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Red Cliff Village

Chongqing, China

Hongyadong (aka Hongya Cave) is a much frequented and charming hangout spot in a happening part of Chongqing. It is a Bayu style building that is constructed supported by a cliff (and not actually a cave at all). In fact, it is placed quite strategically in the heart of the Jiefangbei districts’ Cangbai street which is the corporate hub and at the intersection of Yangtze river and Jialing river, making for spectacular views over the water.

The lay of the land is quite curious but fascinating as the buildings are propped up with stilts at the bottom. These stilts are laid alongside the cliff underneath and provide support to the building overhead. The architecture technique is that of a minority Bayu culture and so, very unique. To garner an ethereal appeal, in the evening the buildings are illuminated with a soft yellow glow along the thatched roof and the wooden columns. Fans of the animated feature ‘Spirited Away’ will instantly recognize it as the marketplace in the movie!

Within, there are opportunities for shopping, entertainment and dining. Extra emphasis on the dining though! There are 11 floors, with the first floor facing the river bed. The top and the bottom floor, both have access from separate roads. It is advisable to enter via the 11th floor and then make your way downwards because if you take the 1st floor, the elevators are very crowded, as are the staircases, with northbound folks. The best time to visit is at night when the place comes alive with bars, barbecues and atmospheric lights.

The building, or rather complex, is divided into 4 areas with distinct cultural flares. The second and third floor (aka Zhiyanhe Bar Street) is all about snacks and drinking with a great variety to chose from and an equally awesome setting of the river below to take in while you enjoy your brew. Approaching the fourth floor, you come across Tianchengxiang Bayu Culture Street and true to form, it reflects the Bayu aesthetic in its architectural make and colors. You can get the classic Chongqing authenticities like the Hot and Sour Noodles. The 5th to 8th floor are mainly hotels. In the 9th and 10th floor you will get a multicultural gastronomy experience from western dishes such as pasta and steak to Japanese and Korean mainstays. The area is referred to as Banquet Food Street. The 11th and last floor is Exotic Balcony Street. It has exquisite handmade crafts, trinkets and souvenirs along with food and drink served with breath-taking views of the Jialing river and the Hongya Cave complex below.

Once you have taken your fill of this place that seems to be thrumming with life, you may prefer to get away from it all to refresh your senses. There are quite a few ideal spots to get a worthwhile click. One is from Qiansimen Bridge, right next to Hongyadong. Another is from the base of the complex at Jiabin road, which would, frankly, make for a great selfie.

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