Visiting Ciqikou Ancient Town in Chongqing, China

Most of the people have never heard of Chongqing. Considering that the metropolitan area has a population of over 50 million people, this ci...

Most of the people have never heard of Chongqing. Considering that the metropolitan area has a population of over 50 million people, this city is something you think you would have heard of. But that's just how China seems to work; you jump out of the train and find out that the city you've just arrived has a larger population than the country where you grew up and after a while you start getting suprised if you actually end up to places with population less than a million people. I did not, however, come to Chongqing to explore the life of the busy city life but because I wanted to visit Ciqikou old town, a porcelain village the history of which can be tracked down over thousand years.

What is Ciqikou old town?

Ciqikou was an ancient port town particularly famous for it's porcelain. Like most of the ancient villages in China, nowadays Ciqikou is a full-on tourist attraction. The streets of Ciqikou are packed with tourists and most of the buildings have been turned into souvenir shops, restaurants or other sort of tourist businesses. It's far from a pristine ancient town - which I guess isn't a suprise per se, especially knowing how good Chinese people are turning everything into business - so don't set your expectations too high. It's a gorgeous place to visit, very different from other ancient towns I've visited in China and thus totally worth visiting if you happen to be in the area, but get yourself prepared for massive crowds and shops selling I ♥ Chongqing t-shirts.

What to do in Ciqikou ancient town?

Ciqikou isn't a large village but you can spend a good while just roaming across its streets. I ended up spending half a day just exploring the village. There were some interesting little shops and I managed to find some narrow alleys behind the village that were totally worth exploring but what I enjoyed the most was the architecture of the village. The buildings were absolutely stunning and despite the crowds you could still get that feeling of the old ages.

There are couple of sights within the village. They're nothing special in my opinion but you might wanna pay few yuans to visit, for example, Baolun temple just to escape the crowds. The temple is located up the hill so you can get a nice view of the village and my dear friend google told me that the Baolun temple itself is supposed to be an architectural miracle as not a single nail was used building it.

There are plenty of popular tea houses in the area that you might wanna check out if you're into that sort of stuff. The street food is also definitely worth trying! Coming from Beijing I found the street food culture very different with all the spices and flavours. As usually in China, it was pretty hard to figure out what you were actually eating but the food I tasted was delicious.

How to get to Ciqikou old town?

The easiest and the cheapest way to get to Ciqikou ancient town is by subway. The subway stop has a fairly obvious name Ciqikou and it's located on the subway line 1. You can also take a bus or a taxi get prepared for sitting long hours in the car. If you're taking a taxi to Ciqikou old town take a piece of paper with the Chinese name of the village (磁器口) written on it, as most of the taxi drivers don't speak English.

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