Saturday, February 24, 2024
Nanjing Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

With a population of 8,230,000, Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province in the People’s Republic of China and the second biggest city in the east China area. It has long been a significant center of culture, education, science, politics, economics, transportation networks, and tourism, and it constitutionally remains the capital of the Republic of China, which lost the mainland during the civil war.

From the third century AD through 1949, the city played an important role in Chinese history and culture, serving as the capital of successive Chinese dynasties, kingdoms, and republican administrations. Prior to the introduction of pinyin romanization, the city name of Nanjing was spelt Nanking or Nankin. Nanjing had many previous names, and some of them are currently used as district names in the city, such as Jiangning, whose former character Jiang (, River) is the former portion of the name Jiangsu and later character Ning (, simplified version, Peace) is the short name of Nanjing. When referring to the capital of a state, such as the ROC, Jing is used as an abbreviation for Nanjing. Although Nanjing was chosen as the Chinese national capital as early as the Jin dynasty, the name Nanjing was given to the city around a thousand years later, in the Ming dynasty. Nanjing is also known as Jinling or Ginling (, meaning “Gold Mountain”), a name that has been used since the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty.

Nanjing, located in the Yangtze River Delta in the heart of east China, is home to one of the world’s major inland ports. Nanjing is also one of the fifteen sub-provincial cities in the administrative framework of the People’s Republic of China, with jurisdictional and economic autonomy comparable to that of a province. Nanjing was placed seventh in the National Statistics Bureau’s study of “Cities with Strongest Comprehensive Strength,” and second in the Yangtze River Delta’s evaluation of cities with the most sustainable growth potential. It has also received the 2008 Chinese Habitat Scroll of Honour, the Special UN Habitat Scroll of Honour Award, and the National Civilized City designation. Nanjing has several high-quality universities and research centers, with the city placing third in terms of the number of universities included in the 100 National Key Universities, including Nanjing University. The ratio of college students to total population is the highest in the country among metropolitan cities. According to Nature Index, Nanjing is one of the top three Chinese research cities.

Nanjing, one of the nation’s most significant cities for over a thousand years, is acknowledged as one of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals, and had been the world’s biggest city aggregately for hundreds of years, enjoying peace and prosperity as well as bearing wars and tragedies.

After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, it served as the capital city of Jiangsu province, and it is now the titular capital of the Republic of China, housing several of its key cultural buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. Fuzimiao, Ming Palace, Chaotian Palace, Porcelain Tower, Drum Tower, Stone City, City Wall, Qinhuai River, Xuanwu Lake, and Purple Mountain are some of Nanjing’s most notable human historical landscapes, mountains, and rivers. Nanjing Library, Nanjing Museum, and Art Museum are among the city’s most important cultural institutions.

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Nanjing | Introduction

Nanjing – Info Card

POPULATION :  8,230,000
FOUNDED :   unknown (Yecheng, 495 BC. Jinling City, 333 BC)
TIME ZONE :  China Standard (UTC+8)
LANGUAGE : Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
RELIGION : Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%; note: officially atheist
AREA :  6,598 km2 (2,548 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  20 m (50 ft)
COORDINATES :  32°03′N 118°46′E
SEX RATIO :  Male: 51.83
 Female: 48.17
ETHNIC : Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uyghur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5%
POSTAL CODE :  210000–211300
DIALING CODE :  +86 25
WEBSITE : Official Website

Tourism in Nanjing

Nanjing is one of the most attractive cities on the Chinese mainland, with lush green parks, natural beauty lakes, tiny mountains, historical buildings and monuments, relics, and much more that draw millions of visitors each year.

The city pass may be purchased for 100 at the entrance to any of the city’s major parks, such as the zoo or Yuhuatai Memorial Park, and offers free admission to 21 different destinations. For each pass, you must give a passport picture, and they are good for one calendar year.

