. Ci Qi Kou Old Town

    Neighborhood/Street

    Perched in the western part of the city overlooking the Jialing River, this district dates back to the late Ming Dynasty. There is a main drag...

    Perched in the western part of the city overlooking the Jialing River, this district dates back to the late Ming Dynasty. There is a main drag with dozens of souvenir and snack shops, including the peaceful Baolun Si Temple, which dates back 1,500 years. If you do stay until late into the evening, head down the alleys off the main drag and have a bowl of "night owl noodles." They're spicy, meaty, and filling. The taxi ride from downtown takes approximately 30 minutes and costs around Y30.

    Chongqing, Chongqing Shi, 400031, China
  • 13. Du Fu's Thatched Cottage Museum

    Historic Home

    This museum is named for the famous poet Du Fu (AD 712–770) of the Tang Dynasty, whose poetry continues to be read today. A Manchurian, he came...

    This museum is named for the famous poet Du Fu (AD 712–770) of the Tang Dynasty, whose poetry continues to be read today. A Manchurian, he came to Chengdu from Xi'an and built a small hut overlooking the bamboo and plum tree–lined Huanhua River. During the four years he spent here he wrote more than 240 poems. After his death the area became a garden; a temple was then added during the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1126). A replica of his cottage now stands among several other structures, all built during the Qing Dynasty. Some of Du Fu's calligraphy and poems are on display here.

    37 Qinghua Rd., Chengdu, Sichuan, 610021, China
    028-8731–9258

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y60
  • 14. Emeishan

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The 10,000-foot-high Emeishan (literally translated as Lofty Eyebrow Mountain) in southern Sichuan is one of China's holiest Buddhist pilgrimage...

    The 10,000-foot-high Emeishan (literally translated as Lofty Eyebrow Mountain) in southern Sichuan is one of China's holiest Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The temples here survived the Cultural Revolution better than most others in China, due in part to courageous monks. Still, of the hundreds of temples that once were found here, only 20 remain. Today it is one of the better-known tourist attractions in the country. A bamboo walking stick is very useful when ascending the mountain. It's also a good way to scare off the fearless gangs of Tibetan macaques that inhabit the area.

    , Sichuan, China
  • 15. Giant Buddha

    Public Art

    Rising 233 feet, this is the tallest stone Buddha and among the tallest sculptures in the world. The big toes are each 28 feet long. A monk...

    Rising 233 feet, this is the tallest stone Buddha and among the tallest sculptures in the world. The big toes are each 28 feet long. A monk who wished to placate the rivers that habitually took local fishermen's lives started the construction of the Giant Buddha in AD 713. The project took more than 90 years to complete, and it had no noticeable effect on the waters. It's possible to clamber, via a stairway hewn out of rock, down to the platform where the feet rest.

    Leshan, Sichuan, China
    0833-230–2121

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y95 (includes Wu You Temple), Y90
  • 16. Giant Panda Breeding Research Base

    Zoo/Aquarium

    The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is worth the 45-minute drive (from the center of Chengdu) to walk the peaceful bamboo groves, snap pictures...

    The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is worth the 45-minute drive (from the center of Chengdu) to walk the peaceful bamboo groves, snap pictures of the lolling pandas, and catch a glimpse of the tiny baby pandas that are born with startling regularity. Crews of scientists help pandas breed and care for the young in a safe, controlled environment. Visit early in the morning, when the pandas are most active. To get here, book a driver through your hotel for Y300 to Y400 round-trip. A taxi will cost about Y80 each way depending how well you bargain.

    26 Jiefang Rd., Chengdu, Sichuan, China
    028-8351–0033

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y58
  • 17. Jinyun Mountain

    Viewpoint

    Just north of the city, Jinyun Mountain has some pretty views and a smattering of pavilions from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Three contain...

    Just north of the city, Jinyun Mountain has some pretty views and a smattering of pavilions from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Three contain imposing statues: the Giant Buddha, the Amitabha Buddha, and the famous general of the Three Kingdoms period, Guan Yu. The park also has a set of hot springs, where you can swim in a pool or soak in the private cubicles.

    50 km (30 miles) by bus north of city, Beibei, Chongqing Shi, 400700, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y15
  • 18. Loquat Hill

    Viewpoint

    The 804-foot Loquat Hill has great views of the river below. At night, enjoy the city lights. There's also a small park with no entrance fee. ...

    The 804-foot Loquat Hill has great views of the river below. At night, enjoy the city lights. There's also a small park with no entrance fee.

    Zhongshan Er Rd., Chongqing, Chongqing Shi, 400010, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 19. Luohan Temple

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Originally built about 1,000 years ago, then rebuilt in 1752 and again in 1945, the Luohan Temple is a popular place of worship, and a small...

    Originally built about 1,000 years ago, then rebuilt in 1752 and again in 1945, the Luohan Temple is a popular place of worship, and a small community of monks is still active here. One of the main attractions is the 500 lifelike painted clay arhats—Buddhist disciples who have succeeded in freeing themselves from the earthly chains of delusion and material greed. At the back of the temple you can order tea, get a massage, and enjoy a vegetarian lunch.

    Near No. 63 Dongsheng Rd., Chongqing, Chongqing Shi, 400010, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y10
  • 20. Ming Hill

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The bamboo-covered Ming Hill is home to a Buddhist temple, a pavilion, and pagodas with brightly painted dragons and swans emanating from the...

    The bamboo-covered Ming Hill is home to a Buddhist temple, a pavilion, and pagodas with brightly painted dragons and swans emanating from the eaves. The hill has a nice view of the Yangtze River.

    , China

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