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Home > China Travel Destinations > Changchun travel Guide

Changchun ( 长春 Chángchūn )

Changchun ( 长春 Chángchūn ) is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located at the northeast of the People's Republic of China. It is a sub-provincial city.

Changchun is the capital of Jilin province and was formerly the capital of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. It is one of the main cities (population 6.9 Million) in Dongbei(东北), (the Northeast of China) and is the largest centre for China's automotive industry.

Changchun is a new city with only about 200 years of history. Changchun has a complete industrial system with 128 categories and over 3,000 types of products. As Changchun's main industry, the manufacturing of transportation facilities and machinery such as those of automobile, passenger train, and tractor has developed very well and its total output constitutes, respectively, 1/5, 1/2, and 1/10 of that of the nation's. The industries such as machinery, electronics, optics, chemistry, medicine, textile, metallurgy, building materials and foodstuffs all assume their own features and advantages.

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How to Get to Changchun City

By plane

As of September 2005 a new airport, Changchun Longjia International Airport(长春龙家国际机场 CGQ) has been operating some 31km east from central Changchun, built as a replacement to the very small military airport previously serving the city. The facilities are very modern and up to western standards, there are banks and various other shops; Credit cards are accepted with the airlines. There are flights to over 30 Chinese cities and direct International fights to Soul, Hong Kong Vladivostok and Tokyo. However travelling by air is expensive. A regular single to Beijing costs 940元, over 4 times the cost of a rail ticket.

There is a regular coach service (15元 each way) that goes to (People's Square 人民广场) Renmin Guangchang. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the airport from downtown Changchun, you can also pick up the coach from outside a hotel on the junction of Jiefang Dalu and Yatai Dajie {解放大路和亚泰大街). A Taxi should cost you no more than 80元 including the toll.

If you want Chinese currency you should do this at the downtown Bank of China on Xian Dalu {西安大路), as the rates at the airport are not very favourable.

By train

Changchun actually has three passenger railway stations: Changchun Railway Station (长春站), Changchun East Railway Station (长春东站) and Changchun South Railway Station (长春南站). Both the East and South stations are very small and only local trains stop there. All trains stop at Changchun Station and this is the place you need to go if you wish to travel any great distance.

Changchun Railway station (Changchun Zhan 长春站) is Situated at the north end of Renmin Dajie(人民大街). Although it's large and chaotic, providing you read and speak some Mandarin and are prepared to fight through the queues, you can buy a ticket to almost anywhere in China from here. Thanks to the Japanese, the rail network in Dongbei is extensive and you can easily travel to Harbin(哈尔滨)3-4 hours Shenyang(沈阳)4 Hours and Beijing(北京)is only 8 hours away on the Z61 Sleeper, that leaves every evening at 10.30. Also there are daily services to Shanghai(上海)32 hours, Dalian(大连)10 hours and Xi'an(西安)34 hours. Rail travel is by far the cheapest way to travel in and out of Changchun.

Of course if you don't want to go to the train station yourself, you can go to any good travel agents, who will do this on your behalf, usually for 10-20元 extra.

By coach

There are long distance coaches that reguarly go from Beijing to Changchun available from the Coach station on Huanghe Lu (黄河路), just off Renmin Dajie (人民大街) - very near to the train station. There is also a long distance bus station at the south end of Renmin Dajie (人民大街), take the Z306 bus from the train station. You can also catch coaches and buses to pretty much anywhere in Jilin province, though they have a reputation for being dangerous and are slightly more expensive - though faster- than the train.

 

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Get around in Changchun City

Changchun is a very compact city planned by the Japanese with a layout of open avenues and public squares (guǎngchǎng). It is pretty easy to travel from one place to another, however with the increase in private car ownership, traffic is getting worse by the day.

On foot

May to October Changchun is a good walking city, the weather is fine and there are no hills. However during the winter months it is simply too cold to walk any distance in Changchun, so you will have to consdier other forms of transport.

Bicycle

Not a good idea in Changchun. For half the year it's simplty too cold to contemplate and during the summer months too dangerous. Unlike most big cities in China, Changchun doesn't separate its cycle lanes from the main traffic, which leads to buses taxis and pretty much everything else using the same space as the cyclists. It's all rather dangerous and this is perhaps the reason why - by Chinese standards - there are few people who reguarly cycle here. The other problem is because of the cities layout there are plenty of large roundabouts where 4 or 5 busy roads simply converge on one another, making it extremely difficult to cycle without having to continually dismount.

Bus

Changchun has an extensive bus network and 99% of buses only cost 1元. However if you don't read Chinese then you will find it impossible to use the network as the signage is all in Chinese characters. Most buses go to the bus station outside the train station, and other central areas such as Guilin Lu (桂林路) Chongqing Lu (重庆路) and Hongqi Jie (红旗街). Be aware that the buses are often extremely crowded and especially uncomfortable during the hot summers as there is no air conditioning.

