Welcome to Wuhan, China!
The beating heart of central China, Wuhan is a city that has to be seen to be believed. It is the only city that you can travel back in time in its history, to see the future through its technology, or enjoy living in the present. Comprised of three ancient cities and divided by Asia’s largest river, Wuhan is China’s epicenter of culture, education, infrastructure, technology, and history.
Putting together your travel itinerary for Wuhan can be a challenging task. Impenetrable language barriers and limited English language and little internet resources mean that finding the best things to see and do can prove to be tricky. Though it’s hard to know where to start in such a big city, here is an insider’s guide of what Wuhan has to offer for the worldwide local.
Finding your way around Wuhan itself is relatively straightforward. The city has an excellent metro system that connects Hankou, Wuchang, and Hanyang, the three ancient towns that makeup Wuhan. There are also city buses; they have a less organized schedule than the metro, but they are the cheapest way to get from your Wuhan hotel to anywhere around the city. Each ride costs 2 Yuan ($0.28), no matter where you are going.
Worldwide Local Tip: Download the “MetroMan” app, then select the city of Wuhan (Free on iOS and Android). The app lets you view the metro map, enables you to type in specific stops, tells you where to transfer, and how long your metro ride will be. Trips cost anywhere between 2 and 7 Yuan ($0.28-.99).
Plan Your Trip Around the Cherry Blossoms
Beauty is one of the city’s most precious resources, especially in spring, when it is covered in beautiful cherry blossoms and the Wuhan weather is perfect. Wuhan University’s campus is the perfect place to spend a day strolling through the many winding trails and exploring its stunning traditional architecture. During the Cherry Blossom season, however, the narrow lanes are packed to the brim with tourists from all over. There are many cherry trees that can be seen on the campus. This means you will find thousands of visitors with selfie sticks crowding around a handful of trees.
Worldwide Local Tip: A less crowded alternative is the East Lake Cherry Blossom Park. On the banks of Wuhan’s famous East Lake, you will find several parks where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms without feeling like you are sardined. You will need to pick up a ticket for 60 Yuan ($8.50) at the ticket office. The park is open from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Experience Wuhan’s History
With a history dating back 3500 years, Wuhan has enough historical relics to keep even the most steadfast visitors busy. You can learn about the Yellow Crane Tower; a building which inspired the work of the renowned Tang Dynasty poet, Cui Hao. You can also opt for the far more exciting, one-of-a-kind path, and board the Zhiyin Cruise where you will experience Wuhan of the 1920s in the form of theatrical performances.
The cruise ship is a full-size replica of the original boat named “Jianghua Cruise,” from the early 20th century. What makes the boat unique is that there is no spectator stand. Once you get the tickets, you are part of the act, and you can dance and talk with the performers, as well as access any performance site.
Worldwide Local Tip: The boat leaves the Old Hankou Wufu Wharf jetty every Tuesday to Sunday at 7:30 pm. Boarding, however, starts at 7:00 pm. Make sure you arrive before boarding time with your ticket already purchased, to avoid long lines.
Eat Like a Local
The phrase, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” might as well have originated from Wuhan, because local residents are very serious about breakfast. Reganmian (meaning, “hot dry noodles”) is the quintessence of Wuhan’s breakfast food. It is noodles with peanut sauce, tossed in sesame paste, and other seasonings.
Other Wuhan breakfast dishes include mianwo, a type of savory donut; tangbao, small dumpling-buns filled with pork and soup; mibaba, a lightly sweetened pancake made with rice flour; and mijiu tangyuan, a sweet soup of rice wine (fermented glutinous rice) with rice flour dumplings stuffed with sesame paste.
Worldwide Local Tip: The best place to enjoy breakfast like a local, is at Hubuxiang in Wuchang city. This is Wuhan’s famous breakfast alley where you will find all of Wuhan’s famous breakfast dishes. Avoid it on Chinese holidays, however, as it tends to get too crowded.
Have an Incredible Time in Wuhan, China!
Wuhan lives up to its motto, “Different every day.” The city is filled with undergoing construction work on the city’s ever-changing landscape. Wuhan is driving quickly towards becoming one of China’s most exciting cities, and exploring it as a worldwide local will ensure you don’t miss out on any of its charms.