Changsha

Changsha (长沙; Chángshā) is the capital of Hunan Province. It is also known among the Chinese for being the site of the Battle of Changsha, which was the first major victory the Chinese scored against the Japanese during World War II.

Get in

By air

Huanghua International Airport is the major airport for those seeking to visit Changsha. A 45 minutes drive on the expressway will take you to the city center. Airport buses operate 6AM-10PM from downtown Changsha to the airport and cost ¥16.5. The bus leaves from the CAAC Aviation Hotel on Wuyi Dadao (五一大道) a block west of the central train station.

Taxis are located outside the arrivals area. As of February 2013, taxis to the city cost approximately ¥90-100 (plus ¥10 tolls).

Traveling from the airport will allow for some window viewing of the relatively wealthy countryside surrounding the city. Although annual floods do sizable property damage, the overflowing of the rivers help irrigate the evergreen and enormous rice paddies.

By train

Changsha Railway Station is in the heart of the city. There are direct train connections from many cities in China or indirect ones using a connecting train. From Beijing it is about 14 hours by regular train.

Changsha South Station (of the Wuhan-Guangzhou High Speed Rail) is southeast of the downtown, about 25–30 minutes from the city core. From Guangzhou South it is about 2.5 hours on the high speed train, or a minimum of 8 hours on the much cheaper normal trains (a little over one quarter of the price). From Beijing, times vary, but can be as low as 6.5 hours by high-speed train (650 rmb as of 2013).

Get around

Inside a Changsha Metro Line 2 train

Ubiquitous taxicabs flood the city streets, willing to transport you just up the street or to the other side of town, the meters start at ¥8 in daylight, at ¥10 at night.

If you want to spend like a native or just want to experience the sensation of being sandwiched between natives, then hop on a bus for ¥2 and feel the thrill of speeding down the bumpy roads with barely any breathing room. Buses with a/c (hot or cold) or cross city districts run 2 ¥2 and buses without run 1 ¥2

As of 29 April 2014 there's a metro!

Metro Line 2 connects the South Railway Station at one end with the West Bus Station (Wangchengpo stop) at the other, with Changsha Railway Station roughly in the middle. There is also a stop for Juzizhou.

See

Youth Mao Zedong Statue on the Orange Isle

Do

Buy

Eat

When eating in Changsha there is nothing better than a plate of stinky tofu (chou dofu) or soo-yo-bing bought right off the street. If you have just arrived, be wary of eating from street vendors. Although the inviting aroma of food cooking may be too tempting to resist, you better have a strong stomach if you do not want to get an upset one.

Food in Changsha is famously described as xiang cai. As Xiangjiang is the major river that borders the city to the west, Xiang denotes not only the flavor and taste of the food but also of the land. Changsha, like Szechuan is known for spicy food, but without the additional ma, numbing affect of certain spices and pepper. In summer, oversized metal mixing bowls filled with crawfish seasoned with plenty of chili and spices, take the stage atop countless tabletops. Restaurants get so busy and overcrowded that tables, chairs along with diners spill into the busy streets and the parade of tantalizing dishes endlessly leave the kitchen to appear on the tables of hungry diners.

For international cuisine, four and five star restaurants have reputable chefs although for a visitor, the inifite array of dishes native to or with a Hunan flair are sure to please even the most discriminating palate.

Head straight to Snake Alley for the best point-and-eat in the city for cheap food.

Drink

Jiefang West Road (解放西路; Jiefangxilu) has a few Chinese clubs along this road, including SoHo, the ubiqiutous Chinese chain. Drinks tend to be expensive, the music loud, and clubs crowded. It's just off the main walking street so it is in quite a handy location.

Taiping Street (太平街; Taipingjie) is a newly refurbished area, with traditional/tacky facades has a few smaller bars, some with live music. It is just off Jiefang West Road towards the river. This is a touristy shopping street and many prices are on par with the West. Bargaining is impossible here. Even those who speak little English know how to say no bargains. But the shops are worth seeing to get an idea of what is available.

Sleep

Go next

Routes through Changsha

Zhengzhou Wuhan  N  S  Zhuzhou Guangzhou


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.