Living in Nanchang China: A City Guide for Expats

Rachel Weiss
Career China Digital Marketing Manager
Mar 11, 2019

Most of the cities which are located on ancient trade routes have evolved to become prosperous and Nanchang is one of them. With a total area of approximately 740.236 square kilometers and an average population of 4,913,100, Nanchang comes out as the capital and the most powerful trading, political, cultural, and communications hub in China’s Jiangxi province.

With a history dating back to more than 2,200 years and unparalleled scenic areas, Nanchang has also proved to be of interest to many expats. The city's downtown consists of majorly commercial areas and highly urbanized zones while the outskirts still maintain the beautiful landscapes provided by the lush greenery surroundings and ancient relics. It’s magnificent landscapes are mainly due to its strategic location on the banks of the Gan River. This is a region that is surrounded by picturesque landscapes and artificial lakes each having it’s very own special historical, cultural, and topographical attractions. This beautiful natural surrounding landscape together with the efforts of the Chinese government has seen this city turn into an attractive modern metropolis.

Neighborhoods & Districts 

Nanchang is divided into 5 municipal districts which include Donghu, Xihu, Wanli, Qingshanhu, Qingyunpu and six sub-districts including Hongfutan. According to most expats, Qingshanhu district and Hongfutan sub-district are among the best places to live in Nanchang thanks to their well developed businesses and convenient traffic. The places are also very lively and beautiful especially during the warm summer seasons when the cool wind from the lake blows and make people comfortable. 

Getting In And Out Of The City

Having been centrally placed between the region of the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze, Nanchang serves as a major railroad hub especially in the Southern part of China. This is the reason why it has a very well developed transport system for getting in and leaving the city. The transport options include:

  • Air: Nanchang Changbei Airport has up to 35 regular air routes to and from all the major Chinese cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, and Xian. The airport also has international connections for expatriates who are coming out of the country.

  • Ferry: Nanchang Port serves as the largest port located along the Gangjiang River. It operates several ferries to Duchang, Ruihong, Boyang, Zhouxi and Lianhu. However, of late the water transport system to other cities has been often out of service mainly due to low-flow period that is usually caused by factors such as climate.

  • Train: Operating more than 60 pairs of departures, Nanchang Railway station serves as a very important station on the Zhe-Gan Railway and the Beijing-Kowloon Railway. The station operates departures and transit trains to a good number of medium sized cities in China including Beijing, Xian, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Learn more about how to travel by high speed train in China.

Getting Around The City 

Getting around Nanchang has also been made very easy thanks to it’s variety of modern transport options. Some of the main transport systems that make it convenient for both the locals and expatriates to go around the city include:

  • Bus: Buses are the most popular and convenient means of transport in the city. There are three main long-distance bus stations in Nanchang. The city buses cover all of the trunk ways including all the well-known tourist destinations. In addition to this, there are several tourism lines that have also been launched for the visitor’s convenience.

  • Taxi: Just like buses, taxis are also another popular and convenient means of getting around Nanchang. 

  • Metro: Metro has grown to become a new convenient transport system in the city. Already, Metro line 1 and 2 are in service with line 1 linking Yaohu lake west with Shuangang and line 2 connecting Metro tower to Nanlu. In the near future, 14 other lines will be expected to have connections all over the city.

  • Bicycle: If you are visiting Nanchang during the summer, a bicycle will come in handy. Just like in any other typical cities in China, Nanchang has many cycle lanes that cover the entire city. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate from buying a bike and discovering the city on two wheels. Renting a bike in China is very easy! Here's how you can do it.

  • Motorcycle: Motorcycle taxis are also another good option as far as transport is concerned. However, beware because if you don't know the price charged for a standard distance, you will most likely be ripped off.

For more information about using public transportation in China, check this out!

