Located a few hours north of Chongqing on the north banks of the Yangtze sits one of the most bizarre (and bizarrely popular with Chinese tourists) sites in China: Fengdu Ghost City. Ancient Chinese literature often dips into the realms of ghosts and the supernatural, and Fengdu is referenced heavily in iconic works like Journey to the West.
The main attraction: a temple atop a hill overlooking the river, which blends Buddhist and Taoist teachings in a vivid representation of the three tests that the dead must pass to enter the netherworld. The Nothing to be Done Bridge, the Ghost Torturing Pass and the Son of Heaven Palace are also popular attractions in the town. Visitors cross over the bridge in a ritualistic manner based on gender and marital status. Grotesque moss-covered statues depicting demons line the steps of the Ghost Torturing Pass which leads to the Palace.
Fengdu makes for a fascinating cultural study, even for those not well versed in Chinese folklore, simply based on how much Chinese visitors love it. There’s a pleasant hike up to the temple or a gondola for those who don’t want to walk. Once at the peak, the temple grounds make for a pleasant stroll.