Tianjin (City)

Travel Guide Asia China Tianjin Tianjin

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Introduction

NanKai University, Main building

NanKai University, Main building

© Lavafalls

Tianjin (天津) is the sixth largest city in China by population. It is one of only four directly controlled municipalities enjoying provincial-like status as Special Economic Zone (SEZ). (The other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing). It is a large modern city with the outskirts dominated by industry. It is also a port city and in 2005, a section of Tianjin was awarded Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status. Tianjin is divided into the old city and the Binhai New Area. Binhai New Area is growing fast, with many international companies establishing branch offices. It is a base of China's advanced industry, financial reform, and innovation.

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Sights and Activities

Tianjin Eye (天津眼(tiānjīnyǎn) or Yongle Bridge ferris wheel), Tianjin Eye, Hongqiao (天津市红桥区天津眼) (Bus 1, 4, 12, 18, 34, 177, 609, 610, 611, 619 Station: Jingang Qiao (750 meters away)). Maintenance on Monday morning, still open in the afternoon. The world's second largest Ferris wheel and the only Ferris wheel built on the bridge in the world, Tianjin Eye has a diameter of 110 m and 64 exterior transparent hangings with 360º sightseeing. Ideal for surrounding scenery glance. A round requires 40 minutes. On the highest point, it is able to see the scenery within a radius of 40 km. Adult ¥70, Children ¥35 / person (under 1.2 meters), Box ticket ¥400 (less than five persons), Couple ¥240 (2 or less), VIP ¥140 (avoid queuing), Couple VIP ¥480 (2 persons within a separate box, avoid queuing), Box VIP ¥800 (less than five persons).
Dabei Monastery (大悲院; Dàbēiyuàn; lit. Great Compassion Temple), Tianwei Road, Hebei District (河北区天纬路; Héběiqū Tiānwěilù (About 2 km W of Tianjin North Railway Station. Take buses 1, 2, 4, 12, 18, 34, 177, 609, 609, 610, 611, 619, 632, 641, 646, 659, 670, 671, 818, 861, 878, 904 to Jingangqiao Stn (金钢桥; Jīngāngqiáo) on Zhongshan Rd (中山路; Zhōngshānlù) and walk NW of Tianwei Rd). 09:00-11:20, 14:00-16:30. This Buddhist monastery was first built in the Ming Dynasty, but has been heavily rebuilt and renovated since and now consists of the West Monastery from 1669 and the East Monastery from 1940. It is the largest and oldest in town, covering 10,600 m² (114,000 ft²). The temple houses the Tianjin Buddhist Institute and exhibits many ancient statues. The old West monastery consists of three great halls in the west yard. Construction of the old monastery started at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, and it was renovated in the eighth ruling year of Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty. The east yard features in the new monastery. The statue of Sakyamuni oblated in the Daxiong Palace from the east yard was created in the Ming Dynasty. The Sakyamuni Statue is 7 meters high, weighs 6 tons, and has 9,999 small Buddhas carved on the lotus throne. Inside the Great Compassion hall, a 3.6-meter-high mud statue of Thousand-hand Kwan-yin is oblate. The monastery was once famous for holding a skull relic of Xuanzang, but it was taken to Nalanda - allegedly by the Dalai Lama - and presented to India in 1956. The relic is now in the Patna museum. Since then, the Great Compassion monastery takes the image of Xuanzang Master instead of the spirit bones for the worship of the Buddhist. There are memorials for Xuanzang Master and Hongyi Master in the east yard, while the west yard is an office for the Cultural Relic Palace, Abbot Palace and Chinese Buddhism Association Tianjin Branch. In the Cultural Relic Palace of the west yard, there many collections from every dynasty since the Wei and Jin periods, including hundreds of Buddha statues made of various materials, from bronze, iron, and stone to wood. Vegetarian food: Dabei Great Monastery is the only monastery in Tianjin providing vegetarian food, which is good news for vegetarian visitors. Food made by the famous Tianjin Dabei Buddhist Monastery Vegetarian Food Corporation is served in the monastery. It includes Longevity Perch present basket, soybean vegetarian, muti-vitamins-calcium noodles, deepfreeze eight precious vegetarian steamed-buns and vegetarian dumplings etc. ¥10.
Confucian Temple (孔庙), 2 Dongmenli, Nankai District (南开区东门里大街2号; Nánkāiqū Dōngménlǐdàjiē. 09:00-17:00. Early Qing Dynasty temple with a hall to honour Confucius and other halls for prayers. ¥4.
Grand Mosque (清真大寺; Qīngzhēndàsì), Xiaohuo Ln, Dafeng Rd, Hongqiao District (红桥区红桥区大丰路小伙巷; Hóngqiáoqū Dàfēnglù Xiǎohuǒxiàng) (Close to the Ancient Cultural Street, NE of Xibeijue Metro Stn (西北角; Xīběijué)). 09:00-17:00. Built in 1644 and constructed in wood. The mosque is still in use by the Tianjin Muslim community. Access for tourists to the interior is limited. Free.
The Five Avenues (五大道; Wǔdàdào; lit. The Five Avenues), Wudadao, Heping, Tianjin (和平区五大道) (Best route: cross between Hebei Lu and Chengdu Dao — Chongqing Dao — Changde Dao — Dali Dao — Xinhua Lu — Machang Dao — Munan Dao — Hong Kong Lu — Chongqing Dao — Nanhai Lu — Hebei Lu). Fifth Avenue (Wudadao) is located in the south of the downtown Tianjin, a parallel street from east to west named under five cities of southwest China, namely Chongqing, Changde, Dali, Munan and Machang. Local Tianjinese call it the "Fifth Avenue", together with over 230 buildings of all kinds from the architecture of Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as over 50 houses ever been lived by celebrities. Colourful architecture style range from the Renaissance, Greek, Gothic, Romantic, Eclectic, and Carson, which constitute a true fun of art. The second part is the residential area, with the first small Western-style residential area for foreign people who opened up concessions, whose