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Nanjing (南京), literally meaning Southern Capital, is one of the most important cities in Chinese history. It also an amazing place to visit and the current day capital of Jiangsu province. The city is located on the lower bends of the Yangtze River making its location extremely important throughout Chinese history. In addition to this these facts, that Nanjing was the capital of China for 6 dynasties and during the Republic of China only gives it more prestige.
The city was first settled in 495 BC and became the capital of China in 229 AD during the 3 Kingdoms period. Although this title was lost at the beginning in of the Sui Dynasty in 581 AD when the city was brunt to the ground. During the late Tang Dynasty the city was rebuilt and it became the capital for the Southern Tang Dynasty (937 to 975). Although at the beginning of the Song Dynasty the capital was moved again. Nanjing then became the capital of China again during the early part of the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1421), until the capital was moved to Beijing.
The next major moment for the city's history was in 1910 when the Republic of China was founded. The capital was moved again in 1912 to appease the Emperor into abdicating from the thorn. In 1927 General Chiang Kai-shek moved the captial again to Nanjing and started what was called the Nanjing Decade, which lasted until the capital was moved because of advancing Japanese forces. The capital was relocated, briefly, to Nanjing, after the World War II until 1949. During World War II Nanjing was the site of one of the most horrific instances ever committed during a war. The brutality of the Nanjing Massacre, or Rape of Nanjing, can still be felt in the city to this day.
After the communist took power in 1949 Nanjing quickly became an important east coast city. Today it is a major economic centre and is also a very popular place with tourists. It is also an education centre because it is the home to several very high ranking Chinese Universities. Nanjing is a great place to spend two or three days exploring the palaces, gardens and even the wonderful green space of Purple Mountain.
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China has three "Golden Week" holidays per year. People get a mandatory two or three days off work for each holiday, and workers' companies can grant them the rest of the week off, making each holiday a total of 7 days. As you can imagine, having almost 1.4 billion people with the same days off can make travelling at these times arduous to say the least.
Travelling during the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year is incredibly difficult. Chinese New Year is China's Christmas, so the millions of migrant workers and students flood back to their home towns. Everybody else takes the opportunity to spend their hong bao (gifts of money traditionally given at CNY) and go travelling. Most of the time, since you are only allowed to purchase train tickets 6 days in advance and must be present in the city of origin, sometimes only standing room tickets are available. Be aware! The Spring Festival is undoubtedly the busiest time for the Chinese transportation system. Flying will avoid the crowded trains, but book early and expect to pay higher prices. All the main tourist attractions will be crawling with tourists (worse than usual), so unless you like crowds, it's best to avoid it altogether.
Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, so the date changes each year. The Chinese New Year/Spring Festival holiday is 7 days long and usually starts on New Year's Eve.
The two other national holidays are October 1st, National Day, celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China and May 1st, which is International Labor Day. Almost all Chinese get the two holidays off and many take the opportunity to travel. If you want to avoid the crowds, fly, but it should get a lot less busy towards the end of the week.
Nanjing has a humid subtropical climate. Summers are from late May to mid-September with average highs between 26 °C and 32 °C and lows of 20 °C-24 °C. Winters are from December to February with average highs between 7 °C and 10 °C and nights mostly around zero or slightly below. Some snow is possible during these months, though winters are comparatively dry. Most of the rain falls during the warmer months, peaking in June and July with almost 200 mm a month. Average precipitation a year is over 1,000 mm.
|Avg Max||7 °C||8.4 °C||13.5 °C||20.1 °C||25.3 °C||29 °C||32 °C||32.2 °C||27.2 °C||22.1 °C||15.9 °C||9.7 °C|
|Avg Min||-1.6 °C||0 °C||4.4 °C||10.3 °C||15.7 °C||20.4 °C||24.6 °C||24.2 °C||19.1 °C||12.6 °C||6.1 °C||-0.1 °C|
|Rainfall||29 mm||48 mm||69 mm||87 mm||96 mm||159 mm||188 mm||124 mm||95 mm||60 mm||56 mm||25 mm|
Nanjing Lukou International Airport (IATA: NKG, ICAO: ZSNJ) (南京禄口国际机场) is located about 35 kilometres from the downtown area of the city towards the southeast. In 2008 the airport handled almost 9 million passengers and is one of the top 20 busiest airports in China. There are daily flights to almost every major and medium sized city in China with several flights a day to Beijing. There is also limited international service to Macau, Seoul, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Osaka, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Singapore. Recently cross-strait charter service has begun with Taipei, but these flights are very hard to book for international travellers.
For the more intense traveller there is direct bus service from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to and from Nanjing. Remember that this is a long bus ride that is 5 hours or more and might not want to be done if a long international flight is involved. Better to spend some time in Shanghai before or after travelling to Nanjing.
