Tianning Temple, the tallest wooden pagoda in the world!

Things to do in Changzhou

by Heather on 10 December, 2012

When I moved to China, I made a commitment to myself that I would see as much of China as I possibly could while working here. In an effort to keep this promise, I’ve planned biweekly weekends away to popular and some less-than-popular locations. My first weekend away lead me to Changzhou, located less than one hour from Nanjing via the G train or bullet train. While it isn’t Shanghai or Beijing, there are some interesting things to do in Changzhou.

1. Tianning Temple
The Tianning Temple is the tallest wooden pagoda in the world. It is also the tallest wooden structure and the tallest pagoda in the world. It is definitely worth a stop during your trip to Changzhou. After arriving in Changzhou on Friday afternoon, I spotted it on the way to the aviation-themed hotel where I was staying. After checking into the hotel, it was only a short walk before I was admiring the details of the pagoda and snapping pictures from every angle.

This wooden pagoda is over 500 feet (150 meters) tall!

This wooden pagoda is over 500 feet (150 meters) tall!

There were hundreds of stone-carved temples around the wooden pagoda.

There were hundreds of small stone-carved pagodas around the wooden pagoda.

For 30 RMB, you can pay this women to carve your name and birthdate on a fake golden medal. If your name is "Heather", she may write "Heathen" though.

For 30 RMB, you can pay this women to carve your name and birthdate on a fake golden medal. If your name is “Heather”, she may write “Heathen” though. (Yes, she wrote “Heathen” instead of “Heather”.)

2. Red Plum Park
After admiring the beauty of Tianning Temple, it was time to take a look at the Red Plum Park (also called Hongmei Park). Located directly next to each other, the Red Plum Park offers gorgeous views of bridges, gardens, statues, a lake filled with coy fish, and another wooden pagoda. The park also has a large goldfish tank, a small aquarium, a haunted house (which may only be seasonal as I was there in mid-October), and a few small rides.

One of the many bridges in Red Plum Park

One of the many bridges in Red Plum Park

Another wooden pagoda

Another wooden pagoda

I'm taking a picture of you taking a picture of me!

I’m taking a picture of you taking a picture of me!

3. China Dinosaur Land/China Dinosaurs Park/Dinoworld
During my weekend in Changzhou, I spent my entire Saturday at the dinosaur theme ┬ápark (which was referred to as all of the above names in the title due to the various English translations). While dinosaurs aren’t exactly my cup of tea, I do enjoy a good theme park. Against all logic, I decided to spend an entire day testing the safety of a Chinese theme park. I was pleased with the amusement park. One of the rides, Dinoconda, was perhaps the best roller coaster I’ve ever experienced. The other rides are your standard theme park rides. And of course, gift shops and ice cream were at the end of every ride.

Welcome to China Dinosaurs Land!

Welcome to China Dinosaurs Land! (Notice the Halloween decorations.)

I'm not nearly as scary at the tall dinosaurs.

I’m not nearly as scary as the tall dinosaurs.

Another view of Dinosaur Land

Another view of Dinosaur Land

Getting my face painted for Halloween

Getting my face painted for Halloween

More Halloween decorations at the theme park

More Halloween decorations at the theme park

I even got picked up by an elephant!

I even got picked up by an elephant!

4. Hot springs!
After a long, tiring day at the dinosaur theme park, it was off to a relaxing day at the hot springs. After playing the “confused foreigner” card, I was able to use the hot springs with a pair of mesh shorts and a shirt because I didn’t bring my bathing suit for the weekend. (Why would I bring my bathing suit when it was only 60 degrees outside?) It was a little embarrassing as the Chinese woman in the changing room tried explaining that I couldn’t go into the hot spring with my shorts and a bra, then took me out to the foyer with only a towel on to find my shirt. But after twenty minutes of confusion, I was finally off to the hot springs where there were more than ten scented pools with mint, rose, jasmine, and other various flowers. There were also hot tubs, hot stones to lay on, and two pools with fish that ate away the dead skin from your body.

One of the many hot spring pools

One of the many hot spring pools

What do you think?
What did you think of my list of things to do in Changzhou? If you’ve visited Changzhou, what would you add to my list of things to do in Changzhou?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) December 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Whoa, that dinosaur park is crazy — we’ve found a similar one in Beijing only safari themed. We’re living in China now as well, so this is really helpful information for us to tuck away. Thanks for sharing!

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Heather December 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

The dinosaur park was really fun! And I’m not lying when I say the Dinoconda may be the best roller coaster I’ve ever been on (even if I did have to wait about ninety minutes in line) and I’ve been on a lot of roller coasters. The safari-themed park in Beijing sounds fun. What’s it called? China is quite an interesting place. How are you liking it? I’m glad I could provide helpful information. And thanks for reading :)

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Chris December 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I echo Heather’s questions re: theme parks. I’m an utter theme park junkie and would love to visit more of them in China.

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Heather December 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Echo, echo, echo. I’d be happy to visit more theme parks when the weather turns warm again.

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