Changzhou City Guide - for Visitors & Expats Living in Changzhou

Liz Smith
Liz Smith

Liz Smith left the daily grind in the States to travel the world with her husband. Eventually teaching English in China & loving it, she began sharing her experience with others who are interested in embarking on this new adventure!

 / Nov 4, 2017

Many may think that Changzhou is just like any other city in Jiangsu province, China. But in reality, Changzhou is one of the best cities to live and work in, not just in Jiangsu, but also in the whole of China as well. Better still, it is a popular tourist destination in China, thanks to the many tourist attractions and fun things to do in Changzhou that attract people from around the world.


Living in Changzhou can truly be a cherished eperience by expats, thanks to the numerous job opportunities abound here. Considering that the city is ranked among the wealthiest cities of Republic of China, then there isn’t any doubt that living and working here can be an opportunity of a lifetime. Here is a detailed guide about this wonderful city, which will helpfamiliarize you with virtually everything you need to know about Changzhou, especially if you are thinking of moving to Changzhou either to visit or work. 


Overview of Changzhou City


Situated in the southern region of China’s Jiangsu province, Changzhou is a Chinese prefecture-city that was formerly known as Jinling, Yanling, Wujin and Lanling . Today, it is popularly referred to as the Dragon city. 


Changzhou lies on the southern bank of River Yangtze, and it borders Nanjing city to the west, Wuxi city to the east and Zhenjiang city to the northwest. All these cities are prominent cities in Jiangsu province, with Nanjing being the provincial capital. Changzhou further borders the Zhejiang province to the south, and it is widely seen as part of Yangtze Delta region, which is one of China’s most developed regions. Going by statistics of the 2010 census, Changzhou city had a population of approximately 4,592,431 residents. 


Neighborhoods / Districts of Changzhou


Changzhou city administers seven county-level divisions that include five districts as well as one county-level city. Below are the 5 districts of Changzhou city. 


Zhonglou District - located in the central region of the city, the district is home to some of the city’s most prominent shopping areas, such as the 'south big street’. It also boasts numerous restaurants, educational centers, chain stores and apartment complexes.


Tianning District - covering a landmass of 68 square kilometers and situated on the eastern part of the city, Tianning is home to some of Changzhou’s finest attractions such as Hongmei Park, Tianning Temple and Red Plum Pavilion (a magnificent structure that was built mover 1000 years ago). 


Xinbei District - Located in the city’s northern region, Xinbei District is also popularly known as the New District and it covers a landmass of 425 square kilometers. The district is widely perceived to be one of China’s most prominent financial and business hubs, thanks to the fact that it is home to approximately 7,636 overseas and domestic companies. In addition, it is home to a number of globally renowned educational centers, among them Hohai University, Changzhou International School and Changzhou Trina International School among others. 


Wujin District - located on the eastern region of Changzhou city, Wujin district occupies a total landmass of 1265 kilometers square and has consistently been ranked as one of China’s best mainland cities. It is particularly known for being home to Yancheng (a site bearing the remains of one of China’s ancient cities). It is one of Changzhou’s top tourist destinations, attracting scores of local and global tourists each year. 


Jintan District - lying on the western region of Changzhou city, Jintan District boast a history of human civilization that dates back to Western Zhou Dynasty. The district is surrounded by Hangzhou, Shanghai and Nanjing, making it well connected to the rest of the country as opposed to other districts of Changzhou. The district is one of Changzhou’s most important industrial areas, and it is particularly popular for its mass production of brown vinegar. 


Getting and Out of Changzhou City


The very fact that Changzhou is well connected to the rest of China makes it easily possible to get in and out of this city. Here is an outline of some of the common ways people can enter and exit Changzhou.


By air - Changzhou Bennu Airport is the city’s main airport , and it is approximately 15 kilometers from the city center. A huge percentage of people coming and leaving the city normally use air transportation, whereby they have to take their flights at this airport. The airport doesn’t just offer flights to numerous international destinations in the world over, but it also offer flights to Chengdu, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenyang among other Chinese cities.


By Train - the city has two railway stations namely Changzhou North Station and Changzhou station. The stations have a high speed railway line, which connects the city with Shanghai and Beijing. As such, travelers can enter the city, especially if they are coming from Beijing or Shanghai. Likewise, travelers can leave Changzhou on their way to Beijing or Shanghai. 


