Changsha - Chairman Mao's Hometown

Changsha is the capital of Hunan province. Changsha partly gained its fame by being close to the birthplace of Chairman Mao, who was born in Shao Shan and spent five years studying in the First Hunan Normal School in Changsha.

Changsha's important 2,100-year old Han excavation has gained attention. In addition, Changsha also serves as the gateway to Zhangjiajie, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Changsha City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(4) Art(6) Local Culture/Unique  Tour(6)
Nature/Scenic(5) Food/Shopping(5) Night Life(4)
Religion(4)  Adventure/Sports(5)   Reasonable Cost(6)
Recommended Days of Stay: 1 Changsha City Map
Quick Facts
Population - 1.5 million
When to go
Tourist Season - May to October ;
Coldest Months - January, with temperature as low as -8C;
Hottest Months - July, with temperature as high as 30C;
Annual Precipitation - 1,250 to 1,750 millimeters (April to June).
Getting In and Out
By Air - Changsha is 95 minutes by air from Shanghai, one hour from Guilin and 100 minutes from Beijing. Changsha has direct flights with Hongkong and 38 other cities;
By Train - Changsha is on the main Beinjing-Guangzhou railway. It is nine hours from Guangzhou and 18 hours from Beijing.


Changsha's history traces back to the State of Chu, before China was unified by Qin Shi Huangdi in 221 BC.

Changsha remained a major city throughout the centuries, and finally was opened up as a treaty port around 1900. During the WWII, Changsha was leveled by Japanese bombing.

Hunan Provincial Museum & Mawangdui * * * *
This museum is famous for the excavation from Mawangdui, three 2,100-year-old Han tombs. The tombs belonged to Li Chang, the Marquis of Dai and prime minister of Changsha state, who died in around 186 BC, and to his wife, and their son. Each body was contained in a set of coffins, one inside another. The incredibly well-preserved corpse on display belonged to the wife. Her tomb was sealed with a thick layer of white clay, which provided a constant temperature and humidity. Archaeologists found melon seeds in her stomach and, an autopsy revealed that she had arteriosclerosis, gallstones, tuberculosis, and parasites. Tough Life!

The tomb also yielded a vast amount of material which gives an insight into the culture and development in the Han Dynasty. Look for the ear cups for wine and soup, and a make-up box with comb, mirror, powder, and lipstick. The most interesting findings are the cooking recipes written on bamboo stripes and some musical instruments.

Shaoshan * * *
Chairman Mao was born in a simple mud-brick farmhouse in Shaoshan on December 26, 1893. Check out the museum under his name and the Water-Dropping Cave, where he hid for 11 days while planning the devastating culture revolution.

Zhangjiajie * * * * *
Zhangjiajie is a 369-sq km national forest, 400 km from Changsha. This well-maintained park is full of beautiful hills, stone pillars, and wild plants and animals. There are also thirteen different ethnic groups living here, including Miao, Zhuang, and Tujia.

For those that are more adventure minded, there are karst cave exploration and white-water rafting available.
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