Nanjing

Travel Guide Asia China Jiangsu Nanjing

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Introduction

Nanjing

Nanjing

© jamie_ca

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.

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Brief History

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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Sights and Activities

The city pass can be bought for ¥100 at the entrance to any of the big parks in the city, such as the zoo or Yuhuatai Memorial Park and provides you with free entry to 21 different locations. You need to provide a passport photo for each pass and they are valid for one calendar year.

Observatory on Purple Mountain

Observatory on Purple Mountain

© heidigras

  • Purple Mountain, or in Chinese Zijin Shan (紫金山), is a wonderful green space located on the eastern side of Nanjing. This nice mountain covers an area of around 20 square kilometres. It is also home to many important historical sights dating from ancient China to the 20th century. One of these sights is the amazing tomb of Sun Yat-sen. Getting around the park itself is very easy with a convenient tourist bus system connecting all the important sights. It is also possible to climb the mountain for a good hike.
  • Linggu Temple (灵谷寺) has seen many different phases and was moved to its current location in the late 6th century. The temple has seen many different rulers and emphasizes. At its centre is the Linggu Pagoda, that was built in 1929 and has the speeches of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen carved into its sides. In the temple itself there is the Three Superb Tablet, which features a painting of Monk Bazhi by Wu Daozi, a memorial poem written by Li Bai and calligraphy by the famous Yan Zhenqing. The original tablet was destroyed during a battle and the current day one is a replica created during the Qing Dynasty.
  • Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum (明孝陵) is the tomb of Emperor Hongwu, a Ming Dynasty ruler. Construction was completed in 1405 and this amazing tomb is considered an UNESCO World Heritage Site with the other Ming Tombs outside of Beijing.
  • Purple Mountain Observatory (紫金山天文台) is an astronomical observatory located within the preserve.
  • Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum is an amazing tomb that is well worth the long staircase up to the top. This man considered the father of modern China, by all sides, and is greatly honored in this tomb. This is a must see on any trip to Nanjing.

Presidential Palace

Nanjing

Nanjing

© e1quarnst

  • Presidential Palace (Nanjing) (总统府) is now the China Modern History Museum and is an amazing place to see. During the Ming dynasty this place was the location of two successive ducal palaces then in the Qing Dynasty it was the office of the Vicerory of Liangjian. During the 1853 Taiping Revolution the palace was expanded and made into the home for the Palace of the Heavenly King. In 1911 it was designated as the Presidential Palace for the Republic of China, although it was not officially used in this capacity until 1927. When the communist came to power the palace was turned into government offices until 1980 when it was made into a museum. For more information read the offical Website: http://www.njztf.cn/
  • Xu Garden (煦园) is a wonderful classical garden and is incorporated into the Presidential Palace

Other Sights and Activities

  • City Wall was the largest city wall in the world during the 15th century.
  • Fuzi Miao is a nice confucian temple on the river.
  • Jiangnan Gongyuan is a nice city park
  • Jiming Temple
  • Jinghai Temple
  • Nanjing Massacre Memorial (侵华日军南京大屠杀遇难同胞纪念馆) is located outside the city and honors those that were brutally killed during this event.
  • Nanjing Museum Complex
  • Porcelain Pagoda (南京陶塔) is currently being rebuilt after being destroyed in the 19th century.
  • Qixia Temple (栖霞寺) is a nice temple located about 22 kilometres northeast of the city
  • Stone City (石頭城) is the ancient remains of a fortified city within the current city of Nanjing, all that remains are portions of the large city walls.
  • Zhan Garden

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Events and Festivals

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.

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Weather

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.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max7 °C8.4 °C13.5 °C20.1 °C25.3 °C29 °C32 °C32.2 °C27.2 °C22.1 °C15.9 °C9.7 °C
Avg Min-1.6 °C0 °C4.4 °C10.3 °C15.7 °C20.4 °C24.6 °C24.2 °C19.1 °C12.6 °C6.1 °C-0.1 °C
Rainfall29 mm48 mm69 mm87 mm96 mm159 mm188 mm124 mm95 mm60 mm56 mm25 mm
Rain Days7911121011131110886

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Getting There

By Plane

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.

By Train

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.

By Car

There is a modern highway system between Shanghai and Nanjing, which can allow you to travel quite quickly from city to city. Beware of traffic in the morning and evening rush hours. If you're just one person, it may be much cheaper to travel by train, but if you're in a larger group, sharing a car service can be cheaper. Keep in mind that you need to be a very experienced driver to handle Chinese traffic, so you may be better served using trains and buses between the cities and taxis in the cities, unless you're really on for a challenge.

