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Things to Do in Chongqing

Cascading over the cliffs where the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers meet is the city of Chongqing: the biggest metropolitan area in the world. The city, famous for its foggy days, steep streets, and spicy cuisine, is typically the first or last stop for cruises through the Three Gorges along the Yangtze River, but a rich history and massive economic boom make it a worthwhile destination in itself.

In 1938, Chongqing underwent a transformation from a remote walled village to China’s last WWII capital. The expansion came when the Japanese took Hankou and villagers all along the Yangtze River fled upriver to Chongqing. While the city managed to survive over three years of bombings, most of the surviving structures and neighborhoods eventually succumbed to urban development.

Modern Chongqing may look nothing like the wartime capital, but visitors can still revisit the past at the Stilwell Museum, housed in the former residence of General Stilwell of the Flying Tigers; and a few memorials scattered throughout the city. Of course a stop in Chongqing wouldn’t be complete without eating hot pot, a regional specialty consisting of a steaming, bubbling pot of broth seasoned with spicy, mouth-tingling Sichuan peppers and served with an assortment of meats, seafood, vegetables and tofu.
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Three Gorges Museum
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10 Tours and Activities

This impressive museum provides unprecedented access to the science, history, and cultural heritage of the Three Gorges region near the Yangtze River. Exhibits showcase traditional painting, calligraphy, and porcelain, as well as ancient coins and sculpture from the Han Dynasty, traditional costumes, and artifacts from southwest China.

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Chongqing Zoo (Chongqing Dongwuyuan)
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8 Tours and Activities

Some 4,000 animals representing 230 species, including the iconic giant panda and rare South China tiger, call the Chongqing Zoo (Chongqing Dongwuyuan home. Besides animal exhibits, the zoo also features an outdoor state, teahouse, amusement park, and a roller skating rink, making it a favorite family attraction.

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Stilwell Museum (Shidiwei Bowuguan)
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16 Tours and Activities

This former residence of General Joseph Stilwell was converted into a popular museum where travelers can learn about this commander-in-chief of the American Army in the China Burma India Theater and learn about his life, conquests, and death while wandering the 1940s-style halls. The grounds offer some of the best views in Chongqing.

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Three Gorges (Sanxia)

China’s signature river trip, a Three Gorges (Sanxia) cruise is the defining experience of the Yangtze, Asia’s longest river. Famed for their beauty for more than 1,000 years, the Three Gorges have been reshaped by the rising waters of the Three Gorges Dam. But the magic of Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge endures.

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