Wuhan

A section of Wuchang, the Yangtze River, and Hanyang seen from the Yellow Crane Tower

Wuhan (武汉; Wǔhàn) is the capital of Hubei Province in China and a major port on the Yangtse River.

Understand

History

Memorial Hall of 1911 Wuchang Uprising, Where Sun Yat-Sen Issued his Edict to Overthrow the Qing.

Wuhan once consisted of three separate cities; Hanyang, Hankou (formerly known as Hankow), and Wuchang. Hanyang was a busy port as long as 3,000 years ago in the Han Dynasty. Yellow Crane Tower was first built in 223BCE and gained fame throughout China through the poetry of Cui Hao during the Tang Dynasty. Wuchang has been a center of learning for centuries, especially in the field of the arts. It became a provincial capital in the Yuan Dynasty.

Hankou was considered to be one of China's top four cities during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It was the busiest inland port, first opened as a treaty port in 1661. During the 19th century, as a result of concessions granted in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, large areas of Hankou's riverfront were carved up into foreign mercantile divisions with port and rail facilities and the area's economy expanded rapidly. There remain many grand buildings along Hankou's riverfront clearly European in design as a result.

The city is perhaps most famous for its pivotal role in the formation of modern China. On October 10, 1911 the Wuchang Uprising, led by Sun Yat-Sen, took place sparking the Xinhai Revolution throughout the nation which resulted in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty (China's last) and the formation of the Republic of China. The event is commemorated in many place names beginning with "Shouyi", literally "First Revolution", including a public square with an attached museum. In the ensuing chaos of the Republic of China, Wuchang was the capital of a leftist Guomindang government ruled over by Wang Jingwei in direct opposition to Chiang Kai-shek.

In 1927, Hanyang, Hankou, and Wuchang were united to form the city of Wuhan. The city fell under siege by the Japanese during WWII and was liberated in 1945. With the opening of China, Wuhan was reopened in 1992 for the first time since the revolution. Today, Wuhan is one of China's largest cities and remains an important center of commerce. While many visitors overlook Wuhan as just another city, beneath its industrial exterior a rewarding tapestry of history and cultural arts awaits.

Orientation

Wuhan is an amalgamation of three smaller cities, Hankou, Hanyang and Wuchang, each separated from the other by a river. Hankou is the business center and it sits to the northwest with the Yangtze River separating it from Wuchang and the Han River separating it from Hanyang. Wuchang is the education center hosting a bewildering variety of universities, institutes and colleges. It is separated from both Hankou and Hanyang by the Yangtze River. Hanyang is the industrial center, separated from Hankou by the Han River and from Wuchang by the Yangtze River.

The Number One Yangtze River Bridge, an old, Soviet-era colossus of engineering incorporating both rail and automobile traffic in a dual-layer setup, connects Wuchang with Hanyang. The more graceful Number Two Yangtze River Bridge, currently only open to automobile traffic and pedestrians (bicycles are officially prohibited, although you can see them), connects Wuchang with Hankou to the north. There are two major bridges across the Han River shuttling automobile traffic between Hanyang and Hankou. These two bridges are within sight of each other on the few smog-free days that exist. Five other Yangtze river bridges connect the outskirts of Wuchang with the outskirts of Hanyang and Hankou.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 8 10 14 21 26 30 33 33 28 23 17 11
Nightly lows (°C) 0 2 7 13 18 22 25 25 20 14 8 2
Precipitation (mm) 43 59 95 131 164 225 190 112 80 92 52 26

Wuhan is humid year-round and has chilly winters and oppressive summers

Travellers not accustomed to high heat and humidity should avoid visiting Wuhan in the summer months. As the hottest of the "Three Furnaces" of China (the others are Chongqing and Nanjing), Wuhan often gets summer temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F). Combine the heat with humidity, a lack of wind, and heavy urban pollution typical for most of the rapidly industrialized cities in China, and one has a recipe for a cloudy yet simmering day.

Get in

Wuhan is a major city in a central position. It has all the bus, rail, road and air connections you would expect.

By plane

Wuhan can be accessed easily from   Wuhan Tianhe International AirportWuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH) about an hour outside of the city center. Flights from all major domestic airports are available, including Xian, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong. International flights operate from Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Paris, and Moscow.

Taxi from Wuhan Tianhe Airport to the city (Wuchang) costs ¥70-¥80, plus ¥10 toll.

As of 2015, there is regular bus service from Wuhan airport to several locations throughout Wuhan, including the Hankou and Wuhan Railway Stations and the Fujiapo Bus Station (in downtown Wuchang, within 1 km from the Wuchang Railway Station). A commuter rail line from Wuhan to Xiaogan, with a stop at the airport, is under construction, and is due to open by the end of 2015. Wuhan's subway is also supposed to reach the airport by the end of the decade.

If you get stuck at the airport for any length of time, the airport has free wifi throughout the domestic terminal (subject to verification of mobile phone number, any country OK), and you can find power outlets (with purchase) at Cite Coffee on the mezzannine above the pre-security departures hall (2F). There is a left-luggage service on the back wall of the departures hall as well, next to the odd-sized luggage check.