By Bus

Nanjing is well connected to Shanghai, Hangzhou and most destinations within Jiangsu, Anhui and northern Zhejiang provinces by bus as well as longer overnight sleeper services to Beijing (12 hours) and Guangzhou (24 hours). Most services depart from Zhongyangmen bus station, a large, clean modern terminal in the north of the city approximately 10 minutes walk to the west of the main train station. The station has English signange and announcements but the ticket clerks generally cannot understand English. Some services into Anhui province depart from Nanjing South (Zhonghuamen) station, which is adjacent to Zhonghuamen metro station. There are also bus stations serving nearby destinations at Hanzhongmen, Nanjing East (to the north of Purple Mountain) and Nanjing North (on the west side of the Yangtze River) although they are less useful to travellers.

By Boat

Nanjing is on the Yangtze river. Scheduled passenger liner service is available along the Yangtze river between Shanghai downstream and Wuhan in the Hubei province upstream, although, the river is mostly used for transport of goods.

There are also frequent ferry services across the river, in particular from Zhongshan Wharf (near Nanjing West Railway Station) to Pukou.

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Getting Around

If you're staying more than a few days it's worth buying a Jinlingtong (also known as IC-tong). These are available from any subway station, most bus termini and from any branch of Huaxia Bank (look for an information window displaying the letters 'IC'). The card costs ¥75 and contains ¥25 refundable deposit and ¥50 credit, and can be topped up at the aforementioned locations. The card can be used on the subway, all city buses (but not all suburban buses), cross-river ferries, taxis (although drivers are reluctant to accept them and may tell you the scanner is broken) and in some Suguo convenience stores.

By Taxi

Taxis are a great way to get around and most trips will cost less than ¥25. The cab driver should start the meter as soon as you are picked up (all meters start at ¥9 + ¥2 service fee); if the cab driver doesn't start using the meter and if you don't say anything they may assume you don't know any better and overcharge you. Ask for a printed receipt detailing the cab number, kilometers traveled, times, and money exchanged from the driver upon exiting the cab. Don't expect to get a cab during both the morning and afternoon rush hours; demand is high and the drivers make their shift changes around these times. Tipping is not expected in cabs in China, so the price on the meter is the price you should pay along with a two yuan gas tax fee (There is an additional receipt for this fee.). Unlike cabbies in Beijing or Shanghai (who frequently shuttle foreigners around and may be accustomed to gratuity under the table) tipping in Nanjing is an alien concept. You are likely to befuddle but please a driver by insisting that they accept additional 'free' money. As with anywhere else in China, you are very unlikely to get a driver who speaks any English, so unless you speak Mandarin, remember to get your hotel's business card, and get hotel staff to write down your destination names in Chinese to show your taxi driver before you set off.

By Public Transport

The Nanjing Metro is a clean, cheap, safe and fast way of getting around. The system has 5 urban and 5 suburban lines, with more under construction. It covers most of the central city, and links two railway station and the airport. The lines are as follows:

Line 1 runs from Maigaoqiao in the north to the China Pharmaceutical University (CPU) in the south, via Nanjing Railway Station and Nanjing South Railway Station. There are 3 interchanges: to Line 2 at Xinjiekou stations in the city centre, to Line 10 at Andemen Station, and to Line S1 at Nanjing South Railway Station. Services between run every 3 minutes.
Line 2 runs from the Olympic New Town area in the west and follows Hanzhong Lu and Zhongshan Donglu to the east, terminating nearby the Purple Mountain scenic area. Trains run every 6 to 8 minutes. There are interchanges to Line 1 at Xinjiekou stations in the city centre, and to Line 10 at Yuantong station.
Line 3, that runs parallel to line 1 more or less North-South, runs from Linchang to Mozhou Lu via North Railway Station/Fuzimiao/South Railway Station. There are interchanges with line 1 at Nanjing Railway Station, Nanjing South Railway Station and with line 2 at Daxinggong.
Line 4, runs east-west.
Line 10 runs from Andemen, via the Olympic New Town area around the Olympic Sports Centre, crossing the Yangtze River to the west, terminating the Yushanlu station in Pukou area. There are interchanges to Line 2 at Yuantong staiont, and to Line 1 at Andemen stations.
Line S1 is also called airport line, runs from the Nanjing South Railway Station to Nanjing Lukou International Ariport. Trains run every 10 minutes. There are interchanges to Line 1 at Nanjing South Railway Station.
Line S3 runs from the city center to the west.
Line S7 runs in the south suburbs.
Line S8 runs from Taishanxincun to Jinniuhu, is a urban metro in Jiangbei area (the area north of Yangzte River).
Line S9 runs in the south suburbs.

