In a nutshell
Hefei city is the capital of Anhui province and is located in the centre of the province, to the north of the Yangtze River and south of the Huaihe River.
Why You Should Visit Hefei
Hefei is the best provincial location to come and learn about the culture and traditions of the people of Anhui. It is the major transportation hub for the province and a key tourist destination. There is tasty food, a particularly lively nightlife and some interesting local historical attractions. It is easy to travel throughout the province and beyond due to good transportation links through road, rail and air.
The Chao Lake is one of China’s five biggest freshwater lakes, it has the attractions of Zhongmiao Temple at its northern end and Sanhe Ancient Town is on the southern shore. Inside the city you can visit the memorial temple to a local dignitary Lord Bao and then there is the historical information you can learn with a visit to the Anhui Museum.
When is the Best Time to Visit Hefei?
Hefei has four distinct seasons, with an annual average temperature of around 15C to 16C. The highest recorded summer temperature is 38C (averages are around 28C), the lowest winter temperature was -21C, while the winter average is around -10C. Winters are too cold and some attractions may not be open. Spring is quite warm particularly late march and April but it is also a time of heavy rain. The summer is hot, although not as hot as many Chinese cities, but again it is a time of lots of rain. The autumn from late August until the end of October is the best time to visit Hefei, the temperatures are pleasant and it is a time with the least rainfall.
Where to Stay?
There are more than 1000 hotels to be found across the city to suit all budgets. There are only a few hostels, with just one international hostel listed and dorm beds are available from CNY60 per night, some Chinese style hostels offer double rooms for less than CNY100 per night. There are lots of three and four star hotels available, particularly in the south of the city or in the city centre with rooms costing from CNY200 per night. Hefei has a good selection of five star hotels with international hotels costing in excess of CNY500 per night, with suites available for more than CNY1000 each night.
Where and What to Eat
Anhui cuisine is one of the eight famous traditional cuisines of China. You might like to try Luzhou Roast Duck, Hefei’s very own alternative to the more famous Beijing Duck. Another popular local dish is Lord Bao’s Fish. There is lots of street food, a local favourite snack is crayfish, delicious when eat outside with a few beers to wash it down. Expect to pay CNY20-30 for a serving suitable for 3 or 4 people.
How to Get Around Hefei
Hefei’s metro system is still in its first stages of completion. The north/south line one opened in December 2016, with line 2 running in an east/west direction opened in 2017. A third line is expected to be open by 2020 and a further 12 lines and 3 tram lines are than planned to be running by 2030. The metro is the easiest way to get around the city with information readily available in English. As more lines become available this will make getting about the city much easier and faster.
Hefei has more than 100 bus routes operating within the city; most routes begin operating around 6am and continue until the evening. Some routes stop around 8pm while others continue until 11pm. Buses cost CNY1-2, and there are also some tourist buses operating to scenic spots and the major attractions. Hefei also currently has 4 Bus Rapid Transit routes operating to various key areas of the city’s suburbs.
Taxis in Hefei cost CNY8 or CNY9 for the first 2.5km depending on the engine size of the car. If your journey is greater than 2.5km it will cost around CNY1.5 for each additional km up to 15km. if your journey is greater than 15km it is best to negotiate a price before you begin your journey. The cost of taxis between 11pm and 5am increases by up to 20%.
How to Get To and From Hefei
Hefei’s Xinqiao International Airport is located 32km from the city centre and opened in 2013. It has flights to and from most of the major cities in China. Its international destinations include Seoul in South Korea, Osaka in Japan as well as Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand. You can fly from Guangzhou to Hefei in 1 hour and 55 minutes costing from CNY1260. A flight from Chengdu takes 2 hours and 30 minutes costing from CNY1160, while a flight from Kunming will take 2 hours and 35 minutes and the cheapest flight is CNY2220.
There are four shuttle bus services that operate from the airport to the city centre, they begin at 6am and run until 8.30pm and cost CNY25. A taxi from the airport into the city will cost around CNY120 and you will be expected to pay the CNY10 toll fee on the expressway, it takes around 45 minutes to get into the city by taxi.
Hefei has five long distance bus stations, three of them operate to cities in other provinces including to and from Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Nanjing. Anhui Provincial Bus Station operates to cities across Anhui province including to Mount Huangshan in the south of Anhui. Xinya Bus Station operates to some of the smaller cities close to Hefei including Sanya Ancient Town.
There are three railway stations in Hefei, the West Station deals only with local trains to neighbouring small cities. Hefei Station handles both fast high speed and ordinary trains. At Hefei South Station the only trains are high speed, you can get a train to Mount Huangshan in just 80 minutes, a second class seat costs CNY140.50. A high speed train to Shanghai will take 3 hours and costs CNY569 for a second class seat while a similar service to Hangzhou takes 2 hours 30 minutes and a second class seat will cost CNY277. A slower train to Hangzhou takes 6 hours and a hard sleeper costs CNY122.50. A second class seat on a high speed train from Beijing costs CNY427.50 and takes almost 5 hours, while a slower train takes 10 hours or more and a hard sleeper costs CNY261.50.
Is it Safe in Hefei?
Hefei is extremely safe for foreigners, there is a small ex-pat community in the city and they are integrated well into their surroundings and have no problems. Petty crime such as pick pocketing may occur on the bus or at the bus or train stations where there are large crowds. Keep your valuables safely hidden away out of sight and you will not have any problems.
Like any city in China you have to be very aware when crossing the road. Even when you have a green crossing signal be vigilante, drivers are notorious for ignoring red lights and will still expect you to get out of their way, even when you have priority.
Should you require medical attention while you are in Hefei you can be treated at Matilda International Hospital, CPC Hi-Tech Hospital on Changjiang West Road or try the International Travel Health Centre on Wuhu Road. They will not be able to treat you but can give advice on where you can go for treatment.