From theme parks to laid-back days in extensive gardens, the city of Changzhou offers fun and relaxation for people of all ages, and is centrally located between Nanjing and Suzhou, within easy reach of Jiangsu’s most visited cities
With a recorded history of more than 2,500 years, the site that became Changzhou was a place of great importance during China’s Spring and Autumn period (770 BC- 476 BC). It’s believed Sun Tzu wrote his famous tome, The Art of War, while residing in the area. Gain an insight into this period by seeing Yancheng Chunqiu Land. You’ll get an overview of the era’s main events with reproductions of traditional homes and shops.
Bizarrely, there is also a dinosaur theme park, and people are drawn to the 60-hectare site that opened 15 years ago. At the entrance, you’ll see a large number of restaurants, each with its own individual take on the prehistoric theme, illuminated by the strange sight of pterodactyl-shaped streetlights. Once inside, there is no shortage of outrageously clad dinosaurs in all sorts of costumes, from military-style T-Rexes to an Arabian brontosaurus. You can also take a ride on one of the longest rollercoasters in Asia. Surprisingly, the park does have a serious side, as it houses 50 dinosaur fossils and an impressive display that explains the history of the creatures and their eventual extinction.
You’ll be certain to take a few Facebook-worthy snaps here and a sense of fun is needed to enjoy the park to its fullest.
Away from the theme parks, Hong Mei Park in the centre of the city has some glorious gardens and you’ll get to see locals busying about their daily lives. The residents of Changzhou come here to practise tai chi, enjoy a leisurely walk or simply sit and enjoy a sunny day.
A short walk from here is Tianning Temple, which has existed for centuries but only recently acquired its own pagoda. In 2005, a Ming dynasty-style structure was built, in a style that’s in keeping with the wider aesthetic of the area. Inside, you’ll find a range of interesting artworks from all over China. On the eleventh floor, there is a large collection of historical artefacts, while on the twelfth floor you’ll be treated to a unique vantage point of the city from its viewing platform.
Local specialities: Handicrafts such as double-edged, fine-toothed combs and bamboo carvings are widely available
Travel: Fast trains from Changzhou reach Nanjing and Shanghai in around one hour