How DJ Airmiles created her own cultural revolution in China and found a rave behind a fridge
| 2nd October 2019
My DJ residency in China is coming to an epic end. I’ve been here nearly six months now, representing We Run The World Female DJ agency, and I wanted to share with you the top five things I’ve loved about living in the city of Changsha!
THE NICCOLO HOTEL
I’ve been living like a rockstar, minus throwing the TV out the window, in the Niccolo Hotel located in the IFS which is the 11th tallest building in the world and is bang smack in the middle of the city of Changsha.
This hotel only open last year and has soon become the slickest hotel in town. Hosting 241 top notch suites, the likes of worldwide movie producers, DJ’s, musicians, journalists and China’s finest business men and women come here each week to chill, while Bar 93 on the top floor (which is the 93rd storey) is a favourite hotspot for the movers and shakers of Changsha to enjoy a few cocktails whilst listening to international musicians like the Brazilian beauties; Banda Certa, plus I hear there’s been a pretty shit hot DJ from the UK playing there the last six months haha!
Locals also like to dine in the Niccolo Kitchen which has one of the best views across the city, where diners can enjoy a traditional Chinese menu as well as international dishes from Italian pizzas to American-style burgers.
But my favourite floor to hangout is the sixth floor, where the fully equipped gym is with studios for yoga, a spa for massages and the most amazing pool where you’re literally swimming above the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s very zen!
AND you don’t even need to leave the hotel to shop because there’s a shopping mall on the fourth floor with everything you need from Dolce & Gabbana to H&M, a food court where you can try the most fabulous local dishes whilst watching the ice hockey over the ice-rink, plus there’s an outdoor sculpture garden to grab yourself a beer or two after a hardcore afternoon of shopping! And yes, I did find myself not stepping outside the hotel for a good few or 10 days straight.
For more information about the Niccolo Hotel in Changsha and books go to: www.niccolohotels.com
There’s this brilliant long and narrow island in the Xiangjiang River in the middle of the city called Orange Island.
Since ancient times, Orange Island has been known as the producer of high-quality oranges. Tourist attractions in the park include the Poem Tablet, Ode to Oranges Pavilion and a square of sculptures named ‘Who Dominates the Rise and Fall’.
But the main attraction is the statue of Chairman Mao Zedong who was the legendary father of Chinese and was from Changsha. Chairman Mao, as he is better known in the west, led his country’s communist revolution and is venerated by many here.
Less politically, there is a plain beach by the side of the island, which is a natural swimming place for visitors in summer.
And in true VIVA style, at the rear of Orange Island is a natural swimming pool with clear water and white sands where I found myself one afternoon at a pool party.
Orange Island is only two stops away on the underground train from the Niccolo hotel, so really easy to get to.
Ok so you should know by now I like to party, so of course I scoped out the local nightlife quite quickly.
There is a famous party strip in Changsha called the Jiefang Xi Road with some quirky little bars on, one of my faves is called Skools. From the outside it’s a shop and to get to the bar you walk through a fridge door, they play some really good old skool hip-hop and RnB, the vibes pretty cool and laid back, well until VIVA Sammy B decided to dance on top of the bar!
But my local hangout joint this trip has been Supre Monkey, which only actually open its doors three months into my stay here. The Chinese LOVE their EDM music and this place is reppin’ the hardcore beats most nights. Whilst I’ve been in Changsha, top 100 DJs such as Timmy Trumpet, KSHMR and DANNIC have graced the decks playing to thousands of Changsha’s finest ravers into the early hours of the morning.
I managed to grab a chat with DANNIC when he was in town, you can read his interview HERE.
For all you heavy ravers Super Monkey is a must visit!
Oh my god girls and boys the shopping is insane over here! I was supposed to be saving my wages for heading back to Bali but having a slight addiction to buying clothes I haven’t saved half as much as I was supposed to.
As I mention before there is the IFS shopping mall which is in the same building as the Niccolo hotel, but this is quite expensive hosting the high-end designer brands, ideal if you’ve got the cash go splash.
The main high street shopping strip is literally five minutes’ walk from the Niccolo Hotel and there’s some super cool quirky shopping, at very reasonable prices. There’s a mixture of Chinese brands and international brands on the high street, a lot of sportswear, some of it is fake but good fake, and China does love a good slogan T-shirt.
For gadgets and electronic goods, China is the place. Mobile phones and laptops are a lot cheaper here. Like an idiot I lost my mobile phone in Oz the night before I got here. I had to buy one in China and managed to bag myself a bargain iPhone S for £120, plus I scored a pair of AKG headphones for £45 priced in the UK at £90.
So, bring a wad of cash because you’re going to need it with all this shopping temptation.
ZHANGJIAJIE NATIONAL FOREST PARK
These are not actually in Changsha, but I absolutely had to give them a mention as it was one of the most amazing places, I have experienced on my travels so far. Zhangjiajie is an hour’s flight away from Changsha and is so worth the trip.
The Zhangjiajie national forest park is where Avatar was filmed, so if you’ve seen the film you will have an idea of how magical these mountains are, my pictures don’t do it justice.
I was told you need at least three days to explore the national park, but I only had two to squeeze in as much as possible.
Sammy B (the new boss of VIVA) much to my delight joined me on this adventure. We booked this really cute chalet style hotel based in the National Park called the Tongfu Inn which you can find on Booking.com, it worked out at £35 for 2 nights, a double room each with breakfast, what an absolute bargain!
Carol the host was just amazing she spoke really good English and helped book all our tickets for the mountains, (you need to book these in advance) plus arranged for a driver to pick us up from the airport and take us on our adventures!
Over the two days we explored; the Tianmen Mountains, you ride the longest cable car in the world to the top of these, walked the stairway to heaven, shit ourselves walking over the glass bridge, took zip lines and slides through the National Forest Park and sailed on traditional Chinese boats down the Grand Canyon, it was truly the most magical experience and one I will never forget.
I’ve found this good website for more information about the Zhangjiajie national forest park CLICK HERE.
So, as you can see from all the above, I’ve had a pretty good six months living here in China and will miss the amazing city of Changsha and all the people in it.
Next stop is back to my little paradise of Bali, I’ll catch you next month with a #DJAirMiles Bali update!
PS. Here’s a few Chinese tips for you…
- Download a VPN before you get here or you’ll not be able to use any social media, Google or UK websites.
- You can’t use English bank or credit cards in shops, restaurants, bars etc, so make sure you exchange a load of cash, the currency is Renminbi, but you can use your cards to draw money out at bank cash machines.
- Hardly anyone speaks English outside the hotel so brush up on some Chinese you’re going to need it.
- Carry water at all times as the local food is extremely spicy.
- Download an app called WeChat, it’s how everyone in China communicates, it’s a cross between Facebook and Whats App.
SOME MORE SNAPPY WHAPPYS OF MY CHINA ADVENTURES –
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