Over the three millennia of its existence, Changsha has evolved from a small village into a large metropolis, a center of agriculture and science. In the 1920s the architecture of the city was so well preserved that many travelers were amazed at the abundance of medieval quarters. But the Sino-Japanese war and a fire in 1938 actually wiped Changsha off the face of the earth. Now it’s a modern, vibrant city, known in China mainly for its sites dedicated to Mao Zedong. Changsha attracts tourists with the nature of the Hunan province, of which it is the capital, the Zedong places and the opportunity for transit passengers to spend three days here without a visa. True, for this you need to fly to a local airport and have plane tickets from China in your hands.
How to get to Changsha
By plane from Moscow to Changsha you will have to travel with transfers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, since there are plenty of flights from the capital there. It takes 1 hour 20 minutes to fly from Guangzhou to Changsha, 2 hours 40 minutes from Beijing, and 2 hours 15 minutes from Shanghai. Check itypeusa for other cities and countries as well as brief information about Asia.
Huanghua County International Airport is located 25 km from the city center. You can leave the airport by shuttle bus number 75, the final stop is the CAAC Aviation Hotel on the street. Wuyi next to the main railway station (journey time 45 minutes). A regular municipal bus number 114 also runs between the airport and the city, but due to frequent stops, the journey will take up to an hour. There is a railway station at the airport, from where maglev goes to Changsha South Station. The station is integrated with the metro station line 2.
Taxi drivers are on duty at the airport, but it is highly discouraged to use their services, they are known for their tendency to scam. It is better to get to the city on the same maglev and take the car there.
Changsha’s public transport is the subway and buses. The subway, opened in 2014, so far consists of two lines connecting the northern and southern, as well as the western and eastern regions. Buses in the Bowl come with and without air conditioning, a ticket for travel in the former is more expensive.
It is convenient to move around the city on bicycles – all new rental stations open regularly. A bike is the best way to get to know Changshu, if time allows you not to rush anywhere. It is also comfortable to travel by car, there are plenty of parking lots, mostly they are free. There are paid guarded multi-level underground garages.
A taxi ride will cost 20-30 CNY. As elsewhere in China, it is better to write the destination in hieroglyphs or show the driver on the map.
Most of the hotels in Changsha are located in the eastern part of the city, where the main attractions and entertainment are located. The choice of accommodation – from hostels to five-star hotels, of which there are dozens. A day in a 5 * hotel on the banks of the Xiangjiang River costs 659-1600 CNY for a standard room and 2000-2500 CNY for a suite. Four-star hotels are slightly cheaper: 300-600 CNY for two with breakfast. A nice neat “three-ruble note” in the central part of the city will cost 100-200 CNY, closer to the outskirts – 240 CNY. There are relatively many hostels, for a bed in a stylish hipster dormitory they will ask 30-60 CNY.
Cuisine and restaurants
Changsha cuisine, like Sichuan cuisine, is quite spicy. One of its features is adaptability: the same dishes can be served both in a good restaurant and sold on the street as fast food. For example, in summer, boiled crayfish with chili and spices are very popular.
Another culinary feature of Changsha is “stinky tofu”. This flavorful soy cheese is sold only in street stalls. For obvious reasons, it is advisable to try it before returning to the hotel, when there are no plans for the evening.
Restaurants serve crispy duck with sesame seeds, fried chicken with peppers, and eggs with mushroom soup (the chef removes the yolk with a syringe and pumps in mushroom broth instead). Dinner for two with similar specialties will cost from 200 CNY with alcohol.
Changsha has plenty of Western establishments: pizzerias, pubs, burgers. However, even global networks such as McDonald’s offer dishes with a Chinese flavor.
Changsha does not impress with an abundance of historical and architectural monuments, but there is something to see here. In addition, it is convenient as a starting point for traveling around Hunan.
The famous Yuelu Academy is located at the foot of the mountain of the same name on the western bank of the Xiangjiang River (273 Lushan Street). Founded in 976, the educational institution played an important role in the history of China, becoming one of the main centers of Confucianism in the country. Thanks to the glorious past, the picturesque location and the university opened within its walls, Yuela is always full of people – both students and tourists.
Passing on the Juzhou Bridge, located directly opposite the academy, you can get to the island of the same name. At one time, Mao Zedong, who studied at a local school, liked to swim across Xiangjiang, starting from one of its beaches. Today, almost the entire territory of Juzhou is occupied by a park popular with the townspeople with many orange trees, in the southern part of which there is an original monument to the great Pilot in his youth.
The main museum of Changsha is the Hunan Provincial Museum (50 Dongfeng Lu Street). It occupies 50 thousand square meters. m, which shows the cultural development of the region. The exposition presents 110 thousand items, among them more than 700 are unique treasures: paintings on silk, books, textiles, ceramics. Particularly noteworthy are the bronze items of the Shang (16-11th centuries BC) and Zhou (11-1st centuries BC) dynasties, porcelain of the 1st-2nd centuries, calligraphy of the 4th century by the famous master Wang Xizhi.