residence next to the office area, close to Jiefang Road, around the former Italian concession in the east of Marco Polo Plaza. In the 20th century, due to the current situation, Tianjin's position in China had become very special and important. On one hand, social and political unrest made concessions a haven for ousted politicians and businessmen, on the other hand, Tianjin, had geographically profits for transportation and duty-free customs, was full of opportunities. Various dignitaries and rich people lived in Tianjin. Living in a small Western-style house was more comfortable and convenient than a traditional courtyard and the Fifth Avenue was located in a prime location of the British concession, thus people rushed in to build their houses here. The neighbourhood became Tianjin's rich area at that time. Tianjin was undoubtedly the first in term of the size of rich area among the affluent cities in modern China.
Tianjin Italian Town (意大利风情旅游区 (yìdàlìfēngqínglǚyóuqū)), Guangfu Dao 39, Hebei (河北区光复道39号) (Bus No.27, 868 and 901 and get off at the East Station.). 24 hours. Tianjin Italian Town is also known as the Italian Concession which was built in 1902. The Italian Town was finished in 2005. It covers the area from Coast area to the Victory Road. Across the river from Italian Town lies the Ancient Culture Street, Peace Shopping and Pedestrian Street, Tianjin Financial Road, Little White CBD (小白楼) and Tianjin Municipal Government. Owning the unique location, the Italian Town is merged with different cultures. Here you can find the celebrities’ residences, chic bars, international restaurants, western art deco, etc. Among those buildings, the most famous are Liang Qichao’s Yinbin Room, Residence of Feng Guozhang, Residence of Cao Yu, Residence of Hua Shikui, First Worker Cultural Palace and Italian Military Camp. Although the Italian Town is named after a street, actually it is a small town. The center of the town is the Marco Polo Plaza. The layout of the street is shaped like a chess board. Both sides of the street are decorated with lamp lights and green trees. In addition, the well preserved fences and other ancient buildings make the town full of Italian aroma. The Free Path is the only pedestrian street in the Italian Town and most of the buildings are restaurants and bars which attracts many tourists. Most restaurateurs are from Apennines Peninsula. Here one can not only taste the real pizza, Italian pasta and other Italian aperitives, besides, he can also enjoy the Italian performances and other Italian clothes and handicraft exhibitions. There are 24-hour bars, cafés, restaurants, art museum and cinemas, attracting tourists from all over the world. free.
Garden of Serenity - Former Residence of Pu Yi, The Last Emperor of China (静园; Jìngyuán), 70 Anshan Road, Heping District; 和平区鞍山道70号(hépíngqū ānshāndào 9hào) (take bus# 3, 50, 673, 632, or 800 to Anshan Road. You can also take Subway line 1), ☏ +86 22-27311618, +86 22-27317393, ✉ jingyuan@thard.com. 09:00-17:30, closed on Mondays. Jingyuan Garden with a history of 80 years is a famous residence combined both Chinese and European architecture style. It is now one of the heritage sites under city protection and the important historic architecture under the special protection area of Tianjin. Built in 1921, Jingyuan Garden, also named Qianyuan Garden, was the private residence of Lu Zongyu, minister-counselor to Japan appointed by the Northern Warlords’ Government. Later it was named by Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty on July 1929 when he settled here with his wives. “Jing” means stillness in English and the Garden was named by the emperor who tried to strengthen himself with noble spirit by living in a peaceful environment. Jingyuan Garden with an area of 3360 square meters consists of three sets of courtyards, the front yard, the back yard and the side yard. The main building is a two-storied Spanish architecture. The first floor serves as a living room, a dining room, guest rooms and a kitchen, while the second floor as bedrooms, a library and a chamber. The exterior walls and balconies with projecting brims were used to add more room to the building. In front of the garden will be built a garden, in which enormous poplars, pagoda trees and cloves are planted and some ponds and pavilions are constructed. Besides, a reception office, a kitchen, a garage and a tennis court will be built on the northeast side of the garden. Jingyuan Garden integrates different architecture styles, such as Japanese and Spanish. The structure and material of gates are of typical Japanese style, simple and plain, while the low pitched roof and the detailed decoration are of obvious Spanish architecture style. The garden is now displayed following its original arrangements of furniture and adornments. And there also exhibit some paper materials and photos related with the daily life and political life of Pu Yi, the last emperor. ¥20.
Former Residence and Mausoleum of Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲故居纪念馆; Huò yuánjiǎ gùjū jìniànguǎn), XiQing District 天津市西青区 (Take bus#156 or 162 for roughly about 40 minutes.). 09:00-18:00. A large museum featuring the life of Huo Yuanjia (a historical figure played by Jet Li in the film "Fearless") and his contributions to China and Kungfu. The museum also displays a wide variety of weapons he collected. Just outside the museum is the tomb of Huo Yuanjia. Also surrounding the museum and residence is where you can find a professional wushu/kung fu school. ¥60.
