Changde is a 'prefecture level city,' which is to say not really a city but a large political designation; the next size below a 'province' and one size above 'county.' It is one of 13 such designations in Hunan province.
Changde city proper, with a population of 1,232,182 (according to the 2010 census), is the largest city in the prefecture level city of Changde (which has a total population of 6 million).
Changde city proper is made up of two districts, Wuling District (武陵区) and Dingcheng District (鼎城区).
National Highways 207 and 319 run through the city.
Changde Airport (常德机场; Chángdé Jīchǎng). This airport has flights from Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, and Shanghai.
Changde Train Station (常德火车站; Chángdé Huǒchēzhàn). This station lies between Zhangjiajie and Changsha on an eastwest line. It is possible to travel from nearly anywhere on China's extensive rail network to Changde, but from farther destinations (Beijing, for example) it would take 24+ hours on the train.
Changde's rail station
The Central Bus Station (中站; Zhōngzhàn). This station has buses hourly to/from Changsha, Shimen, and a host of other destinations.
The North Bus Station (北站; Běizhàn). This station has buses to/from Zhangjiajie, Cili, and other destinations.
Liuye Lake Bus Station (柳叶湖站; Liǔyèhúzhàn). This station has buses to/from Yueyang, Huarong, and other destinations.
The South Bus Station (南站; Nánzhàn). This station has buses to/from the Peach Flower Garden and other destinations.
Buses run regularly throughout the city on set routes. (¥1; ¥1.5 with a/c)
Taxis are cheap and plentiful (¥5 is the starting cost). Prices can be negotiated in advance for lengthier rides.
The Poem Wall. Stretching for miles along the north bank of the river, this wall of poetry is beautiful even for those who can not read the characters. The wall is flanked by a riverside park and makes for a great place to walk and people watch. For a different perspective, stop by at night when the multicolored lights are on.Free.
A night time stroll along the top of Changde's poem wall.
Buxingjie (Walking Street). This is the most happening part of town and a good place to shop for the most fashionable attire that Changde has to offer. Western food at both the east and west ends.
Peach Flower Garden (桃花源; Táohuāyuán), (you can catch a bus here from the South Bus Station (南站; Nánzhàn)). This scenic garden was immortalized in Chinese poetry.¥69 in the off season, ¥79 otherwise.
Bin Lake Park (滨湖公园; Bin1 Hu2 Gong1 Yuan2), (directly east of Changde Number 1 Middle School's main gate). This lakeside park is not only a great place to walk, but there is also a selection of carnival rides and games. From bumper cars to a miniature roller coaster to paddle boats, there are attractions here for both the young and the young at heart.Free to enter; prices of rides and games vary.
South of the Bridge Marketplace (桥南市场; Qiáonán Shìchǎng). This massive marketplace has the cheapest prices in Changde on a huge variety of goods. Clothing, shoes, appliances, sporting equipment, toys, stationary, and countless other items are sold here. Be sure to bargain for the best deals.
Changde Beef Noodles (常德牛肉粉; Chángdé Niúròufěn). Changde is famous for their rice noodles with beef. These can be found at most local restaurants, but you can find some of the best at the east end of walking street or outside the main gate at Number 1 Middle School (常德市一中）.
Japanese Food, (one block east of the walking street). Japanese noodle and sushi restaurant located on the first floor of the Better Life shopping complex. The noodles are especially good.¥30-50 for a bowl of noodles.
KFC, (one block east of walking street, on the west end of walking street, near the North Bus Station (北站), or at RT-Mar). KFC is more popular in China than it is in its country of origin and Changde is no exception. For some deep fried American fast food, look for the Colonel. KFC is quite expensive compared to local fare, so budget accordingly.Min. ¥25 for a main.