If you’re into unique architecture, then Chongqing’s Guotai Arts Center is a place you must not miss. With red and black beams criss-crossing with each other, the building resembles a giant stack of Jenga blocks. A fitting look for a place that serves as the venue for the city’s Grand Theater and Art Museum. At 30,500 square feet, the centre spans 10 storeys with eight storeys above ground and rest underground.
The centre’s red colours represent the chilli oil that is poured into the famous Chongqing hotpot dish while the black is symbolic of the stones along the Yangtze River that flows through the city. Instagrammers and professional photographers alike flock to the centre hoping to capture its beauty in their photos.
Another interesting place in Chongqing is the Testbed 2 Arts Center. If you’re wondering why it’s called Testbed 2, that’s because there’s already a Testbed 1 Arts Centre in Battersea, London.
Nestled atop the Eling hill, the building served as a printing factory and supplied most of the colour prints to the city. The business relocated in 2012 and the building received a makeover. Today, it is part of a cultural and creative park that both locals and visitors flock to. Local brands have set up shop here to showcase their wares such as clothing, jewellery, as well as arts and craft. It is also home to several art galleries featuring works by local artists. When hunger pangs kick in, there are plenty of food joints nearby.
Walking along the city, you’ll be sure to come across the street art that Chongqing is famous for. Everywhere you go you’ll be mesmerised by dazzling graffiti adorning the walls of buildings. Once you’re done exploring the city, a few hours drive away, Chongqing’s natural landscapes will leave you spellbound. If you’ve watched Transformers: Age of Extinction, you would have probably seen the gorgeous Three Natural Bridges being featured in there scene where Optimus Prime battles it out with Dinobot Grimlock. Located in the Wulong Karst Geological Park in Chongqing, the Three Natural Bridges was in fact a set of three caves. The natural archways were formed by erosion dating back millions of years. Each of the three bridges is named after dragons (It is China, after all!) – Tianlong (Sky Dragon), Qinglong (Azure Dragon) and Heilong (Black Dragon).
If you’re not a nature enthusiast, a walk in this geological park will convert you. At every turn you’ll be treated with stunning limestone formations and lush mountains – an added benefit is having the gentle breeze caress your face. From the walk path, you’ll come to a glass elevator that will take you down to the valley. If you’re afraid of heights, it’s probably a good idea not to look down cos it’s a long drop – about 20 storeys, to be exact! Still, riding the elevator is quite an exciting adventure in itself and you must definitely try it!
Apart from the Three Natural Bridges, there’s plenty more to see at the Wulong Karst Geological Park. You’ll see gorges, dolines, caves, shafts and even underground streams. How cool is that?
Do you really need more convincing? Well, check out this video then:
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies to Chongqing. Book your tickets now at airasia.com.