China House Museum (China Porcelain House), 72 Chi Feng Road(赤峰道), He Ping District(和平区), ☏ +86 22-27123366. 09:00-17:30 7 days/week. A priceless building decorated with about 4,000 pieces of ancient porcelain, 400 pieces of jade stone carving, 20 tons of crystal and agate and million pieces of ancient Chinese ceramic chips. China house museum is a private museum which belongs to the Tianjin Yueweixian Cultural Industry and Investment group. It is built with more than 700,000,000 pieces of Chinese ancient porcelain; 15000 ancient porcelain bows, dishes, and vases; 300 ancient porcelain-cat pillows; 300 stone lions; 300 marble sculptures; more 20 tons natural crystal, etc. Inside the museum there are 4 floors, filled with Chinese ancient furniture, woodcarving, etc. All the exhibits are collected by the chairman of the museum, Zhang Lianzhi. The Porcelain House is located in a bustling area, close to the former residence of Zhang Xueliang, an instigator of the Xi’an incident and a patriotic hero in China. Built as a 100-year-old French style villa, the residence is a five-storied building with a total area of 3,000 square meters. Porcelain used to decorate the house can date back to the Han Dynasty. Visitors can almost find every type of chinaware from the house, which perfectly combines traditional Chinese architecture and western architecture. On the roof of the house is embedded a 768-meter-long dragon relief made by over ten thousand pieces of porcelain and an eye-catching English word, ‘China’, with some Chinese characters and the flag of China on both sides. Inside the house there are many famous paintings comprised by ceramic chips, including the world famous painting, Mona Lisa. Besides, the walls of the house are named the ‘peace wall’, consisting of 635 vases made during Republic China and the late Qing Dynasty. ¥35.
Tianjin Museum (天津博物馆), 62 Pingjiang Road, Hexi District (河西区平江道62号), ☏ +86 22 83883000. 09:00-16:30 Tu-Su (Closed on Mondays). Tianjin Museum has modern exhibition halls with an area of 11,000 square meters as well as cultural and leisure facilities with multiple functions. It looks like a swan spreading its wings to fly from the lake surface. With fluent and concise exterior line, it is full of modernity and artistic quality. All of these make it characteristic and imaginative. It possesses cultural relics of almost 200,000 items, including calligraphy, painting, bronze, ceramics, jade article, stamp of ruler’s seal, carapace bone, coin, historical document, relics of modern times, folk craftwork and so on. Among them, there are nearly 1000 grade one cultural relics of the state. Free.
Ancient Cultural Street (古文化街; Gǔwénhuàjiē), Gongbei Ave-Gongnan Ave, Nankai District (南开区 宫北大街-宫南大街; Nánkāiqū Gōngběidàjiē-Gōngnándàjiē) (2 km E of Xibeijue Train Stn (西北角), buses 1, 4, 12, 15, 611, 612, 619, 624, 824 will also take you much closer to the street). Open throughout the day, extended opening hours on holidays or major events.. Street not only lined with shops and cafes but also with interesting architecture, including lots of copies of Qing Dynasty buildings. Some of the most interesting buildings are Tianhou Palace (天后宫; Tiānhòugōng; Mazu temple), Yuhuang Cabinet (玉皇阁; Yùhuánggé; Ming Dynasty building) and Tongqingli (large residential building). Tin Hau (Matsu Temple) located in the centre of the whole street. There are nearly hundreds of stores along the street, among them Yangliuqing painting gallery and painted clay sculpture of Clay Figure Zhang are most famous, as well as calligraphy and painting brushes(文房四宝) of Four Treasures and Spring Church, cultural antiques of Sui Man Chai and cloisonne (景泰蓝), double-sided embroidery (双面绣), jade carvings (牙玉雕), art ceramics (艺术陶瓷), Chinese and Western musical instruments and gold and silver jewelry from other dozens of famous artists and craftmen.
Huangyaguan Great Wall (黄崖关长城 (huángyáguānchángchéng)), 30 km north of Jixian (take a train from Tianjin East Railway Station for Jixian, departure 8:30 ¥8, or take a bus from Hebei Coach Station to Jixian Coach Station ¥16, and then take a van ¥5/person), ☏ +86 22 22718718, ✉ hygcc@huangyaguan.net. Huangya, means "yellow cliff". The pass takes this name from the yellowish hills and rocks nearby. Originally built in Tianbao 7th of Beiqi (557 AD), the Huangyanguan was repaired for the first time in Ming Dynasty with bricks and for the second time in 1985. In 1986 it was listed as a key relics protection target of Tianjin city. Now it is also chosen as a patriotic education and national defense education base of Tianjin. Besides, starting form 1999, there is going to be a special tourism activity there-International Field Marathon.With various forms of water towers presented along the walls, and the largest tower of the Great Wall "PhoenixTower" and the most unique "BaguaguanCastle", Huangyaguan Great Wall is like a library of the Great Wall. By now 3025 m of the Huangyaguan Great Wall, 20 water towers and a water pass have been repaired. This section has several features: Strong: With its walls and towers built on mountain ridge with an average altitude of 738 m, the Huangyaguan is really overwhelming. To the east there is the cliff, and the west, crags. It winds its way across mountains like a dragon. Guarding a stronghold, it has been the north entrance of Jinxian. Thrilling: On the mountains with peaks rising one higher than another, the Great wall jumps its way up and down as a linkage between the cliff and crags. Since the mountain is sloppy, the steps are very high. In some sections, it looks like that the wall is running straight up or down. When you look down, you will feel dizzy at the sight. Beautiful: On Huangyaguan, you will be able to enjoy both mountain scenery and waterfalls and springs. Ancient: With a history of over 1400 years, the ancient walls was first build in Beiqi, and reserved well until today. In Ming Dynasty, it was added with walls made of bricks. How to get there: There are tourist buses available every weekend at the Northeast Bus Station of Tianjin and there are also buses available from the Tianjin Railway Station, but fewer. Worth a visit for its water run-off controls, well-preserved Great Wall of China towers, challenging hiking and striking scenery. ¥50.

