A modern city center with skyscrapers, shopping malls and walking streets invites for relaxed strolls. There are also plenty of opportunities to try the famous Hunanese cuisine and street food stores offer small bites (小吃 xiaochi) such as stinky tofu, mini lobsters, butter pancakes, and many more!
Changsha has an urban population of over 10 million people (2022). Mao Zedong lived and worked as a teacher in Changsha, and it was the site of his conversion to communism. A huge sculpture of Mao's head on Orange Island reminds everyone of his connection to the city.
Changsha is the capital city of Hunan Province in China, alias Star City, located in the middle of Yangtze River (Yangtze River) in southern China, the west of Changliu Basin in the lower reaches of Xiangjiang River in eastern Hunan Province, is the center of politics, economy, culture, science, education and transportation of Hunan Province. In 2015, the GDP (gross domestic product) of Changsha ranked sixth among provincial capitals in terms of comprehensive competitiveness.
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. The city however, suffered from major damage from the war after it was set on fire by Kuomintang officials in 1938, planning to implement scorched earth policy should Japanese forces invade. In particular, most historical relics were obliterated during the fire and 4 Japanese campaign against the city.
Changsha has a history of more than 2,000 years of urban construction on the original site. The name "Changsha" was first seen in the "Book of Yizhou" in the pre-Qin period. Changsha County was established in the Qin Dynasty, and the Changsha Kingdom was established in the Western Han Dynasty. The Mawangdui Han Tomb is world-famous. The Changsha kiln in the Tang Dynasty was the first to create underglaze colored porcelain, which was exported to countries all over the world.
- The Underbelly of the Dragon by F.S. Upp
- A maglev rail line connects the airport to the Changsha South Railway Station. From there, the subway can take you to the city center.
- A 45-minute drive on the expressway will take you to the city center.
- Airport buses operate from 06:00-22:00 between the airport and downtown Changsha and cost ¥16.5. The bus arrives at/leaves from the CAAC Aviation Hotel on Wuyi Dadao (五一大道) a block west of the central train station. There are also shuttle buses to take you to the South Railway Station and the South Bus Station
- Taxis wait 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 rivers help irrigate the evergreens and enormous rice paddies.
- 2 Changsha Railway Station (长沙站). Known for the red torch built in late Cultural Revolution, this 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 (sleeper) train. As of 2020, Metro line 2 and 3 connects this station to the city center.
- 3 Changsha South Station (长沙南站). 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 as of 2013).
From nearby cities Zhuzhou and Xiangtan, you can take the Changsha–Zhuzhou–Xiangtan Intercity Railway, which opened in 2016. But for other nearby cities, the intercity railway is still under construction. You can take train and bus, or book a private car service with a local transfer company.
By urban rail
- Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan can enter Changsha by intercity rail. The intercity rail transit west ring project creates a seamless transfer with Changsha Metro Line 3.
- 4 Changsha West bus station. Buses from here from western locations like Zhangjiajie. Adjacent to Wangchengpo metro stop.
Ubiquitous taxicabs flood the city streets, willing to transport you just up the street or to the other side of town. Meters start at ¥8 in daylight, ¥10 at night.
If you want to spend like a native or just want to experience the sensation of being sandwiched between locals, then hop on a bus for ¥2 and feel the thrill of speeding down the bumpy roads with barely any breathing room. Buses with air-conditioning (hot or cold) or cross city districts run for ¥2 and buses without run for ¥1.
As of 2020, Changsha has 5 metro lines, plus a sixth maglev line to the airport:
- Line 1 (north-south) - Has stops for Kaifu Temple and Provincial Museum, all due north.
- Line 2 (east-west) - Connects the Changsha Railway Station, Changsha South Railway Station, and West Bus Station (Wangchengpo stop). There is also a stop for Juzizhou.
- Line 3 (Southwest to Northeast)-It starts from Shantang Station, passes through Yuelu District, Tianxin District, Kaifu District, Furong District, Yuhua District and Changsha County in Changsha City, and ends at Guangsheng Station.
- Line 4 (northwest to southeast)-Changsha Rail Transit Line 4 starts from Guanling Station and passes through various districts in Changsha City, connecting three major scenic spots including Han Dynasty Tomb Relics Park, Yuelu Mountain and Moon Island, three major universities and Yuelu Mountain International University Science and Technology City, and connecting to Wangchengqing Bay. The town commercial center, and other important urban functional centers and hub areas end at Dujiaping Station.