Important Bus Numbers

362 6am-8.30pm. From the Train Station to Hongqi Jie (红旗街) Chongqing Lu (重庆路) and Guilin Lu (桂林路).
306 5.50am-11.30pm. Busy route that goes north/south along Renmin Dajie (人民大街) from the Train Station to Changchun University (长春大学).
80 6am-8pm. Circular route around Changchun that goes pretty much everywhere including Hongqi Jie (红旗街) Chongqing Lu (重庆路) Guilin Lu (桂林路) the Train Station and the Zoo.
240 6am-7.30pm. Satellite Square (卫星广场)to Culture square (文化广场) via Guilin Lu(桂林路)

Minibus

If you are in need of an adreneline rush then look no further than one of the minibuses that tear around the city streets. Some places out in the suburbs are only serviced by such buses, the fare is usually 1-2元, but the drivers seem to think that they are on a giant racetrack most of the time and you will get thrown around - so hold on tight!

Tram

Despite the city once having the most complex tram system in Northern China, there is now only one remaining route still open. The number 54 Runs down Hongqi Street (红旗街) to the far west of the city (where there really isn't much). Many of the trams still in use today are the original cars from 1940, indeed it is worth the 1元 ride just for the authentic experience.

Light Rail

Changchun Light RailThe Light Rail or qinggui(轻轨) runs from 6am until 9pm 7 days a week. It currently goes from the west side of the train station to Weixing Lu (卫星路) down in the south of the city, near to Changchun University (长春大学), and takes 30 minutes to complete the journey. However the line is currently being extended and will eventually go to the Jingyuetan (净月潭) tourist zone, south east of the city centre. A ticket costs 2元 each way.

Three-Wheeler

There are brightly coloured three wheel plastic taxis, available from near to Changchun University(长春大学) and only operate small distances in the south of the city. If you are in the Jingyuetan (净月潭) part of town this is the easiest mode of transport as there are few taxis operating there. They are cheaper and slower than regular taxis, There is no meter, expect to negotiate with the driver. A typical ride shouldn't exceed 3元

Motorcycle

If you need to get somewhere fast then jump on one of these. The generally hang around in the south of the city and out the suburbs. They are unlicenced to carry fare paying passengers, so bear in mind that if there is an accident, you might find yourslef in trouble. However they tend to drive in the cycle lanes at quite low speeds and so are safer than you might expect. Expect to pay as little as 1元 for a short trip.

Taxi

Taxis are cheaper than most other Chinese cities and start at 5元 up to 2.5km, then 1.3元 for every 500m. They are almost all maroon coloured VW Jettas, and have a red light indicating whether or not they are for hire.

Beware

Watch out for drivers taking you in circles or trying to extort more money from you for one reason or another. Make sure you know the name of places you are going to in Chinese, speak to the driver, if you just give him a piece of paper with the name of the location on it, you're sure to get screwed over. If you can't speak any Chinese then get the names of the roads you're meant to go on to get to your location, and if they driver deviates or obviously tries to decieve you - simply pay him what the fare should be and walk away.

 

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Attractions

 

Landmarks


South lake (Nanhu 南湖公园), a large park which is a favorite picnic and recreation spot for locals. In the summer, the lake is used for boating and water sports, and there is a stand of huge lotus plants near one part of it. In the winter, the lake freezes over and serves as a natural skating rink; one can also play ice hockey here. The park almost feels like it is not part of a city, except that there is a good view of the skyscrapers in downtown Changchun across the lake. This park is not particularly beautiful, but it is extremely large, and an incredibly busy place in the summer. It is a very safe place to wander around in the early evening. People are friendly, but generally quite shy and reserved with visitors.

Culture Square (文化广场) starting north of the crossroads of Xinmin Dajie and Jiefang Dalu, is another, more urban hangout. Vendors sell kites and various other products. Many people fly kites from this square, while others play traditional Chinese instruments or just sit and relax. More formal performances are sometimes held on a temporary stage set up near the high school. For casual visitors to Changchun, this is probably a good place to visit by taxi. Crossing the street to get to this location is a skill and best done with locals.

No guide to Changchun is complete without a mention of Pu Yi, the Last Emperor who acted as a puppet of the Japanese when Changchun was capital of the puppet state of Manchukuo. The old capitol building of Manchukuo is of more historical than aesthetic interest, but there is also a Puppet Imperial Palace(伪皇宫) that might merit a visit while you are in town.

Chrystal Moon Pond or Jingyuetan(净月潭)is 45 mins from downtown to the south east of the city. It is the largest man-made forest park in Asia, and a great place for skiing in the winter. The admission is a rather steep 30元; or you could, like the locals, just climb through one of the many holes in the fence.

People's Square (人民广场 rénmín guǎngchǎng is located in the Chaoyang District around the cross streets of Xi'an Liu, Renmin Dajie, and Changchun Dajie. It is one of the focal points of Changchun. It is close to Baishan park, and a mini "Culture Square" of sorts. The site commemorates the Russian soldiers, and specifically Russian pilots that died to save Changchun during the second world war.

 

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When to Visit

Changchun has incredibly cold,long winters and the temperature will drop as low as -30°C, however there is little snow but the city is very windy and the air is dry. Early Fall is the best time to visit Changchun while the weather is mild.

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