By Mohd Shahril Fawzy on August 2, 2017
Famed as the ‘Chicago of Asia’ due to its role as central China’s major transportation hub and communication centre, Wuhan stands as the capital city of Hubei Province and blessed with abundance of cultural elements, ancient tales and natural wonders. Recently, Gaya Travel team, together with several selected Malaysian media members, were privileged to experience AirAsia X’s inaugural flight to Wuhan on 22 March 2017 to discover what this sprawling city has to offer. The journey made us realise that Wuhan is undoubtedly a destination that deserves more attention from travellers.
The introduction of AirAsia X’s seventh destination in China, after Changsha, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Chongqing, clearly indicates that the airline has achieved another milestone. According to AirAsia X’s CEO, Benyamin Ismail, the country holds strong market demands and this new connection could potentially enhance the airline’s presence in China and boost tourists’ arrivals in both Malaysia and China.
Good to know: Wuhan is also dubbed as “The City of a Hundred Lakes” since it does have more than 100 lakes. The city is also where China’s two famous rivers, Yangtze and Hanjiang, meet.
AirAsia X flies daily between Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2) and Wuhan (Wuhan Tianhe International Airport). The schedule is as below:
|D7 878||KUL||WUH||18:10 hrs||23:20 hrs|
|D7 879||WUH||KUL||00:35 hrs||05:35 hrs|
Located between the inner and middle rings of Wuhan, East Lake Scenic Area is the city’s famous lake, covering an area of 88 square kilometres, making it the largest lake within a city in China. The scenic area itself consists of various scenic sub-spots including Ting Tao (where travellers should check out the Xingyinge Pavilion and Qu Yuan Memorial Hall), Mo Shan (the botanic gardens to see stunning cherry and lotus flowers), Luo Yan (popular site for romantic photoshoots) and Chui Di (ideal for mountaineering or picnicking). If time permits, travellers may opt to explore all four areas as each one of them has unique offerings and highlights. On top of that, there is also Botanical Viewing Garden where 360 kinds of plants are nursed with flowers blooming all year-round.
Tip: Visit this area during spring (between March and April) to witness the area’s beautiful landscape and colourful trees. Be sure to also catch the festivals held around the lake scenic area such as the Lantern Show, Cherry Blossom Festival, Lotus Flowers Festival and Chu Cultural Festival. To save time, travellers should opt for a paid buggy service or rent a bike to explore more of the area.
GPS: 30.544158, 114.425012 (Wuhan Botanical Garden)
Some say that travelling is even more valuable when we learn and understand the history of the destination – visiting museums is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the destination’s past. Travellers may immerse themselves in some of China’s ancient tales at Hubei Provincial Museum, a historical spot located in the Wuchang District. It is the only provincial museum that comprehensively exhibits huge amount of remarkable historic and cultural relics and artefacts. Travellers will get the opportunity to feast their eyes on over 200,000 cultural relics that were discovered in the province, which 16 of those are considered as national treasures. The centrepiece of this museum is the exhibition of the Sword of Goujian, which was found back in 1965 in Hubei and become famous due to its unusual sharpness. The legendary sword marks the tomb of one of China’s notable figures, Marquis Yi of Zeng together with his personal items, including the world’s largest musical instrument called bianzhong, a set of 65 double-tone bronze bells.
Opening hours: Opens from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m (Tuesday to Sunday and closed every Monday except)
GPS: 30.561626, 114.365620
Perched atop Snake Hill and standing as Wuhan’s iconic landmark, Yellow Crane Tower attracts local and foreign travellers as one of the four great towers in China due to its cultural significance. Based on historical records, this tower was originally built in 223 A.D. for military purposes and underwent various rebuilding processes after being ruined many times during different dynasties. The present tower was completed in 1985. With the development of the city, Yellow Crane Tower has become the city’s main tourist attraction. Every floor in the tower exhibits different themes and stories such as local legends on the first floor and poems praising the tower in different dynasties on the third floor. Meanwhile, the top floor offers stunning panorama of the Yangtze River and Wuhan city.
Tip: Best time to visit is in spring and autumn, whereby visitors will be treated to a colourful and vibrant landscape views from the top floor.
Opening hours: 7.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (April 1st to October 31st) and 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (November 1st to March 31st).
GPS: 30.544882, 114.302503
Night cruise is a relaxing activity to do after spending your day exploring Wuhan. This night cruise grants travellers the opportunity to sit on the luxurious boat while enjoying the cool river breeze and be awed by the city’s pulsating view along Asia’s longest river, Yangtze. The most popular time to do this cruise is during spring and summer due to the more pleasant weather and breathtaking view. This activity can be booked from trusted local tour operators in Wuhan through walk-in or online.
Tip: If you come during end of March, it is advisable to wear warm attire because it can get pretty cold during the night.
Wuhan has more than just ancient histories and wonderful sceneries. Travellers should also jump into a gastronomic adventure when being in the city since it offers various local cuisine that represent China’s diverse collection of flavours. As a matter of fact, Wuhan is a haven for spicy food lovers.
When visiting the East Lake Scenic Area, be sure to dine at Zui Xiang Long (GPS: 30.543281, 114.413690). This restaurant has a wonderful setting where diners are able to enjoy meals in a dining pavilion positioned above water filled with koi (brocade carp) and lotus flowers. Must-try: Shrimp and lotus cooked in creamy sauce, noodle cracker served with local vegetable and salty sauce, and grilled Mandarin fish cooked with chili and chickpeas.
To satisfy your craving over spicy treats, head to Yuan Lao Si Hot Pot and try their hot pot menu and eat like a local. Must-try: The delectable green tea pancake and sizzling hot pot that consists of ingredients such as seafood, meats, local sauces and herbs.
For dinner, travellers are recommended to try Bali Lobster (GPS: 30.592392, 114.267277). It is one of the famous dining venues along the bustling XueSong Road. This restaurant normally receives large number of diners. Travellers must understand that they might need to wait at least 15 minutes to be seated, especially during summer, which is the peak season. Must-try: Spicy crayfish (definitely the best) and re gan mian (Wuhan hot-dry noodle served with tasty sesame sauce).
Gaya Travel Magazine expresses its heartfelt gratitude to AirAsia X for the opportunity to experience Wuhan. Browse www.airasia.com to find out more about their destinations and latest offers.