- Line 5 (north-south)-Changsha Rail Transit Line 5 starts from Maozhutang Station and ends at Shuiduhe Station.
- 1 Changsha Bamboo Slips Museum (长沙简牍博物馆 Changshu Jiandu Bowuguan), 92 Baisha Road, Tianxin District (天心区白沙路92号) (next to Tianxin Pavilion (Tianxinge); about 740 m east of Nanmenkou metro station on Line 1; Bus routes 122, 130, 167, 171 North, 171 South, 311, 314, 402, 406, 803 and 908), ☏ , . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Tuesdays and during Chinese New Year. This museum contains a both ancient carved bamboo slips and a series of pottery artifacts. The building is architecturally-interesting, as bamboo grows out of one side of it. Free with identification.
- 2 Changsha Museum (长沙博物馆, Changsha Municipal Museum), 3 Binjiang Culture Park, Xinhe Delta, Kaifu District (开福区新河三角洲滨江文化园3号) (Bus nos. 520 and 804. The nearest metro station is the Beichen Delta metro station on Line 1, which is about 1 km from the museum), ☏ , . 09:00-17:00, no tickets issued after 16:00, no entry permitted after 16:30, closed on Mondays and during Chinese New Year. The main exhibition hall is a large modern building inside Binjiang Culture Park, which is a nice park for a stroll. The other main sight is the former site of the Hunan CCP committee, where the rooms where Mao lived are preserved. Free.
- 3 The Geological Museum of Hunan (湖南省地质博物馆), 49 Shanmuchong West Road, Tianxin District (天心区杉木冲西路49号) (about 800 m southwest of the Provincial Government metro station on Line 1; a short distance west of the Hunan Science and Technology Museum), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-16:30, closed on Mondays. Foreign visitors should register at the enquiries desk before entering the exhibition halls. Free.
- 4 Hunan Embroidery Museum (湖南湘绣博物馆 Xiang Xiu Bowuguan), 39 Chezhan North Road, Furong District (芙蓉区车站北路39号) (about 700 metres north of Changsha Railway Station metro station on Line 2; Bus routes 101, 112, 139, 148, 202, 263, 408, 501 North, 501 South, 602, 701 and 805), ☏ , (group bookings), email@example.com. Summer: M-F 08:30-17:00, winter: M-F 08:30-16:30. This museum is on the second floor of a store that sells high-quality embroidery. Visit and learn about the history of embroidery in Hunan. Special techniques have been locally-developed to achieve finer detail. At the end of the tour, you can visit the workshop where new items are being embroidered. The tour is free, and there is no pressure to buy. Free.
- 5 Hunan Provincial Museum (湖南省博物馆), 50 Dongfeng Road, Kaifu District (开福区东风路50号) (about 1.5 km east of Wenchangge metro station on Line 1; Bus routes 3, 112, 113, 131, 136, 146, 150, 203, 22, 358 and 901), ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00, expect to get kicked out 20 minutes before closing, on a first come first serve basis, your ticket will have a time stamped on it that will show when you are allowed to enter the exam. Show up early in the morning if you want to get in right away, otherwise you might have to pick up a ticket and then return in a few hours to enter. See the Han era tomb of Xin Zui, the Marquess of Dai, and her 2,100-year-old preserved body. Her body was still moist and flexible when they found her, with completely elastic skin, and looks more real than Ho Chi Minh. Also at the museum are many exhibits on all kinds of Han Dynasty artifacts, including pottery, lacquerware and an impressive collection of silk. Admission is free.
- 6 Hunan Science and Technology Museum (湖南省科技馆), 9 Muchong West Road, Tianxin District (天心区杉木冲西路9号) (directly south of Exit 2 of the Provincial Government metro station on Line 1), ☏ . 09:00-16:00, no entry in last 20 minutes, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The museum consists of two separate buildings: Buildings A & B. Building A hosts the main exhibition halls while Building B contains the children's wing. Entry to the main exhibition halls is free. Entry to the children's wing is ¥15 (except for children under 0.8 metres in height, who are admitted for free).
- 7 Longping Rice Museum (隆平水稻博物馆), 668 Renmin Road East, Furong District (芙蓉区人民东路668号) (Longping Rice Museum Station, Line 6), ☏ . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:00; closed on Mondays. Museum founded in 2019 by the late Yuan Longping, a famous Chinese agronomist known as the 'Father of Hybrid Rice' for having developed the first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s. The museum has exhibitions on the history, culture and science of rice cultivation, as well as an exhibition on Yuan Longping and his achievements. Free.