  • Qin Huai River (秦淮河). The Qin Huai River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, is 110 kilometers (68 miles) long and has a drainage area of 2,631 square kilometers (about 1,016 square miles). The river was originally known as the Huai River, and it is stated that during the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the river was funneled to the city of Nanjing, after which it was renamed the Qin Huai River. The Qin Huai River is the major river in the Nanjing City region and serves as the city’s “vital blood.” The Qin Huai River is so captivating that it captivates people both at home and abroad. There are several prominent places of interest along the banks of the Qin Huai River, including Confucius Temple, Zhanyuan Garden, Zhonghua Gate, and the scenery along the Taoye Ferry trip to Zhenhuai Bridge, which is just 5 minutes away. Visitors may not only view the beauties along the Qinhuai River while cruising on the painted boats, but they can also experience Nanjing’s traditional culture. Visitors may board boats at several wharfs to enjoy the sights along the river.
  • City Wall of Nanjing (城墙). Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (r. 1368-1398) constructed the Nanjing City Wall after establishing the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Nanjing as the capital 600 years ago. To solidify his dominion and keep attackers at bay, he followed the advice of adviser Zhu Sheng, who advised him to construct a taller city wall, harvest grains, and postpone the coronation. Then he began constructing the city wall. The operation, which required 200,000 employees, took 21 years to complete and moved 7 million cubic meters of soil.
  • Confucius Temple (夫子庙). This museum, which was previously an imperial examination testing center for the whole Jiangsu area, is just a portion of the once-massive original structures. The remainder of the property is a large, labyrinthine market; a popular tourist destination in Nanjing and a great spot to get your haggling fix. Take a photo with the Confucius sculpture and then have some tea in one of the canal’s gondolas. On the city’s southern outskirts, near Zhonghua Gate and the Taiping Museum.
  •  The Gate of China (Zhonghuamen) (中华门), 8 Jiefeng Gate, Zhonghuanan Lu (Take subway line 1 to Zhonghuamen station and get out at exit #2, cross the highway and turn right, keep walking till you get to Yuhua lu, turn left and head straight to the gate),  12358. The southern gate of Nanjing’s city wall; this gigantic gate is one of the finest surviving elements of Nanjing’s city wall, as well as one of the outstanding examples of early Ming defensive construction still standing anywhere. The wooden castle on top was destroyed by fire, but the massive brick substructure (each complete with the mason’s name and home province by command of the emperor) survives. An archery range and vegetable gardens are located in two courtyards. The main gate contains three massive depots inside which you may discover various scale models and exhibitions about the barrier, long empty of food. An air raid siren used during the Japanese invasion on the city may be found in one of the depots. It costs $50 to enter.
  • Ruins of the Ming Dynasty Imperial Palace (明故宫遗址), ZhongshanDong Lu(Directly above Minggugong subway station on line 2). The palace was completed in 1366 by the first Ming Emperor and initially spanned 2.5 kilometers. It was entirely demolished during the Qing Dynasty, and what survives now is just a shadow of its former self. The little piece of wall containing the gigantic arches of the Meridian Gate, five stone ‘Outer Dragon’ bridges, and an assortment of megaliths, some with carving remnants, may be found in the tree-shaded southern part. The plan was imitated by the Emperor’s grandson when he transferred the capital northwards in 1421, making the location virtually a prototype of Beijing’s Forbidden City. Free.
  •  Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall (侵华日军南京大屠杀遇难同胞纪念馆), 418 Shuiximen DaJie (Next to YunJinLu Subway station), e-mail:[email protected]. 08:30-16:30; Closed Mondays. A monument to the hundreds of thousands of Chinese killed by Japanese forces in Nanjing during WWII. Two partly excavated mass-burial sites exhibit victim remains in situ, supplemented by informative information boards positioned along the route. The elongated locations are punctuated with sculptures, paintings, and other artworks that induce melancholy contemplation, as well as lovingly controlled buildings and tastefully managed gardens. Close to the entrance is a newly opened museum that exhibits a plethora of images, movies, and items to convey the complete tale in an even-handed manner that may easily entertain you for hours. The captions are available in English, Chinese, and Japanese. Entrance lineups might be lengthy, so prepare ahead of time. Free.
  • Nanjing Museum (南京博物院), 321 ZhongshanDong Lu (Next to Zhongshan Gate). 830-1700. Poetry, bronzes, and silk objects are intermingled with cultural presentations in eleven exhibition rooms. A jade burial garment and an arched door from the Ming Dynasty Porcelain Pagoda are worth considering. A wonderful spot to spend a muggy or wet day. Free.
  • Presidential Palace (总统府), 292 Changjiang Lu (Walk out from Daxinggong (大行宫) metro station, turn into Changjiang Lu, it will be on your left.),  025-84578700. 08:00-18:00 in summer, 08:00-17:00 in winter. Spend a half-day touring previous emperors’ and the Nationalist government’s headquarters. The Palace contains the old offices of numerous prominent government leaders, including Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, as well as Sun Yat-former sen’s apartment. It is one of the few spots in mainland China where the Republic of China flag still flies. Some of the informational boards around the palace are in English. ¥40.
  •  Taiping Kingdom History Museum (太平天国历史博物馆) (About 400m from Sanshanjie metro station),  025-52238687. 08:00 – 17:00. A modest museum concentrating on the Taiping Rebellion (1843-1868), a little-known period in Chinese history. This was one of the worst battles in recorded history, with some estimates putting the death toll greater than that of World War I, and it was undoubtedly much worse than the American Civil War at the time, despite the Chinese using cruder weaponry. It was a watershed event in China’s relationship with the West, modernity, and its own imperial past. It was a religious movement in part because the leader claimed to be God’s second son, Jesus’ younger brother. Nanjing was the capital of a quasi-Christian, peasant-led uprising that overran a territory larger than Texas. It threatened both the foreign colonies in Shanghai and the Qing government in Beijing at various occasions, but neither was taken. Documents related to Taiping history and the grinding elimination of their movement by ambitious Qing generals and their European allies, culminating in the siege of Nanjing, are on display. The lovely Zhanyuan Gardens are just next door.
  • Jiangsu Province Kunqu Theatre. This well-known theatrical group in Nanjing will offer you the opportunity to see Kunqu Opera, a classic Chinese art form, firsthand. The speech will be sung in ancient Chinese, but there will be LED subtitling in English and current Chinese characters.
  • Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge (南京长江大桥). This 6-kilometer-long bridge across the Yangtze River has sculptures that are masterpieces of Chinese socialist art, with laborers and farmers carrying tools, soldiers carrying weapons, and all of them clutching books, most likely quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (better known as The Little Red Book). The bridge was erected after Soviet advisers departed China during the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s, making it the first major project completed wholly by Chinese workers with no outside assistance. On the opposite side, a new town is being built, which may feature a direct subway link in the future.
  • Jiming Temple (鸡鸣寺), No.1 Ji Ming Si Road (Near Xuanwu Lake, there are several bus stops nearby with over 20 buses pass such as no. 3, 11, 20, 31. Also accessible by Metro Line 3 at Jimingsi Station.),  025-57715595. Jiming Temple is the most popular temple in Nanjing, and it is conveniently positioned in the city center. Tickets are ten dollars, and each ticket comes with three complimentary sticks of incense. During popular seasons, prices may escalate (e.g., Spring Festival).
  • Meihuashan (formerly known as Wu Wangfen, but after Wang Jingwei was buried here it got renamed to Meihuashan). The Ming Tomb, Plum Blossom Hill, PlumValley Arts BUILDING Red, and Purple Cloud Lake are all included in the $70 region ticket.
  • Nanjing Yuejiang Lou (南京阅江楼).
  •  Zifeng Tower (紫峰大厦) (Gulou metro station),  025-83280777. The tallest (450-metre, 89-story) building in the city and the seventh tallest building in the world. Hosts an expensive restaurant and a bar at 78th floor. Also there is a public observatory at the 72nd floor. Observatory entrance ¥10000.

