Xichang - or Jianchang or Jiandu - is a modern city in the mountainous Sichuan province in southern China. It is known for its satellite space program and spaceport, which opened in 1984. Xichang lies on the Qionghai Lake and the weather is almost tropical - sunny and warm. There is a large community of western expats.
To get here, you can either fly into the local airport (but it might be more expensive) and take a train into the city centre, or you can fly to Chengdu and take a high speed train. Kunming, in the Yunnan province, is about six hours by bus. It is also possible to fly there and take a train or bus into Xichang.
The Qionghai Lake is a nice place to bicycle or walk around (but there is a ticket price), and the city is fairly modern. There is an ancient city here, but you will probably see better ones in other places. The Ming city gate is the most well-preserved attraction. Most people stop here because its a good midpoint location between Sichuan and Yunnan. The Lugu Lake is six hours west of here and a popular spot for travellers. If you are a Chinese national, you can tour the Space Port, but if you aren’t, then you are out of luck.
There are just a few small hostels in Xichang, and they are more like the traditional European hostels than some of the other hostels you might encounter in China. The characters are 宿舍 which is pronounced “su-she.” In general, don’t expect hostels in China to be as spacious or as clean as ones in Europe or Australia, but what they lack in that regard they make up for in staff friendliness and assistance.
There isn’t a whole lot to do in Xichang other than explore the city. If you are there in the summer, don’t miss the Torch Festival, which celebrates the Yi culture of southern China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Xichang doesn’t have much else in terms of historical attractions or cultural events.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Xichang hostels. Welcome.