More from the Chongqing Region……

For the average tourist, Chongqing is a place to kill time before a Three Gorges Cruise. A pity, because there is so much more to the region – carved rock grottoes, natural splendours, and ancient towns. Featured here are three – excluding the Ancient Walled Town of Laitan – of the amazing world Heritage sites we explored from Chongqing.

The journey to Wulong County through so many of the longest tunnels we had ever travelled through – one 21 kms long – was an experience in itself, and the stalagmites and stalactites in the Furong cave were surreal!

Furong Cave – Wulong County, China

You can also zip line across the river Wu or catch a raft at the base of the cave & cruise along the river for three hours past beautiful scenery.

Furong CAve – Dazu, China

The Natural Three Bridges, a rare geological wonder, is a karst stone arch bridge cluster said to be unrivalled elsewhere in Asia in terms of height and the breadth of the bridge surface.

There have been a number of movies shot here as the scenery is so amazing. You descend to the bottom of the gorge in a glass elevator!

Glass Elevator – Wulong,County, China

From there it is a two hour trek through breathtaking scenery and then a thirty minute climb up some steps to reach the top again.

Natural Three Bridges – Wulong County, China

Even the drive back to the entrance – you travel into the reserve in a shuttle bus – took us to the top of the mountain past little villages and farming communities providing a glimpse into ‘real’ rural China. Have no doubt these farmlands will eventually get sanitised once foreign tourist footfalls begin to increase

Dazu Rock Caves

Bofhisatva – Dazu, China

The Dazu Rock Caves – another UNESCO world heritage cluster – are located within the steep hillsides throughout Dazu County (located about 60 kilometers west of Chongqing). The more spectacular in Mount Baoding and Mount Beishan.

Couple with Buffalo – Dazu, China

At Baodingshan, you walk into a wooded area, just past the entrance and suddenly come upon this marvellous tableaux of vividly painted images carved into the mountainside!

Rock Carving – Dazu, China

The images are from Buddhist scriptures based on Confucian and Daoist beliefs used as graphic moral instruction and as a code of conduct for illiterate masses.

Wheel of Life - Dazu, China

Carvings such as the ‘Wheel of Life’, the ‘Eighteen Hells’ and the 102 feet long reclining Buddha, are part of a treasure trove of about fifty thousand images beautifully illustrating the daily life of the Chinese between the ninth and thirteenth centuries.

Reclining Buddha

Until as recently as 1975, only a muddy path connected the town of Dazu with the main cluster of carvings. The isolation helped keep them unharmed during the massive anti-religious vandalism of the Cultural Revolution. The carvings were granted World Heritage status in 1999.

Temple – Baodingshan, Dazu, China

We were reluctant initially, to hike up several steps to the temple in Baoding, but the stunning golden statue of the 1000 hand Guanyin (Bhodhisatva, usually represented as a female) in the innermost sanctum was well worth the climb.

Guanyin – Dazu, China

China’s man made structures, throughout history, have been grand in scale. But her natural landscape is equally magnificent: Huanglong, Huangshan, Jiuzhaigou, Wuligyuan…the heritage list is long and we know that we have not begun to scratch the surface of what there is to see in this amazing country.