City Guide for Expats in Changsha, China

Rachel Weiss
Career China Digital Marketing Manager
Mar 12, 2019

Changsha offers an amazing range of opportunities from work to leisure and business to spots. If you want to live in Changsha or if you are planning to move to Changsha, check out this guide to familiarize yourself with this city.

About Changsha

Changsha is an ancient city with rich historical heritage that include old wall remains, buildings, tomb sites, and religious places. It is also the capital and most populous city of Hunan province. The city is known among visitors for two things – the great Chinese leader Mao Zedong and Yuelu Academy, an ancient academic institution sitting at the top of scenic Mt. Yuelu. Built during the Song Dynasty in 976, the Academy survived the hostile Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties for centuries. It is considered as the culture school of Hunan province and the fountainhead of Huxiang Culture.

About 130 km south-west of Changsha, Mt. Shaoshan is the hometown of Mao Zedong. Today, the village is one of the most important memorial places for the Chinese people. The local villagers have preserved the statue of the Chinese leader in the village and the houses where he lived. They act as the chief tourist attractions of the city. A large number of Chinese come to Mt. Shaoshan every day to pay respect to their revered leader.

Neighborhoods & Districts in Changsha

Located in the north-eastern part of the Hunan province, Changsha lies in the lower reaches of the Xiang River. The city has seven administrative districts namely, Furong, Kaifu, Tianxin, Wangcheng, Yuelu and Yuhua districts. It also has two townships -- Liuyang city • Ningxiang city -- and a town -- Changsha County -- under its jurisdiction. The bordering districts include Pingxiang, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan, Loudi, Yiyang, Yueyang and Yiyang.

The Xiang, with 15 tributaries, is the main river and runs about 74 km throughout the territory of the city. The river divides the city into two parts – Eastern Changsha and Western Changsha. While Eastern Changsha is primarily a commercial precinct, Western Changsha is famous for its educational and cultural centers.

Changsha is also a major industrial township having a wide range of industries including machinery processing, machinery manufacturing, electronics, IT, building materials, food & beverage, and printing. Most of these industries are located in the Eastern Changsha. Expats working in these industries often prefer to find an accommodation in the same area. However, the city also boasts of many internationally acclaimed art and educational institutions, expats with family prefer to live in the Eastern Changsha.

If you're looking to rent an apartment in China, find more information here.

Getting In And Out Of Changsha

Changsha is very well connected with the rest of the county by rail and air.


Located in the city center, Changsha Railway station is connected with the country’s extensive rail network both by express and regular train services. The city also has a new railway station called Changsha South Railway Station in the Yuhua district that offers connectivity with the country’s famous high-speed rail network. Learn more about how to travel by train in China.


The Changsha city has an international airport called Changsha Huanghua International Airport, which offers air connectivity to most Chinese cities. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei are among the hundreds of locations that are connected to Changsha by air. For South China Airlines, the Changsha airport is a regional hub. The airport provides direct connectivity to 45 major international destinations such as Los Angeles, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka, Kuala Lumpur, Pusan, London, Frankfurt, and Sydney. The airport handles about 100,000 passengers daily.

Getting Around Changsha

The city’s public transport consists of Metro rail, bus network, bikes, and taxi services.

Metro Rail

Changsha has a wide network of Metro rail and public bus transport system. Changsha Metro project, which envisages six Metro lines in the city, opened its Metro Line 2 in April 2014. Another 20 stations were added to the Line 2 in June 2016. Another line called Changsha Maglev Link that connects Changsha South railway station with Changsha airport was inaugurated in April 2016. The metro in China is easy to use - here's how to do it.


The city has three distinct road networks that connect it with virtually all important cities in the country. The extensive network of National Expressways, National Highways, and Hunan Provincial Expressway connects Changsha with the rest of the county. The city bus service covers more than a hundred routes in Changsha. There are three major bus terminals in the city -- East Station, West Station, and South Station. These bus terminals dispatch thousands of buses every day to different cities in the Hunan province and elsewhere in the country.

Check out more on using public transportation in China!

