Chongqing (or Chungking) is one of the largest and fastest growing modern cities in the world. It is typical of what is happening in China.
You can see it for yourself.
Modern buildings and roads, the latest cars, a newly developed airport and railway station are examples of how modern the city is.
New monorails are being built including one to Jangbei airport - due to open in 2012.
The Chinese people have embraced Western culture in a big way from business to fashion to entertainment.
Enjoy modern China in this amazing city. Chongqing grows before your eyes.
There are so many cranes on the skyline you cannot count them all!
See how I came to know this exciting city.
You might think that all this rapid progress means a city without soul. Not true!
Some of the engineering feats are to be marvelled at.
For example, have a look at the many bridges on the River Yangtze - gigantic structures of different shapes and sizes.
Chongqing is an old city - it was settled thousands of years ago.
However, despite modernisation, ancient China has not been forgotton. Parts of of the city have retained their ancient Chinese culture and character.
Wander through narrow alleyways past street shops to discover ancient China.
Barter with the Chinese merchants and come away with bargains if you are good enough!
Climb the steep hills next to the Yangzte and discover people living as they have done for many hundreds of years.
And there is plenty to do after dark. Numerous restaurants, bars and nightclubs will keep you busy.
The city at night is very spectacular. Nearly every building, road and bridge are lit up in many different colours.
A vibrant nightclub scene together with many good bars ensures you will have a good time after dark.
And a cruise on the Yangtze through the city at night is breathtaking!
Whether you are there to work such as teaching English or visiting, you will find life in China pretty good there.
Throw in a scenic setting (located at the junction of two rivers - the Yangtze and Jialing and surrounded by mountains) and you have a place well worth visiting!
I lived and worked there for two years. So I think I know the place pretty well. It was my base to explore Sichuan from.
This city was the Chinese capital in World War II. The Communists, Nationalists and the Americans led the fight against the Japanese from here.
Technically the city is not part of Sichuan now. It used to be - but the area was carved out of Sichuan in 1997 and given special status as an economic development zone.
However, the people, the sights, the food - everything about it has not changed and many still associate it with Sichuan.
You will not see a lot of foreigners there.
However, the foreigners that are there form strong expat communities where stories are shared and advice is got. One such expat community is the Chongqing Expat Club.
Most tourists come for a river cruise on the Yangtze River to the nearby Three Gorges - spending little time in the city.
Which is great because those that do stay are warmly welcomed by the locals!
I returned for the Chinese New Year in 2012. It has been two years since I have been there and seven years since my first visit.
What has changed and what has not changed?
The city is still a huge bustling metroplis with a delightful range of restaurants, nightclubs, shopping and attractions.
However, there have been significant improvements as many projects started have finished and come to fruition.
Most significantly, the Three Gorges Dam construction has finished. The most noticable effect is on the River Yangtze that flows through the city.
Previously, the River Yangtze was a fast flowing brown colored river that was very full in summer (the result of melting snows in Western Sichuan) and almost dried up in winter.
Now the Yangtze is a grey looking river (much less silt), slower flowing and much fuller in winter. The water flow is regulated by the Three Gorges Dam.
Much of the railway construction projects have been or are near completion. I rode the new train from Nanping to Jeifangbei, the city center - a very modern train.
Also the train to the Jiangbei International Airport is almost complete.
The Chinese New Year celebrations also showed a new order.
The last Chinese New Year I witnessed in Chongqing was 2007 and that was complete mayhem - fireworks everywhere - from buildings, houses and any other point that was available.
In 2012, the Chinese New Year was celebrated in a much more orderly fashion.
Fireworks were let off in designated areas such as along the banks of the River Yangtze. It was spectacular as usual but I felt safer as I did not have to worry so much about stray fireworks.
Shopping..... It's great fun. There is great shopping in China everywhere. Chongqing shopping is no exception - in fact fewer tourists means better bargains! Find out about shopping in China.
Chinese Bars.....They're great places to go to. Chinese Bars are quite unique and good fun. Check out some bars in Chongqing. You will meet some interesting people! Find out about the Chinese bars.
Chinese massage.....Try a Chinese massage. It is special and relaxing. What's more - it is cheap compared to Western countries. It is a great experience! Find out about Chinese massage.
Three Gorges.....Downstream from Chongqing is the Three Gorges - an area of magnificent natural beauty. The Three Gorges Dam is a gigantic man made structure. Find out about the Three Gorges.
Yangtze River.....This mighty river flows across China. Go on a Yangtze River cruise. See modern and ancient cities, temples and great scenery. So much to see! Find out about the mighty Yangtze river.
KTV and Karaoke.....KTVs are everywhere. Karaoke is a popular form of entertainment practised in KTVs and other Bars throughout China. It is great fun! Find out about Karaoke at the KTV.
By the way if you do not believe me when I say this is the fastest growing city in the world - have a look at this Guardian newspaper article.
Yes, this city might be the fastest growing in the world - but it does not seem overly crowded on the streets and roads.
The orderly Chinese way of doing things makes it an easy place to get around.
If you need more help about Chongqing, have a look at Chongqing Tour for a Luxury and Standard Chongqing Tour package for your holidays.