You can say a lot of negative things about Wuhan’s pollution, traffic congestion, and weather but when it comes to street snack food it ranks up there with the best. The crown jewel of the Wuhan street snack food has to be at Hu Bu Xiang Snack Street. This little street, the length of half a standard block and the width of two people at times, is all part of the tourist experience of Wuhan and will probably be featured in any travel writing about the city. I figure Wuhan only offers about one, maybe two days worth of standard tourist excitement and this is a perennial destination. Because of its central location, transportation options, proximity to the Three Gorges area and lack of most things interesting, Wuhan is basically a pit-stop for most travelers. If Anthony Bordain was to film an episode of Layover here he would basically spend his first morning by walking up to view Yellow Crane Tower from the street (no real reason to pay admission and go inside) so the video crew could grab their b-roll, walk a few meters to the famous Hu Bu Xiang snack street for an assortment of goodies, spend the day at Wuhan University or East Lake (China’s largest urban lake), and take in a music show at Vox followed by more street food at a night market and more drinks at ex-pat / local hangout Wuhan Prison. You could consume the next 24-hours basically by sleeping in and trying to take a bus from one side of the city to the other, which I’ve been told could take upwards of six hours.
Let’s not get hung up on the faults of Wuhan, and instead partake in the greasy goodness it has to offer. Anybody will tell you Wuhan is known for its breakfast street food, and in my opinion Hu Bu Xiang is the epicenter of the magic. Yes there are plenty of fantastic noodle and re-gan mian (hot dry noodle) shops all over town. But, even if locals say Hu Bu is not what it used to be, there is no better collection of street food energy in Wuhan than this little strip just east of the Yangtze River. They say it’s breakfast food but go there anytime during the day and you will not be disappointed.
Some snaps from my last visit.
Spent some time in Shenzhen over the Chinese New Year and was intrigued about these amusement parks featuring miniatures from all over the world. There are two major parks featuring these minis: Windows of the World showcasing famous icons from around the globe and Splendid Village highlighting Chinese landmarks. The original plan was to see Windows of the World but upon arrival I was more interested in China showing China than randoms from all over. And to see both is not too difficult, there is a monorail joining the two, plus other touristy places I declines to visit.
Splendid Village is basically split into two areas: on the left are the minis and adjacent is China Folk Culture Village. The Folk Village is a maze of domiciles and local living environments reproduced to reflect the many ethnic groups of China. Most of the place was a ghost town, especially the Folk Village, as everyone was preparing for the Chinese New Year the following day. The lack of people makes it easier to take the photos I wanted and is one of the reasons I like to visit Chinese Tourist attractions over the Chinese New Year. Below are some snaps from the visit.
For more photos visit here.
A popular route for Wuhan expats replenishing their visa is the high-speed train from Wuhan to Guangzhou, bus transfer to Shenzhen, and walk across the border to Hong Kong. Last Chinese New Year was spent up north (Beijing and Harbin), this year I took my second trip south to Shenzhen/Hong Kong.
The high-speed train process is pretty easy and I would say a much better travel experience than any modern day commercial air service can provide. You arrive at the station just a half hour till boarding (buy you 250 RMB ticket in advance or at the station if it is not a heavy travel day). Yes that is about $40 for the four hour 625 mile trip. There is no major security line, no baggage fees (actually you get to keep all you bags with you, and you can bring on all the water and/or cup noodle (hot water available on the train) you want. The ride is smooth and scenic. The only complaints anyone could have is the mass crowding to get onto the train (typical of any Chinese mainland transportation) or the strange smells from others food choices.
If one is continuing on to Hong Kong from Guangzhou all you need to do is take a 75 RMB train or 50 RMB ($8) bus to Shenzhen. The bus takes about one hour but has been very empty both times I’ve taken this option. Once in Shenzhen, depending where you are, just take the subway to one of the border crossing and walk on over to Hong Kong. Entry points take around one half hour to cross (depending on traffic that day) and another half hour subway ride into Kowloon or Causeway Bay.
Here are some quick snaps (some from my phone) of the high-speed train ride.