- 8 Dufu Pavilion (杜甫江阁), 108 Xiangjiang Middle Road, Tianxin District (天心区湘江中路108号) (east side of the river on Xiangjiang Middle Road (湘江中路) west of Nanmenkou (南门口) metro station on Line 1; Bus routes 1, 123, 171 North, 171 South, 222, 406 and 804), ☏ . Summer: 09:00-18:00, winter: 09:00-17:30. The pavilion houses a museum dedicated to the Chinese poet Dufu and contains pictures and information on other famous Chinese poets as well. There is a beautiful tea house on the top floor, and the balconies offer nice views over the river, city and Orange Island, if the weather allows. There is no English. All information is in Chinese. ¥11.
- 9 Hunan First Normal University (湖南第一师范学院), 356 Shuyuan Road, Tianxin District (天心区书院路356号) (Bus routes 1, 55, 122, 134, 137, 139, 160, 222, 225, 311, 358, 365, 416, 804, 901, 906 and 908; the nearest metro station is Nanmenkou Station on Line 1, which is about 900 metres from the university), ☏ . Museum opening hours: 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Founded in 1903 and built on the former site of an old Song Dynasty academy. The institution's best-known student was Mao Zedong, who undertook his secondary studies here from 1913 to 1918 when it was known as the Hunan First Normal School. From 1921 to 1923, Mao was the principal of the school's affiliated primary school. Today, Hunan First Normal University has two campuses. The old campus in Tianxin District features a museum about Mao Zedong. The new campus is in Yuelu District. Free.
- 10 Hunan University (湖南大学), 2 Yueshan South Road, Yuelu District 岳麓区麓山南路2号 (on the west side of the river; Hunan University Metro Station (Line 4); Bus routes Dakecheng 1, Dakecheng 2, Dakecheng 3 and the Lishen Bus Line), email@example.com. One of China's oldest universities. You will find lots of great places to eat in and around the studious atmosphere of the various campus' south of Yuelu Mountain. There is a large statue of Mao Zedong on the campus grounds.
- 11 Yuelu Academy (岳麓书院), Hunan University, Yueshan South Road, Yuelu District (岳麓区麓山南路湖南大学内) (on the west side of Hunan University's main campus), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. May to October: 07:30-18:00. November to April: 08:00-17:30. The Museum of Chinese Academies (中国书院博物馆) opens and shuts 30 minutes later than the other sights. The Thousand-Year-Old center of culture and learning of southern China. Established in 976, it is the spiritual predecessor to what is now Hunan University. Rich in history and beautiful period architecture, a visit to the academy will put you in touch with the ancient elites of southern China. You can find all the history on the website and then visit the academy yourself, wandering through its courtyards and open classrooms, admiring the curved eaves and bamboo gardens to get the real experience. ¥40.
- 12 Jia Yi's Former Residence (贾谊故居), 28 Taiping Street, Tianxin District (天心区太平街28号) (on Taiping Street, a short walking street; nearby metro stations include Xiangjiang Middle Road and Wuyi Square; Bus routes 11, 18, 145, 308, 358 and 901 stop right outside the residence), ☏ , . Tu-Su 09:00-11:30, 12:30-16:30, closed on Mondays. This courtyard contains a number of carved slate tablets and is worth a quick visit. It is located off of Taiping Street, a pedestrian street which sells traditional crafts, clothes and refreshments. Free with identification.
- 13 Mawangdui Han Tombs (马王堆汉墓遗址), 89 Guhan Road, Furong District (芙蓉区古汉路89号) (the nearest bus stop is Mawangdui Hospital South (马王堆医院南), which is served by bus routes 112, 204, 501 North, 501 South and w108), ☏ , . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:15. While this may sound like a tourist attraction, it is simply the ditch in which the tombs were uncovered. There are no artifacts present as everything is now in the Hunan Provincial Museum. ¥2.
- 14 Tianxin Pavilion (天心阁), 17 Tianxin Road, Tianxin District (天心区天心路17号) (about 600 metres east of Nanmenkou metro station on Line 1; Bus routes 2, 143, 145, 358, 803 and 901), ☏ (enquiries), (tickets). Summer: 07:30-17:30. Winter: 07:30-17:00. This pavilion is next to the ancient city wall. Cannons that have been used to defend the city are perched in the wall. Entry to the park is free. Entry to the pavilion is ¥32.