Transportation (Getting Around Changzhou)


Just like most Chinese cities, Changzhou city has a convenient public transportation system that makes getting around the city easy. While most of the city’s attractions and prominent places are within walking distance, some are a bit far away and thus walking isn’t the best way to get around Changzhou. Below are a couple of ways to get around Changzhou.


By railway - the railway network doesn’t just provide a convenient transport option for long-distance travelers, particularly those traveling to Shanghai and Beijing - but it also provides a convenient means of transportation for those wishing to get around the city fast. Traveling by rail is particularly convenient for travelers who want to travel to some of the city’s far districts as well as other neighboring districts of Jiangsu province. However, travelers are advised to buy their tickets in advance for purposes of avoiding inconveniences that are brought about by the high number of travelers at the two main railway stations especially on weekends. 


By bus - the city’s bus network is comprised of speedy modern buses as well as lumbering rattlers. There is also the BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) bus network, which operate in lieu of a modern subway. The BRT offers regular services of remarkably large shinny buses that traverse the city’s inner routes and stops at various BRT stations within the city center. Traveling by BRT can be a nice, affordable and convenient option for people wishing to travel within the city. Although there are still lots of long-distance buses that are widely used by the locals while traveling to various places that are far from the city, long-distance buses are however not an ideal transportation option for tourists and other foreigners. This is clearly because they are not just overcrowded, but they are also full of petty criminals that can take advantage of foreigners. Besides, the staffs at various long-distance buses don’t speak English and thus it can be difficult for foreigners to communicate effectively with the staff.


By taxi - there are tens of thousands of tax cabins operating in Changzhou. Nearly all taxis here are metered, meaning they charge depending on the total distance traveled. Taxis offer a comfortable and convenient option for getting around the city, especially for people who want to move from one place to the other within the city. Nevertheless, taxis can only be used within the city and not for traveling to far-flung places from the city. Travelers, especially foreigners, are always urged to ensure they are strictly using official taxis lest they end up losing their money to scammers. 


Safety - Common Scams in Changzhou to Be Aware Of 


Generally, Changzhou is largely perceived to be an even safer city than other bigger Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing. In fact, residents here are friendly, welcoming and easy to get along with. However, like with any other Chinese city, there are some notorious scammers that normally take advantage of foreigners, especially tourists. As such, it helps to know some of the common scams in this city that you need to be aware of, just to ensure you aren’t preyed on by scammers. Below are a couple of scams in Changzhou that you ought to be aware of.


English practice scam - this is scam is about a Chinese local with a remarkably good command of English approaching you and inviting you for tea or a meal in exchange of helping them improve their English speaking skills. If you go on and fall into their trap, you will end up being forced to pay an expensive bill for the tea or drink they invited you for. The surest way to avoid this scam is by avoiding strangers particularly those speaking good English. Furthermore, don’t let them decide on where both of you should go for tea or meal.


Fake bus stop scam - this scam is pretty common and it mostly targets tourists and other foreign travelers using long-distance buses. This scam is about someone convincing you to alight at a certain stop claiming that it is the right stop. Thereafter, you will stand there for hours waiting for a bus to come upon realizing you alighted at the wrong stop. Eventually, a taxi will approach you offering to take you to the right stop but at an insanely high fee. To ensure you don’t become a victim of this scam, be well versed with the road you are using while traveling in a long-distance bus, and also ensure you are well-versed with where you are headed to and never alight from the bus before getting there. 


Tea house scam - this scam isn’t just in Changzhou, but it is also pretty common in other Chinese cities as well. Here, a stranger will approach you and they will use all manner of tactics to lure you into accompanying them to a local tea house where you can taste a wide array of traditional Chinese teas. If you aren’t aware that you are just a step away to being ripped off your money, you will accompany the stranger and end up in an overcrowded apartment tasting low quality traditional Chinese teas. Eventually, you will be presented with a ridiculously high bill that you will be required to pay for the teas you have tasted. Failure to pay your bill, your personal items such as phones and money will be confiscated. Therefore, turn down any invitations from strangers asking you to attend a tea tasting ceremony with them. 


Cheap tours scam - there are some cheap tours to various attractions across the city, which are normally marketed by some touts in public places and on the streets. These touts will lure you into signing up for this tour at a fee, while promising to take you to various touring spots across the city. But they will disappear as soon as you hand them the money. If you really want to go for a tour, just find a licensed tour operator or search for one online. 


