Changsha South railway
At the morning we took taxi from our hotel Changsha downtown to the south Railway, it took about 30 minutes and I paid for 35 yuan. Railway was big, clean, modern and great. There were some shop selling dried fruit, also we can take breakfast in Mc Donald with its local menu food, we bought the Chinese bread with a coffee. Train schedule and the gate were mentioned on a big screen.
Bus to / from Wuhan
I took a bus from Wuhan 60 Yuan 4 hours to Changsha, the bus to Changsha runs every 2 hours, big nice seat, no smoking, no spitting, no halfway stop, overall conditions of bus is very good.
At the Changsha East Bus Station, take #168 city bus to central railway station, 2 Yuan only.
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They are kind of outlaw riders because they zoom at any directions they want, they often ride at the opposite direction to cut short the distance.
Whatsoever they are, you can still use them especially when in hurry because they can really squeeze through the tiny alleys and also at impossible directions.
They charge almost like taxi but it all depends on your bargaining skills, 10 Yuan is an average amount of charges.
Make sure your hands hold tight at the steel bar behind you.
For me, I can enjoy one hand take videos and photos, the other hand grabbing tightly at the steel bar.
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Transportation in Changsha
Travelling in Changsha takes time but is not necessarily hard if you know how.
There are several construction areas for a subway system but this is not ready yet. The alternatives for travelling around the city are the taxi's, busses and the train.
Expect no English knowledge from ANY taxi driver, so if possible prepare the address where you want to go in Chinese, write it on paper, or practice the pronouncation. Taxi fares start at 6 RMB and go up to about 50 RMB for crossing the whole city. Most taxi drivers won't bother to drive you for longer distances then 30 RMB worth of travelling though. If you have to make longer trips, just get to the middle river first and then find another taxi to the last part.
Busses are abundant in this city, but you won't see bus maps or routes, not even inside the bus. To find a route, I suggest you find this on a website before you go. The bus fares are about 1 to 3 RMB per ride, and they very rarely check to see where you get out. I find that 1 RMB will do for any ride. In each bus is a voice that tells you the name of the next stop, but only in Chinese. The stop name comes after "Xia Yi Re" (sja ie re) after which you have a few seconds to get out. Mind your step as there is often traffic between the bus steps and the trottoir.
In the east, south and west of the city are train stations but so far I don't know anything about that yet.
Bus and Train Stations
It is easy to get anywhere from Changsha. There are two train stations - the Changsha Train Station is downtown and has trains going anywhere in the country. The Changsha South Train Station only currently has the CRH high speed train going from Guangzhou to Wuhan.
There are at least 3 bus stations that will take you to areas in Hunan (and probably beyond). They are the East Bus station, West Bus Station and South Bus Station (there may be more). If you are looking to go to a regional town, you do have to find out what station has buses to that town.
The CRH High Speed Train
The CRH railway just opened between Guangzhou and Wuhan, and Changsha is one of its stops. It goes up to 350 hm/h and reduces the trip to Guangzhou from 9 hours to 2 1/2 hours. It is only slight more expensive than taking the normal slow train. Be warned though, there are separate train stations for this line. It departs from the new Changsha South Train Station and arrives at the Guangzhou North Station. The Guangzhou North station is at least a 100 RMB taxi ride into the actual city, the metro doesn't run there, and I didn't see any buses that did either.
Changsha has an extensive bus system and the fare is only 1 or 2 RMB. Bus stops have signs (in Chinese) telling you the route of each of the buses that stop there. Still useful for a non-Chinese speaker because at least you know what buses stop there. My only complaint is most of them stop running at 8:30 p.m. so I have found myself downtown without a bus a few nights.
Changsha Huanghua Airport
About 20km due east of the city, and accesible by expressway in about 35 minutes from the downtown area. Changsha, surprisingly has flights to and from everywhere in China. No idea why, because its economy is - in the main - very locally focused.
The terminal is small and not unpleasant, though a bit dark as it was a standard 1980s airport terminal, now rare just 20 years later. All heavy concrete pillars, linoleum floors and big adverts for industrial lathes (in case you should suddenly remember that you had forgotten to pack a lathe in your overnight bag).
There are shuttle buses to the city (more than one route I think) and a taxi stand outside the door. If the journey is off the meter, the fare downtown should be between 60 and 80RMB with a 20 RMB surcharge for the Expressway toll fee, if you wish to arrive in Changsha the same day as your flight.
Take the train
I arrived to Changsha by train and left the city by train. It is the most useful way of transport in China.
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Someday a Subway
A subway line is currently being built in Changsha. It is expected to open in 2015. A long way off but a much needed investment.