Why China's Chongqing city is trending on social media


Residential buildings in Chongqing. The city has been attracting many tourists, both local and international, in the past year. — Photos: AFP

Famed for its mountainous terrain and stereoscopic urban landscape, the southwestern Chinese municipality of Chongqing has forged novel “consumption” scenes, leveraging on its distinctive characteristics like the top floors of skyscrapers, quaint backstreets and enchanting night views.

Wandering atop city landmarks, admiring the urban sprawl, and beholding breathtaking confluences, these surreal experiences offer a diverse range of exploration for travellers in Chongqing.

Ride the high-speed elevator to an altitude of 250m and step into the Crystal at Raffles City Chongqing, China’s first horizontal skyscraper. The fusion of transparent curtain walls and lush greenery creates an ambiance akin to a futuristic garden, now transformed into a space called Cloudland, offering visitors an array of high-altitude recreational activities.

From the indoor to the outdoor terrace, visitors can stroll on the fully transparent glass platform, peering down at the local urban landscape and the convergence of the Yangtze River and the Jialing River. Adjacent to it is a sky swing, providing an exhilarating experience of a high-altitude leap.

Adventure enthusiasts can expect some adrenaline rush at a skywalk outside the building, where a 380m trail awaits on top of the corridor, adorned with vibrant orange accents reminiscent of a sports track. Visitors can revel in the stunning scenery while experiencing the thrills and excitement of walking at high altitudes from all angles.

“As I gazed down from the top of the city, taking in the three-dimensional contours of the mountainous cityscape, I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the experience. This sensory stimulation made my trip to Chongqing even more unforgettable,” said Wang Lingfei, a visitor from Beijing.

Cloudland, blending sightseeing with entertainment, has emerged as a popular destination for tourists seeking high-altitude experiences. During the Spring Festival holiday earlier this year, ticket revenue surpassed CNY4.5mil (RM2.95mil), according to an on-site staff member.

People camping on the grassy riverbed of the Jialing river, a tributary of the Yangtze River, in Chongqing. — Photos: AFPPeople camping on the grassy riverbed of the Jialing river, a tributary of the Yangtze River, in Chongqing. — Photos: AFP

In Jiefangbei, Chongqing’s core business area, there are three high-altitude observation platforms, including Cloud Paradise. Since 2023, Chongqing has given full play to its unique advantages such as mountain city night view, riverside vistas, quaint alleyways and air defence caves to create new consumption scenarios, which have been well-received by consumers.

From skyscrapers to ordinary alleyways, certain aspects of urban renewal have also captured the hearts of consumers. For instance, Houbao Park in Nan’an District, despite being there for many years, has recently gained attention on social media platforms, all thanks to a cafe.

Named Swimin, the cafe is perched on a cliff and transformed from a traditional park pavilion. The interior decoration adopts the technique of “borrowing scenes” from the garden, with narrow transparent glass windows reflecting the distant city landscape into the cafe. The city’s landmarks appear to be within arm’s reach, showcasing a seamless blend of modern and traditional elements.

According to local resident Zhang Xinwen, who was here to enjoy the sunset after visiting the main scenic spots with friends from other provinces, she can not only leisurely sip coffee but also relish the magnificent city scenery.

As night falls, the city lights illuminate the surroundings. The melodious tunes of traditional Chinese instruments often emanate from the public square along the river. Such riverside concerts offer a unique experience compared to traditional indoor concerts, allowing people to sway freely with the music instead of being confined to their seats.

With the city’s night scene serving as the backdrop and the mountains and rivers as the stage, the concert has captivated audiences since its inception over a year ago. With about 500 seats available, the venue is nearly packed every time, featuring unique themes each month.

At the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle Consumption Festival, which kicked off in September 2023, Chongqing unveiled 25 new consumption scenes covering five categories – shopping, leisure, tour, nightlife and cuisine.

In 2023 alone, Chongqing’s total retail sales of consumer goods exceeded CNY1.513bil (RM990,100), marking an increase of 8.6%, 1.4 percentage points higher than the national average. – Xinhua

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