Wuhan is an amalgamation of three smaller cities—Hankou, Hanyang and Wuchang—each separated from the other by a river. Hankou is the business center and it sits to the northwest with the Chang (Yangtze) River separating it from Wuchang and the Han river separating it from Hanyang. Wuchang is the education center hosting a bewildering variety of universities, institutes and colleges. It is separated from both Hankou and Hanyang by the Chang River. Hanyang is the industrial center, home to dozens of pollution-spewing industries including the Citroen car company. It is separated from Hankou by the Han river and from Wuchang by the Chang River.
The Number One Chang River Bridge, an old, Soviet-era colossus of engineering incorporating both rail and automobile traffic in a dual-layer setup, connects Wuchang with Hanyang. The more graceful Number Two Changjiang River Bridge, currently only open to automobile traffic, connects Wuchang with Hankou to the north. There are two major bridges across the Han river shuttling automobile traffic between Hanyang and Hankou. These two bridges are within sight of each other on the few smog-free days that exist. The Number Three Chang River Bridge, connects the outskirts of Wuchang with the outskirts of Hanyang to the distant south.
Hanyang was a busy port as long as 3000 years ago in the Han Dynasty. Yellow Crane Tower was first built in 223BCE and became a famous buildings in China through the poetry of Cui Hao during the Tang Dynasty. Wuchang has been a center of learning for centuries, especially in the field of the arts. It became a provincial capital in the Yuan Dynasty.
During the 19th century, as a result of concessions granted in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, large areas of Hankou's riverfront were carved up into foreign mercantile divisions with port and rail facilities. There remain many grand buildings along Hankou's riverfront clearly European in design as a result. In 1911 the city was host to the Wuchang Uprising: Sun Yat-sen's revolution that resulted in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. (The event is commemorated in many place names beginning with "Shouyi"—literally "First Revolution"—including a public square with an attached museum.) In the ensuing chaos of the Republic of China, Wuchang was the capital of a leftist Guomindang government ruled over by Wang Jingwei in direct opposition to Chiang Kai-shek.
Beneath Wuhan's industrial exterior a rewarding tapestry of history and cultural arts awaits.
Wuhan is a major city in a central position. It has all the bus, rail, road and air connections you would expect. Arriving by air will likely have you winding up at the Tianhe Airport about an hour's ride out of town.
Wuhan is a major railway hub, connected by direct trains with most of China's major cities. Overnight express trans (Z series trains) take one to Beijing or Shanghai in 9 to 12 hours. There are two major passenger train stations in Hankou and Wuchang respectively which rarely share trains. This is in contrast to the two major long distance bus stations, again in Hankou and Wuchang respectively, which tend to have buses visiting both.
Wuhan has a cheap, efficient, but horribly bewildering bus system in place. The service has vastly improved compared to the past.It is the cheapest way to get around the city. If you have a local to guide you, it can be used to get from place to place with impressive speed (if not comfort or safety). Without a local to guide you, you'd better have a very good map and a good grasp of Chinese.
Taxis abound in Wuhan, easily outnumbering other private and public vehicles. Rates are relatively cheap at 3RMB on the flag and with around 50RMB getting you between almost any two spots you're likely to want to travel between. It is possible to get higher taxi fares, but usually only because the taxi driver has deliberately taken you on a longer trip (which is, thankfully, not a common occurrence). Airport taxis are the exception. Foreigners in particular are likely to get ripped off by taxi drivers at the airport. They will demand prices starting at 150RMB to go anywhere in the city. (For reference, going from the airport to the middle of Hanyang costs about 50RMB typically.) It is advisable to insist on the metre before the taxi starts moving and if the driver refuses, step out, collect your luggage and go back to the taxi stand.
Note that this problem is strongly ameliorated during the daytime when there is a supervisor at the taxi stand who is an airport employee, not a taxi driver himself.
