Changsa, is the capital of Hunan Province. I was here 15 years ago, but it has now become a sprawling city of about 8 million and is unrecognisable to me. But, there are still pockets of the old city hidden in the side lanes where time seems to have stood still.
We were here to meet up with a local chinese friend who lives in Changsa. He was to drive us to visit Zhangjiajie (which apparently inspire the scenes of the Avatar movie) and Fenghuang (a famous ancient river town).
On our friend’s recommendation, we stayed in Changsa for 2 nights to take in some of the sights and historical places that it has to offer.
On our second day, our first stop was supposed to be the Hunan Provincial Museum which house (amongst others) the more than 2,000 years old mummified body of Lady Xin Zhui. However, the museum was closed for renovation, so we visited the actual site of her burial ground, the Mawangdui tombs of the Han Dynasty constructed between 186 and 165 BC. The tomb was excavated in 1970, when the preserved corpse of Lady Xin Zhui was discovered.
Our next stop was the Hunan contemporary art museum, where apart from arts, artefacts up to a few thousand years old were on display.
After the museum visit, we had lunch in a restaurant in the outskirts of Changsa. The food was quite good and cheap.
After a satisfying lunch, we proceeded to visit the Yuelu Academy (on the campus of modern day, Hunan University), which was founded more than 1,000 years ago in 976 AD during the Song Dynasty. Hunan University, is a descendent of the academy.
On our last day in Changsa, we visited the home of two very famous people in China. The first one is Mr Lee Shaoqi (a contemporary of Mao Tze Tong) who rose through the ranks to become the President of the People’s Republic of China from 1959 to 1968.
Our last stop was to visit the residence of Chairman Mao. Before the visit, we had lunch in a restaurant own by a Madam Mao, who have over 300 restaurants in China.
After the visit to Chairman Mao’s family home, we departed Changsa for Zhangjiajie, which is about 5 hours drive from Changsa. But as it was quite late in the afternoon, we decided to stay a night in Changde (which is half way to Zhangjiajie) before proceeding to Zhangjiajie the next morning.
We reached Changde about 6.30pm and headed straight to this beautiful restaurant for dinner before checking into our hotel for the night.
Changde is a very clean city. The only place of real interest is the lake. After breakfast in our hotel (which was quite bad), we checked out and visited the lake before continuing our journey to Zhangjiajie.
All images shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikkor 24-120mm f4g lens.