By Elaine Pang , eChinacities.com

In Chongqing, spring and autumn are short-lived affairs. Fall seems to morph into
winter almost overnight. With the long winter just around the corner, it is time to
treasure the more hospitable autumn season before the winter freeze. Admittedly, winter temperatures in sub-tropical Chongqing hardly dip below zero, so the municipality retains its green outlook all year round. As such, there is no need to curtail one’s activity level just because it is winter, except for the cold-averse. Whether you are looking forward to winter in Chongqing or not, here are some autumnal activities you might like to consider before the chill sets in.

Fall Fever: Chongqing Activities Before Winter Arrives
Photo: pelican

1) Viewing autumn foliage
While it has been said that Chongqing remains green all year round, if you are dying for a taste (or sight) of the fleeting autumn, head down to Expo Garden. The 3,300 hectare park is rather sprawling, so you will get more seasons than you’ve bargained in the six differently themed gardens. Another bonus is the view of nearby lakes, mountains and Beibei county. Also within the city, autumn aficionados pressed for time can head to Fengsheng Old Town in Ba’nan District for 200 acres of maple in fall.

The more adventurous can head out to Xian-nv Shan (Fairy Mountain) in Wulong county, Jinfo Shan in Nanchuan county or Heishan Gu in Wansheng county for a change of seasons and cleaner mountain air. Among international tourists, Chongqing is usually a base for visiting nearby attractions like the Three Gorges, incidentally, another way to catch autumn foliage along the way. Cruises usually pass Wushan county, home to around 600 km of reddish fall foliage, probably the best depiction of fall one can expect in Chongqing.

Expo Garden 重庆园博园 View In Map
Add: 1 Longjing Lu, Yubei District, Chongqing
地址: 重庆市渝北区龙景路1号
Tel:023 6308 6109

Fengsheng Old Town 巴南丰盛古镇 View In Map
Add: Fushou Jie, Fengsheng Zhen, Ba’nan District, Chongqing
地址:重庆市巴南丰盛镇福寿街
Tel: 023 6282 6201

Fairy Mountain 仙女山 View In Map
Add: Wuxian Lu, Wulong County, Chongqing
地址:重庆市武隆县五仙路
Tel:023 8658 8163

Jinfo Mountain金佛山 View In Map
Add: 158 Jinfo Dadao, Nanchuan County, Chongqing
地址:重庆市南川区金佛大道158号
Tel:023 7166 9889
Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00

Heishan Gu 黑山谷 View In Map
Add:  Heishan Scenic Area, Wansheng County, Chongqing
地址: 重庆市万盛区黑山镇境
Tel: 023 6283 9999
Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00

2Seasonal flowers
If flowers are more your thing, Osmanthus (Guihua) are in season now. Osmanthus- sweet smelling tiny blossoms in yellow-hued clusters- are grown in the Tonglian Osmanthus Centre (铜梁南城街道桂花基地) in Tongliang county. The largest of its kind in southwest China, the park holds the Tongliang Sweet Osmanthus Festival every autumn. No time for a day trip? Keep your eyes peeled if you live in upper-crust Yubei district as Osmanthus tree have been planted as part of the Eco-Chongqing movement spearheaded by previous mayor Bo Xilai. The sweet blossoms can also be viewed at Hongenci Garden (鸿恩寺公园) in the same district. Other places you can inhale the sweet scent include Nanshan botanical gardens on Nanshan in Nan’an district and Zhengtianci Village (歌乐山镇天池村) on Gele Mountain in Shapingba District.

Nanshan Botanical Gardens 南山植物园 View In Map
Add: 101 Nanshan Zhiwuyuan Lu, Nan’an District, Chongqing
地址:重庆市南岸区南山植物园路101号
Tel:023 6247 9135
Opening hours: 08:30-18:00

Hong’enci Garden 鸿恩寺公园 View In Map
Add:  Longjishan Huaxin Fenliu Lu, Yubei District, Chongqing
地址: 重庆市渝北区龙脊山华新分流路
Tel:023 6705 1488

Zhengtianci Village歌乐山镇天池村 View In Map
Add: Geleshan Nanjie, Geleshan Zhengjiechi Chun, Shapingba District, Chongqing
地址:重庆市沙坪坝区歌乐山镇天池村歌乐山南街

3Seasonal fruit and vegetables
Eating in season seems to be a big thing among health aficionados these days. Even if you are not one of them, autumn is a good time to enjoy citrus fruit, namely pomelos from Liangping county and Mandarin oranges from Fengjie county. If you have access to a car, or access to people with a car, fruit picking out in the counties would make for a fun (and fruitful!) day trip. Autumn is also a great time to catch the last of seasonal vegetables like squash, a cost-effective and great-tasting alternative to pumpkin that you might like to stock up on for thanksgiving. Those greenhouse-grown versions available in winter just aren’t the same.

4) Shopping
Yes, shopping. While that hardly counts as an outdoor activity, shopping is admittedly one of the more comfortable pastimes in downtown Chongqing, or any other downtown area for that matter. Entering a mall is a great way to escape the human traffic on the streets drawn out by hospitable autumn temperatures. Most malls are reachable by subway or light rail, thus circumventing those congested roads. And what better time to do so than now, when shops are getting ready to clear their autumn collections (at deep discounts). Also scoop up early winter deals – mostly last year’s leftover winter stock going for a song. All this happening at a mall or department store near you.

Aside from malls, Chongqing is also home to quite a few underground shopping malls, ladies markets across the city, as well as wholesale centres in Chaotianmen. For fashion-forwards looking for something that’s friendly on the pocket, autumn is a good time to enjoy additional discounts. Do remember to haggle though, as shop owners are not exactly keen on keeping inventory.

5Visiting Parks or picnicking and outdoor BBQs or camping
Parks in Chongqing do remain open in winter, but somehow, the green foliage does seem to make the atmosphere seem more clammy. Should you prefer sitting around and picnicking to participating in street dancing and singing groups, bring forward your visits to autumn. BBQs in autumn are also a lovely idea since portable BBQ sets are easily available at B&Q or online. If you stay somewhere with a balcony, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. For the more outdoorsy, camping in autumn is definitely more comfortable than in winter, not to mention being less bogged down by thick layers of clothing. Chongqing city may be a concrete jungle, but a nearby outlying county should satisfy all your outdoor needs.

6Taking a short trip out of CQ
Chongqing is also a great starting point to make a short trip to Jiuzhaigou in neighbouring Sichuan, having direct flights to this mountainous attraction that can be inconvenient by road. China’s version of a lake district, Jiuzhaigou can be visited in any season since the main attraction is a collection of lakes likened to reflective pieces of an immortal’s mirror. But the bonus of visiting in autumn would be the blue-hued crystal waters set against a gold-hued fall backdrop. Also, the more hospitable autumn temperatures would make visiting nearby Huanglong, a mesmerizing series of cascading pools of water that necessitates quite a bit of climbing, an easier experience at high altitude.

SinoBytes

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Keywords: Before Winter Autumn Activities in Chongqing

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