Nanchang (南昌; Nánchāng) is the capital of Jiangxi Province and is the cultural, economic, and scientific center of Jiangxi. The city has deep ties to Chinese communist history, known as Heroes' City because it was here that the "first shots of the revolution were heard"; it's where the communist uprising of 1 August 1927 began. This is why "BaYi" (8-1; August 1st) is throughout the city, including the central square with its monument. That spirit lives on in the people, who are considered loud and perhaps even aggressive -- even by Chinese standards.
The city itself is largely split (both in geography, and in social class) by the Gan river (Ganjiang). Compare the old, cultural, and claustrophobic main city of Nanchang (east of the Gan River) with the new, shiny, almost cultureless city of Honggutan, to the west of the river (where many expats live). It is connected by a few bridges, the BaYi and Nanchang bridges being the most used. The BaYi Bridge joins the old city on the east bank of the river with the new city on the west. The bridge is 'honored' with the communist name "BaYi" (Mao's revolution) but at the same time having Deng Xiaoping's "black and white cats" of capitalistic-communism adorning the old bridge to the new, developed area of Honggutan. The city, like most Chinese cities, is dealing with the new wave of Chinese wealth, and old traditions are quickly eroding in favor of Maserati's and tall 5-star hotels along the river. Perhaps in few places in China is the divide between old customs and new wealth as apparent as in divided Nanchang.
For more information on Nanchang, and general access to the expat community, you should check out VeryNanchang.
Nanchang Airport has regular connections from many Chinese cities, and also international connections (although the international terminal looks post-apocalyptic and deserted). Direct, cheap flights to Pattaya, Thailand, are of worthy mention, here. Also, note that there is an "airport bus" (¥15-20) that is significantly cheaper than taking a taxi (¥80-100). If you do take a taxi, tell the taxi driver "da biao" (meter) to make sure you don't get ripped off. There are usually taxi stand supervisors who ensure the drivers will do this.
West Train Station *Nanchang Xi Zhan* is in south Honggutan (the new district to the west of the Gan river). It has high-speed trains running from Shanghai, etc. as well as overnight and standard, slow trains. It's a far taxi ride even into the center of Honggutan (45rmb), let alone into Nanchang.
Nanchang Train Station is the old train station in Nanchang. It does not seem to have any high-speed trains, and seems only for slow or some overnight trains.
Taxis and buses (and the new "metro" underground rail) are the most popular ways of getting around, but you can also rent motorcycle taxis at your own risk.
Bus journeys are ¥2 (new for 2016) regardless of distance traveled (¥2+ for the double decker buses).
Taxi fare in Nanchang is standard for China, with the initial starting price for a ride in a taxi being ¥8 (new taxis), and for the old taxis (usually light blue or light green) being ¥6 (old taxis) -- both for up to 2 kilometers (or certain wait time). Beyond this mandatory starting-price-region, the rate is ¥1.9 per kilometer. It should also be noted that the taxi fare has an additional 20% surcharge at night, between 11:00pm and 5:00am, to compensate for the low demand at night.
Metro: There is now (as of 2016) one metro line (Line 1) that goes west-east across the middle of the city, from Honggutan in the west to the eastern part of the city. The second line is still under construction (2016).
Motorcycle taxis are another option. It is technically illegal to ride a gas-powered bike in Nanchang, but these motorcycle taxi drivers do it in droves - as do many laowai. You can usually get away with it, but note that it's at your own risk. No stories or reports of a motorcycle taxi being ticketed by police, as of yet - so really it comes down to your feeling of personal safety, being on the back of a motorcycle. If you don't know the price for a standard distance, you'll probably get ripped off. It's a good idea to haggle about 10-20% (at least) off the cost of what he's offering.
Bicycle: If visiting during the summer a bicycle is a good investment, at ¥110 from WalMart beside Bayi Square. Just like other typical Chinese cities, there are many cycle lanes covering the entire city, busy nearly all the time.
- Bayi Monument, Bayi Guangchang (Located in the center of Bayi Square, on Bayi Avenue). This large monument with the flag of the People's Liberation Army at the top commemorates the Nanchang Uprising of August 1 (Bayi), 1927. On this date, the People's Liberation Army was founded. Free.
- YouMin Temple (YouMinSi, 佑民寺) (Located just north of Bayi Park (not the same place as Bayi Square)). This Buddhist temple is in wonderful condition and in active use.
