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Changsha, a famous city of ancient Chuhan Country, is called "the hometown of Qu Yuan and Jia Yi" due to the profound influence of these two ancient celebrities on the city. Today Changsha is the holy land of revolution. The Orange Isle, Yuelu Academy, Aiwan Pavilion all left the revolution footprints of China's great man MAO Zedong.
The ancient and modern beauty intermingle in Changsha city with poetry and is also picturesque. When the fire-fired maple leaves start to burn in autumn, you can feel the charm of Changsha at Aiwan Pavilion on Yuelu Mountain; Explore the history of Mawangdui which is praised as “One of the Eight Wonders in the World” by visiting Mawangdui Han Tomb and Hunan Provincial Museum; Marvel about the extraordinary moon land and envy the vigor of Tianxin Pavilion; Chant a poem while standing on the bank of Orange Isle and visiting the former residence of Jia Yi to meditate on the past and present times.
Besides, Changsha is a city of dynamic fashion and food. Hunan TV and Super Girl are popular all over the country. Streets and alleys in Changsha are filled with the fragrance of local snacks. All in all, whether you are here to explore local history, pursue the stars, enjoy gourmet meals, or make a transfer to the UNESCO World Heritage - Zhangjiajie. All your needs can be satisfied here in Changsha! Check Top 10 things to do and attractions in Changsha to plan your Changsha tour in 2021.
• Ticket: Free
• Opening Hours: All day long
• Highlights: Yuelu Mountain; Yuelu Academy, Aiwan Pavilion, Lushan Temple, Yunlu Palace
• Address: No. 40 Denggao Road, Yuelu District, Changsha (岳麓区登高路40号)
The 300-meter Mount Yule is the best place to view the whole Changsha city. Looking afar, the Xiangjiang River is like a ribbon. Juzizhou (Orange Island) is like in the middle of the river with lush trees, two bridges connect the east and the west.
Yuelu Mountain (岳麓山), gathering together the finest parts of Xiangchu Culture, has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty. Moreover, the natural scenery is also fantastic here. The maple trees, catalpa trees, pines and chestnut trees are lush with powerful branches and trunks; the water of spring keeps flowing all the year around and brings you a peaceful feeling. The best time to visit Mount Yuelu is at the turn of autumn and winter. The maples color the mountain red and red oranges are produced on the branches, which make Yuelu Mountain more beautiful. Aiwan Pavilion (爱晚亭) is the best place to enjoy the fiery-red maple on Yuelu Mountain.
Before or after your hiking, spend 1-2 hours paying a visit to Yuelu Academy (岳麓书院), situated at the foot of Mount Yuelu, is not only the “one-thousand-year-old-academy, but also one of the four greatest academies in ancient China. In AD.976, Zhudong officially founded Yuelu Academy based on a school run by Buddhists. Now, it is a research base for humanities and social science and studies of the ancient Chinese civilization of Hunan University, as well as the Hunan Provincial research base for Huxiang culture. Inside the academy, there are some historical sites, such as Wenchang Pavilion, Library of Imperial Books and Xiangshui Sutra Proofreading Hall. A visitor commented on tripadvisor “It’s great and motivating. It is completed with a modern museum which explains the movement of education in China.”
• Popular Changsha Tour: ✔ 2 Days Classic Changsha Tour
The Orange Isle (Juzizhou)
Firework Shows on Orange Isle
• Ticket: Entrance for free, CNY 50/person for Shatan Park, sightseeing bus CNY 20/person
• Opening Hours: All day long
• Highlights: Orange Isle, Xiangjiang River, Firework Show
• Address: Juzizhou, Yuelu District, Changsha (岳麓区橘子洲头)
As early as in the Tang Dynasty, oranges were produced abundantly and sold to distant Jianghan areas. Juzizhou (橘子洲头), also known as the Orange Isle, has been a famous scenic spot in Hunan Province since ancient times. It is a place with the scenery of "snow on the river", one of the eight sceneries of ancient Xiaoxiang. Juzizhou is a bridge where the present meets the past. It adds a profound cultural legacy to Xiaoxiang culture. When Mao Zedong was standing at Juzizhou, he threw such a question to the vast sky—"asking the vast land, who will determine the ups and downs". He changed the process of Chinese history and showed special preference to Juzizhou. There are highlights like the Historical and Cultural Exhibition Hall, Xiaoxiang Celebrity Club, and Citrus Culture Park, etc, combine sightseeing, leisure and entertainment into one.
On a specific time period of a year on Saturday nights, there will be firework shows being played on Juzizhou, which is an unmissable visual feast. Dufu River Pavilion (杜甫江阁), Siyang Fangzun Square, Fengfan Square and Yuelu Mountain Observation Deck are all excellent places to watch fireworks.
