Working and visiting in Wuhan : around the East Lake

Written by Apr 29, 2005 03:04
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Wuhan viewed through the internet is a small city of eight millions people absent of most tourist China tours.
It is well known of French websites because of the numerous companies with subsidiaries in the Hubei province, such as car makers and (Peugeot - Citroen) and their affiliates.
All sites insist on the hot weather in the summer and indeed air conditioners are everywhere. I was told that people sleep in the streets during Summer season!
The place to see was the East lake, to be differentiated from the famous west lake in Hangzhou.

I had the opportunity to discover Wuhan from the inside, not as a tourist passing through this large industrious city in the middle of Hubei Province but as a visiting professor for young medical students and the medical school, the hospital and the university are all around the lake.

Planes to Wuhan are departing from Hongqiao airport in Shanghai which is different from Pudong international in fact located 60kms apart.
Take care to read your travel plan!
You can use a taxi, or a bus to reach Hongqiao airport. Buses leave every hour.
You will be driven on highways in the suburbs of Shanghai with numerous american style buildings and numerous advertisements for more new american-style houses. Traffic is hectic, car and truck drivers are using every lane to pass.
Take care not to use non official taxis, they might charge you much more than it costs
Hongqiao is clearly a more historical airport and reminds of past communist architecture. Check in is sometimes hazardous, chinese people do not know yet how to queue in line.
Airplanes park often far away from the terminal. Do not be afraid to see only a few of them near the terminal. Inside the terminal, you will find a few local boutiques, some simple restaurants which allows to discover basic but good food.
The view of the countryside and of Shanghai suburbs is special with so numerous blue-roofed industrial buildings, and less and less agricultural areas.
New freeways are everywhere to be seen sometimes ending nowhere !
Then the green countryside is replaced by almost desert mountains.
Wuhan airport is still of regional type but will improve soon. Note the advertisement for University hospital on the control tower!
After a rather short drive from the airport, Wuhan is reached with large avenues, numerous buildings, and a few very large bridges.
In fact, this town is very active with more and more traffic jams!
Take care also of all drivers! Car drivers or motorbikes drivers or bikes cyclers.
Crossing roads on foot might be risky. Cars are very numerous now, particularly Fukang taxis, the chinese version of Citroen ZX made here.
Yangzijiang river and Hanshui river join here
The river Yangzijiang (or Changjiang) separates the town into three parts Nankou, Hanyang and Wuchang. They are linked by two major bridges crossing the river built in 1955 and 1995
Tsen Dong Mao is said to have swimmed across the river, see filmed archives

Where to stay?
More and more hotels are available like everywhere else in China with most international hotel chains.
I attended a small reception at the Novotel Xin Hua, a luxury hotel with french touch in a busy commercial area in Hankou
I stayed at the Wuhan University owned Hotel (Which means Ambition) a very nice new hotel place across the Medical School and the Hospital but it is not listed usually in tourist guides. It has every modern facility, a huge lobby with a nice meeting place in the center under a roof decorated with huge bird feathers, a nice “international” restaurant and coffee shop where they serve a nice, diverse and tasty chinese breakfast, on the first floor a more select chinese typical restaurant. The boutique is very small.

East lake is the center of a nice suburb of Hanyang Wuhan where rowers regularly train!
It is the largest lake in the middle of a city in China. It is less famous than Hangzhou west lake, but less touristic and more pleasant in mu personal opinion.
Sky is usually gray, due to pollution? And misty, due to the water of the lake?
Around the lake you will find many worth to see places
On the east side of the lake, the Wuhan University is buzzling with students working, playing sports... They have numerous old and new buildings.
Its former library on the top of the hill was also an historical place during revolution time, with machine gun nest on the top and subterrean corridors under the hill, according to some tourist guides.
On the west side of the lake, not far away from the hotel, the Hubei Museum showing the artifacts found in the tomb of count Yi is extraordinary! bronze bells, musical stones, brass food containers and jade adornments are on display, plus you can enjoy a live musical with instruments replica. You go back two thousand five hundreds year back in time before the burial of the count. The museum is improving its buildings and the area in front of it.
A birdhouse can also be seen along the road nearby (bird's paradise)
The famous villa of chairman Mao Zedong is located in Zhongshan park and was built in the 80'S, Mao came many times in this modern style occidental architecture building with pool, TV... It really looks like an american style luxury building of the sixties. Everything was frozen in time, furniture, TV sets, the room of the chairman, of his wife, the film projectors..., the carpets are now completely eroded. There are a few photographs of famous international politicians.
The bridge on the lake where oldtimers play flying kites can make nice pictures.
There is also a botanic garden on the other side of the lake, very peaceful
The pagoda Yellow Crane Tower is located on Snake Hill in Wuchang. The view is said to be nice from its top but I will see it next time.

What to do?
I worked a lot during this short stay with very nice young medical students. The building where they are taught is 7 storeys high and has no elevator but all computer facilities for PPT presentations.
A white statue of Zeng Dong Mao welcomes everybody at the entrance of the campus.
The research facilities are large and have state of the art mutualized equipments.
The nursing school is also very well equipped thanks to the help of international charities;
The library is busy with students days and nights. Because of the warmth of the summer, students have small concrete tables under trees, in the middle of the campus.
A new hall for sports is under construction.
Students live on site, in dormitories with internet access. Drying clothes are everywhere on view on windows of the buildings like everywhere in china. They also have concert halls where they can play music at night... at the end of the week, but courses are given on Saturdays and Sundays and at night also!
The University Hospital is nearby, with one big skyscraper, the second one will be built soon.
Local food in the restaurant and the hotel is very tasty and very diverse.
People are very friendly and I am looking forward to come back for the next course.

If you want to visit around
Wuhan is not too far from the Three Gorges dam. It can be reached and visited from there by car or by boat.
and I heard of other lakes nearby with very special crabs...

 More Wuhan Travel Reviews
Comments (2)


Jun 20, 2012 15:46 Reply

Ms.NANCY JING from The U.S. said:

I like the way that you took for spending time on gaining something in you deep mind.

Yes, I like Wuhan, too because people are very nice and easygoing. Food is good but you have to go to right place so that you better find people, who know local better than other.

Every time I go, there is always different feeling and great that is improvement by people.


Dec 5, 2005 20:14 Reply

SZX7107199 said:

East lake is the center of a nice suburb of Hanyang Wuhan where rowers regularly train!
It is not Hanyang, it is Wuchang.
If you want to discover Wuhan from the inside,go to Jianghan Road in Hankou.

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