Nanjing Train Station (南京火车站) is one of the largest train stations in the area. It is centrally located and has connections to every major and minor city in China. Located near one of the few bridges over the Yangtze River this train station is a major hub. There are now fast trains connecting Nanjing with Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou. Remember that the taxi pick-up area is in the basement and the taxi's hanging near the ground level entrance tend to scam people.
There are several bus stations in town but the main one is located near downtown and has several daily buses to cities throughout the area, including Suzhou and Shanghai.
Nanjing is now home to a great subway system. Currently the lines are pretty limited but growing every day! Nanjing Metro Line 1, started service on May 15, 2005. Line 2 and the extension of Line 1 officially opened to passenger service on May 28, 2010.
Nanjing has a few culinary specialties that are typical of the region, with duck more widely available here than in most other parts of the country. Some of the specialities you should try are:
This has been Nanjing's traditionally nightlife area that runs along the Qinhuai River. These night markets, restaurants and pubs have thrived for several years making it a popular place. It is also a place that has traditionally been the home for upper-class prostitution until prostitution was banned by the Communists.
This night life area is more popular with foreigners and younger Chinese. It hosts a variety of bars, clubs and restaurants that have a thriving younger culture. This place is fun every night of the week.
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|Nanjing Fuzimiao International Hostel||Fuzimiao, No.68 Ping Jiang Fu Road||HOSTEL||69|
|Nanjing Jasmine International Youth Hostel||HeQun Xin Chun #7, Shanghai Rd||Hostel||-|
|Sunflower International Youth Hostel||RD.80 ZHANYUAN FUZIMIAO||Hostel||75|
|Nanjing Tian An International Hotel apartment||No 108 South Zhongshan Road||Hotel||-|
|Nanjing Li Jing International Hotel Apartment||west of Dan Feng Road Gu Lou District||Hotel||-|
|Smart Inn ( Changhong Road )||No.4 Changhong Road||Hostel||-|
|Travelers' Soul Inn Nanjing||B5, Chengguan Science and Creativity Park||HOSTEL||70|
|Nanjing Time Youth Hostel||NO.6 MeiYuan New Village Yongyuan of Xuanwu Area||HOSTEL||73|
Wangba (联网) means internet bar in Chinese. Almost every town will have an internet bar or gaming center. The best way to spot an internet bar is to look for the 网(ba) character, which means net, and large digitized images of computer game characters. Often, there will be a sign saying Green Power in English at the entrance. Most gaming centers cost about RMB3 an hour. You prepay at the main desk and are then given a plastic card or a piece of paper. Once you are done you return the card or piece of paper and get reimbursed for the money you didn't spend. Be prepared for a place that might be dingy, basic and messy. Internet bars in China tend to get crowded starting in the late afternoon to the late evenings.
Some hotels provide access from the rooms that may or may not be free; others may provide a wireless service or a few desktops in the lounge area.
Also, quite a few cafes provide free wireless Internet service. Some cafes, even provide a machine for customer use.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to China is 86. To make an international call from China, the code is 00.
When making international phone calls it is best to buy an IP card. They typically have a value of ¥100 but sometimes can be had for as little as ¥25. The cards have printed Chinese instructions, but after dialing the number listed on the card English-spoken instructions are available. As a general indication of price, a call from China to Europe lasts around 22 minutes with a ¥100 card. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are advertised to be another 20% cheaper. There is no warning before the card runs out of minutes.
If you already have a GSM 900/1800 cellphone, you can roam onto Chinese networks, but calls will be very expensive (¥12-35/minute is typical). If you're staying for more than a few days, it will usually be cheaper to buy a prepaid Chinese SIM card; this gives you a Chinese phone number with a certain amount of money preloaded. Chinese tend to avoid phone numbers with the bad-luck digit '4', and vendors will often be happy to offload these "unsellable" SIM-cards to foreigners at a discount. If you need a phone as well, prices start around ¥100/200 used/new. Chinese phones, unlike those sold in many Western countries, are never "locked" and will work with any SIM card you put in them. China's two big operators are China Mobile and China Unicom. Most SIMs sold by the two work nationwide, with Unicom allowing Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan usage as well. There is usually a surcharge of about ¥1/min when roaming outside the province you bought the SIM, and there are some cards that work only in a single province, so check when buying.
China Post (中国邮政) is the official postal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the State Postal Bureau of the People's Republic of China (website in Chinese only), and has more details about price to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. The Chinese postal service is very good. Remember that in more remote places usually only one post office in a city can handle sending international boxes or letters. Also many times it might be worth having the name of the country you are trying to send to in Chinese characters, because small town people might not know what Estonia is in English. Post offices have a striking green logo and can easily be found everywhere in the cities. They are mostly open every day (including weekends!) from 8:00am to 6:00pm, though small offices might have shorter opening times, while the bigger ones in central and touristic areas are sometimes open during evenings as well.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Nanjing searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Nanjing and areas nearby.
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