- 15 Hua Ming Lou (Hua Men Lou), Ningxiang City (take the No. 312 or 314 buses in Changsha to Changsha West Station, where there are tourist buses to the scenic area.), ☏ . 09:00—17:00. The main attractions of the scenic area include Liu Shaoqi's Former Residence, Memorial Hall, Bronze Statue Square, etc. Among them, Liu Shaoqi's former residence is located in Tanzi Village, Huaminglou Town, facing west and east, with a pond in front and a green mountain behind; The main body of the memorial hall is a freely dispersed group style garden building with ethnic style, showcasing the life and achievements of great people. Huaming Tower has become a national key tourist attraction. Free.
- 16 Autumn-Admiring Pavilion, Yuelu Mountain Qingfeng Gorge Middle, West Bank of Xiangjiang River (take the No.1 bus in Changsha city, which usually passes through Aiwanting (Orange Island Head); you can take this route from different places in the city and then take it to the terminal or the closest station to the Love Evening Pavilion), ☏ . 09:00—17:00. Founded in the 57th year of the Qianlong reign of the Qing Dynasty (1792), it was founded by Luo Dian, the head of the Yuelu Academy in the Qing Dynasty. Originally named Hongye Pavilion, it was later renamed Aiwan Pavilion by Bi Yuan, the governor of Huguang, according to the poem "Stop and sit in the evening of the maple forest, and the frost leaves are red than the flowers in February". free.
- 17 Kaifu Temple (开福寺), 136 Kaifu Temple Street, Xinehe, Kaifu District (开福区新河开福寺路136号) (Kaifu Temple Metro Station, Line 1), ☏ . 06:30-18:00. This temple only charges ¥10 and you get a package of incense. It is really quite beautiful and is one of the few functioning temples in Changsha. Inside there is a fairly good vegetarian restaurant, don't be fooled by the menu, all the meat is fake!
- 18 Lushan Temple (麓山寺, 古麓山寺 Old Lushan Temple), Yuelu Mountain National Scenic Area, 58 Denggao Road, Yuelu District (岳麓区登高路58号岳麓山国家重点风景名胜区内) (800 metres west of the Yuelu Academy), ☏ . 08:00-18:00 (April to October), 08:30-17:30 (November to March). One of the oldest temples in Hunan Province, It was founded in 267 AD, but has been destroyed six times, the most recent time being during World War II when the temple was bombed by the Japanese airforce. The current buildings largely date from the 1980s. The only surviving structure from the previous rebuild is the Guanyin Paviliion, which lies at the tail end of the complex. Free.
Parks and nature
- 19 Baisha Well Park (白沙古井公园，白沙井 Baisha Well), 178 Baisha Road, Tianxin District (天心区白沙路178号) (Bus routes 69, 139, 145 and 803; about 800 metres north of Houjiatang Metro Station on Line 1; on the west side of Helong Stadium), ☏ , . 08:00-18:00. This is a local park that contains a well. Although the well is nearly dry, you can still see people filling up containers with the little water that is left. Free.
- 20 Changsha Ecological Zoo (长沙生态动物园), (天心区芙蓉南路四段729号) (Bus routes 27, 125, 134, 209, 212, 289 and Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan Bus 201. You can take bus no. 134 from Shangshuangtang Metro Station, the southern terminus of Metro Line 1. The zoo is right next to Furong South Station on the main railway line, so you can also take a high-speed train there from Changsha Railway Station), ☏ . 09:00-16:20 (normal days), 09:00-16:50 (public holidays). Covering an area of around 100 hectares, the Changsha Ecological Zoo is one the largest zoos in Hunan Province. It is said to contain around 200 different species of animals from various parts of the world, including zebras, lions, tigers, monkeys, giraffes, pandas and other popular animals. ¥42 (walking area), ¥42 (driving area), ¥77 (walking & driving areas combo ticket), ¥20 (elephant show), ¥20 (forest theatre), ¥120 (all-inclusive combo ticket).
