"The Dragon City" Changzhou by krc

Changzhou Travel Guide: 24 reviews and 89 photos

A blend of history and industry.

Changzhou is an historic city which, by local accounts, dates back some 3000 years. The city prides itself on its rich past and historic place in Chinese commerce and transportation. Situated on both the Yangtze River and China's ancient Grand Canal, Changzhou for nearly two millennia has played an integral role in moving goods to market. The city is an awkward blend of history and industry.

One of the leading manufacturing hubs in Jiangsu Province, Changzhou is home to numerous textile, garment and metal factories. With a population of approximately 3.5 million, a rich past and thriving industry, Changzhou has the potential to be a jewel, but its potential is far from being realized. Changzhou boasts some great historical finds, but desperately wants for culture. Museums are few and live theatre is virtually nonexistent. The city has no discernible musical soul.

Relatively few foreigners.

I lived in Changzhou in 2005 and 2006, and continue to visit regularly. The city has a fairly new, very convenient rail station. Despite its thriving industry and an international (English language) school, Changzhou has failed to attract many foreigners. When I left in mid 2006, the expat community was estimated at 150-200. In a city of 3.5 million, that makes a foreigner something of a spectacle. As a foreigner there, you will have all the attention you might be craving...especially if you're young and small enough to be picked up, hugged repeatedly and kissed. Even attention-starved children will tire of this eventually.

While shopping in Changzhou does not compare to larger Jiangsu cities like Suzhou and Wuxi, it has a nice selection of stores. The city boasts a very nice shopping street, Nan Da Jie, and has a another shopping street (adjacent to Nan Da Jie) under construction. Starbucks at Nan Da Jie is the expatriate hub in the city center, while Monkey King Pizza is an expat haunt in the new district. The city also has a wide selection of restaurants in all price points.

Not international, but friendly.

While you won't find a large international community in Changzhou, the locals are friendly and eager to chat with their foreign guests. If you are outgoing and likeable, you will make good friends here. A visit to Changzhou is best approached with the mindset of enjoying the history and provincial character of a city less influenced by western culture and ideals than, say, Suzhou or Shanghai.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Just over an hour to Shanghai by rail. Historic city with many restaurants.
  • Cons:Very industrial. Few cultural attractions.
  • Last visit to Changzhou: May 2007
  • Intro Updated Jul 20, 2007
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  • Jun 16, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    Dear Kevin, Great Page! Note: that is the Tianning (Heavenly Tranquility) Temple tower in your picture. Wen Bi Ta is another, seven-story, pagoda at the other end of Hongmei Park. I put a picture of it on VT.

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