- Pavilion of Prince Teng (滕王阁). One of the Four Great Towers of China and setting for the famous poem Téngwáng Gé Xùjì by Wang Bo during the Tang Dynasty. ¥50.
- River Edge Light Show (Along the Gan River). Every night from about 2100hrs - 2300hrs. Watch the buildings along the Gan at night for a spectacular light show that runs multiple times every night. Only possible by fiat authority in a place like China, the light-show is created by every sky-scraper along the Gan river being outfitted with L.E.D.s, and they are all centrally synchronized. Go check out the show from Honggutan Side at the Fountain (walk along the water south from BaYi bridge).
- The Star of Nanchang (南昌之星). Formerly the world's tallest ferris wheel (they still say it is), with a height of 160 meters.
- Sheng Jin Tower (盛金塔). Buddhist temple south of the downtown.
- Jiangxi Provincial Museum (江西省博物馆), 2 Xinzhou Road, Donghu District (东湖区新洲路2号) (Metro Line 1, Tengwang Pavilion Station, Exit 2), ☎ . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:00, closed on Mondays. Free.
Walk along the west bank of the Gan river on a Saturday or Sunday and buy a cheap kite (Y10-30); join the hundreds of Chinese kite fliers. It's surprisingly fun.
Amusement Parks - As of 2016, there is now the Wanda Amusement Park in south Honggutan. There is also a smaller "fair" styled (but permanent) amusement park on the west bank of the Gan river (just south of the BaYi brige in Honggutan). Here you can ride some surprisingly decent (and terrifying) rides, or try the dangerously-fast bumper cars for an awesome thrill and potential spinal injuries. You can also buy a wide variety of food at the outdoor food market, including stinky tofu and all assortments of chicken and icecream.
Bike - Buy a bike for ¥300 at Beijing Lu, ca 200 meters off Ba Yi Square and discover the city on two wheels.
Hike and wander around the MeiLing mountains, west of the City. Consider checking out WanLi, a small town and gateway to fabulous hiking, biking, and other routes.
Rafting - At Meiling, there is a fantastic "white water rafting" course. It costs about 100RMB, but is well-worth the cost. To get to it, you need to take a taxi or private van up through WanLi and still up, along a winding road and around the side of a hill town. The rafting place is at the end of a small road up there (talk to a local Chinese, who can search baidu for you). The rafting place has about 20 two person inflatable rafts that bounce down the river (which has been artificially turned into a course with cemented rocks along the sides). None the less, when I went, we experienced class 2 and 3 rapids, and everyone had a lot of fun. You will likely not fall out of the rafts, but you will get soaked. PROTIP: Spend the extra 15 kuai and get the "water guns" from the small shop, there. They add a whole new level to a group rafting outing, and are a hell of a lot of fun. Overall, highly recommended experience. Cost: ~120RMB per person, plus transport to/from rafting place.
Paintball / Laser Tag / RealCS - All across China you can find "real CS" which, although they'll tell you is paintball, is usually laser tag. There's a laser tag place under the Star of Nanchang Ferris Wheel. Some people think that's fun.
- Baihuodalou (百货大楼).
- Zhongshan Road (中山路).
- Shengli Road (胜利路).
Check out VeryNanchang for insider tips into the Nanchang nightlife. This is the online expat community for Nanchang.
MinDe Lu is the main bar street. Here you will find the bars most popular with the expat community, including Muse & C2 Clubs, Queen, and Helen's (nearby). There is also, apparently, a main walking street, with an upscale apartment complex, where there are 3-4 bars and a few clubs, all of which are hopping on the weekends. Another area is found around Fuzhou Road, there is VV club, and CD 1925. Honggutan (west of the Gan river) also has the second Bossa Nova Bar, very popular with Expats.
- Chicon ("时空"), 61 Hubin Nan lu, 湖滨南路61号 (About 100 meters from New Century Kaimei Hotel, next to Unicup coffee.). Great place with an authentic European decor. This place feels like Europe. Great selection of fresh Belgian beers on tap as well as various bottled beers, whiskies and bourbons. Nice music and games : a professional grade table soccer and a pinball machine (probably the only one in Jiangxi province). They plan to have food in the near future.