- 21 Changsha Sea World (长沙海底世界), 510 San Yi Avenue, Kaifu District (开福区三一大道501号) (take bus no. 132, 136, 158, 216, 222, 358, 409, 501 North, 501 South, 701, 704, 808, 915 or x104 and get off at Colorful World (长沙世界之窗); you will find Changsha Sea World on the southeast side of the car park), ☏ , . 09:00-18:00. Features Changsha's biggest aquarium. There is a water park here as well, but the water park is closed and will not reopen until some time in 2020. ¥150 (adults and children over 1.4 metres in height), ¥90 (children between 1.2 and 1.4 metres in height), ¥75 (adults over 65 years of age). Children under 1.2 metres in height may get in for free.
- 22 [dead link] Hunan Forest Botanical Garden (湖南省森林植物园), 111 Zhiwuyuan Road, Yuhua District (雨花区植物园路111号) (the garden may be entered from multiple directions; the west gate is accessible via bus nos. 7, 16, 17, 23, 102, 120, 123, 140, 141, 147, 152, 209, 210, 221, 229, 230, 262, 502, 701, 801, 802, 806 and shuttle bus 2 (穿梭巴士2号线); the north gate may be reached via bus nos. 16, 370, 602 and 938), ☏ , , email@example.com. Summer: 07:30-18:00. Winter: 08:00-17:30. A large botanical garden in the city's south. Here you will find azaleas, magnolias, cherry trees, bamboo and various other plant species. There is also a zoo, a golf club, an amusement park, a water park and a hotel. See here for the official map. Entry to the garden is now free. The entry fee has been abolished.
- 23 Orange Island (橘子洲, Júzizhōu), Yuelu District (岳麓区) (Juzizhou Metro Station, line 2), ☏ . Open all day. Sometimes also translated as Tangerine Island, this beautifully landscaped park contains a large number of rose bushes, orange trees, a bamboo garden, and a gigantic sculpture of the head of Mao in his youth. Tickets for sightseeing busses that stop at five spots can be purchased for ¥20, and small cruise ships circle the island. Walking from the metro station to the Mao head is 3.3 km and takes about 35 min. Free.
- 24 Yuelu Mountain (岳麓山), Yuelu District (岳麓区) (on the west side of the river; the nearest metro station is Hunan University Metro Station on Line 4; the park is about 1 km west of the station), ☏ . 06:00-23:00. West of Hunan University, is the national renowned scenic spot, located on the west bank of Xiang River. Many foreigners and locals alike frequently climb this 300-m-tall mountain. At the foot of Yuelu Mountain is Yuelu Academy. You can also get up/down by shuttle bus (¥20) or cable car (¥30 up, ¥25 down, ¥50 both directions). Free.
- 1 Colorful World (长沙世界之窗), 485 San Yi Avenue, Kaifu District (开福区三一大道485号) (take bus no. 132, 136, 158, 216, 222, 358, 409, 501 North, 501 South, 701, 704, 808, 915 or x104 and get off at the Colorful World bus stop; you will find Colourful World on the north side of the car park), ☏ . 09:00-18:30 (extended to 08:30-22:00 during the months of July and August). Changsha's largest and most popular amusement park. ¥200 (standard adult ticket), ¥100 (adults over 60 and children between 1.3 and 1.39 metres in height). Children under 1.3 metres in height can get in for free. Adults under 60 also pay only ¥100 if they enter after 18:00 (though this is only practical in July and August when the park is open till 22:00). The section of the park known as Water World charges an additional ¥100, which is not included in the standard ticket.
- Changsha Underwater World (长沙海底世界), 501 Trinity Avenue, Kaifu District (开福区三一大道501号).
Watch traditional folk art, e.g. lion dance, drum opera, clam dance and Xiang Opera.
- 2 Meixi Lake International Culture & Arts Centre Grand Theatre (梅溪湖国际文化艺术中心大剧院), Intersection of Meixi Lake Road and Jieqing Road, Yuelu District (岳麓区梅溪湖路与节庆路交叉口处) (Culture & Arts Center Station, Metro Line 2), ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3 Tian Han Grand Theatre (田汉大剧院), 347 Laodong West Road, Tianxin District (天心区劳动西路347号) (the theatre is just outside Exit 3 of Houjiatang Station on Metro Line 1), ☏ .
- 4 Xiangjiang Theatre (湘江剧场，湘江剧院), Bozi Street, Tianxin District (天心区坡子街) (opposite Huoguodian, about 300 metres west of Huangxing Square Station on Metro Line 1), ☏ , , email@example.com. Owned and operated by the Hunan Xiang Opera Theatre Company (湖南省湘剧院), this theatre is mainly devoted to Xiang Opera. However, other theatre companies sometimes lease the theatre for their own shows. Hence it is sometimes possible to see Peking Opera and other traditional arts here too.