Trains run from approx. 05:00-23:00. Single-journey tokens cost ¥2-9 depending on distance and can be purchased from vending machines in the station. Stored-value tickets are also available (see above) and give a 5% discount.

As in most Chinese cities, you need to scan any luggage/bag in an X-ray machine before entering the metro.

Buses are handy for getting around - particularly places that are inaccessible by subway, although Nanjing's bus system feels a little aged compared to Hangzhou and Shanghai and has no English information. Google Maps displays bus services for Nanjing and some tourist maps such as those sold around the train station will have bus routes. However, as metro construction advances, bus lines are constantly re-organized to fit changed demands, so that any printed information you receive may be outdated.

Buses running within the city proper will carry a route number displayed on a red placard below the front windscreen next to the entrance door. Low-numbered routes (1-100) follow major thoroughfares and link major shopping, residential and transportation hubs. 3-figure route numbers follow indirect routes and run around quieter residential streets and are less handy for travellers, but can be an interesting way of seeing Nanjing's ordinary working-class neighbourhoods. Routes displaying the Chinese character 游 (you, "travel") are primarily aimed at tourists and link all the major tourist sights. Routes numbered '8XX' e.g. 801, 806, 813 etc. are night buses which run approximately twice an hour 23:00-05:00 when the regular service ends. Buses heading to surrounding suburban towns depart from hubs on the edge of downtown such as Nanjing Train Station (North/East), Changjiang Daqiao (Yangtze River No.1 Bridge - going north-west), Hanzhongmen (West) and Zhonghuamen (South/East). These services display the name of the suburb/town that they serve in Chinese characters and have no route number.

Fares are a flat ¥2 on numbered services except for some routes which run older non-airconditioned buses which charge ¥1 - no change is given so have some coins ready. For suburban routes, fares are charged by distance and a conductor collects the fares. There's a discount of 20% for IC card users. Many bus stops are some distance apart (often 3-4 blocks) so keep an eye out for your stop and an ear out for the stop's name on the PA announcements (which are only in Chinese). If the bus is quiet then press the buzzer next to the door to signal to the driver that you want to alight.

Nanjing has a two-line tram system, opened since 2014. One line operates in the southwest of the city. The second one is in Qilin Town, on the east side of Nanjing. It doesn't use a continuous overhead wire for power supply, but rather the vehicles carry batteries/capacitors, which are recharged at the stops.

By Bike

Nanjing is fairly cycle-friendly with segregated bike lanes on most busy roads - however there are a lot of bikes on the road so care should be taken. Generally, the pace is quite slow, and some of the hills in the central-west part of the city can be tiring to climb (but fun and a little scary to descend). Although it's possible to cycle up the Purple Mountain, it should be tackled in the early morning as the roads will be crammed with fast-moving bus and taxi traffic for most of the day, and the roads are narrow with no bike lanes. The bike/pedestrian path around the edge of Xuanwu Lake is a popular place for cyclists, as well as a popular racing ground for local motorcyclists - take care on the many blind corners.

Bikes can be rented from most youth hostels - but ensure that the tires are pumped up and the brakes work before setting off.

Buying a bike is relatively easy and cheap - the cheapest option is to get a good quality used (possibly stolen) bike from the bike markets around Tangzi Jie (behind the Sheraton hotel) for ¥100-200. However, buying a bike at a low price on Tangzi Jie sends a wrong message to thieves and it is a sure way to make criminal activities worse — and if that doesn't trouble your conscience, consider that if your "second-hand" bike is found by its real owner, you will lose it. The cheap bikes sold in department stores and supermarkets are very poor quality and shouldn't be relied upon. For higher-quality, higher-performance bikes: Giant, Trek and Specialized all have stores in Nanjing. Remember to carry a strong lock - bike theft is common.