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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

Tianjin's climate is similar to, though slightly warmer than, its neighbour Beijing. Overall it can be described as continental; winters are cold and dry, as nights below -10 °C are not uncommon, and summers are hot and humid, with days reaching above the upper 30s °C not out of the question. The best time to visit is autumn, though if you do not mind dust storms, spring would also be an excellent choice.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max1.6 °C4 °C11.3 °C19.8 °C26.3 °C30 °C30.7 °C30 °C26 °C19.6 °C10.6 °C3.5 °C
Avg Min-7.7 °C-5.5 °C1 °C8.5 °C14.8 °C19.6 °C22.7 °C22.1 °C16.6 °C9.6 °C1.5 °C-5.1 °C
Rainfall3 mm6 mm9 mm24 mm34 mm68 mm185 mm155 mm42 mm21 mm10 mm4 mm
Rain Days23356813116542

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Getting There

By Plane

Tianjin Binhai International Airport (TSN) flies to many destinations in China and some around East Asia, although most international flights are to Japan and South Korea. For longer distance international travel, it is probably easier to fly to/from Beijing. Many budget airlines have started flying into Tianjin because it is cheaper then Beijing this includes the Air Asia, which has a daily flight connecting Tianjin with Kuala Lumpur (6 hours). Sometimes these flights will say they are flying directly to Beijing but then land in Tianjin and you get loaded on a bus to the Beijing airport.

Buses operate between the train station and the airport and should take around 30 minutes.