One oddity of the taxi system is crossing the bridges. Because of the traffic problems and snarls at the bridges, the city has instituted a system in which half the taxis are not permitted to cross the bridge on half the days. Basically, if the day of the month is odd, odd-numbered taxis are allowed to use the Number One bridge. If the day of the month is even, even-numbered taxis are allowed to use the Number One bridge. This system may extend to the Number Two bridge (this is not yet confirmed) but it does not extend to the Number Three Bridge. In most circumstances, however, it is not advisable to use the Number Three bridge as it tends to increase the taxi fares dramatically (although it is an interesting ride).
The Changjiang River can be crossed by ferry for a very reasonable fee of 1.5RMB. The ferry runs frequently starting at 7AM and ending at 9PM. It offers by virtue of its unique location some nice views of the city, the Number One Chang River Bridge, Yellow Crane Tower, etc. during the day and an interesting nightscape view after dark.
SeeYellow Crane TowerHuanghelou
Entering the park costs 50RMB which gives access to Snake Hill Park, Yellow Crane Tower and the Mao Pavilion (in which many of the poems of Chairman Mao are etched into stone for viewing pleasure). The park as a whole is nicely landscaped with many charming buildings. Of particular interest is the enormous bronze bell located behind Yellow Crane Tower itself as well as a teahouse on the premises which features regular performances of traditional Chu-era music. The performance itself is free, but it is expected that patrons enjoying it order at least a beverage or a small snack.
The tower itself is a modern building completed in the 1980s using modern materials - most notably, concrete is used instead of wood for all supporting members. It is sited where five previous Yellow Crane Towers have stood, each pervious one destroyed in war or disaster. The ground floor of the tower contains a large entrance hall, two storeys tall, with enormous decorative lamps and a giant ceramic fresco displaying the quasi-mythical story of the tower's initial construction. The second storey, essentially a balcony around the entrance hall, contains the usual souvenir shops as well as displays of traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy. The third storey has a residence done up in the very ancient, Chu style modelled after the kinds of sitting rooms used by nobility greeting guests in the ancient period. The fourth storey contains a souvenir shop and a set of models displaying the tower in its five previous incarnations. This latter display shows the fascinating development of an essentially military watchtower into an increasingly residence/tourist-oriented showpiece. The top accessible storey has pay telescopes for the view (which are generally not useful in the smog which dominates Wuhan air) and some art displays.
Yellow Crane Tower (and, in fact, Snake Hill Park in general) is wheelchair-accessible in most areas of interest. The tower even has two elevators suited to the elderly and the handicapped who would otherwise not be able to climb the stairs to the top. Ramps around in most of the areas of interest.
- Guiyuan Temple (归元寺)
- Hubei Provincial Museum (湖北省博物馆)
- Uprising Plaza
- Moshan Hill
- Wuhan Zoo
Jiqing Street (吉庆街), an ordinary-seeming street by day, becomes transformed by night into a bewildering maze of streetside restaurants and buskers performing music, dance, opera and stand-up comedy. It is a strongly-recommended experience. Food is plentiful and cheap, and it features a lot of unique local cuisine. The performances can be enjoyed by proxy as performers work other tables or they can be purchased. One can expect to pay about 10RMB per song performed. Other performances are more based on contributions—the more you contribute, the longer the performers will do their routines and the more daring/interesting/funny the routines will be.
Many of Wuhan's attractions - museums, parks, beaches, and even the aquarium - are located around the East Lake (Dong Hu) in Wuchang.
Whether you want your shirt to say "I fuck freely" or "Yes, uptober how's that?" Wuhan will have any of your fashionable options.
Books and maps
Wuhan's best (or at least biggest) book and map store is probably Chongwen Book City (Chongwen Shu Cheng). It occupies the 3rd floor of a huge building located in the Xiongchu Avenu (Xiongchu Dajie) near South Loushi St. (Loushi Nan Lu) - that's about a couple miles east of Wuchang train station. The place is huge - as big as any Borders or B&N in the US. Most books are categorized by topics, but there are also sections dedicated to specific publishers. Most books are of course in Chinese, but a foreign traveller may be interested in their map department is well stocked. Among other products, they carry a series of road atlases for most of China's provinces and autonomous regions, suitable for both drivers and bicyclists. There is also an internet cafe on the 4th floor.