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Eat

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:

  • Duck Blood Noodles (鸭血粉丝汤, Yaxue Fensi Tang) - Cellophane noodles in a clear broth topped with cubes of cooked duck's blood, pieces of duck intestine, duck liver, and sometimes pieces of stinky tofu. Much tastier than it sounds.
  • Salt Duck (盐水鸭, Yanshui Ya) - Pieces of duck boiled in saltwater then sliced and served cold. Lighter than the greasier braised varieties.
  • Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐, Chou Doufu) - Fermented tofu with an appearance similar to blue cheese and a complex taste.
  • Xiaolongbao (小笼包) - Originally from Shanghai, these steamed soup-filled dumplings are widely available in Nanjing.

Nanjing has dozens of small noodle (miantiao), wonton (hundun), and pot sticker (jiaozi) shops on many of its streets. Qingdao Lu, a secondary street running northbound before the intersection of Shanghai Lu and Guangzhou Lu has a few excellent miantiao shops, including a Hui restaurant (Hui are a Chinese ethnic group that practices Islam), which serves only mutton and beef. Here, a massive bowl of hot soup and noodles will only cost you about ¥8. The area closer to Nanjing University has plenty of good, cheap eats, including a series of jiaozi vendors. At most Jiaozi shops you order and pay at the cashier desk by the entrance and you'll be given a ticket which you must take to the serving window. There are so many of these shops that it's not worth mentioning specific ones; just walk around and go into anywhere that looks good.
If it's late-night munchies you're after, just head down any small backstreet and follow your nose and you're sure to find a small BBQ joint. These smokey little restaurants offer spicy meat kebabs (usually beef or lamb) along with BBQ'd vegetables, bread, fish and even sticky-rice balls and also serve beer starting at about ¥4 per bottle. Look for 真火烧烤 on baidu maps for a cheap and authentic chinese BBQ experience, or 丽哲韩式烧烤 in the alley across from the gas station near the east gate of Nanjing Normal University for a more upscale Korean version.
Street food is safe, cheap, and tasty. Just walk around the streets after 10pm and you'll inevitably find some bbq, wonton, fried noodles, or fried rice. In the Nanjing University Gulou Campus area, three great spots are on the intersection of Ninghai Road and Hankou Xi Road (宁海路和汉口西路) near the east gate of Nanjing Normal University, at the south gate of Nanjing University on Guangzhou Road (南京大学鼓楼校区广州路校门), and on Hankou road (汉口路) between the two gates of Nanjing University. Anywhere with more than 4-5 carts should have some tables to sit at and some bottled beer.
If you can't read Chinese and you're a bit picky on what you eat, there's an excellent restaurant called A Simple Diet, located just off Hunan Road (next to McDonald's). Here they have taken the Japanese innovation of recreating the menu items in plastic so that you can simply point and order. You'll be given a card upon entry - when you order, hand it to the staff who will stamp your card. When you leave, take your card to the cashier's desk to pay.
You can find inexpensive, Western-style sandwiches at the popular American sub shop Subway, which has four stores in Nanjing; two in the Carrefour stores, one in the Golden Wheel shopping mall, and one in the popular Da Yang department store. The Walmart (wa-er-ma) in Xinjiekou has an extensive grocery and live foods market on the basement level. McDonalds has a number of restaurants in the city, if you're interested in their ¥7 menu (the Chinese equivalent of the Dollar Menu).
If you want to self-cater of just stock up on snacks/drinks then Nanjing has plenty of supermarkets and convenience stores. The main supermarkets in the central area are Times Extra (on Zhongyang Lu close to Xinmofan Lu subway station), Lotus (near Zhongyangmen Bus Station), Walmart (on the 2nd floor of Wanda Plaza Mall in Xinjiekou) and Carrefour (on Zhongshan Dong Lu). There are also many Suguo CVS convenience stores which are similar to 7-Eleven and stock drinks, snacks, instant noodles and cigarettes. Most Suguo stores accept payment using the IC transport card. There's a high end BHG supermarket on the basement (food court) level of Aqua City mall.

