Currently the longest line on Chongqing’s Rail Transit (CRT) network, as well as the longest monorail track in the world, Line 3 cuts across Chongqing in the north-south direction. Connecting upper-crust Yubei with the humbler Nan’an heartlands, the blue line is also a vital connection for travelers arriving by air or rail. Tourists and locals alike with time to spare can avoid acrimonious haggling with opportunistic Chongqing cabbies reluctant to go by the meter on airport runs.
Other than that, Chongqing’s Line 3 attractions and amenities attractions are on the obscure side, but important nonetheless. For expats living in Chongqing, Line 3 is a lifeline for administrative matters like visa applications as well as mundane supermarket runs. This monorail eventually joins up with light-rail Line 2 at Yudong in Nan’an district.
Before getting onboard, be forewarned that much of Yubei is highly built-up, so expect rush-hour crowds on the northern side. Reminiscing about the last time you were stuck in traffic may be the only consolation for having to stand for much of the journey. Besides, the CRT has yet to be perfected, with two major interchanges – Lianglukou and Niujiaotuo – located at the centre of Line 3, commuters are forced all the way down the line to change trains. Some routes still make more sense by bus, so do your homework before stepping out.
Highlights along Line 3 (the blue line) – Jiangbei Airport to Yudong
Chongqing by night. Source: Sullivan Ng
Luggage-laden passengers are a common sight on Line 3, which stops at both the Airport and the Chongqing North Station. However, the Jiangbei Airport stop only serves the domestic terminal – the international terminal is a good ten-minute hike away. Also, note that Chongqing has two main long-distance railway stations, the other being at Caiyuanba, which has no CRT connection.
A stop away from the Chongqing North Railway Station is Longtousi, also the name of the nearby park. A pretty testimony to disgraced party secretary Bo Xilai’s efforts to beautify the municipality. In those days, residents from the vicinity gathered to form red song choirs against a perfectly landscaped backdrop.
A more elaborate testament to Bo’s influence would be the Expo Garden, which conveniently has a stop named after it. Inspired by the Shanghai Expo, the sprawling park also features differently themed gardens from around China as well as around the world.
If neighborhood parks are your thing, get off at Jiazhoulu. Four to five bus stops away is the Sports Park (Dongbu Gongyuan) with a red jogging track. Watch out for the evening crowd as residents from nearby estates throng for their daily exercise. Watch your step too, as the park is illuminated only by ambient lighting filtering through foliage, possibly because the 2 RMB admission fee has recently been waived. Just across is the beautifully-named but unknown Yueliangwan Park. A tiny and peaceful gem named after the crescent of the moon.
For those willing to go the distance, Zhaomu Mountain is a few more bus stops down. Another part of Bo’s extensive legacy, this park on a mountain provides a lovely backdrop for the industrial landscape of the Liangjiang New Area. Deskbound workers in the light industrial zone, also developed by Bo, are unlikely to want to hang around outside of office hours, so the place is usually almost deserted. On clear, sunny days though, couples pose for wedding photos around the lake in the Lianjiang Xinfu square.
Shopping and Food
On the way to Zhaomu Mountain, you might noticed a good-sized mall, also pretty much under-populated, save for the F&B outlets running China Merchant Bank credit card promotions on Wednesdays. The usual expat-pleasing chains, H&M, Uniqlo and Mothercare, which local yuppies also favor, exist here, along with Peter’s Tex-mex Grill. Here you can also find the canteen of the neighboring expat community, although portions here have sadly diminished, so feel free to order sides along with your main course.
Probably, the best-known shopping area up north is Guanyinqiao. Originally built to relieve the pressure on over-crowded Jiefangbei, Guayinqiao has become a shopping mecca in its own right, with walking street crowds easily rivaling downtown.
So far, the attention has been focused up north – time to head down to the south end of Chongqing Line 3 attractions and amenities. Nanping, the downtown of Nan’an District was also spruced up in the days of Bo. Shopping centres have since joined a substantial number of existing malls. The most notable is Wanda Plaza, built over the Nanping Station, Hong Kong MTR-style. Around the main mall is a walking street that spreads out in every direction. Dog lovers should stop by in the evenings to admire the daily canine showcase of every size and species. As well as a rather large pet pig. Other nearby spanking-new malls include Starlight 88 and Shanghai City.
For more mundane purchases, Sigongli in Nanping is the stop for Metro, the supermarket, not the train. Regrettably, the only credible place for imported food products, expect crowds as Chongqing’s affluent population grows. From the Sigongli station, a bus, cab or trishaw transfer is still necessary. Those living in Yubei may prefer visiting the smaller branch ten minutes by foot from the Longtousi Station.
Ikea is slated to be opened just beside the West Outlets, for which the CRT does give a rather misleading announcement to alight at Tongjiyuanzi, since shoppers have to transfer to taxi or pirate shuttles (mianbaoche). If you are at Jinyu or Jingtonglu stations, transfer to buses that stop at Jiagong ErQu. Discounts at this mall hardly qualify for outlet status most of the time, but good deals can be had on footwear for those willing to flip shoes over to look at price tags. To save time, focus purely on your favorite brand. Buy apparel elsewhere as most clothing brands here are local.
Since Ikea will only be opened sometime next year, those seeking to furnish their Chongqing nests can head to Bagongli, one of the more economical places to get furniture.
Government buildings foreigners should note
Down to the serious stuff – visas. Every foreigner’s necessary evil. Tongjiayuanzi or Zhengjiayuanzi is the stop for the Shi Gonganju or Public Security Bureau. Foreign Experts may also need to make an additional stop at Jiazhoulu, where one of the departments processing Foreign Expert Certificates is located (behind Chuangshiji Hotel)
As Yubei is home to the hoi polloi and high-flying expats, education options for the well-heeled abound. Yuanyang is the closest station to the Yew Chung International School, the only official international school here, as well as the local equivalent – the international studies department of the No.1 Middle School. Incidentally, the Yuanyang Station also features one of the few drive-thru McDonalds in Chongqing, in case you came on your own wheels.
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Keywords: Chongqing site monorail Chongqing line 3 Attractions and Amenities Chongqing metro
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