Beibei is a suburban district of Chongqing about an hour northwest of the Jiefangbei city center. It is a small city in its own regard, but has the convenience of being connected to urban Chongqing by metro (there are three major stops: Beibei (terminal), Tiansheng, and Zhuangyuanbei). I lived in Beibei for academic year 2017-2018 affiliated with Southwest University. There is little available about life in Beibei on the internet, so I figured I would share some information about the city that I think may be useful to others. A map of the area with English glosses is provided below:
Notable Places on the Map
As you could easily guess, the Southwest University campus is the geographic and cultural center of Beibei. The numbered university gates are indicated by ‘+ num’ combinations. There is no logic as to how the gates are numbered; however if you take the city buses note that the Nanmen 南门 ‘South Gate’ refers to gate 2 and the Beimen 北门 ‘North Gate’ refers to gate 1 even though both gates are on the west side, and neither is the furthest north or south. From either of those gates (on the gate side of Tiansheng road) the you can take buses to various areas of urban Chongqing. My personal bar/restaurant recommendation is the place marked as Jīnpí Cānbā which is not particularly close to any subway area (unfortunately). The address (you could show to a taxi driver) is 北温泉街道缙云大道29号附22号. You could take the 583 bus there from either the area near gate 5 (bus stop Wénxīngwān 文星湾) or from Yúnhuālù 云华路 near the Zhuāngyuánbēi 状元碑 subway stop and get off at Jinyundadao #3 if you like to rely on transit (this is my personal preference).
Buses to Urban Chongqing from Gates 1 and 2:
- 502 goes to Hongqihegou (urban area in Yubei)
- 526 goes to the West Train Station (where you can take bullet trains going south and west to places such as Guiyang or Kunming, as well as frequent trips to Chengdu)
- 535 goes to Shapingba (urban area on the west side of the peninsula)
- 536 goes to Yangjiaping (urban area towards the far south of the city)
- 551 goes to the University District in the far west
Old Beibei (centered around the Beibei subway terminal)
This is where most of the people native to Beibei live. There are all kinds of inexpensive places to eat here, and it is close to gate 5 of the university. Right opposite of gate 5 is a bar called Momo which some friends and I occasionally frequented. The place has random hours and does not smell great, but the owner is friendly and there is a good selection of beers there. If you are new to the area, and are looking for a chill place to meet people, this is a good choice.
This is where most of the students hang out. There are also a whole bunch of inexpensive places to eat, but little variety. Nearly every place is a hot pot or bbq joint. I personally like “Be Here Bar” 在这里酒吧 which is directly across the street from exit 1 of the Tiansheng subway stop.
This is the more expensive and new part of Beibei. There are two starbucks, and several decent grocery stories which sometimes even stock cheese (which can be a real rarity outside of huge cities in China). I lived in this area, so I will add more specific information and recommendations in the near future.
This is an area that is beginning to undergo development, but there really isn’t much over there. If you want to get a feeling for what rural China is like without leaving Chongqing, you can take the subway to Longfengxi. When you exit head south towards where the road ends. Congratulations, you have entered the village area.