Nanchang, China was easily my favorite place I visited in the entire country! It is the capital city of Jiangxi Province and it’s name translates to “a prosperous south part of China”. I enjoyed everything there from the amazing food to the cool and fun things to do. So I want to share with you some tips and give you an idea of how to spend 3 days in this lovely city!
Beautiful Nanchang China
How to Get Around in Nanchang China
Walking and taking the subway are the easiest and most popular ways to get around, and wish I had known more about public transit before going to China.
There are bikes to rent and they obviously have their own form of Uber but unless you know Chinese or have the apps it would be very difficult. I was able to get around just using the subway for almost two months. It’s usually super cheap and the stops aren’t usually that far apart so it’s super easy to navigate your way around. Buses are also another option!
Riding the subway is an experience in itself! I’m not sure if you can say you’ve been to China if you haven’t been squished onto a subway by hundreds of Chinese! Even when you think there is no more room on the subway car, they will manage to squeeze more people on.
Places to Stay in Nanchang China
Keep in mind some hotels in China are hard for foreigners to book and stay at. They have a Chinese only policy. But there are lots of hotels to choose from and they are usually cheap. If you can, book a hotel on the river in Nanchang at least for one night. The light shows I will talk about later are spectacular and you will have great views from your hotel!
Here are a few suggestions on places to stay in Nanchang:
Items to have with you
Tissues or Kleenex: Most public bathrooms in China are “squatting toilets” and they very rarely have toilet paper. So bring your own or it could go very badly! Also, if you eat spicy food it could make your nose run so it’s handy to have around.
Hand sanitizer: Sometimes the public bathrooms don’t have soap so it’s nice to be able to clean your hands.
Gum: After a spicy meal, it’s nice to have some gum!
Anti-theft purse: In crowded areas you never know who you’ll bump into. Keep your belongings safe with this great purse that keeps your things secure.
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Breakfast in Nanchang China
For breakfast you can always find a cute little bakery. You can try a pineapple bun, a doughnut, or if you’re brave, their version of breakfast sandwiches. Usually featuring a sausage and some sort of “sweet” bread.
There are also places that make smoothies. They blend fresh fruit and there are lots of different choices to choose from!
If you’re lucky you might find a Mr. Waffle. We ate at the one in the Wanda Plaza near our hotel. The waffles are usually pretty small and a little bit expensive but it’s still a treat and I recommend doing it at least once!
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Tasty Treats in Nanchang
The Chinese people are not really into sweet things. Even at the bakeries it is hard to find anything that is full of sugar like you would find in North America. But there are a few treats that you must try!
- Milk tea – I have had it a few ways, with oats, by itself and with pearls. They are all delicious so you should try all three and then pick your favourite. Mine would definitely have to be the one with oats, so tasty.
- Tanghulu or bingtang hulu – This treat is candied fruits (I had strawberries, Chinese hawthorn, and even a tomato!) on a stick. They are usually bright red in color and delicious.
- Egg waffle – It is literally like a giant waffle and I’ve had it served with ice cream and fresh fruit. Another name I’ve seen it go by is poke cake. I had two in the course of a week, they were that good!
Meals in Nanchang
Hot pot or Chinese fondue is very popular in China. It’s basically a huge metal pot filled with broth in the center of the table. Generally it’s very spicy but you can ask for no spice, or do half with spice and half without. Then you order raw ingredients and add them yourself to the pot to cook. Depending where you go there are lots of options of food! From meats: pork, mutton, beef and steak to lots of vegetables or tofu. Potatoes or tofu are also options. Sometimes, you can order bowls of noodles as a side or order noodles to cook in the pot. You will never leave a hot pot place hungry! It was easily one of my favourite food options.
This is such a fun and delicious meal! You have an electric grill at your table. When you arrive, you order whatever meats, tofu, vegetables or other items they have. Noodles can be ordered as a side. Then, when the food arrives, raw, you cook it yourself as you want. Another meal you won’t leave from feeling hungry!
If you are a fan of fish or seafood, have I got a treat for you! You have to try clams. They are usually very small clams but they are flavoured with butter and ginger or garlic and very tasty! Another delicious option for seafood lovers is to order a whole fish. That’s right, you heard me! You can order a whole fish and they bring it to you, steaming in a insert with a flame underneath. It’s usually spicy but it was such a fun way to eat!
Tofu and vegetables
If you are a vegetarian, there are plenty of tofu options as well as fresh vegetable dishes. I’ve had some pretty amazing noodles in China as well.
Dumplings are very popular in China. They are not the fried ones you might be used to. They are served in a broth sometimes garnished with green onions. The fillings vary from pork and beef and mutton to veggie if you wish. They are so tasty and a must try dish while in Nanchang! We were lucky enough to find a place that made homemade ones on the spot but I don’t think I had any bad dumplings while there.
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Day 1 in Nanchang China: Tengwang Pavilion and the movie theatre
The Tengwang pavilion or pavilion of prince Teng is a must see while in Nanchang! It is a beautiful building that overlooks the river on one side. With has nine floors, five of which are accessible to the public, you’ll get to explore this beautiful building that is full of history. Tengwnag pavilion has been destroyed and rebuilt over ten times in history! There are pretty paintings and outfits and so many artifacts inside this amazing pavilion. You don’t want to miss out on this! There is also a few gift shops inside to buy gifts or souvenirs.
For adults in December and January it is 45 CNY and the rest of the year it is 50 CNY. It is open 8am to 6pm. To get there, take the subway/metro line directly or the following buses: 26, 38, 39, 52, 170 or 228.
On my trip to China, in Nanchang, I went to see Frozen 2 in the theatres! The 3D glasses they give you are huge! The popcorn is more sweet than salty but it was fun to try and I liked it. The movie was in English with Chinese subtitles so if you’re lucky enough to find a movie playing in English, go for it!
Day 2 in Nanchang China: Bayi Square and Autumn Water Square/Qiushui square
Bayi Square is a very cool attraction that’s completely free! Be prepared, there are usually lots of people here. The area around here is fun to wander and see the little shops if you’re wanting to buy souvenirs.
Then in the late afternoon/evening make your way down to Qiushui square/Autumn Water Square. Here there are some rides, food, and of course the famous water fountain and light shows! You can grab some food and stroll along the water but as it gets dark make sure you grab a “seat” aka spot near the water fountains because it fills up fast. After the thirty minute water/light show there is also a light show on the river and many of the buildings on the other side of the river light up with color!
Day 3 in Nanchang China: Shopping
Wanda Plazas are popular in China. There are at least 2 in Nanchang. Wanda Plaza-Honggutan is the name of one of the shopping malls. It has a lot of places to eat and some places are outdoors like a strip mall. Nanchang Wanda Mall is all indoors and the outside looks like blue and white porcelain. It is also next to an amusement park you could check out if that’s something that interests you. We walked around outside and there is lots to see there for free. In order to go inside and ride the rides, you have to pay.
Malls in China are very cool, usually with lots of fun and bright displays of things. I really enjoyed just wandering around seeing what they had.
I also recommend if you have time to wander into a grocery store. It’s fun to see the different things they have and it’s always cool to see something that’s familiar too. They often have lots of dried sea creatures and fish, different fruits (some of them are very expensive!) and even raw chicken feet for sale!
About the Author
Catherine is definitely a wandering foodie with a love of both food and travel! Want to see more of what she’s up to? Follow her on Instagram @your_wandering_foodie or check out her blog https://yourwanderingfoodie.com/ where she shares not only her travels but recipes she loves! She enjoys meeting new people and sharing adventures and the love of food, so don’t hesitate to reach out!