By train

Wuchang Railway Station

Wuhan is a major railway hub, connected by direct trains with most of China's major cities. At present (2014), the capital of Hubei is connected by direct trains to the capitals of all other 30 province-level units (provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities) of the PRC, from Harbin to Lhasa and from Urumqi to Haikou.

Overnight express trains (Z series trains) take one from Beijing (¥263), Shanghai, Hangzhou or Ningbo in 9-12 hours. There are also frequent train connections from Guangzhou taking about 12 hours and a bit less frequent trains from Shenzhen.

Besides overnight trains, there are also day-time high-speed trains (D and G series) which connect Wuhan with Beijing (via Zhengzhou), Shanghai (via Hefei and Nanjing), Guangzhou and Shenzhen(via Changsha), Xi'an (via Zhengzhou), Nanchang, and Yichang. It takes 4.25–6.15 hours to Shanghai (¥280), 5 hours to Beijing and 3-4 hours to Guangzhou (¥490). The journey to Guangzhou has been reduced to around 3 hours since the opening of the 300km/h train, it runs every 15 minutes and makes it faster than flying.

There are three major passenger train stations:   Wuhan,   Wuchang, and   Hankou. All Wuhan–Guangzhou-Shenzhen high-speed trains arrive at the new Wuhan station; as to other destinations, there are often trains to them from two or even all three major destinations, so when buying a ticket one can try to choose the most conveniently located stations. With the opening of Line 4 of Wuhan Metro at the end of 2013, all three railway stations are connected by the metro.

Direction north

It is also possible to travel to Northeastern China (Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang, Dalian) by high-speed trains (G or D), but that requires a transfer in Beijing, with a terminal change.

Direction north-west

For most northwestern destinations, one can save a few hours by taking a fast (G) train to Xi'an, and transferring to a conventional train there. However, that requires a station change in Xi'an.

Wuhan Railway Station is served by the new high-speed Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen railway

Direction south

Most eastbound trains use Hankou Railway Station

Direction east

Direction south-east

Direction west

Direction south-west

Commuter services

Wuhan is one of the first cities in China to introduce a modern commuter train system. As of 2015, one can take a commuter train to the city's southern (Xianning) and eastern (Huangshi, Huanggang, Daye, Ezhou) suburbs. One more line, to the northwest (to Xiaogan via the Wuhan Tianhe Airport) is under construction. On most lines, trains run about 10 times a day in each direction. The trains depart from the same three main train stations of the city, but use dedicated purpose-built rail lines, different from both the "regular" and high-speed railway lines used by long-distance trains.

By bus

Fujiapo Bus station is located a few blocks from Wuchang Railway Station

There are two major long distance bus stations, again in Hankou and Wuchang respectively, which tend to have buses visiting both.

By boat

You can also reach Wuhan via boats on the Yangtze River, either from downstream centers such as Shanghai and Nanjing or from Chongqing further upstream, via the famous Three Gorges route.

Get around

By bus

Two-level buses are used on some of the city bus routes

Wuhan has a cheap, efficient, but horribly bewildering bus system in place. The service has vastly improved compared to the past. It is the cheapest way to get around the city, bus fares typically being under 2 yuan. If you have a local to guide you, it can be used to get from place to place with impressive speed (if not comfort or safety). All buses have the route number prominently marked, and usually carry a board listing major stops along the route (in Chinese only). Without a local to guide you, you should better have a good map and a decent grasp of Chinese.

Maps sold at newsstands etc for a few yuan show bus routes and bus stops, but aren't always easy to read, and aren't always up-to-date. There is an interactive Wuhan bus map (in Chinese) available online, which allows one to see bus connections between any two bus stops.

By subway

Presently (Dec. 2015) existing rail transit system consists of one elevated line (Line 1) in Hankou and three underground subway lines (Lines 2, 3 and 4). 12 lines are planned in total that will connect all three major sections of the city (Hankou, Hanyang, and Wuchang). Hankou Railway Station is connected to the existing Line 2, Line 4 links Wuhan Railway station (the major high speed railway station) to Wuchang Railway Station.

It is useful to be aware of where subway construction work is carried out at the moment, since large sections of streets may be fenced off for the construction, and street-level traffic may be significantly affected during the construction work.

By taxi

Battery-operated electric carts are an inexpensive (1Y fare) way to get around the campus of the Huazhoung University of Science and Technology

Taxis are sometimes hard to find, especially in commercial areas. Taxis are supposed to switch drivers at 17:30 however often they will appear to do so much earlier. After 16:00, expect half of all taxis to display a sign indicating they are not for hire. In congested areas, especially 1-way streets with no convenient exit, taxi drivers displaying the for hire sign (空车) will often wave you away when you try to flag them down or stop the car to ask where you are going and dismiss you if it's not to an area they wish to go to. Be aware and plan accordingly if you have to be somewhere on-time. Please also be aware that the lack of adequate taxis in congested areas (WuHan Plaza, for example), people in WuHan are much more aggressive when trying to get a taxi. Expect to race to any car that stops and to hold your ground at the door (for example if you're waiting at the front door, someone will jump in the back). Rates are relatively cheap at ¥6 on the flag and with around ¥70 getting you between almost any two spots you are likely to want to travel between. It is possible to get higher taxi fares, but usually only because the taxi driver has deliberately taken you on a longer trip (which is, thankfully, not a common occurrence).