Climate & Weather 

Nanchang is a city that belongs to the sub-tropical humid monsoon climate. This means that the city is usually mild and humid. The days are longer during the warm summer days and shorter during the winter, spring, and autumn seasons. The city is hot and humid during the summer with virtually one of the highest temperatures in any provincial capital in China. 

Best Time To Visit The City 

Being a city with very hot summers and cool winters, it is often nicknamed the “fireplace” especially during the hot summers. On average, most people prefer visiting the city during the spring season due to the season’s nice and comfortable weather.

Things To Do In The City 

Nanchang is a famous historical, cultural, and heritage city more than 26 natural attractions, 18 historical sites, and 600 cultural relics. In fact, in 1986 it was officially validated to be a national historical and cultural city.

  1. Bayi Monument - Located in the center of the famous Bayi Square, this monument features a flag of the People's Liberation Army on it’s top to commemorate the Nanchang Uprising which happened on 1st August.
  2. YouMin Temple – This Buddhist temple is located to the North of Bayi Park. Up to now, the temple is still in mint condition and is even used.
  3. The Star of Nanchang – This is the former world's tallest ferris wheel and stands a height of approximately 160 meters.
  4. Pavilion of Prince Teng – Located near a river, this pavilion is the most impressive and among the biggest towers in southern China.
  5. People's Park – Just like the rest of China, Nanchang never runs shortage of people’s park. Having been ranked number 3 in the things to do in Nanchang things, this park is perfect for people who yearn to watch and wander around.

Life in the City for Expats 

Nanchang is very popular with expats and many of those who come to live here come to teach foreign languages. The reason why most expatriates choose Nanchang is because of its cost of living which is relatively low and affordable housing combined with it’s vibrancy and diversity.

If you are an expat planning to move to Nanchang with your family, you will be glad to find a good number of schools including an international school, the Nanchang International School. In addition to teaching, expatriates working in Nanchang can also choose to take up employment in a variety of other areas including manufacturing and engineering. Further opportunities for expats employment may be found in the retail sector and leisure industries.

Apart from work, there are also a variety of activities that expats in Nanchang can enjoy during their free time. JD's Bar is one of the places that is very popular among expatriates and foreigners at large. Most foreign workers in Nanchang usually prefer coming here when they want to have a good time, watch football, or just to talk to each other. The Mayflower is another very popular place for both expatriates and tourists. A good number of foreigners in Nanchang also meet here to socialize as they have an evening of drinks.

During the hot summer seasons, both the locals and foreigners prefer going out to the available squares for entertainment at night. Big squares like Big Goose Pagoda Square, Bell Tower Square, and South Gate Square, often get lots of foreigners who will be spotted chatting with each other, drinking beer, eating ice-cream.

If you're looking for ways to connect with other expats in China, check out 6 Ways To Meet People While Living in China.

City Festivals and Events 

Nanchang has a number of top events that are attended by the locals. Of all events held here annually, there are two that are the most attended by both the locals and foreigners alike.

  • Sengjin Tower Temple Fair – Every year, the ancient stage that is under Shengjin Tower is enlivened by a good number of opera fans gathering to enjoy premium performance. The festival starts from September all the way to October. 
  • Lake Boyang Crab Festival – This festival is hosted along the Lake Boyang during the month of October. The festival is mainly centered on crab King Election and also sale exhibition. The festival is usually flooded by tourists who participate in firework parties as well as getting premium crabs at a great bargain.

There are many other festivals and holidays in China! Read more about holidays and how to celebrate them in China.

Living in Nanchang

Overall, living in Nanchang emanates a kind of enjoyment for both locals and foreigners. It is a beautiful city that is also culturally rich and allows various cultures to interact together. Regardless of whatever your preferences and likes, there is always something for everyone here.

If you are about to embark on an expatriate life in Nanchang, we are sure that the entire city’s charm portrayed in this guide to Nanchang will definitely appeal to you. Generally, the city is very safe and the worst you can encounter as an expatriate is a motorcycle driver trying to overprice you.

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


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