The opportunity to snatch a glimpse of old Chongqing makes it worth riding some 45 minutes out to Shapingba district, on the Jialing River west of the centre. Through the archway that is the entrance to the town, most of the late-Ming buildings in this sprawling complex have been restored. The main drag can feel like a carnival, especially on weekends, but away from the central street, a living village remains.
You can easily lose yourself in the narrow lanes, peeking into homes and tiny storefronts. And there’s plenty to eat here, both in the alleys and overlooking the river. It’s also worth poking your head inside Bǎolún Sì, one of Ciqikou’s only remaining temples. Its main building is more than 1000 years old. The alley the temple is on, Heng Jie (横街), is one of the most pleasant places to explore.
When we passed through, a new sightseeing ferry running between Chaotianmen and Ciqikou was slated to open following the renovation of the port.