• Popular Changsha Tour: ✔ 2 Days Classic Changsha Tour
Mawangdui Han Tombs
Hunan Provincial Museum
• Places to Visit: Hunan Provincial Museum, Historical Sites of Mawangdui Han Tombs
Mawangdui Mausoleum, also known as Mawangdui Han Tombs (马王堆汉墓), is located in the eastern suburbs of Changsha, only 4 km away. It was served for the Prime Minister Li Cang and his family members of Changsha State during the early Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D.24).
All three tombs inside were excavated between 1972 and 1974. The coffin chambers were well-conceived laid out. Over 3,000 cultural relics have been excavated from the Han tombs, such as the thin gauze cloth, weighing 49g, beautiful silk writings and paintings, a women corpse that had been well preserved for more than 2,000 years. Now you may appreciate these cultural relics at the Hunan Provincial Museum.
The Hunan Provincial Museum (湖南省博物馆) is the biggest integrated historical museum in Hunan Province. Located next to Martyr’s Park in Changsha’s Kaifu District, it covers 51,000 square meters. This provincial museum has gathered together most curios unearthed in Hunan Province, unfolding the cultural development of Hunan Province throughout thousands of years. The museum has a collection of more than 180,000 objects, including items found in the tombs of the Marquis of Dai and his wife in Mawangdui. Besides, there are also exhibits: 1) bronze from the Shang and Zhou eras; 2) celadon porcelain wares produced in the kilns of the villages of Xiangyin and Yuezhou during the Eastern Han, Sui and Tang Dynasties; 3) underglaze porcelain wares, with hand-printed motifs; 4) masterpieces by famous Chinese artists and thinkers from the 4th century down to the beginning of the Qing Dynasty.
• Popular Changsha Tour:
The Former Residence of Jia Yi
• Ticket: Free
• Opening Hours of the Former Residence of Jia Yi: 9:00 - 18:00
• Highlights: The Former Residence of Jiayi, Ancient Street, Ancient Walls
• Address: the intersection of Wuyi Avenue and Taiping Street, Changsha (解放西路与太平街口交汇处)
Taiping Street (太平老街) is a well-preserved ancient street with the original street pattern of the ancient city of Changsha. It is located in the central part of Changsha city. The street takes Taiping Street as the central line, reaching Wuyi Avenue in the north, Jiefang Road in the south, Weiguo Street in the west, Sanxing Street and Santai Street in the east. The fishbone block, about 375 meters long and less than 7 meters wide, covering an area of 12.57 hectares, has not been changed for over 200 years. With convenient transportation, the block is an epitome of the ancient Changsha. Since the Warring States Period when cities were built in Changsha, Taiping Street was considered as the center and its status has remained unchanged for more than 2,000 years. Blue roofing tiles, sloping roofs, white tile ridges, fire sealing walls and wood doors and windows are common features of the houses and shops in this area. There are many historical sites like the former residence of Jia Yi, Changhuai Well, the West Archway of Mingji Seignior Palace, etc.
Among all historical sites on the street, The Former Residence of Jia Yi (贾谊故居) is quite worth paying a visit. Jia Yi (177BC - 174BC), was a famous politician, thinker and writer in the Western Han Dynasty. There is a well in the alley in front of the residence called “Taifu Well”. It is said that Jia Yi dug the well by himself when he held office here.
Hometown of Chairman Mao - Shaoshan
Hunan First Normal University
• Recommended Places to Visit: Shaoshan, Huaminglou, Hunan First Normal University
To learn more about the modern history of China, you can trace and follow the footsteps of the Great Men of China. Shaoshan, Huaminglou and Hunan First Normal College are all good places to explore.
Shaoshan (韶山) is the birthplace of Mao Zedong, China’s leader from 1949 until his death in 1976. Shaoshan really has two towns, the newer one is near the railway station while the village of Shao Shan Chong, where the “Great Helmsman” spent his early years, is 4 miles away. The must-sees in this place are Mao Zedong's Former Residence, Mao Zedong Exhibition Hall, Mao Ancestral Temple, and Dripping Water Cave.
On the way to Shaoshan from Changsha, you will pass the hometown of Liu Shaoqi - Huaminglou (花明楼). The former residence of Liu Shaoqi is a courtyard house with a civil structure. There is a pond in the front and woods surrounded by houses. There are more than 30 thatch-tile made houses in the courtyard. Besides living rooms, there are a lot of farm tools rooms, pigsty houses, fire houses, and there are also special study rooms prepared for children. About 500 meters away from his former residence, there is a memorial hall for Liu Shaoqi in Beichongweitang. The hall displays more than 800 cultural relics, including books that Liu shaoqi read before he died and some daily supplies.