Soul Mate, Nan Xiu Cun 15-1 (near Shanghai road), ☏ +86 25 8332 8418. Western-style restaurant and coffee bar owned by French expats, with homemade pizzas, burgers, salads and French dishes for reasonable prices. It's a good place to have a few drinks and food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Nanjing Da Pai Dang (南京大牌档) (鼓楼区中央路1号紫峰购物广场F5, 秦淮区建康路3号水平方F6, and many locations other around Nanjing. Search for it on Baidu Maps) A chain restaurant with a old-style Chinese atmosphere and menu with English. They serve a lot of old-style Nanjing specialties such as Jinling Roast Duck, lotus root, and Lions Head Meatballs. This restaurant is a chain that can be found in cities around China and beyond, but it still provides a comfortable and authentic introduction to Nanjing cuisine -- especially for foreign tourists. Average cost per person would be ¥50-80.
Les 5 Sens (乐尚法国餐厅), 52-1 Hankou Lu (near Shanghai road), ☏ +86 25-83 59 58 59, ✉ info@les5sens.net. 11:30 to 22:00. French restaurant with a French chef and a cosy atmosphere, providing traditional and family homemade French dishes. ¥38-119.
Yunzhong Xiaoya (云中小雅餐厅), 55F, 49 Zhongshan Nanlu, ☏ +86 25-8689 3333, +86 25 8689 3131. 10:00-23:00. The restaurant is located on the 55th floor with absolutely stunning views over the city, it also rotates around an axis. Offers Cantonese and Huaiyang cuisine. Not that particularly tasty but the views are well worth the visit. ¥20-150.
Old Place (老地方), 金银街 (located on Jinyin Jie. It is located right across from the Nanjing University International Student Dormitories right off of Shanghai Lu. Has reasonably priced Chinese food with English translations, most fun in a group of 4 or more. Try the pineapple pork!). ¥10–30.
Yi Palace (如意轩), E5, No 388 Yingtian Street, Qinhuai District (Chenguang 1865 Technology Park) (from Ying Tian Street, make a right on Jiang Ning Road and go straight for 50m and you will arrive at Regalia Resort & Spa), ☏ +86 25 5188 5688, toll-free: 400 115 3388 (local rate), fax: +86 25 5188 5656, ✉ reservations-qhr@regalia.com.cn. 11:00-22:00. Yi Palace is located in Regalia Resort & Spa, and has a private setting with windows overlooking the beautiful Qing Huai River. There are 6 private VIP dining rooms with contemporary Thai and Chinese décor and offering the best Chinese cuisine.
Lotus Restaurant (莲轩餐厅), E5, No 388 Yingtian Street, Qinhuai District (Chenguang 1865 Technology Park) (from Ying Tian Street, make a right on Jiang Ning Road and go straight for 50m and you will arrive at Regalia Resort & Spa), ☏ +86 25 5188 5688, toll-free: 400 115 3388 (local rate), fax: +86 25 5188 5656, ✉ reservations-qhr@regalia.com.cn. 07:00-24:00. The Lotus Restaurant, located in Regalia Resort & Spa, offers a stunning view of Qinhuai River and authentic Thai and Chinese cuisine, while the Outdoor Cafe pays a delicious homage to delectable fusion cuisine that will surely entice your palate.
Omax Restaurant, 5th floor, Bangkok Yatai Plaza (in the Xinjiekou District). Offers a good steak, for ¥68, and other "western-style" meals as well as Chinese dishes. The owner and hostess speak fairly good English and there is often a piano player.
Skyways Bakery. Lots of relatively expensive baked goods. The apple pies, tarts, and cheesecake are all excellent. They also have cinnamon rolls, croissants, muffins and cookies. Nice, though small, selection of ice cream too.
Jack's. Barely passable Italian food, but decent enough if you have been in China a few years. Some staff have good English and many of the customers are expats. Pasta or pizza is around ¥40-60, while good steaks start around ¥70.
Tairo. Japanese "teppanyaki" restaurant in the Nanjing 1912 district. Excellent food, and a decent option if you have a lot of extra yuan burning a hole in your pocket. This chain of teppanyaki places has consistently good food prepared right before you, and it's eat till you drop. May also have an all-you-can-eat Haagen Dazs ice cream option for extra. If you're feeling brave, try the snake pancakes! ¥150.
New Cafe (Sculpting in Time), Corner of Qingdao and Hankou Lu (next to Nanjing University). Self-consciously contemporary restaurant/lounge with a fairly extensive selection of western brunch fare: waffles, omelets, French toast, paninis. They also have a good selection of coffee, tea, and rather decadent desserts. The food here - sort of continental American with the inevitable anomalies - is good, particularly in the presentation; however, beware of the service. If you just want to have a sundae or French toast and don't mind having to hunt down a server, this is a great place. Wireless access here if you have a China Mobile or China Unicom account. At least ¥50 per person for tea and a pastry, but you should probably plan on ¥80, with a full breakfast or lunch even more.
Prime, Intercontinental Hotel (Zifeng Tower) 78th floor, 1 Zhong Yang Road, Gulou District, 210008. 17:00-22:00. The tallest bar, lounge and restaurant in Jiangsu Province, Prime offers a spectacular view of Nanjing in a western setting with superior service and gourmet international cuisine. The Cigar lounge features a live music stage (western jazz musicians play irregularly) and a fully-stocked bar with a large selection of wines, beer, and over 100 specialty cocktails.