Climate of Nanjing

Nanjing has a humid subtropical climate influenced by the East Asian monsoon. The four seasons are distinct, with moist conditions present throughout the year, especially hot and humid summers, chilly, damp winters, and decent lengths of spring and fall in between. Nanjing, along with Chongqing and Wuhan, is known as one of the “Three Furnacelike Cities” along the Yangtze River due to its consistently high summer temperatures.

However, the plum blossom blooming season, which lasts from mid-June to the end of July, is when the meiyu (rainy season of East Asia; literally “plum rain”) begins, and the city endures a period of moderate rain as well as dampness. Typhoons are infrequent, however they are conceivable in the late summer and early fall. The yearly mean temperature is around 15.91 °C (60.6 °F), with monthly 24-hour average temperatures ranging from 2.7 °C (36.9 °F) in January to 28.1 °C (82.6 °F) in July. Since 1951, extreme temperatures have varied from 14.0 °C (7 °F) on 6 January 1955 to 40.7 °C (105 °F) on 22 August 1959. Precipitation falls on average 115 days per year, with an annual rainfall of 1,090 mm (43 in). The city gets 1,926 hours of bright sunlight per year, with monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 37% in March to 52% in August.

Geography of Nanjing

Nanjing, with a total land area of 6,598 square kilometers (2,548 square miles), is located in the center of the drainage basin of the lower parts of the Yangtze River, as well as in the Yangtze River Delta, one of China’s main economic zones. The Yangtze River runs through Nanjing City’s west and then north sides, while the Ningzheng Ridge surrounds the city’s north, east, and south sides. The city is located 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of Shanghai, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) south of Beijing, and 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) east of Chongqing. The downstream Yangtze River runs from Jiujiang, Jiangxi, through Anhui and Jiangsu to the East Sea. The drainage basins of the downstream Yangtze are the Huai River basin to the north and the Zhe River basin to the south, and they are linked by the Grand Canal east to Nanjing. The area surrounding Nanjing is known as the Hsiajiang (Downstream River) region, with Jianghuai emphasizing the northern portion and Jiangzhe emphasizing the southern half. Dongnan ( South East, Southeast) and Jiangnan (River South, south of Yangtze) are other names for the region.