Among the numerous sites related to Mao Zedong, the most interesting is the Hunan First Normal University (湖南第一师范), where he studied from 1913, when he was 19, until 1918. At college, he devoted much of his time organizing student societies, a useful practice for his future role as a teacher between 1920 and 1922. Visitors could follow a self-guided route through the rebuilt college, which is still active, visiting the dormitories, the well where Mao bathed, and the hall where he held political meetings. This could be an educative tour.
• Popular Changsha Tour:
Hunan Embroidery Museum
Changsha Bamboo Slips Museum
• Recommended Places to Visit: Changsha Museum, Changsha Bamboo Slips Museum, Hunan Embroidery Museum of China
Besides the must visit Hunan Provincial Museum, there are many other museums in Changsha which are quite worth visiting. You can learn more about local culture and history through this museum tour.
The Changsha Museum (长沙市博物馆), located in Kaifu District, has an exhibition area of 9,000 square meters. The museum has more than 50,000 pieces of collections, covering all kinds of objects from the Old Stone Age to modern times to witness the development of Changsha's history and culture. Cultural treasures include bronzes from the Shang and Zhou Dynasty, cultural relics from the Chu and Han Dynasty, Changsha kiln porcelain from the Tang Dynasty and modern cultural relics. The Changsha Museum has two basic exhibitions halls, Changsha Ancient History and Culture Exhibition Hall and Changsha Modern History and Culture Exhibition Hall. Featured exhibitions and exchange exhibitions are regularly updated. Moreover, the memorial hall of the former Site of the Xiang District Committee of the Communist Party of China was the first real home of Mao Zedong and Yang Kaihui.
The Hunane Embroidery Museum (中国湘绣博物馆) of China is the first professional museum in China to show the history and techniques of Hunan embroidery to the world. With more than 1200 pieces of collections, there are three featured exhibition halls in the museum, which are "The Historical Origin of Hunan Embroidery", "The Rise of Hunan Embroidery" and "Art Treasures of Contemporary Hunan Embroidery". The exhibits vividly represent the evolution of Hunan embroidery technology and the exquisite works of previous artists, and introduce the development of Xiang embroidery and its’ contemporary exquisite works to the visitors. The biggest highlight is that you can see how the artists make a Hunan embroidery with your own eyes.
Another museum that is quite worth paying a visit is the Changsha Bamboo Slip Museum (长沙简牍博物馆). This museum is unique in China, because Changsha is the city with the largest number of unearthed slips in China. The main collections in the museum are over 140,000 pieces of Sun Wu calendar bamboo slips from the Three Kingdoms period and over 20,000 bamboo slips from the Western Han Dynasty unearthed in 1996 and 2003 in Changsha. The process of making bamboo slips is presented right in front of your eyes. Walking to the side opposite from Tianxin Pavilion, you can also see the 1:1 restored Ancient Kiln J22 of Changsha Zoumalou.
• Popular Changsha Tour: ✔ 5 Days Changsha & Zhangjiajie Avatar Scenery Tour by Train
• Recommended Places to Enjoy: Huogongdian, Pozi Street, Nanmenkou, Huangxing Pedestrian Street
Hunan cuisine, one of the eight major cuisines in China, is cooked with oil and often with thick color. Sour, spicy, fragrant and fresh are characteristics of Hunan food. Changsha is a national famous food city. As the center of Hunan cuisine, there are many delicious cuisines and snacks for you to explore, such as the stinky tofu, flavored shrimp, sweet paste fried in sugar oil, steamed fish head with diced hot red peppers, fried slice streaky pork with chili, braised pork of Mao’s family style...
Huogongdian (火宫殿) is a good place to enjoy Changsha snacks. More than 300 kinds of snacks are served here. Stinky tofu, sugar and oil baba, taro with beef, and beef noodles are all worth a try. Besides Huogongdian, there are many other time-honored restaurants on Pozi Street (坡子街), such as Ruxiangqun, Lihesheng, Xuchangxing, etc. Nanmenkou and Huangxing Pedestrian Street are also good places to explore Changsha food and cuisine.
Tianxing Pavilion Ancient Wall
• Ticket: park entrance is free, CNY 32/person for get on the Tianxin Pavilion
• Opening Hours: park is open all day, Tianxin Pavilion is opened 9:00-17:00
• Address: No.4 Tianxin Road, Changsha (天心路4号)
Tianxin Pavilion, a tower in the ancient city of Changsha, was first built at the end of the Ming Dynasty and rebuilt during the Qianlong Reign of the Qing Dynasty. The original name of Tianxin Pavilion (天心阁) is "Tianxing Pavilion (天星阁)", which is derived from the popular theory of "Star Field" in the Ming Dynasty. According to the stars, "Tianxing Pavilion" directly faces the celestial "Changsha star", so it was once a place for ancient people to observe the stars and worship gods. Moreover, the ancient pavilion is located on the highest peak of Longfu mountain in the ancient city of Changsha. Therefore, it was regarded by the ancients as an auspicious site. People are willing to come here to pray for good fortune against evil, and the prosperity of the family.