- Vortex, Building 14, Jin Yu Ming Du Apartments, Hong Du Rd North (It's hidden on the side of the building.), ☎ . One of the most popular expat bars in Nanchang. Very small and crappy, though: literally just a galley bar with a few old booths and a pool table in the back.
- Bossa Nova Garden (Brazilian Bar; Expat Bar), 69 Feihong Lu, Honggutan (west of river) 南昌市红谷滩新区飞虹路69号（博泰江滨1号楼 (In Honggutan (west of Gan river), a few streets south of Bayi Bridge.), ☎ . Expat bar west of the river. Popular bar on Fridays and Saturdays, often with live music. As the name suggests, there is a drinking garden out front. Just watch out for the "falling" glass bottles from the apartment building above.
- Robot Head (Near Bayi Lake). Interesting bar/club with multiple floors and clubbing rooms.
- CD 1925, Fuzhou Road. Interesting bar that has four different rooms laid out like a labyrinth. If you are drunk it makes for a terribly confusing night.
- Bar Newz, 112-113 Heng Mao, Star-walk, DingGong Rd. A friendly western style bar serving all the usual beers and some imported beers and larger, cocktails by the dozen and real western bar snacks, the ones you are missing while your here in China. Open lunch time to late.
- [dead link] JD´s Bar (JD´s Nanchang), Nan Hu Lu no.28 (Minde Lu), ☎ . A German owned Bar.
- Jin Du Crow Hotel Brazilian BBQ Restaurant, Heng Chan Lu, 99, ☎ . Jin Du Crown Hotel Brazilian Restaurant, is located on hart of downtown. Buffet service and Brazilian BBQ, Brazilian Live Music for fair price.
- Bossa Nova Cafe (Brazilian Bar), 5 Nan Hu lu - close to Min De lu (near by Ba Yi Park). Brazilian bar of downtown. Brazilian snacks, South American drinks, more than 10 beer brands, wines from Chile, Portugal, France, Italy and Spain. Brazilian fruits cocktails. Fair price and friendly service.
- Galactic Peace International Hotel (嘉莱特和平国际酒店; Jiāláitèhépíng Guójì Jiǔdiàn), 10 Guangchang South Road, Donghu District (东湖区广场南路10号; Dōnghúqū Guǎngchǎngnánlù) (Close to the railway station), ☎ , fax: . Five star hotel with four star hotel prices. Large rooms with free internet. Do not forget to try the pool and sauna. Listed rates for doubles from ¥1,080, discounted from ¥468, breakfast ¥50.
- Jiangxi Hotel, Bayi Avenue (a short walk from Bayi Square). 24 hours. There are two hotels by this English name on the same short stretch of the street. Five star Jiangxi Binguan (江西宾馆) is better than four star Jiangxi Fandian (江西饭店), which probably gets its four star rating from facilities that it keeps permanently closed. Jiangxi Binguan is famous as one of the top ten architectures in Nanchang. Jiangxi Fandian was established in 1961, and although renovated in 2004, feels like it was renovated to 1960's standards. Around ¥500.
- Gloria Grand Hotel Nanchang (南昌凯莱大饭店), 39 North Yanjiang Road (Yanjiang Bei Dadao),Nanchang. The Gloria Plaza Hotel Nanchang (Kailai Dafandian) is strategically located in the city center, just 25 minutes from the airport, 12 minutes from the railway station and within walking distance from major commercial complexes. The hotel's 328 rooms and suites are all tastefully furnished and outfitted with individually controlled air-conditioning, satellite television, internet data port, international direct-dial telephone, mini-bar, in-room safe and hair-dryer.
The people of Nanchang are very loud. Westerners see them as yelling at one another, perhaps even aggressive. Generally, assume the person is just being friendly with you, not affronting. If things do get violent for some reason, note than there are stories floating around in China that Chinese will not fight fair (ie: swarming/group attacks, knives/weapons), in order to save face against a Westerner.
Pickpockets may be around, especially near Zhongshan Road area. They can steal things even from your shirt pocket! Never leave your belongings unattended in restaurants or shops, even if it is an upper-class one.
However, in general most of China (Nanchang being no real exception) is quite safe -- the worst most people may encounter is a taxi driver trying to rip you off.
Famed Lushan is about two and a half hour bus ride to the north.
|Routes through Nanchang|
|Beijing ← Lushan ←||N S||→ Ganzhou → Shenzhen|