Buses directly to the Beijing airport, costing RMB70, leave from the Air China building near Nanjing Lu and Shanxi Lu, which near the earthquake memorial. These buses leave every 30 minutes starting at 6:00am till 5:30pm. They starting going from Beijing to Tianjin at 9:00am till 10:00pm. The bus ride is suppose to take 2 and half hours but can take up 4 hours. There are no stops for the bathroom.

By Train

There are 5 train stations in Tianjin, however the main railway station (天津火车站) is your best bet for long distance travel. You can travel to all major cities in China.
It serves the bullet train to Beijing South train station. One-way tickets are ¥55 for Economy, ¥66 for Business, or ¥94 for VIP. The bullet train designation is a 'C' and takes about 33 minutes, traveling up to 300 km/h.

Metro Line 2 directly connects Tianjin Railway Station and Tianjin Airport.

There are shuttle buses between Tianjin railway station and Tianjin airport. A ticket costs ¥15 per trip. The bus stops about 200m from the train station northern gate (back gate). When you get off the shuttle bus, walk along the pavement to reach the train station.

By taxi, the fare from Tianjin railway station to Tianjin airport is about ¥50-65. Use the official taxi stand (just follow the signage)- it is advised not to use any of the touts that offer taxi services.

If leaving the station by taxi, be prepared for a production-line approach to getting the punters into taxis. Marshals keep the queue moving so have baggage ready to stow and a destination in mind or possibly be forced to go to the back of the line and wait your turn again.

Tianjin South Railway Station serves as an intermediate station for bullet trains between Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao. It is far from the city center, but Metro Line 3 connects the station to the city center. Taxis here are mostly of the illegal variety, so plan accordingly.
Tianjin West Station is the terminus for trains between Tianjin West and Shanghai Hongqiao. It can be reached by Metro Line 1 and 6.

Yujiapu Station is in the middle of the new financial district in the Binhai New Area, and just a few kilometers from the Binhai Library.

Tanggu Station serves the seaside district of the same name.

The inter-city trains between Beijing and Tianjin have a number range between C2001~C2298:

C2001~C2198: From Beijing South Station to Tianjin, non-stop. C2201~C2268: From Beijing South Station to Tianjin, with stops at Wuqing Station (武清站) or Yizhuang Station (亦庄站); C2271~C2298: From Beijing South Station to Tanggu Station of Tianjin.

By Car

Some spots in Tianjin, including roads and bridges, have names from Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People (for example, Minquan Gate on Zhonghuan Road). Names harkening back to the era of the Republic of China on the mainland also appear (e.g. Beiyang Road). Many roads in Tianjin are named after a Chinese province or city. Also, Tianjin is unlike Beijing, in that very few roads run parallel to the major four compass directions.

Tianjin has three ring roads. Unlike Beijing, the Inner and Middle Ring Roads are not closed, traffic-controlled roadways and some often have traffic light intersections. The Outer Ring Road is the closest thing to a highway-level ring road, although traffic is often chaotic and sometimes more than chaotic.

By Bus

Tianjin is well connected with other cities via bus. The price from Beijing is about ¥30.

There are also two school bus lines linking Nankai and Tianjin Universities and Tsinghua University. They depart daily at 15:45 and 16:45 from Tsinghua's North-West Gate.

By Boat

Tianjin is connected by passenger boat to Dalian and Incheon, South Korea.

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Getting Around

By Car

Tianjin has many names such as Beijing's little Brother, the biggest small town in China or the pollution capital. What this all means is this is a very Chinese city. Bikes, motorbikes, cars, trucks, tri-bikes and donkey's in certain areas all compete for the road. Pretty much from sunrise to about 9pm the roads are packed with every form of transport going every which way. In the concession area the twisting oneway streets even confuse veteran taxi drivers, and it doesn't help they are trying to avoid bikes going the wrong way and the right way constantly. In general it would be better not to drive your own car in Tianjin.

By Public Transport

Founded in 1904, the Tianjin bus system was the first in China, and the metro was second in the nation (1970) and today the city is well served by its public transportation. Within the city, traveling on a bus line that is less than 12 km (7 km) will cost ¥1.5, while ¥1 will cover a journey on any line over 12 kilometres, even if you travel less than 12 km (7 mi) but on a line that is over this distance, the cost is still ¥1. It's well worth your time to look up popular bus routes. Buses are comfortable and clean.

A light-rail line runs between the urban area of Zhongshanmen to the seaside area Donghailu in TEDA.

The municipality consists of two rapid transit systems, Tianjin Metro and Binhai Mass Transit. They are being expanded from five to nine lines. Five lines are operating in the City and the Binhai area.

As of 2018, the network of Tianjin Metro and Binhai Mass Transit has 152 stations and 6 lines.