Another big book shop is the Hubei Province Foreign Languages Book Shop (Wai wen shu dian, or some such - there is no English sign! - in Zhongnan Lu just north of Wulou Lu). The "foreign languages" in its name seems to refer mostly to the textbooks and dictionaries of foreign languages for the Chinese audience and the books translated into Chinese from foreign languages, but they carry some literature in English as well.
There are also a few large Xinhua bookstores throughout the city.
Re Gan Mian is the local specialty for breakfast, if you're in the mood for greasy peanut butter flavored noodles. Real men find their fuel on the streets betwixt the hours of 12:00-5:00 in the AM. On these streets there are generous and well-meaning folk selling dumplings, noodles, wok food, and foies gras. On the odd occasion that the lounge is closed, one is able to sit outside and enjoy the clean night air, the delightful local dialect, and any foods you order. If you're in the mood for a more romantic night on the town, there are countless 3-wall restaurants with candle lights upon the tables, live music flowing from the muses' mouths, and 4-star restaurants' finest fair at a reasonable and sanitary locale.
It would be considered a sin to visit this city and not taste some of its finest nectars. Included in this list is Jingjiu (a healthy alternative to regular wines), Baijiu (the flavorful but tasty liqueur that that will be the perfect accompaniment to any conversation with a loved one). If you would like to taste something slightly more low key, there is a local micro-brew called Singo (Xingyinge), that will be the beginning of every good night, at just 1.5Y per bottle.
- VOX, Luxiang Lumo Road. The most popular dance club in Wuhan for non-Chinese, VOX is a small club that plays a variety of techno music and dance mixes. It is a popular place for the local breakdancers to show off their moves, and they are quite impressive to watch.
- Haiyi Jin Jiang Hotel, No. 1 Hongshan Road, Wuchang District, . An intelligent building in the heart of the Wuchang District, offers 72 rooms with cutting edge amenities that are perfect for busy executives. It also has a variety of event venues to suit every function, as well as dining options where you can have the best of local cuisine.
- Wuhan Pathfinder International Youth Hostel(武汉探路者国际青年旅舍), #368 Zhong Shan Road , Wuhan (Wuchang District) 湖北省 武汉市 湖北省武汉市武昌区中山路368号（湖北美术馆内）(Cannot be seen from the street, and may be difficult to find, so make sure to write down the address in Chinese and phone number to give to your taxi), ☎ 027-88844092 or 027-88851263(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 027-88844092), . . Free wireless access, and very nice and extensive common area. Restaurant on site with extensive menu of Chinese and Western foods. Although quiet hours are listed as 11:00 PM - 8:00 AM, this is barely suggested and not enforced - even the employees blast music late into the night. Expect noise past 2:00 AM, starting again at 6:00 AM. Not a hotel for light sleepers.Dorm ¥40(¥35 member), single ¥80(¥70 member), double ¥158(¥138 member).
- Super 8(速8酒店), 98 Donghu Road, Wuchang District 武汉市武昌区东湖路98号, ☎ (86-27) 6781 1788(fax: (86-27) 6781 1766). Free internet in rooms. Free simple buffet meals.From ¥180.
- Wuhan Jin Jiang International Hotel, No. 707 Jianshe Avenue, Jianghan District, . A 5-star business hotel with over 400 guestrooms replete with the essentials for the traveling businessman. Also has fully-equipped ballrooms made for business conferences and other special events that can accommodate up to 400 guests. The hotel has restaurants offering Chinese and Western cuisine, and a cigar bar.
- Novotel Wuhan Xin Hua(武汉新华诺富特大饭店), . 5 star hotel located in Hankou, the dynamic commercial and financial district of Wuhan
There is a train station in Wuchang and in Hankou. There are also long-distance bus stations; one in Hankou, and near the Wuchang train station.
This page was last edited at 15:43, on 4 March 2009 by Wikitravel user ChubbyWimbus. Based on work by Aine Hickey, Vladimir Menkov, djong tan, Peter Fitzgerald and Roger Chrisman, Wikitravel user(s) Chicagurl, Shimawa and Episteme, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.