"1 month in Huaihua, Hunan" Huaihua by audun

Huaihua Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 10 photos

In the middle of nowhere

I doubt people go to Huaihua as tourists, but there's a chance you'll pass through it because it's a train hub city. Trains from Beijing and Shanghai to Yunnan will pass through, as well as trains from Guangzhou to Chongqing/ Chengdu.
Personally I went to practice traditional Chinese medicine for one month at a reknowned acupuncture center. Before going, I found a local pen-friend on the internet, and that turned out to be very rewarding. We became very good friends, and I was taken to many interesting places, both in the town itself, and some nearby places very worthy of a visit. Without this friend (who introduced me to a lot of other people), my stay wouldn't have been very interesting (except from the purpose of studying TCM, which was very rewarding by itself).
Nearby places of interest: the old river town of Fenghuang. Nearby town of Zhijiang with its Sino-American war memorial and museum.
For pictures, see: http://sixty4-middle-kingdom.blogspot.com/2005/07/huaihua-market-street-cent_112074055368848302.html

Expanding 'Wild west' town of Southern Cina

The first impression was a shock: I've never even imagined that traffic pollution could be so bad! On the worst days, it felt like inhaling pure gas or diesel. The city's location in a pan-like valley
Officially, this town has a population of 150-300 000, but it bears clear evidence of expanding so fast that in a few years' time it's bound to become yet one more Chinese million-inhabitant citiy. New buildings are continuously put up in the periphery and left empty until someone rents them, which seems to be a sure deal.
Industry: Chemicals, pharmaceutics (especially traditional herbs), and agricultural research.
I visited 3 gross resellers of medicine herbs, and both storing conditions, tracing system and quality assurance seemed quite acceptable.

Nice people everywhere.

I guess the general traveller's impression of he Chinese is very favorable, and Huaihua is no exception. The city has until recently been closed to foreigners because of the military nuclear facilities nearby, so a Western face in the street naturally creates some attention. You just have to learn to like it. Speak to anybody, and you'll get excellent service and help, be it a in a restaurant, a shop or a street market. The hotels have still not had the time to upgrade to foreign-language information services, so it's adviceable to learn a few phrases.
According to all my new Huaihuan friends, the crime rate is very low. Just take the usual precautions about valuables. There's only one foreign ATM-machine in the whole town, far from the city center, on the eastern Yingfeng road at a tiny branch of Bank of China.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice and helpful people!
  • Cons:Pollution and noise from traffic.
  • In a nutshell:A place for travelling through without knowing you've been there.
  • Last visit to Huaihua: Nov 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 1, 2006
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Comments (1)

  • ellyse's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2007 at 3:26 PM

    Good to know that you had an off-the-beaten-path experience studying TCM here.


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