By Taxi

Taxis are abundant. The minimum cost for 3 km is ¥8, (¥1.7 per km thereafter). Taxis also charge for the time while the vehicle is stationary at ¥1.7 for every five minutes (cost is exempt for less than five minutes). It is strongly recommended to avoid taxis from near the railway station. See note in the Get in-By train section above about how to avoid train station taxis. The same advice applies at tourist stops, it is best to walk a few blocks to a regular street to catch a metered taxi. Ride with illegal taxis at your own risk.

There are Tianjin tourist maps with destinations written in Chinese characters and English. Pointing at where you want to go will get you a long way with taxi drivers. It might be a good idea to take a magnifying glass along as many of the drivers have trouble with the small font.

You can rent a taxi driver for the day or even for just a few hours. The drivers are happy to wait, and the cost for two hours would be less than ¥100.

Another caution about taxis is that there are toll roads in some parts of China. In a taxi, you will be expected to pay the base fare plus the toll fee. The driver pays the toll and receives a receipt at the toll booth. At your destination, you ask for the receipt and pay that amount plus the base fare. If you are going a long way, you may also be asked to pay for the return toll fee. That is a legitimate request, although you could argue that the driver will pick up another fare to pay for the toll anyway. You may or may not succeed with the driver.

Tipping isn't common practice, as in most Chinese cities.

By Foot

Walking tours of the concession area can be very nice. All the streets have sidewalks and looking at European 19th century buildings in china can be interesting. Unlike Shanghai most concession homes are still lived in by the same residents since 1949.

By Bike

Biking is a great way to get around Tianjin. Bike's still rule the road and all the major road ways have concreted bike lanes, although sometimes cars will still go down them. Remember that during rush hours the number of bikes and cars can be a bit daunting but if you go slow and pick your way you should be fine.

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Eat

Tianjin cuisine places a heavy focus on seafood, due to Tianjin's proximity to the sea. Prominent menus include the Eight Great Bowls (八大碗), a combination of eight mainly meat dishes. It can be further classified into several varieties, including the rough (粗), smooth (细), and high (高). The Four Great Stews (四大扒) actually refers to a very large number of stews, including chicken, duck, seafood, beef, and mutton.

Tianjin also has several famous snack items. Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子) is a famous and traditional brand of Baozi(steamed stuffed bun) that is famous throughout China. Guifaxiang Mahua (桂发祥麻花) is a traditional brand of mahua (fried dough twist). Erduoyan Zhagao (耳朵眼炸糕) is a traditional brand of Zhagao, or fried rice cakes.

Goubuli (狗不理包子; Gǒubùlǐ Bāozi), 77 Shandong Rd, Heping District (和平区山东路77号; Hépíngqū Shāndōnglù), ☏ +86 22 2730-2540. Tianjin style steamed buns restaurant also serving other dishes. Expect ¥50-100 for a couple.
DaFuLai (大福来), a few branches in the city. Locals all know and love DaFuLai. It serves halal breakfast. According to legend, Empire Qianlong once visited this noshery in Tianjin, and at that time it mainly sold pancake. After having the pancake, the emperor asked for some soup. The hostess was unprepared, and she broke a pancake into small pieces, added boiled water, spices and seasoning. The emperor liked the taste, and gave the dish a name: GuoBaCai 锅巴菜, or GaBaCai 嘎巴菜, which it is named locally. After the emperor left, his retinue told the hostess: "Your luck has come. (Da Fu Lai = Big Luck Come)" Since then, DaFuLai's GuoBaCai has become one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Tianjin. While you might not appreciate the taste (many Chinese from other area do not like it either), DaFuLai is a very good place for people-watching, since almost all the customers there are local. Besides GuoBaCai, the tofu soup is also good (and sells fast). Expect to share table with others.
Sheraton Hotel, Zijinshan Rd, Hexi District, ☏ +86 22 2334-3388. Fine dining available at one of three top quality restaurants available onsite.
Bawarchi, 3/F Shanggu Business Complex West Building, 69 Tianta Rd, Nankai District, ☏ +86 22 2341-2786. Great Indian food, cooked in a traditional Indian tandoor clay oven by Indian chefs. edit
Helen's Cafe (Hǎilún kāfēi; 海伦咖啡), Heping District, He Yan Dao Number 116, (Close to Qixiangtai Lu and the Wu Jia Yao Number 2 Bridge); Tiānjīn shì hépíng qū hé yándào 116 hào (wú jiā yáo 2 hào qiáo páng); 天津市和平区河沿道116号(吴家窑2号桥旁). An excellent place to eat simple western food like hamburgers, fries, and pizzas. During the day, it is a nice and quiet place to study while you eat lunch. At night time, it's a very lively place for foreign expats to get drunk. Free Wi-Fi is available.
Qishilin (Kiessling). Western food with good reputation.
YY Beer House, 3 Aomen Rd, Heping District (Behind the International Building), ☏ +86 22 2339-9634. A great inexpensive Thai restaurant offering a wide selection of beers. A great place to visit during the Thai Water Splashing festival in the spring!
Aulare Urban Latin Restaurant (艾伊莎贝西餐厅), Magnetic Plaza Building A4 2-16 (Binshui Xi Dao Nankai District), ☏ +86 187 2229 0691, ✉ tianjin@aulare.com. At Aulare, you can experience Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and South and Central American flavors.
Kudos Thai, 88 Chengdu Rd, Heping District (Just near the communication bank of china, close to Guilin Rd), ☏ +86 22 23329988. 11:30-late. Well decorated Thai restaurant where the environment is cozy and modern. All food is authentically made by a Thai chef, without MSG or artificial additives. They've got a beautiful yard and nice terrace with a good view. ¥80-120.
Amazon Brazilian B.B.Q. Bar, 189 Nanjing Rd, Heping District (In the basement of the Exchange), ☏ +86 22 8319-1098. Does exactly what it says on the tin and has an enthusiastic, if slightly kitschy Filipino band providing live music as you munch.
Alli Baba, 2 Hutong, Tongan Rd, Nankai University, ☏ +86 22 2351-3976. Featuring international cuisine and foreign student clientele close to the Nankai University campus, which has a whole range of dishes such as pasta, pizza, salad, etc.