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Drink

Nanjing's bar scene is constantly changing. If you are visiting Nanjing, it is best to talk to locals or expats who can show you the best places to go in the moment. There is a government order is in place to shut down all bars and clubs at 02:00. Some places remain open, however, so it is best to meet people who can take you there.

Night life in Nanjing is very much alive, and you can find the epicenter in Nanjing's 1912 District, which is comparable to Shanghai's Xintiandi. It is roughly a city block of two and three-story buildings, with paved courtyards between. Almost all are restaurants, bars or nightclubs, with a few spas and upmarket clothing shops in the mix. Many of the buildings look like they might have been around since 1912, and the newer ones match the style of the older ones. The location is great; right downtown just west of the Presidential Palace. There is underground parking for cars and extensive outdoor parking for bikes and motorcycles on the North side of the complex. The best way to experience this is to get there and hop between bars and clubs, buying some beer from convenience stores, and making friends along the way. Some more chinese-style clubs will have free drinks for foreigners, but this free alcohol is low-quality or fake.

A cup of black coffee or a latte is typically between ¥10-25. As many Chinese do not like coffee, these stores are a popular spot for foreigners or international-minded Chinese to hang out or study. While Nanjing University Gulou Campus and its surroundings has a fantastic coffee culture, it shouldn't be hard to find in other areas: Just look for "咖啡". A black coffee is 美式咖啡 (meishi kafei) and a latte is 拿铁 (na tie).

Asir Coffee (啊sir咖啡) Gulou District, 6-3 Tao Gu Xin (鼓楼区陶谷新村6-3号). Very popular coffee shop among students with well-priced coffee and a good atmosphere with people's graffiti and art all over the walls. A large latte is ¥14.
Fengji Coffee (凡几咖啡)Gulou District, 48-1 Hankou Road (鼓楼区汉口路48-1号). Look for the simple black and white "COFFEE" sign. Cozy coffee bar that's popular with Chinese and local students. People are usually up for a conversation at the bar or tables outside. Serves beer and coffee at reasonable prices, plus sometimes has movies and poetry nights. Pick up a book at the used book store directly next door!
Nannar Cafe (南哪儿咖啡) Gulou District, 42 Hankou Road (鼓楼区汉口路42号). A stylish, cute, and comfy coffee shop you could take a date. Has well-presented food, good music, clean bathrooms, and books all over. However it is comparatively expensive at ¥25 for a normal black coffee.
7/11 or Family Mart/全家. These are all over and should have a cheap cup of gas station coffee somewhere behind the counter for ¥7-10, and sometimes have a 'buy one get one half off' deal.

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Sleep

Nan jing youth hostel

Nan jing youth hostel

© YvonneLiu

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Booking.com

Many accommodation providers, especially those in the sub-¥180/night category, do not accept foreigners. The yellow-exteriored 7 Day Inn chain, for example, will not accept foreigners in Nanjing even though this hotel chain is a good option in the ¥160/night range in most other Chinese cities.

