Changsha is the capital and transportation hub of Hunan. Whether you’re visiting Zhangjiajie or Fenghuang, Changsha is the necessary hub to recuperate from your long train journey, or wait for the next bus onward to Guilin. Regardless, take the time to explore Changsha, one of China’s fastest growing and most historic cities. Changsha is an enormous city and accordingly most hostels are quite spread out. No matter where you stay, some form of public transport is usually required -- so don’t fret over locations!
No visit to Changsha can ignore Changsha’s historic role as a hotbed of Chinese communism. Those interested in this history will appreciate the treasures of Changsha Municipal Museum, where visitors are greeted by a gargantuan statue of Chairman Mao. As most Changsha hostels are located on the other side of the river, you’ll most likely jump on a bus to access the museum. Next up, the Orange Isle park with what many consider Changsha’s symbol, a very unique statute of a young Mao Zedong. For those who are politically apathetic, this site still provides a clear insight into the forces which swayed China for three decades. For those looking for an older history, the newly reopened Hunan Provincial Museum houses a rare collection of two-thousand-year-old ruins.
Changsha also offers a number of day-trip options, giving visitors a chance to experience some of Hunan’s natural beauty without the effort required to reach Zhangjiajie or Fenghuang. The most popular day-trip option is the town of Shaoshan, the birthplace of Chairman Mao and a site of immense importance for the People’s Republic of China. Your Changsha hostel will likely inform you of the closest bus station to find transport to Shaoshan, whereby tourists are met by a set guided tour. Similarly, Heng Shan, one of China’s five sacred Taoist mountains is within close reach of Changsha. For those reluctant to try and navigate China’s public transport system, most Changsha hostels can also arrange tours at short notice.
Given the spread out nature of Changsha and its attractions, the location of your Changsha hostel becomes less relevant. Changsha is serviced by a number of long-distance bus stations, which makes bus access quite convenient. Changsha is also served by fast train (an easy overnight from Beijing or Shanghai) and one of China’s largest airports. Given Changsha’s political significance, Changsha hostels tend to fill up quickly over politically important days. Also, if visiting during Chinese peak holidays, early recommendations are certainly advised!
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