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Home Chongqing Travel Guide Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock: Visit One of the Busiest Docks in China

Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock: Visit One of the Busiest Docks in China

Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock is located at the intersection of the Jialing River and Yangtze River. It was originally one of the 17 ancient city gates built in 314 BC in Chongqing. It used to be called “Ancient Chongqing Xiongguan,” the magnificent ancient gate of Chongqing.

Today, Chaotianmen Dock is part of almost everyone’s Chongqing tour as an iconic landmark of the city. It is a popular start or end point for Yangtze River Cruise tours with 17 wharfs. If you’re not joining a cruise tour, next to the dock is Chongqing Chaotianmen Square. It’s a great place for views of the city. There are shopping, and dining options in the newly-built Raffles City.

Fast Facts about Chaotianmen Dock

  • In Chinese: 朝天门码头(Chaotianmen Matou)
  • Location: Yuzhong Peninsula, Yuzhong District, Chongqing
  • Opening Hours: All day
  • Tickets: Free
  • Best Visit Time: early morning or late afternoon
  • Recommended Visit Time: 2 or 3 hours
  • Suited to: Chongqing travelers, families, photographers
Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock
Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock

Finding Your Wharf at Chaotianmen Dock

There are a total of 17 wharfs at Chaotianmen Dock. Wharfs No. 1 through 11 shares the same entrance, while No. 13, 15, and 17 do not. Usually, the even-numbered wharfs (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) are to the left, and odd-numbered ones (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17) are to the right.

The exact wharf number for your Yangtze River Cruise at Chaotianmen Dock is usually announced one or two days before setting off. For your reference, Victoria Cruises and Gold Cruises are often at wharf No. 5/6/8/15/17. Century Cruises are often at Wharf No. 11.

Popular Things to Do at Chaotianmen Dock

1. Board a Yangtze River Cruise

Chongqing–Yichang is the most popular section of the Yangtze River. Going downstream from Chongqing (the higher part of the Yangtze River) to Yichang (the lower part) generally takes 4 days. There are of course other routes that take you through some of the most popular destinations in China, including Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, and Shanghai.

Along the way, you might stop at the Three Gorges, Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge, and see the breathtaking scenery as well as many historical sites. The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, being 2.3 km (1.4 miles) long. Fengdu Ghost City has impressive ancient constructions. You can learn about “ghost” culture and hell in Chinese mythology.

Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock
Chaotianmen Dock

2. Enjoy the View of Chongqing

Chaotianmen Square is a great place to take in the view of Chongqing, especially at night. You’ll see the shimmering water, moving cruises, skyscrapers lit up by colorful lights, and the Grand Theater.

A great way to see the city is by taking the cable car across the river. It is a way of transportation and has become a nostalgic symbol for the locals. You can also sit in a coffee shop by Chaotianmen Dock and appreciate the view.

3. Board a Chongqing City Cruise or Night Cruise

If you don’t have the time for a Yangtze River tour and still would like to have a cruise experience, board a city cruise at Chaotianmen Dock. It’ll be less than an hour and will take you around the downtown area of Chongqing on water. Night cruises are popular options for seeing the city lit up from a distance while feeling the cool breeze on the water.

Chaotianmen Dock Chongqing
Board a Chongqing City Night Cruise

4. Explore Raffles City

There are plenty of shopping and dining options in Raffles City on Chaotianmen Square. On the top of this amazing skyscraper, there is a viewing platform with stunning panoramic views of the rivers.

If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t have a fear of heights, go to “Walking Among the Clouds.” The platform there is enclosed with glass, and you can see the view in every direction, including under your feet! It’s a popular spot for capturing the gorgeous sunset. There’s also a swing (with safety measures) that sends you out of the building and into the air.

5. Taste Local Delicacies on Chaotianmen Square

Chaotianmen Square is a historical area of Chongqing carrying memories of many generations. You’ll find many restaurants and stalls owned by locals serving the most authentic flavors of Chongqing. Specialties include Hua Rou, Dou Hua, and rice served with all kinds of stir-fried dishes.

How to Get to Chaotianmen Dock

Chaotianmen Dock is located about 28 km (17.4 miles) from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport and 11 km (6.8 miles) from Chongqingbei Railway Station. You can get there by private car or taxi from pretty much anywhere in the city.

By Metro: Take Metro Line 1 to Chaotianmen Station. Then walk north for about 400 meters (440 yards) to Chaotianmen Square.

By Bus: Take Bus No. 440, 480, 503, 553, or Sightseeing Bus T002 to Changbin Road Ninth Dock. Or take Bus No. 181, 382, 503, 553, or 871 to Chaotianmen Station.

Attractions Nearby Chaotianmen Dock

Three Gorges Museum is a comprehensive museum of Chongqing history and art. With its massive collection, you can learn about the history of southwest China, especially Ba-Yu culture and Sanxia culture.

Hongya Cave is a landmark building in Chongqing along the Yangtze River. It is a living museum of Chengdu’s history with traditional Ba-Yu architecture. At night, the massive structure lights up with exciting nightlife.

Lizaba Station is another famous wonder to witness and experience when you travel to Chongqing. Take metro Line 2 to see the light-rail train that goes through a building.

Recommended Chongqing Tours to Chaotianmen Dock

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