Tianxin Pavilion is located at Tianxinge Park in the southeast corner of the city and opposite Yuelu Mountain. The over 2,200-year-old city wall is the only physical remains of Changsha’s history. Visitors can climb up the Tianxin Pavilion, touch the bronze-made spear and iron-made cannon and feel the vicissitudes of history. Then walk to the north exterior, appreciate the spectacular stone carvings there and feel the historical implications of the thousand-year-old city.
• Popular Changsha Tour:
Changsha Windows of the World
Hunan Radio and Television Center
• Ticket: CNY 130 per adult; CNY 70 per child
• Opening Hours: 8:00 - 18:30
• Address: No. 485, Sanyi Avenue, Kaifu District, Changsha (开福区三一大道485号)
Changsha Window of the World (长沙世界之窗) is located in the northeast suburb of Changsha city. The scenic spot covers an area of 400,000 square meters. It is a theme park integrating wonders of the world, historical sites, ancient and modern places of interest, world folk houses, folk customs, world singing and dancing performances and large-scale amusement facilities. The most popular place in the park is where the Roller Coasters and the Sky Tower are located.
Right next to the Window of the World is Changsha Sea World (长沙海底世界). It’s a place suitable for parents to take their children to visit. There are seal shows playing in the park. Hunan Radio and Television Center (湖南广电中心) is just across the street. If lucky, you may meet some celebrities here.
Yuxing Spinning Mills Factory
• Ticket: Free
• Opening Hours: All day long
• Address: North Xiaoxiang Road, Yuelu District, Changsha (岳麓区潇湘北路附近)
The Yuxiang Spinning Mill (裕湘纱厂) is the largest industrial site in Changsha. Although it has been abandoned nowadays. But the gateway tower is as tall and bright as the Arc of Triumph and connected two old western-style buildings is the best background for photography. And the place is especially sparsely populated and makes it more suitable for free shots. When the night falls, the place becomes more dazzling and attractive, like a castle palace, antique but understated luxury. Visitors may also see the original typical Changsha residential around the spinning mill factory. Moreover, the Yinpenling Bridge can be seen in a distance.
How to Get to Changsha: Changsha can be easily reached by international flight, domestic flight and high speed train. Hot cities connected Changsha by bullet train include Shanghai (4~7 hrs.), Zhangjiajie (2.5~3.5 hrs.), Guilin (2.5~3.5 hrs.), Hangzhou (3.5~5 hrs.), and so forth.
Best Time to Visit Changsha: late September ~ next May, especially in autumn if you want to meet with the best golden autumn vista of Yuelu Mountain.
Top Changsha Attractions: Orange Island, Yuelu Mountain and Yuelu Academy, Hunan Provincial Museum, Huangxing Road Pedestrian Street, etc.
Changsha, the capital and transportation hub of China’s Hunan Province, is a national historical and cultural city that rich in historical monuments, ancient temples, academies and antediluvian traditions. Normally, tourists spend 1~2 days in Changsha to sample its highlights, like Yuelu Mountain, Yuelu Academy, Orange Island, Hunan Provincial Museum, Tianxin Pavilion, etc.
In addition to the profound cultural flavor in Changsha, Hunan Province also boasts world-class natural landscapes, ancient towns and villages and man-made wonders. Almost all Hunan visitors would plan 3~4 days to Zhangjiajie to appreciate the Avatar mountains. And a one-day Fenghuang Ancient Town tour is also popular. Visit Changsha, Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang in one go takes about 6~7 days.
If you have more days and are looking for an in-depth exploration of Hunan, you are suggested to spend 1 day to Shaoshan, the birthplace of the great leader in Modern China - Chairman Mao, 1 day to Yueyang, another famous cultural city with a long history of over 2500 years, or 1 day to Mount Heng, one of the Five Sacred Mountains in China.
Beyond Hunan, the diverse China has a lot to offer. You can extend your trip to explore sacred Mount Fanjing and the primitive minority villages in nearby Guizhou Province. Also, you can add a 5 Days & 4 Nights Yangtze River Cruise into your trip. Besides, you can travel further southwest to admire the marvelous Karst Landscape in Guilin and Yangshuo. Get further south to visit Guangzhou, Xiamen, Hong Kong is also great. If you like, you can also visit splendid Great Wall in Beijing, meet with historical Terracotta Warriors in Xian, date with adorable pandas in Chengdu and so on. Have your preference? Please feel free to tell us your likes, and our professional travel consultants will customize a perfect tour for you!
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Top 3 Changsha tours chosen by most customers to explore Changsha in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Changsha / Shaoshan / Zhangjiajie / Fenghuang / Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie / Fenghuang / Changsha
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >