The Yangtze River, called Chang Jiang (Long River) in China, is the third longest in the world and runs about 10 miles almost directly north of the city. There is a car ferry station. I say station because there are 2 or 3 ferries crossing in each direction continuously. The crossing takes about 20 minutes. If I remember correctly the cost is 20 Yuan (about $3.00) per car and 3 Yuan (about $.45 per) person.
This is a novel experience and you get to see lots of other boats on the river. This river is truly a river expressway into the heart of China and given the reasonable cost, I highly recommend making the crossing.
Ok, you don't really walk with dinosaurs, but I said that hoping it might get you to read this tip :)
This park is one of a kind in China and combines both a museum and an amusement park build around a dinosaur theme.
The museum is impressive and contains lots of information about dinosaurs and has many bones and many complete skeletons of dinosaurs. Also, there are dinosaurs recreated thru-out the park which gives the visitor an idea of how big these creatures really were.
There are several rides in the park, all of course named after dinosaurs. There are plans to add a few roller coaster rides in 2010.
There is also a water park very similar to water parks in the USA.
The grounds are nicely landscaped and there are ponds which makes the park pleasant to walk thru.
This is not a park that takes 2 or 3 days to "take in". So, if you have a day or even half a day with nothing planned then go to the park, especially given the cost, which is very reasonable compared to parks state-side.
My final impressions are that this park will probably be most enjoyed by teenagers and young children, this is clearly the age group they are targeting and those were the majority of the visitor the day I was there.
80 Yuan/ticket for adult, 40 Yuan/ticket for 1.1 to 1.4 m children
I highly recommend a visit to this temple. Its a large complex and plan on spend at least one full day to take in all it has to offer. The temple is said to be the largest pagoda style structure in the world. Some consider it one of the best Buddhist temples in China.
This is a functioning Buddhist temple and monastery. The temple was erected in the Yonghui Period of the Tang Dynasty between 650 – 655 A.D and has a history of 1,350 years. The temple was destroyed five times and has been re-built. It was last renovated by the local city government in 1990. The temple is a complex of 497 rooms, 33 Buddhist halls, and 24 pavilions
Each floor of the main temple is a museum. There are historical artifacts and much history of both the temple and Chinese culture. To fully enjoy your visit I recommend having a Chinese guide since very little of the information is in English or any other language.
The fee is 15 Yuan per ticket, which is about $2.00
Operation: 7:00 – 16:30 Monday - Sunday
This new hot springs resort (opened 2009) is a welcome distraction during the winter months. Located adjacent to the Dinosaur Amusement Park, it is a convenient place to relax after a day wandering around the Dinosaur Park and Museum.
The first pleasant surprise is the roomy and unchaotic change room. The cheerful attendants show you to your locker, provide a towel after you shower and even offer to help you dry your hair because they feel your husband is becoming impatient outside! The shower area is kept dry and squeaky clean - no small feat in China.
The hot springs are beautifully landscaped and absolutely pristine at the time of writing. The springs are outdoors in a garden setting with a range of choices for "pool hoppers". The choices vary from the "Red Wine" and "Milk" pools which are quite tepid to the "Hot Stones" pools which are 40 degrees or more. Other theme pools include the "Five Elements" and "Waterfall" pools. There is a small sauna and a "Hot Stone Resting Room" which consisted entirely of young couples lying amorously together on their towels. It isn't just the tiles which are hot and steamy! If you are older or not part of a couple, it is probably best to stay away.
The "Fish Kisses" pool is the one which does not live up to its name and reputation. At most hot spring resorts, this would be a shallow pool where you soak your feet while fish nibble the dead flesh. The pool at Dino Valley is deep so you must immerse your whole body. There also don't seem to be very many fish so there was very little nibbling (or kissing) happening.
There are drink stations (varieties of free, hot tea in little paper cups) placed conveniently around the complex. Service staff are helpful and unobtrusive - replenishing towels, slippers, getting drinks if requested. This is fortunate because there were the same small annoyances that occur at hot springs resorts throughout China (people stealing your dry towel because theirs is soaked, throwing cups in pools when they have finished with them, taking your slippers so there are only small ones left for your larger western feet).
There is a fine line between ambient lighting and stumbling around in the dark. This resort goes very close to that line. On a dark, rainy night you should take extra care on the paths and steps between the pools.
Entry to the complex is 168rmb/person. This allows free use of all the outdoor area with extras such as massages being surcharged. This price is at the top end of the scale and it must be said, other hot spring resorts offer more for the same price. There is a lot of construction still taking place in the wastelend between the Dinosaur Amusement Park and Dino Valley Hot Springs. I assume that in the next few years this will become a mega amusement park and hot springs combined destination. Maybe a wave pool, mud pool and water massage spas will be part of the extension. These are noticeably absent at present.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable way to spend an evening. Changzhou is only 90 minutes by D train from Shanghai, but fortunately, the massive tour groups haven't started arriving yet. This means that you have an opportunity to enjoy the peace and tranquility before this becomes a destination spa. I highly recommend it for those who live in/are visiting Changzhou and for those in nearby cities who want to have a pleasant overnight trip.
One of the things I love to do in any new city is simply to walk and take in the sights and sounds of the city and Changzhou offers many opportunities to do that.
There are many canals thro out the city. This is very common in many area around Shanghai and near the Yangtze river.
As a matter of fact the world's longest man-made canal runs thru Changzhou. At 1,200 miles long, the Beijing to Hangzhou Canal or Grand Canal, (thro not constructed as a continuos project), was first started in around 450 BC and was completed around 600 AD. The Grand Canal was completed (in large part) and in its final form by the Sui Dynasty (581-618).
If you want to know more about the canal and its history, here's a great link.
Hongmei Park, which means Red Plum Park, is one of the largest and the most interesting in the city. The park is located just east of the city center and Tianning Temple. For this reason many tourist only visit the temple and do not walk thru the park. However, about 2 million Chinese visit this park each year.
This is a beautiful public park with both traditional Chinese architecture and gardens. There are lakes, creeks and stone landscaping thru-out. You can also take a boat ride on the winding waterways, but I did not have time to do this, so have limited information.
One of the two best free downtown city parks I have ever been to, and I have been to many (the other is in Fukuoka, Japan). It has lush trees, a peaceful lake, winding brooks, pagodas, rock sculptures, a raised wooden walkway through the trees, an exercise park, a children's amusement park, and more. For fans of city parks, this is indeed a tourist attraction. Also, Changzhou has many nice fountains and small parks downtown.
Several canals run through Changzhou, but the most impressive by far is the historic Grand Canal. No visit to CZ is complete without taking a few minutes to watch the activity on the canal. Started in the late 6th century and completed over several centuries, the Grand Canal was a remains an integral part of China's commerce.
My apartment was located on the Grand Canal. Day and night barges move along the waterway. Husband and wife crews navigate the narrow shipping lanes, using long bamboo poles to push the barges away from the canal's stone walls. When empty, the decks of the barges rise nearly 2.5 meters above the water. Loaded, their decks are awash and they appear on the virge of sinking.
Take a few minutes, stop on one of the bridges that span the Grand Canal, e.g., Guang Hua Bridge, and watch the activity on the canal and on the barges. It's fascinating and it's free.
Changzhou is an old city, dating back some 2500 years. In recent years archeoligists unearthed part of the gate and wall that surrounded the ancient city. A nice addition to Changzhou is Yan Cheng, a recreation of Changzhou's ancient gate and city plaza, offering visitors a glimpse of what ancient Changzhou might have looked like. The actual dig site can be visited as well, and is about 10 minutes by taxi from Yan Cheng.
Visitors cross a moat and pass through an imposing gate before entering the plaza that would have been the center of ancient city life. When we visited, Yan Cheng was still under construction but growing fast. Admission is 8 RMB, or about USD 1.
Yan Cheng offers a nice cultural and historical diversion. It's kid-friendly, and a good look around takes only an hour or 90 minutes. Well worth the visit.
Got there on a wrong day - a public holiday.
Full of people.
Queue to a ride - "n" hours. We gave up. :)