The bus system in Changsha is extensive and cheap. Most buses cost just 1 RMB per ride. A few routes charge 2 RMB. However, figuring out which route you need can be a bit tricky. Where possible, I have given bus directions to tourist sites and restaurants from Wuyi Guangchang (五一广场), the city’s central commercial district and a transportation hub. For directions from other locations, you can use Mapbar. The site will require at least a working recognition of Chinese characters.
As of January 2009, taxi meters start at 6 RMB. Most taxi drivers don’t speak English, so it’s helpful to have your destination address written in Chinese characters to show the driver. Make sure he starts the meter and turns it off promptly when you reach your destination.
For some reason, every driver in town seems to go off-duty between 5 and 6 p.m. If you need to be somewhere at that time of day, plan accordingly or prepare to take a bus.
Changsha’s train station is located at the eastern end of Wuyi Lu (五一路). Enter through the center doors after putting your luggage through the scanners. The ticket office is outside the station to the left of the main entrance.
Changsha has convenient trains to most major cities in China. For some destinations, you may need to transfer at Zhuzhou, about 45 minutes away from Changsha. Trains to Zhuzhou leave throughout the day. Use China Travel Guide to search for specific trains.
Changsha’s airport is about a 40-minute drive from downtown when there is no traffic. Buses leave from outside baggage claim and drop you off at the Civil Aviation Hotel on Wuyi Lu. You can also pick up buses to the airport from outside the hotel. One-way fare is 17 RMB in either direction.
A taxi ride from the airport to downtown should cost around 100 RMB, with the meter running. (Your driver may offer to negotiate a fare, but feel free to insist on using the meter.)
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