Changzhou Climate – the Best Time to Visit Changzhou 


The city’s climate can be described as warm and temperate. It has a significant rainfall all-year round, even during the driest month. The best time to visit this city is on April, June, May, September and October. During these months, there is less rainfall and moderate temperatures. 


Top Things for Tourists to Do in Changzhou


With plenty of exciting things to see and do in Changzhou, then tourists visiting this city can look forward to having a memorable time here. From cultural attractions to historical sites that can never be found elsewhere in China, there are plenty of exciting things for tourists to see and do in Changzhou. Here are a couple of top things to do in Changzhou for tourists.


Tour the magnificent Tianning Temple - This Buddhist temple is one of its kind in the world, thanks to the fact that it has the world’s tallest wooden Pagoda which boasts 13 stories. This is a wonderful place to tour whilst spending your holiday in Changzhou or anywhere in Jiangsu province. Moreover, this temple epitomizes the ancient Tang Dynasty and thus has an impressive presence that is truly cherished by all visitors.


Visit the HingMei Park - this isn’t like any other park in Changzhou, thanks to the fact that it boasts several aspects that make it truly unique. First, it has a vast assortment of lakes more than any other lake in the world. Secondly, it has elegant pavilions and lush gardens that make it irresistible for visitors seeking for a solitary place to spend quality time either with themselves, or with their families. You can also visit this park and see live flamingos at the park’s flamingo, watch goldfish in transparent tubes and walk on the elevated walkway through the forest. 


Relaxing at Dong Po Park - This stunningly beautiful park is named after the ancient Song Dynasty. It is a wonderful place to relax and unwind especially after those grueling week days. On one side of this wonderful park, there is a Grand Canal that is connected to smaller canals on the other side of the park, hence creating the impression of there being an island inside this park. More importantly, you can climb the arching bridge and get amazing views of boats running on the Grand Canal. 


Explore the Town of Yancheng – For history lovers, this is ultimately a must-visit place in Changzhou. First, it is home to the remains of China’s old town, and it is perceived to be a mark of Chinese history that dates back three thousand years ago. A visit to this old town will treat you to the finest of Changzhou city, including three magnificent walls and the three moats preserved from the autumn and spring period. 


Tour the China Dinosaur Park - if you love dinosaurs, or if you are interested in learning more about this huge, ancient creatures that reigned on the earth thousands of years ago, then this is ultimately a must-visit place upon coming to the city. The park features dinosaur fossils from all over the country. With a collection of over 5o dinosaur fossils, then it makes pretty of sense why the park is named dinosaur park. 


Life in Changzhou for Expats 


Changzhou has become one of the top 10 of China’s wealthiest cities, boasting prestigious universities, and planned industrial zones all of which makes it irresistible to foreign workers. Expats working and living in Changzhou can often share the same opportunties just like their counterparts who work and live in other bigger Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing. 


Changzhou boasts an international look and a constant supply of global minds. Better still, the climate is comfortable and expats here have access to a wide array of international cuisines. But as wonderful as living and working in Changzhou can be for expats, living here can present a couple of challenges particularly due to the language barrier as well as the agony of living in a culture that is vastly different from what expats may be used to in their home country. Nevertheless, many foreigners can still live an enjoyable and rewarding life whilst working and living in Changzhou, provided you are adequately prepared for life in Changzhou. 


Tips for Expats Living and Working in Changzhou


Below are a number of tips to help you cope with your new expat life in Changzhou. 


Make new friends - moving to a completely new city other than the one you are used to back home can feel quite overwhelming. Again, you may end up feeling lonely owing to the fact that everyone there is a stranger and thus there isn’t anyone to talk to or to share what you going through with. But you can get rid of loneliness upon moving to Changzhou simply by making as many new friends as you can, especially among your expat colleagues. Making friends with other expats beyond your co-workers can be easy considering that there are lots of online forums for expats living and working in Changzhou, where you can connect and keep in touch with them. 


Stay safe - while Changzhou is relatively a safer city in comparison to other Chinese cities, problems can arise especially the ones targeting expats and other foreign residents. As such, you need to stay safe always even as you continue exploring this wonderful city. For instance, avoid any scams or scenarios whereby you are likely to lose your money. Again, avoid instances where you are likely to get into physical confrontations with the locals. More importantly, avoid bar brawls because most violent crimes targeting the expat community in Changzhou normally occurs in nightclubs and bars. 