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Drink

There are a number of expat bars catering to the visiting business community, most of which can be a little expensive (¥25 upwards for a small bottle of beer) so if you like something a bit more laid back and comfortable.

As far as clubs go, Tianjin is a big university city both for Chinese and foreign students so there are lots of places for dancing. The music policy tends to be mostly Western and Chinese dance, pop and hip hop/R&B, so if you have more alternative tastes in music, the clubs are possibly not for you!

Sitong Bar (Somerset Olympic Tower B1 Floor, Chengdu Road 126, Heping District, intersection with Guizhou Lu (和平区成都道126号盛捷奥林匹克大厦B1楼 贵州路口)), ☏ +86 22 23377177. Basement of Olympic Hotel, rather nice environment with good service. It is the most cosmopolitan music bar of Tianjin, best DJ´s after 22:00 combined with best music from filipino band.The best place for meet interesting people. Have become the only place people go. The Filipino band, Barman Fire Works and if everydays Good DJ music is present.
Alibaba, Nameless lane, Opposite Bengon's, Tongan Dao, Heping District (和平区同安道兵果士对面无名的小街; Hépíngqū Tóngāndào Bīngguǒshìduìmiàn Wúmíngdexiǎojiē). Comes in a close second to Jim’s. Good Western food, cheap beer and table football. There is also a newly constructed Number 10 Downing Street themed private dining room for hire at the back. Also provides free internet access.
The Tavern, Joy Business Center, Bldg B, 3F, ☏ +86 22 2341-9696. More up-market and therefore slightly more pricey but a great place to hang out nonetheless. Run by the ever-welcoming British-born Aussie, David, they have a good selection of draught beers and live music.
Rainbow Pub, 12 Yanhe Rd, Hexi District (河西区沿河路12号; Héīqū Yánhélù) (Near Sheraton). Very similar to pubs you might find in an English suburban town except the clientele are predominately Chinese. There is also a very kitsch Filipino band in residence here. Great fun and unpretentious to the end. Has recently received some very poor reviews by expats in Tianjin.
Scarlet, 155 Weijin Lu (Above the KFC that is directly across from the main gate of Tianjin University (3rd floor)). This is a nice, pretty upscale dance club. There are a lot of Europeans as well as Chinese people that hang out here. Every Friday and Saturday they have open bar for ¥80, but there is a special restaurant and bar on the 2nd and 19th floors. Go through the main entrance on the 3rd floor and ask anyone that works there (a lot of them speak English) for directions or take the lift.
New York Bar, Weijin Road (Opposite Nankai Uni, 4th floor of the KFC building). Was one of the hits in Tianjin 2-3 years ago. But soon went down because of the DJ's who played there.
The Spot Café (The Spot Cafe), Heping District, Nanfu Fang Dajie (Across the street from Tian Yu Hotel on Dian Tai St), ☏ +86 22 27837104. 07:30-24:00. An American-owned coffee house providing great coffees, teas, and pastries, as well as a variety of art and cultural events on a regular basis. ¥10.

