Chongqing, known as ‘The Mountain City’ due to its location nestled among rolling hills overlooking the Yangtze River, is growing rapidly due to the Chinese government investing billions into the city. This investment is good news for visitors as it means the city has a vast range of modern amenities to cater for your every need but it doesn’t mean that the areas natural appeal is waning. You’ll still find old stilt houses clinging to the steep mountain sides despite the city centre’s rapid urbanisation and commercial development.
It’s an ideal starting point for a Yangtze river cruise of the world famous Three Gorges, placid crystal clear waters surrounded by steep cliffs, or a trip to the Dazu Rock Carvings, dating from the 9th to 13th century and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is also renowned for its hot springs and in October 2012 was awarded the title of ‘Global Capital of Hot Springs’. With a huge choice of older and newer hot springs offering their own unique range of health, beauty and spa facilities and treatments you might need a little help choosing where to go if relaxation is on your mind. Here are a few suggestions of hot springs to visit:
- Ronghui Hot Springs Centre
At the foot of the Gele Mountain, home of the Gele Mountain National Park, you’ll find the Ronghui Hot Springs Centre. A newer development, designed with comfort, relaxation and high standards in mind this complex of pools will revitalise and sooth you. You’ll find a few excellent hotels near Ronghui Hot Spring in a tranquil setting but within easy access to the amenities of the city centre.
- The Northern Hot Springs Park
Nearly 1600 years old and known as the birthplace of Chinese hot springs this really is the most scenic and tranquil place imaginable. The hot springs are nestled amongst palaces, temples, caves and ponds and the setting itself is home to lush plants and wildlife. The warm alkali waters of the springs have proven medicinal properties as well as being incredibly relaxing.
- South Hot Spring Park
Situated in the southern suburbs of Chongqing this park features woodlands, waterfalls and cliffs and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. You’ll also find a deep underground cave, thirty metres underground and featuring amazing stalactites is the perfect place to escape the heat on a sunny day.
Whichever hot springs you choose to visit the benefits of the water are believed to be numerous both in terms of health and beauty. The heat of the water itself is cleansing and relaxing and combined with the unique minerals found in the spa pools a variety of health benefits are reputed to be found; arthritis sufferers and people suffering from skin conditions all report improvements after bathing in a hot spring.
Can you think of a better way to spend a few hours than relaxing in one of Chongqings hot springs? Why not plan a trip to somewhere a bit different this year.
Chris Mustaine is a freelance writer and designer currently working on his first world-spanning crypto-travel book, due out next year. You can follow him on Twitter.