Be adventurous - visit as many places across Changzhou as you can. That way, you will get to see the brighter side of life whilst living here. As a result, you will feel excited being here and spending your time in this city. More importantly, traveling will help you encounter new people you otherwise wouldn’t have encountered if you remained indoors. 


Socialize with the locals - socializing with the locals is ultimately a nice way to learn about their culture, their way of life as well as learn a couple of Chinese Mandarin language, which is by far the dominant language in Changzhou. Therefore, take every opportunity available to socialize with the locals. The best way to socialize with the locals is by attending local events like tea ceremonies, or any other event that is open to everybody. There, you can talk to a couple of people and introduce yourself. They will surely reciprocate your friendly gesture and you will soon be good friends with them. 


Events / Festivals in Changzhou 


Below are a couple of common festivals/ events that are held in Changzhou.


Dragon Boat Festival - this festival is also cerebrated all over China, though it is popular in the southern parts of the country including Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangsu provinces. It is marked to commemorate an ancient Chinese poet, by the name Qu Yuan. During this particular festival, people normally take part in dragon boat racing, others hang calamus and mugwort leaves and other eat zongzi(a special type of rice) while putting in a perfume pouch.


Mid-Autumn Festival - This festival is the second highly celebrated festival after the popular Chinese New Year. It is also referred to as the Moon Festival, thanks to the fact that it is celebrated when the moon is visibly at its brightest and roundest. During the festival, family members give sacrifices to the moon, take part in celebrating the full moon and also eat moon cakes. 


Lantern Festival - it is known as the most recreational festival of all the festivals that are held in Changzhou and China at large. The most important aspect of this festival is watching different types of Chinese-lanterns. Other activities that are held during this colorful festival include watching fireworks, performing folk dances and guessing lantern riddles. 


Spring Festival - this is the most important festival not just in Changzhou, but also in the entire country as well. It is set aside to allow families to reunite. During this festival, families have reunion dinner together, visit relatives and also eat dumplings. 


Expat Resources in Changzhou


Below are some expat resources to help you cope with your newly started life as an expat in Changzhou.


Expat Forums in Changzhou 


Here are a couple of forums that seek to connect expats living in this city with each other.


Changzhou Living - the forum seeks to provide a resource for expats to learn about things they can do to enhance their lives whilst living in the city. It provides information that expats can’t get from any other source.


Internations - the forum features advice on expat living in China, though it has a special section for expats living and working in Changzhou. 


FC Club - a global networking forum that focuses on expats in China. It also offers a special section for regular events targeting expats living in Changzhou. 


Useful Apps for foreigners in China


These apps can be downloaded to different types of Android devices, and they are meant to make your life as an expat in Changzhou a lot easier.


WeChat - it works like WhatsApp, whereby you can send audio, text and video messages free of charge. Users can also join group chats, post comments whilst living and working in different parts of Changzhou and China by extension.


WayGo - the translation app is designed to translate menu items from Chinese to English once the iPad or iPhone is aimed at the menu item.


Hanping - this essential app helps you write unknown Chinese characters and then look them up in the dictionary. 


** For more information, check out our post of all the most useful apps in China!


Resources for Learning Mandarin


Learning Chinese Mandarin is one of the things that can make things easier for you whilst living in Changzhou because it is by far the dominant language here. It is used in virtually all places, from the railway stations, shopping malls to restaurants. Below are a number of resources that will help you learn this language.


Fluenz - the language learning software offers the easiest and best way to start learning Mandarin. It uses simple explanations that relates to any language. It is especially beneficial for adult learning.


A practical Chinese Grammar - this is by far the most comprehensive Chinese grammar book out there. It isn’t just organized, but it also features useful examples that use Pinyin, Chinese and English characters.


Enjoy Your Time Living in Changzhou China!

 

Living in Changzhou as well as working in this great city can truly be an opportunity of a lifetime, so long as one is well prepared for life in Changzhou. With this detailed guide on Changzhou, we hope you feel more prepared and are excited to embark on a new journey upon moving to Changzhou. 

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Liz Smith

Liz Smith left the daily grind in the States to travel the world with her husband. Eventually teaching English in China & loving it, she began sharing her experience with others who are interested in embarking on this new adventure!