- Hike Yuelu Mountain (岳麓山). Check See section for more details
- 5 Stroll along Xiang river promenade at night (湘江) (north and south of Dufu pavilion). Enjoy the nicely illuminated Dufu pavilion and Orange Island bridge during a stroll along the Xiang river promenade. Elderly locals come here to perform various group dances on the sidewalk, with music ranging from traditional Chinese over tango to pop!
- 6 Weekly fireworks (Juzizhou (橘子洲) Metro Station). (Every Saturday evening at 08:30). The city stages fireworks on Juzizhou Island (Orange Island) every week, which can be seen from Wuyi Dadao bridge, for example. Free.
- 1 Wuyi Shopping Circle (between Wuyi Square (五一广场) and Huangxing Square (黄兴广场) metro stations). The most important shopping area downtown, tons of shopping malls and stores.
- 2 Changsha Walking Street (长沙步行街) (between Nanmenkou (南门口) and Huangxing Square (黄兴广场) metro stations). Lively walking street with tons of fashion shops, snack stores and lined by shopping malls. Here you can find everything from shoes over smartphones to bubble tea and stinky tofu. Becomes very crowded in the afternoon and at night, and sometimes there are live performances, cultural shows and advertising events.
- Wangda Plaza[dead link] (万达广场). It is shopping mall with famous fashion brands such as Coach, Gome, as well as large office buildings with many branch companies such as Logoson. Besides, many people who goes to Changsha will go there at nights of some traditional Chinese festivals, for it is one of the best places to watch fireworks show on Orange Island.
- Wangfujing Mall (王府井). There are two Wangfujing malls in Changsha, which are very popular to local young shoppers.
- Guojin Street(国金街).The north side is connected to the Wuyi Square Metro Line 1 and 2 transfer station, the south side is connected to Huangxing Road Pedestrian Street (Simou Gate), the east side is seamlessly connected to Wharf B1 and B2, and the west side is connected to Wangfujing B1.
- Changsha IFS(九龙仓长沙国际金融中心).Located at the intersection of Huangxing Road and Jiefang Road in Wuyi Business District, Changsha City, Hunan Province, it is a large-scale super high-rise urban complex integrating large-scale shopping and entertainment centers, high-end office buildings, serviced apartments and international five-star hotels.
When eating in Changsha there is nothing better than a plate of stinky tofu (臭豆腐 chou doufu), butter pancake (酥油并 suyoubing) or mini lobster (口味虾) 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 had better have a strong stomach if you do not want to get an upset one.
Changsha food is part of the broader Hunanese cuisine (湘菜 xiang cai), one of China's traditional eight great regional cuisines. Traditional Hunan foods are quite spicy like Sichuan cuisine, but without the unique numbing sensation that comes with Sichuan peppercorns. 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.
- Stinky Tofu. Stinky tofu is a classic traditional snack in Changsha. It is recommended to go to Black Classic to buy the most authentic stinky tofu.
Street food areas
- Food Street (on the first floor of Huatian Hotel). Choices and a sampling of regional foods of the country. Long established and well-regarded, this cozy and rustic eatery stays bustling through the wee morning hours as food enthusiasts, businessmen, and families with their children flock to this fun food court styled eatery. Do not be fooled by the fast-food style of ordering (prepared food is displayed at various stations, your orders are placed by a hole punched on your menu card and then served freshly prepared within minutes of ordering), the food here is superb. A large selection of good food, including sweet taro dessert topped with gingko biloba nuts and steamed pork chops dusted with a layer of sticky rice powder.
- 1 Huo Gong Dian (火宫殿; lit: The Fire Palace), 78 Pozi St (坡子街) (behind Wal-Mart, on the snack street), ☏ . Local Hunan cuisine. Chairman Mao ate here. They come around with trolleys containing soup, dim sum, and so forth. You might enjoy Choudoufu (stinky tofu), Changsha Doupi, Pineapple bread (contains chunks and similar to some Indian breads), Yangrou Chuar (lamb kebabs), Niurou (beef in baskets, relatively fat-free), corn soup and vegetables which are cooked in front of you. ¥7-35 per item..