Airport taxis are the exception. Foreigners in particular are likely to get ripped off by taxi drivers at the airport. They will demand prices starting at ¥150 to go anywhere in the city. For reference, going from the airport to the middle of Hanyang costs about ¥50 typically. It is advisable to insist on the metre before the taxi starts moving and if the driver refuses, step out, collect your luggage and go back to the taxi stand. Note that this is not a serious problem in the daytime when there is a supervisor at the taxi stand who is an airport employee, rather than a taxi driver himself.

One oddity of the taxi system is crossing the bridges. Because of the traffic problems and snarls at the bridges, the city has instituted a system in which half the taxis are not permitted to cross the bridge on half the days. Basically, if the day of the month is odd, odd-numbered taxis are allowed to use the Number One Bridge. If the day of the month is even, even-numbered taxis are allowed to use the Number One Bridge. This system may extend to the Number Two Bridge (this is not yet confirmed) but it does not extend to the Number Three Bridge. In most circumstances, however, it is not advisable to use the Number Three Bridge as it tends to increase the taxi fares dramatically (although it is an interesting ride).

By ferry

A ferry on the Yangtze

The Yangtze River can be crossed by ferry for a very reasonable fee of ¥1.5. The ferry runs frequently starting at 07:00 and ending at 21:00. It offers by virtue of its unique location some nice views of the city, the Number One Yangtze River Bridge, Yellow Crane Tower, etc. during the day and an interesting nightscape view after dark.

See

Snake Hill Park from the Yellow Crane Tower.

Wuchang

On the grounds of the Hubei Provincial Museum
A popular swimming area in Liyuan Park on the East Lake

Hanyang

Guiyuan Temple

Hankou

In the suburbs

Do

A bixi turtle at the Qingchuan Pavilion and the Turtle Mountain TV Tower

Learn

Wuhan boasts eight national colleges and universities among its 36 colleges and universities. The city is among one of the biggest collegetown with over a million of college students in town. Most of the colleges are in Wuchang and around the Optics Valley Square (Guanggu Guangchang). The OVS station ranks the highest for subway ridership in the system ever since its opening.

National

Buy

Malls

Jianghan Road by night.

Books and maps

Eat

Wuhan is famous for its morning xiaochi - a variety of breakfast foods. Hubuhang in Wuchang is Wuhan's famous breakfast alley where you will find all of Wuhan's famous breakfast dishes. Reganmian (literally, "hot dry noodle") is the epitome of Wuhan's breakfast food. It is noodles with peanut sauce, tossed in sesame paste and other seasonings. You will find these noodles for ¥2 from street vendors. Other Wuhan breakfast specialties include mianwo, a type of savory donut; tangbao, small dumpling-buns filled with pork and soup; mibaba, a lightly sweetened pancake made with rice flour; and mijiu tangyuan, a sweet soup of rice wine (fermented from glutinous rice) with rice flour dumplings stuffed with sesame paste.

Real men find their fuel on the streets betwixt the hours of 12:00-5:00 in the AM. On these streets there are generous and well-meaning folk selling dumplings, noodles, wok food, and foies gras. On the odd occasion that the lounge is closed, one is able to sit outside and enjoy the night air, the delightful local dialect, and any foods you order. If you are in the mood for a more romantic night on the town, there are countless 3-wall restaurants with candle lights upon the tables, live music flowing from the muses' mouths, and 4-star restaurants' finest fair at a reasonable and sanitary locale.

A well-known place is Hubu Xiang (户部巷)], where you can find all kinds of famous foods, including Reganmian(热干面) and mianwo(面窝).

Drink

There are a few drinks that are associated with the city. Included in this list is Jingjiu (a healthy alternative to regular wines), Baijiu. If you would like to taste something slightly more low key, there is a local micro-brew called Singo (Xingyinge), that will be the beginning of every good night, at just ¥1.5 per bottle.

Wuchang(武昌)

Hanyang(汉阳)

Hankou(汉口)

Sleep

Budget hotels in a small lane near the Wuchang Railway Station

Cope

Consulates

Go next

There are two train stations in Wuchang (Wuchang station and Wuhan station, the latter for high speed trains) and one in Hankou. There are also long-distance bus stations; one in Hankou, and two (Fojiapo 傅家坡长途汽车站 http://fjp.hbglky.com/ and Xiongji 宏基长途汽车客运站) near the Wuchang train station.

Routes through Wuhan

Beijing Zhengzhou  N  S  Changsha Guangzhou


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.