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Chengdu or Chongqing

Chengdu or Chongqing

Old Dec 3, 18, 2:22 pm
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Chengdu or Chongqing

I have an award ticket I'm looking at booking and I'll have the option to have 36 hours either in Chengdu or Chongqing. My main interests are photography and food with history following behind those two, so I'm looking at which has the best options.

Chengdu looks more modern (layout wise) and from what I read, has better food. They also have the pandas for what it's worth.
Chongqing looks hilly and, on paper, looks like an interesting city. I've read it's a bit more raw than Chengdu but have also read that the food quality isn't quite as good.

Both offer TWOV and hotel prices are pretty similar, so that's good at least. The flight back to the states from Chengdu is a bit less desirable as it gets me into JFK at midnight, where as Chongqing allows me to connect to a redeye in First, which isn't horrible.

Which would you choose? Any short day trips for some nice landscapes from either city that I could do instead? Wulong Mountain Forest Park looks interesting and appears to be doable from Chongqing.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 2:23 pm
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Chengdu without a doubt.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 4:18 pm
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From Chengdu to Chongqing, there is a high speed railway. It's very convenient. You only need 1.5 hours.
Yes, Chengdu is a place worth visiting. Giant pandas, Chengdu cuisine, Leshan Buddha, Emei Mountain,,,,,,
But now, the panda base has stopped holding panda service........
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Old Dec 3, 18, 5:02 pm
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Chengdu - for a mainland city - has a compact feel, and due to being rather flat, is quite walkable. I'd say it's a good city for mainland rookies, because it's not so in-your-face, in spite of (naturally) having millions of residents. Public transit is good, both airport terminals have metro stations (though you'd have to transfer to get further downtown), and food is often spicy.

On the flip side, Chongqing has the most Blade Runner-esque atmosphere of any Chinese city that I've visited. It's massive, and tries to remind you of that constantly. Indeed it's hilly; however that fact does keep the usual suicidal bicyclists at bay. I'd love to return there to photograph it, highlighting monorails juxtaposed with the skyscrapers. Also, both of CKG's current terminals have metro service towards the center.

Both cities have nice day trips (including to each other), but based on your 36 hours, I'd go with Chengdu.

Last edited by BuildingMyBento; Dec 3, 18 at 7:33 pm
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Old Dec 3, 18, 5:34 pm
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With its distinctive geography, Chongqing should be a fascinating place, but I never enjoy it. Maybe it's the damp, foggy, miserable climate. Maybe it's the twisting roads that leave you disoriented. Maybe it's the disappointing food, certainly in contrast to Chengdu.

So yes, another vote here for Chengdu.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 7:20 pm
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I detest Chongqing. The hills are theoretically analogous to San Francisco, but Chongqing manages to leech all of the charm (if it ever existed) from them. And Chongqing’s version of Sichuan cuisine is hot to the point of absurdity. It is a frantic city for no good reason.

But I usually encourage people to visit both Chengdu and Chongqing for the sake of compare and contrast. The two share a similar history and have an intense rivalry between them. With 36 hours, however, go to Chengdu and enjoy its congeniality that is unusual for most Chinese cities, and perhaps take a day trip to Leshan.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 9:55 am
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Well that was easy. Chengdu it is! Thanks everyone for the input.
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