- 2 Taiping Old Street (太平老街), 五一大道与太平街交叉口西南50米 (Between Wuyi Square (五一广场) and the river, south of Wuyi Dadao (五一大道) street). This historic street is packed with small stores selling food and drink. Here you'll find everything from traditional sausages, stinky tofu, bubble tea, and ice cream, to seafood noodles. The old houses and narrow side alleys offer photo opportunities, and there are a few shops for souvenirs (packaged snacks, porcellain, etc.). There's even a workshop where you can try pottery!
- 3 Changsha Walking Street (长沙步行街). Tons of street food. See do section for details.
- Pozi Street(坡子街).Pozi Street in Changsha has a long history of more than 1,200 years. It is a veritable thousand-year-old street and a representative of Hunan culture.
For international cuisine, four- and five-star restaurants have reputable chefs although for a visitor, the infinite array of dishes native to or with a Hunan flair are sure to please even the most discriminating palate.
Chui Yan Shi Dai 炊烟时代 or 炊烟食代. Depending on which days, 时代 means "age" and 食代 doesn't mean anything actually, it just that both are homophones and 食 means "to eat" in middle Chinese. There are several other restaurants that likes to play with these kinds of homophones. The third floor of the Taskin Mall (德思勤) on the intersection of Shaoshan Nan road and Xiangfu Zhong road. Well prepared Xiang cuisine. Must try are Lajiao Lei Pidan (擂辣椒皮蛋), Xiangyu Paigu (香芋排骨) and Chao Hua Cai (炒花菜).
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.
- Hooligans Pub (Huli Ba), 55 Aimin rd, Hexi, just off of Xinmin rd. (cross the #1 bridge to the west side and turn left at the T; turn left at the next light onto Xinmin rd heading back towards the river and take the next to last left before the river road; Mona Lisa Restaurant is on the corner; the bar is across from it a bit to the left in front of the 7 Days Inn on the second floor), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Winter 17:00-03:00. Since 2008 Hooligans Pub has been a meeting place for expats. They've moved across the river to a bigger location. They have two floors, the second floor is indoors and the third is a rooftop garden. They now have a kitchen serving western food and snacks. Professional foosball table, western music, extensive selection of imported beers, wines and liquors. They celebrate all western and Chinese holidays and they can accommodate large private parties. From ¥15.
Crave Deli & Bar, C31 West Street, Wanda Plaza/长沙市 开福区 通泰街街道 万达广场开福金街C-31 (on the back side of Wanda Plaza; nearest subway stop is Xiangjiang Middle Road/湘江中路), ☏ . Daily 10:00-late. Billed as Changsha's main expat hangout. Home to more than 40 beers from around the world and features Asahi, Heineken and San Miguel on tap. The cocktail menu includes many classic western cocktails with 'Crave' pours. Appetizers include gourmet burgers, flatbread pizza, or loaded sandwiches. Don't miss the weekly specials: Taco Tuesday, Wing Wednesday, and crazy all-you-can-drink Saturday night parties. Sandwiches ¥22-38, beer ¥14-35, cocktails ¥20-30..
- 1 Jinjiang Inn (Nanhu Branch) (长沙南湖路店), Nanhu Rd, Tianxin District (taxi straight from the airport costs ¥100, the rate seems to be fixed into town). 24 hours. After each bath the room steams up for hours because the flooring was made of an unidentifiable material. It is a bit of a way out. The staff are nice enough. Around ¥200.
- FeeTel Inns Changsha, Wuyi St, Furong District (芙蓉区, 五一大道) (near the corner of Huangxing Zhong Rd (黄兴中路)), ☏ . 24 hours.
- Yuelu Shan Youth Hostel (岳麓山国际青年旅舍), Villa No. 1, Lushan Huaqiaocun, 50 Xinmin Rd (新民路50号麓山华侨村1号别墅) (in a courtyard behind Yangcheng Restaurant (Yángchéng Cānguăn hòumiàn), in Yuèlù, west of the Xiang river), ☏ . Comfortable, well kept and friendly staff. Conveniently located for climbing Yuelu Shan. Doubles for ¥128, Dorms around ¥50..
- 2 Laiking Hotel (长沙海富丽景酒店), 城南西路228号 (228 Chengnan West Road) (100 m from Nanmenkou metro station), ☏ . Modern and clean hotel very close to the walking street and other attractions in the city. Doubles from ¥200.
Zhangjiajie Scenic Area
- Fenghuang - A well-preserved ancient town in western Hunan Province
|Routes through Changsha|
|Zhengzhou ← Wuhan ←||N S||→ Zhuzhou → Guangzhou|