Arriving at Wuhan, China before the coronavirus

After a long flight, the plane landed in Wuhan, China. If you asked me about a month ago that I would be going to China, I probably won’t have believed you. Well, I had to believe it because I was here. In the land of the dragons, kung fu and panda bears.

Southern China airlines screen letting us know we are near Wuhan photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

For those who don’t know, if you are coming from certain countries you can go to China through Wuhan’s international airport visa free. You get 144 hours to travel around all of China. Which equals about 6 days of time. The crazy thing is that Wuhan is just a train ride away from almost all the major Chinese cities. So this is a great way to get into China visa free (as of 2019, hopefully it doesn’t change). If you want to see if your country applies for the 144 hours entry click here. Definitely, visit after the virus dies down.

Advertisement for gold at the Wuhan Airport photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

After going through customs, my first impression of China is it’s not as communist as I thought. Actually, the economy is very capitalist. They love capitalism so much that they do not provide free toilet paper in public bathrooms. You have to buy it in a vending machine. Nor do they have the water hose. I had to learn the hard way. Which is a topic for another story. Still, China is a lot nicer than I expected. Compared to Cuba, which runs on a pure Communist system.

Once you get out the Wuhan Airport you see this sign photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Finally, I completely got out of the airport. I didn’t really had any plans to visit China. So everything was last minute on this trip. I just wanted to make sure I get to see the Yellow Crane Tower. Everybody kept telling me about it, even Google. A notification came on my phone suggesting I should visit the tower. Google knows everything…. Had to ask one of the Wuhan subway workers for directions. She didn’t speak English and I had no idea how to even read mandarin. So, we spoke through google translate. Through my surprise, it actually worked. I was having a full blown conversation with someone who doesn’t speak any of the languages I spoke. Yay, thank you technology.

Wuhan Subway train photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Getting tickets on at the ticket machine was easy. They translate everything in English. When I got on the train, I was surprised to see how advance China is. You hear it in the news; yet, seeing it in person is another experience. Their subway system is a lot more advanced than most cities in the USA. I got a few looks from the locals. It wasn’t of hate like you get in other countries. It was more of curiosity. They don’t get much tourists that look like me in this part of China. I must had looked like a rare limited edition Pokemon card to the people of Wuhan. Had a little girl wanting to take a photo with me. She got shy and the mother just smiled. The mother thanked me. No words were exchanged just simple hand gestures. It hurts me to think that the mother and her child might be sick or possibly worse as I write this.

Street of Wuhan photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

As I stepped outside of the subway station, I was instantly hit with air that made my eyes tear up. Little did I know, Wuhan has an air quality issue. The first three minutes were just me rubbing my eyes trying to keep them open. Still kept walking around just wandering. Eventually, I found a Starbucks. I knew people had to speak English there. Walked inside and started asking for directions like a wild crazy lost tourist. My adventures in Wuhan were just starting! Couldn’t wait to see what this place had to offer.

As I wrote this, I kept holding back tears. I try to keep everything positive for you all. It just hurts knowing that the people who were so kind to me are probably in a hostipal somewhere on their death beds. Please remember to enjoy life. It’s a gift and not a right. So, enjoy it doing the things you love with the people you love.

Thank you so much for reading! Much love and safe travels!

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51 thoughts on “Arriving at Wuhan, China before the coronavirus

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  1. The street looks pretty empty for a Chinese city.

    How did you end up flying into China? You mention that you hadn’t really planned on that.

    Glad you are safe and healthy!

    1. Yeah, it was pretty empty now that i think about it. I think it was because i took that photo at around 9 am. I believe they were working at that time because even the subway was somewhat empty in the morning.
      I was flying from new York city. It was a 22 hour layover. It was the cheapest ticket i found. So i decided to explore wuhan while I was there. It was on my way to bangkok. Decided to post this now because i feel the best i could express myself….its very heartbreaking. The death tool 132 today and probably more.
      Thank you so much! Stay safe as well!!

      1. :D:D That’s my job. I captured the Black One. The funniest thing was when I was asking my Chinese and Japanese friends: WHERE exactly the Dragons are – nobody knows, will you imagine? So I started from the Forbidden City.

      2. If I’m not fighting with Amazon, yes 😀 BTW Temple Bar in Dublin is hiring musician or band for up to two hours /for session/, so staying there for longer the tourists can have really good fun! Always crowded, sometimes full of the Inspectors 😉

  2. Thank you very much for this informative post! I enjoyed reading it and learning from your thoughts! I have recently published an article on my blog about coronavirus and whether we should be concerned about the disease. If you have time, it would be great if you could check out my post and let me know your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

  3. Never made it out to Wuhan in my time in China. It sounds fab though! Definitely one for the future.
    Must be so weird seeing all the images on the news compared to your time there.

  4. This post is a great ice breaker!! 😊 Enjoyed reading it..and yes! Google translate actually works! Haha i usually use this when conversing with hindi, urdu, korean speaking people who has zero English.. 👌🏻

  5. I had no idea that you could bypass the visa if you flew into Wuhan. So weird…
    Quite an article to write. You mentioning various people and then your worry regarding them was heart-warming.

  6. Thank you for sharing the interesting post about Wuhan. I haven’t been to Wuhan yet. My parents now are living at Xiamen, southeast in China, closed to Taiwan. Hope the coronavirus will end soon. Too many people are suffering. Here is the link of my blog which sharing about Xiamen if you are interested:

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