Published: 11:18, June 17, 2024
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Changsha's rise as a favorite for Hong Kong explorers
By Zou Shuo in Changsha
This aerial photo taken on Jan. 20, 2023 shows people having fun on a pedestrian street in Changsha, central China's Hunan province. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Suppose one spots someone in Changsha, Hunan province, speaking Mandarin with a Cantonese accent and a touch of English and paying in cash. In that case, they are likely from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

More Hong Kong residents have flocked to Changsha to travel as they have been captivated by its delicious and cheap food and the convenience of the high-speed train, which has reduced travel time to 3 hours and 10 minutes. They are also lured by the city's wide range of recreational activities with budget-friendly options.

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Hong Kong residents have flooded the social media platform Xiaohongshu with travel guide posts about Changsha.

The restart of the high-speed trains that connect Hong Kong to Beijing, Changsha, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan and other cities on April 1, 2023, allows Hong Kong residents to travel to mainland cities more conveniently.

Hong Kong tourists come for the renowned Hunan cuisine snacks, such as stinky tofu, known for its spicy and robust flavors, and the local milk tea brand Chayan Yuese.

The city also boasts a vibrant nightlife, with bars, street food and live houses that are attractive to Hong Kong travelers.

Apart from Hong Kong travelers, Changsha has been a popular travel destination for people across the country.

According to big data analysis, during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival from June 8 to 10, the city received more than 3.91 million tourists, with tourism revenue reaching more than 3.2 billion yuan ($441 million).

Chow Ki-yan, 26, has traveled to Changsha three times. She has visited all the famous tourist attractions, such as the Yuelu Mountain and Orange Isle, and eaten all kinds of local food, such as little crawfish and stinky tofu.

"I love Changsha very much as it is a very vibrant city with all kinds of nightlife, perfect for young people," she said.

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"You can still find things to do and food to eat at 3 am and you can also slow down and just enjoy the beautiful views of the city."

She said she spotted numerous Hong Kong residents while queuing up for the stinky tofu.

Ou Hao-lin, 38, also traveled to Changsha for a business trip in March and found the city young and lively. He was impressed by the stylish decorations of the city's shopping centers, which are perfect for social media posts.

He was also impressed by the city's spicy food, which was readily available on the high-speed train.