Jasmine International Youth Hostel, No 7 Hequnxincun, Shanghai Road, ☏ +86 025 8330 0517, ✉ jasminehostel@gmail.com. Clean place, very friendly staff and guests with decent levels of English; you might find only Chinese patrons here and most seem to come just because they like the hostel as opposed to the city. Free Wi-Fi on the ground floor and in the entertainment room. Bar and small menu if you want a quick bite without venturing outside. Bathrooms are all shared, however, and towels are available for purchase. Centrally located, (less than 5 km to most sites in all directions) close to Nanjing University and Grand Hotel. ¥45 for a bed in 6 bed dorm + ¥100 deposit returned upon check-out.
Nanjing Fuzimiao International Youth Hostel (南京夫子庙国际青年旅社) 68 Pingjiangfu Rd, Qinhuai District (秦淮区平江府路68号). A very good location right next to the most popular tourist street in Nanjing and is in the middle of the city. Very quaint; has a lot of nooks and crannies plus a bar area overlooking the river with a piano. A bed in a 8-person dorm room goes for ¥50.
Nanjing Danfeng International Hotel (丹凤国际青年旅館), 59-1 Yushi Street, North Floor 6 (三十路鱼市街站旁的华诚超市六楼), ☏ +86 025 8322 6770. Private rooms are spotlessly clean, and excellent size for the money. Although their listing on numerous websites says it is "wireless", each room is equipped with wired Internet connections (you can borrow an Ethernet cable from the reception desk). Those without can share the communal computer for free. Don't share a private room with anyone you don't want to see naked, as the bathroom/toilet is housed inside a strange transparent glass enclosure. Small dorm rooms (3 people/room) from about ¥50, larger single & double rooms from about ¥160.
Nanjing Longlong Hotel (Jinglong International Apartments), 253 Jiankang Rd, ☏ +86 25 8531 5008.
International Conference Hotel Nanjing (南京国际会议大酒店), 2 Sifangcheng Zhongshanling, ☏ +86 25 8443 0888, fax: +86 25 8443 9255, ✉ tprsvns@hubs1.net. Claimed 4-star with views of Purple Mountain. ~¥498.
White Palace Hotel (南京白宫大酒店 (Baigong Dajiudian)), 1 Longpan Road (Longpan Lu) Xuanwu, ☏ +86 757 88286768. Near Nanjing Railway Station.
Somerset Youth Olympic Nanjing, No. 9 Qing’ao South Rd, Jianye District, ☏ +86 25 8308 0888, ✉ enquiry.nanjing@the-ascott.com. The property, requiring a minimum of 30 days stay, is equipped with three bedroom apartments. It offers complimentary Wi-Fi, a sauna and steam room and a yoga room.
Holiday Inn @Aqua City (水游城/Shuǐ yóu chéng), No.1 Jiangkang Road at Zhonghua Road (corner of Jiangkang road and Zhonghua Road, near Sanshanjie subway station on line 1), ☏ +86 25 8223 3888. Great quality Holiday Inn hotel adjacent to Aqua City shopping center. Very convenient access to restaurants, shopping, and free water fountain entertainment for the kids. Walking distance to Fu Zi Miao (confucious temple). approx ¥600-700.
Kayumanis Nanjing Private Villa & Spa, No.12 Hot Spring Road, Tangshan Town, ☏ +86 25 8410 7777, ✉ experience@kayumanis.com. 21 contemporary villas with private pool and hot-spring jacuzzi, fully-equipped gourmet kitchen and 24-hours butler service.
Grand Metropark Hotel Nanjing, 319 East Zhong San Road, ☏ +86 25 8480 8888, ✉ sales.njgm@metroparkhotels.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The former site of the Hilton has reopened; still in the city but a little bit farther away from the center. Good if you want to make business in the east of the town. Great if your main reason for visiting Nanjing is seeing the Purple Mountain and Xuanwu Lake (both are reasonably walkable from here) or seeing the Nanjing Museum which is literally on the other side of the parking lot.
Sheraton Nanjing Kingsley Towers, 169 Hanzhong Road, ☏ +86 25 8666 8888. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Right in the middle of the town and offering you all the service you're used to have in a 5-star hotel. If you've a good guide you should get the rooms for around ¥400-500 per night, including breakfast. ~¥750.
Jinling Hotel (金陵饭店 Jin Ling Fangdian), Xinjiekou Square, ☏ +86 25 8472 2888, fax: +86 25 8470 4141, ✉ nj.jinling@jinlinghotel.com. The first modern high-rise hotel in Nanjing, and sort of an anchor for Xinjiekou. Good, central location for exploring the Xinjiekou; the Confucius Temple is an easy walk from here as well.

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Work

All of the universities and various other schools hire language teachers. Locally, jobs - including frequent requests for native speakers of less widely taught languages such as Italian and German - are often advertised on the bulletin board at Skyways.

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Learn

  • Nanjing University (南京大学), also known as Nanda (南大), is one of the best universities in all of China. This is an amazing place to study almost any subject. It also has good programs for teaching foreigners Chinese. Lastly there is also a joint masters degree program with John Hopkins in the United States in International Relations.

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 32.0556449
  • Longitude: 118.7977409

Accommodation in Nanjing

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This is version 26. Last edited at 9:44 on Jan 13, 20 by Utrecht. 20 articles link to this page.

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