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So much to see and taste in exciting Wuhan
By Xu Wenwen, Gu Kangji and Tan Y

WUHAN, the political, economic, financial and cultural center of central China, is known as one of the “three furnaces” of China. So it’s best to avoid the sultry August season if you are planning to travel to the capital of Hubei Province.

But in early summer, the city offers much for tourists. Its food is famous, its 3,500-year history is rich and its scenic spots are worth a photo.

The city’s location on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and its interconnecting rail links make it a major transport hub in China. Once famous as a smokestack center of steelmaking and automobiles, the local economy has proliferated into new sectors such as optic-electronics, pharmaceuticals and advanced industrial materials.

There are seven bridges across the Yangtze in Wuhan. The so-called First Bridge was built in 1957. The city also boasts the largest lake located within the boundaries of a Chinese city.

A weekend tour is ideal, and here are some of the places you might put on your itinerary.

Hubu Lane

This 150-meter-long lane, which has appeared on maps for more than 400 years, encapsulates the best of Wuhan snack foods. It is called “the breakfast lane” by locals, but you can sample these tasty foods any time of the day.


Hot and dry noodle is the most popular food for breakfast in Wuhan. The boiled noodles are seasoned with sesame paste and served with preserved Sichuan pickle and shallots. Westerners who prefer their noodles without soup are especially drawn to this snack.


Doupi is made from sticky rice, egg, beef, mushrooms and beans ­— all cooked between two large, round soybean skins and then cut into pieces, somewhat like a pizza. This is also a popular breakfast for Wuhan residents. The doupi is crisp on the outside and soft inside.

Tangbao, or soup bun is a classic Wuhan flavor. The buns are filled with very juicy meat and are eaten with ginger strips, sauce and vinegar. Be careful when you bite into one of these buns because the hot filling will spill out.


Salty doughnuts are made from rice flour and fried with shallots. These breads are said to have originated during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). They are golden in color with a crisp outer crust.

Yellow Crane Tower 

The Yellow Crane Tower at the south end of Hubu Lane was built for military use in about AD 220. Cui Hao, a celebrated poet of the Tang dynasty (AD 618-907), visited the site in the early 8th century and wrote a poem about the tower, lavishing praise on its panoramic views of the Yangtze.


The structure has been destroyed and rebuilt several times in history. It underwent a complete reconstruction beginning in 1981, with modern conveniences like an elevator added.

The tower stands 51.4 meters high, and has 60 eaves covered with yellow glazed tiles, supported by 72 huge pillars.

Wuhan University

The university’s old architecture has long been a draw card for visitors to the city. In 1893, the government of the day established the Ziqiang Academy at the site, to train diplomats. The campus became a comprehensive university in 1928. Some 26 structures build more than a century ago still remain.

Sakura Avenue, lined with cherry trees, is such a popular campus spot during the blossom season in spring that you have to be prepared to jostle your way through the crowds.

The Old Library deserves a visit. Its main building and four annexes are built in traditional Chinese style.

East Lake

Just beside Wuhan University is East Lake, which is the largest lake within any city in China. It is five times larger than the famous West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and is a popular visitor attraction in all seasons, changing its face from summer to winter.


Tingtao and Mo Hill scenic areas are the two most notable spots along the lake.

Tingtao, meaning “listening to waves,” is the core area. It is so large that standing on a bridge across the lake, visitor may get the feeling of being at the seaside. Indeed, in 2000, a manmade beach was built there.

Pavilions and gardens with a history dating back hundreds of years dot the lake area, offering refreshing spots to stroll or find solitude.

The Mo Hill area is a peninsula in the lake featuring a botanical garden and zone devoted to Chu culture. The botanical garden has more than 2 million plants, and blooms can be seen there year-round.

The Chu culture zone showcases an ancient heritage dating back to the sixth century BC. The Chu stage once occupied vast areas of what is today Hubei and Hunan provinces. The culture was a rich mix of diverse influences, with works of bronze, lacquer and silk. It is also famous for the bianzhong, or bronze bell chime.

Han Show

The Han Show was created under the artistic direction of Franco Dragone, known for his work with Cirque du Soleil. It combines advanced technologies with performances of dance and acrobatics that challenge physical boundaries. The theater is shaped like a gigantic red lantern and has a pool on stage. The show is an extravaganza that celebrates the essence of the Han culture. Tickets range from 380 yuan (US$61) to 2,000 yuan, and reservations can be made at the online site www.thehanshow.com/en/.

Wanda Movie Park

This theme park contains six multi-dimension movie rides, 4D and 5D screens and a space theater.


One of the shows takes you on an aerial flight, giving visitors a bird’s-eye view of the Shennongjia forest, a nature reserve listed on UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and Wudang Mountain, home to a famous complex of Taoist temples.

There’s also a show that takes you on a spaceship trip.

This attraction is so popular that you have to be prepared to wait hours in lines to get a ticket.

Away from movie-going, the park also pays tribute to the 2,000-year-old local relic called the Bianzhong Bells. There are 24 bells in total, and each is covered in geometric aluminum panels. Strips of LEDs fill the 100-millimeter gaps in between the horizontal rows of paneling and wrap around massive, 60-meter tall, bell-shaped structures. At night, the effect is vibrant and glowing.

Admission to the park, through June 30, is 188 yuan for an adult.

Wanda Reign Wuhan, Han Street

The Wanda Reign Wuhan opened last year, claiming to be China’s first seven-star hotel. It has already become a landmark of luxury at its epitome.


With room prices starting at 1,200 yuan a night, many visitors to Wuhan limit their experience to a walk through the hotel. Its lobby boasts China’s largest jade artwork. Entitled “Spectacular East Lake,” the painting is 60 meters long and 10 meters high.

The hotel was named after its principal investor, the Dalian Wanda Group, which also set up Han Street across from the hotel as a pedestrian street with retail and entertainment venues. Here you can find plenty of cafes if you need a short respite from a day of sightseeing.

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