Climate & Weather in Changsha

Changsha’s climate is evenly balanced in four distinct seasons. However, the average annual temperature remains low at 17.03 degree Celsius while the average mean temperature is 4.6 degree Celsius in January and in 29 degree Celsius. Annual rainfall is 52.4 inch the number of frost-free days in a year is 275. The city records 1,545 hours of sunshine per year. The summers are very hot and long, with bouts of heavy rainfall. The autumn is the driest season and relatively comfortable.

The winter is quite cold and the temperature can fall below the freezing point. The skies are overcast with clouds that occasionally bring a spell of lighter rainfall. The spring is humid and rainy the sunshine is at least 30 percent below the annual average. The city witnessed its coldest day in February 1972 when the minimum temperature recorded was -12.) degree Celsius. Similarly, the maximum temperature recorded was 40.5 degree Celsius.

Best Time To Visit Changsha

Changsha’s climate is described as subtropical humid. The best time to visit Changsha can depend on what weather condition you like the most. The summer is scorching hot with little or no rain at all while the winter is extremely cold with fewer days of sunshine. The temperature in winter falls dramatically and it can go to sub-freezing level. The weather can turn even more inclement with a spell of heavy rain or snow all. However, the winter months are considered the best time to visit Changsha.

Spring lasts from March to May and the weather turns quickly during this season. Skies are normally overcast with rain clouds and the humidity level is very high. Though this may not sound to be a good time to visit Changsha, many expats prefer this time of the year for their trip to this city. Autumn is a short period from October to November and is characterized by a dry spell. Though the temperature around this time is moderate, the number of visitors is generally lowest during this season.

Things to Do in Changsha


Changsha is one of the most happening and culturally vibrant cities in China. Expats and foreign tourists can find a range of things to indulge in. The city boasts high-class multi-cuisine restaurants and a great variety of delicious street foods. However, among the Chinese cuisine, hot and spicy Hunan cuisine is highly popular both among the locals as well as expats and foreigners.


Changsha has an excellent sports infrastructure. Helong Stadium, a multipurpose sporting facility, has a seating capacity of 55,000 people. It hosts a number of prestigious tournaments and sports events throughout the year.

Historical Relics

Changsha is an ancient city with a long history of being the seat of power for many dynasties. The city today is replete with historical remnants and relics. However, the most fascinating historical relic to be found in this ancient historical city is the mummified remains of a woman belonging to the Han dynasty. This mummy was found well-preserved inside a tomb during an excavation.

Life in Changsha for Expats

Eating Out

Besides being an industrial town and a seat of power, Changsha is also a happening city with countless options for fun and leisure. Expats living in the city can sample some of China’s most authentic and famous dishes. The street food is as exciting and great as the gourmet restaurants. The Stinky Tofu, Sisters' Rice Balls, and Spicy Shrimp are some of the common dishes that will make you a fan of Chinese cuisine forever.


South Huangxing Road is home to the city’s most prestigious shopping arcades, malls, and branded outlets. Middle Jiefang Road is considered as the Ladies Street, where girls can find fashion clothing. There are some areas in Changshu where you can find fake articles of international brands, especially on the Changkang Road and Wenyun Street.


The city has a robust and vibrant nightlife. The Jiefang Xilu street is dotted with disco parlors, dance bars, and pubs. The expats can also check out other decent places that offer great nightlife options. Teahouses, quiet and romantic bars, and dynamic show bars offer plenty of opportunities for fun and leisure.

City Festivals & Events in Changsha

Changsha’s calendar is packed with a number of prestigious festivals and events. An international flower festival in spring is especially noteworthy. The city also witnesses hundreds of art festivals, exhibitions, and film festivals. Expats living in the city can check out local travel guides for more details about these events.

Living in Changsha Can be an Enjoyable Experience for Expats in China!

Changsha is an important town with a rich historical and cultural heritage. It has an excellent public transport network that connects it with the rest of the country. The Changsha airport offers direct connectivity to as many as 45 international destinations. Thanks to the presence of a large number of industries, a good number of expats are now living in this city. And, there are simply too many great options available for them to enjoy their time in the city.

If you are an expat living in Changsha and trying to find out how you can best utilize your time in the city, this travel guide should offer you all the information that you always wanted about the city.

To learn more about living and working in China, check out The Ultimate Guide for Moving to China

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