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Sleep

Tianjin Starway Champagne Town Hotel, 82 Yingkou Road (Yingkou Dao), ☏ +86 22 58829999. It is located in downtown Tianjin, adjacent to the bustling Binjiang Dao Commercial Street and within easy reach of many popular stores and shopping centres. Guests can be whisked away to the airport using the airport shuttles departing from the hotel square.
Yangliuqing Manor, The outskirts of the city, in Yangliuqing, 20km from Beijintong road, near Ziya River (近郊杨柳青镇北津同公路20公里处 近子牙河), ☏ +86 22 27921666. ¥59.
Tianjin Jinluan Hotel, 268 Jintang Road (Jintang Gonglu), ☏ +86 22 58996648. The Tianjin Jinluan Hotel (Tianjin Jinluan Jiudian) is a courtyard style hotel located on Jintang Road, 500 m from a light rail station and close to large supermarkets and banks.
Astor Hotel, 33 Taierzhuang Rd, ☏ +86 22 2331-1688. Regarded as a major national historical relic preservation project. It combines British classic architectural style with modern amenities. It is comprised of two wings, be sure to check out one of the rooms in the old wing for a true Old World experience. The lobby can pass as a history museum lined with murals, plaques and other interesting finds.
Holiday Inn Tianjin Riverside, Phoenix Commercial Plaza Block A, Haihe East Road, Hebei District, near Jinhai Road (河北区海河东路凤凰商业广场A座 近金海道), ☏ +86 4008825398. ¥654.
Dickson Hotel, 18 Binshui Ave. Four-star hotel located in an ideal location, within easy access to the business and entertainment areas. The hotel provides Chinese and Western cuisine as well as offering a gym, jacuzzi and gift shop.
Somerset Olympic Tower Tianjin (天津盛捷奥林匹克大厦服务公寓), No 126 Chengdu Dao, Heping District, ☏ +86 22 2335 5888, ✉ enquiry.tianjin@the-ascott.com. Close to the Central Business District and surrounded by streets with restaurants, shops and entertainment. Ranging from one to three bedrooms.
Tianjin Crystal Palace Hotel, 28 Youyi Rd, Hexi District, ☏ +86 22 2835-6888. You will not be able to miss this hotel, which looks like two beached cruise ships butted up against a lake. Has a good variety of features and amenities, but its location is a bit out of the way from downtown.
Tianjin First Hotel, 158 Jie Fang N Rd (Just across from the Hyatt and newly built Hisense Plaza), ☏ +86 22 3309988, fax: +86 22 313000. Built in 1922, the rooms have high ceilings and a bit of a classic feel. In room internet can be had for ¥10 per day. Staff English ability is a bit low. ¥270 and up.
Renai Tuanbohu Spa Hotel, (近郊静海县团泊新城津王公路 近团泊湖), ☏ +86 22 68578888. ¥152.
The Westin Tianjin, Nanjing Road 101, Heping District 和平区南京路101号, ☏ +86 22 23890088. ¥1167.
Hyatt Regency Tianjin, 219 Jiefang N Rd (City centre, on the banks of the Hai River), ☏ +86 22 23301234, ✉ bzcentre.tianj@hyattintl.com.
Renaissance Tianjin, 105 Jianshe Rd, Heping District, ☏ +86 22 2302-6888. Offering deluxe accommodations and superior facilities, it has a pool and fitness centre and meeting facilities.
Sheraton Hotel, Zijinshan Rd, Hexi District, ☏ +86 22 2334-3388. The Sheraton provides luxurious relaxation in every one of its 296 rooms.
Teda International Club, 7-2 Fukang Rd, Nankai District, ☏ +86 22 2300-5555. International 5-star hotel that is nicely decorated and equipped with modern facilities. All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, satellite TV, IDD telephone, internet access, mini bar and 24-hour room service. edit
Shangri-La Hotel Tianjin, No. 328 Haihe East Road, Hedong District, ☏ +86 22 84188888. Luxury hotel in the heart of Tianjin's Hedong District.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin, No 167 Dagubei Road, Heping District, ☏ +86 22 58578888. Elegant five-star hotel in the Heping District of Tianjin.
Pan Pacific Tianjin, No. 1 Zhang Zi Zhong Road, Hongqiao District, ☏ +86 22 5863 8888. Stylish hotel from the Pan Pacific chain in the Hongqiao District.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Learn

  • Nankai University was the first western style university founded in China and is considered a top 10 school in China. The large campus has several green spaces, which are pretty. The school also has an excellent teaching Chinese to foreigners program.
  • Tianjin University is located just north of Nankai and is a very pretty campus with several restaurants on it. This school also has an excellent teaching Chinese to foreigners program.
  • Tianjin University of Technology

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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: 39.1038561
  • Longitude: 117.2523808

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This is version 36. Last edited at 13:08 on Jan 14, 20 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

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