Changzhou (常州; Chángzhōu) is a city in Jiangsu.
Settlement here stretches back to at least the Spring and Autumn period (770-426 BC) when Yancheng, a city surrounded by three concentric moats was established.
Changzhou has been visited by many people over the years including Song dynasty poet DongPo, Emperor QianLong, and the Japanese Army on their way to destroy Nanjing.
Changzhou has two railway stations though they are conveniently adjacent to one another. The new station faces north and serves the high speed G-trains and some of the slightly slower D-trains that run between Shanghai and Nanjing. The older south facing station handles the long distance T and K trains and the odd D train. The two stations are connected by an underground walkway.
The slower and lower class T- and K- services from other provinces stop at Changzhou but tickets are only available for destinations outside of Jiangsu.
The new station has touchscreen ticket machines with English menus to buy tickets G and D train. A ticket to Shanghai on the G train costs ¥80 for second class and ¥125 for business class. The D train is ¥51 for second class and ¥61 for business class
Buying tickets for the long distance T or K services have to be bought from the ticket windows in the building on the far right of the entrance. There aren't any ticket machines but most clerks can speak at least simple English or will find someone who does. For services other than the high-speed trains, it's wise to book outbound tickets a few days in advance as they fill up quickly, especially during public holidays.
The northern bus station on Xinmen Lu (almost opposite the train station) has frequent services to Wuxi, Zhangjiagang, Suzhou (¥34, 2hrs), yixing ¥21 and Kunshan.
There are flights in and out of Changzhou to over 10 cities.
The cities main attractions are within a walkable radius of the train station, with the outlying spots on the main bus routes.
The Changzhou bus network fleet comprises of speedy modern buses and a bunch lumbering rattlers. The BRT bus network, operating in lieu of a subway, features frequent services of large shiny buses that rapidly traverse mainly inner city routes stopping at enclosed BRT stations located in the centre of the main thoroughfares and at the curbside on smaller roads. All BRT bus numbers are prefixed with a B, followed by the route number. Service frequency is almost excessive, to the point where it's not uncommon to see two or three same numbered buses following each other caterpillar style with only a few passengers on each.
The services start and terminate conveniently near the train station. Fares for all buses are ¥1, regardless of distance.
A double-decker tourist bus numbered Y1 can be seen about town but locals are somewhat secretive about its routes and timetable.
Metered taxis charge ¥9 for the first 4km and then ¥2.9 for every additional kilometre.
Sesame Bing – A local speciality is a small round cake of flaky pastry studded with sesame seeds. Fillings between the crunchy layers of pasty have two flavours – salty and sweet. The salty has a thin layer of preserved vegetable while the sweet has a globular core of sugar syrup. Patience is key to eating the sugary one, especially if bought hot off the stove, as a too hasty bite will send a wave of tongue-scaldingly hot liquid squirting out onto both your mouth and fingers.
Some people bemoan the lack of bar scene here, compared with Wuxi or Shanghai. Nonetheless there are a couple of decent joints to drown your sorrows in.
Most of the accommodation in Changzhou is geared toward business travellers, so upmarket international style hotels are abundant but decent budget options are limited.