Nanjing is bordered to the northeast by Yangzhou, which is one town downstream when following the north bank of the Yangtze, to the east by Zhenjiang, which is one town downstream when following the south bank of the Yangtze, and to the southeast by Changzhou. Anhui province borders Nanjing to the west, where it shares five prefecture-level cities: Chuzhou to the northwest, Wuhu, Chaohu, and Maanshan to the west, and Xuancheng to the southwest.

Nanjing is located at the confluence of the Yangtze River, an east-west water transport artery, and the Nanjing–Beijing railway, a south-north land transport artery, hence the nickname “door of the east and west, throat of the south and north.” Furthermore, the west portion of the Ningzhen range lies in Nanjing; the Loong-like Zhong Mountain curls in the east of the city, and the tiger-like Stone Mountain crouchs in the west, hence the names “the Zhong Mountain, a dragon curling, and the Stone Mountain, a tiger crouching.” In the “Constructive Scheme for Our Country,” Mr. Sun Yet-sen praised Nanjing, saying, “The situation of Nanjing is magnificent since mountains, lakes, and plains are all incorporated in it.” It’s difficult to locate another city like this.”

Economy of Nanjing


Because of its favorable geographical position and accessible transportation, Nanjing has been an industrial hub for textiles and minting since the Three Kingdoms era. During the Ming dynasty, Nanjing’s industry flourished, and the city rose to become one of the most opulent in China and the globe. It was the busiest commercial city in East Asia and led in textiles, minting, printing, shipbuilding, and many other sectors. Textiles thrived, notably during the Qing era; the sector employed over 200 thousand people, and there were approximately 50 thousand satin machines in the city in the 18th and 19th centuries.


When the foundation of the ROC in the first part of the twentieth century, Nanjing steadily transitioned from being a manufacturing center to being a heavy consumption metropolis, owing to the fast increase of its rich people after Nanjing reclaimed China’s political limelight. A slew of massive department shops, such as Zhongyang Shangchang, sprung up, luring merchants from all over China to market their wares in Nanjing. In 1933, the city’s food and entertainment industries earned more money than the industrial and agricultural industries combined. One-third of the city’s workforce was employed in the service sector.

In the 1950s, when the CPC formed the People’s Republic of China, the government invested extensively in the city to create a series of state-owned heavy enterprises as part of the national strategy of fast industrialization, transforming it into an east China heavy industry production hub. Overzealous in its pursuit of a “world-class” industrial metropolis, the government made several terrible blunders during construction, such as spending hundreds of millions of yuan to dig for non-existent coal, resulting in negative economic growth in the late 1960s. From the 1960s through the 1980s, there were Five Pillar Industries: electronics, automobiles, petrochemicals, iron and steel, and power, all of which had large state-owned enterprises. Following the Reform and Opening recovering market economy, state-owned enterprises found themselves incapable of competing with efficient multinational firms and local private firms, and thus were either mired in heavy debt or forced into bankruptcy or privatization, resulting in a large number of layoff workers who were technically not unemployed but effectively jobless.


The city’s present economy is essentially a fresh development built on the past. Service sectors dominate, contributing for over 60% of the city’s GDP, with the financial, cultural, and tourist industries accounting for the top three. Information technology, energy conservation and environmental protection, new energy, smart power grids, and intelligent equipment manufacture have all emerged as core businesses. Suning Commerce, Yurun, Sanpower, Fuzhong,Hiteker, 5stars, Jinpu, Tiandi, CTTQ Pharmaceutical, and Simcere Pharmaceutical are among the largest private companies. Panda Electronics, Yangzi Petrochemical, Jinling Petrochemical, Nanjing Chemical, Nanjing Steel, Jincheng Motors, Jinling Pharmaceutical, Chenguang, and NARI are all large state-owned enterprises. Multinational corporations such as Siemens, Ericsson, Volkswagen, Iveco, A.O. Smith, and Sharp have established lines in the city, while a number of multinationals such as Ford, IBM,Lucent, Samsung, and SAP have opened research centers there. Many top Chinese companies, including Huawei, ZTE, and Lenovo, maintain important R&D centers in the city. Nanjing is a center for industrial technology research and development, with several R&D facilities and institutes, particularly in the fields of electronics technology, information technology, computer software, biotechnology and pharmaceutical technology, and novel material technology.

Nanjing’s economy, trade, industry, and city building have all grown in recent years. The city’s GDP was RMB 801 billion in 2013, ranking third in Jiangsu, and GDP per capita (current price) was RMB 98,174 (US$16041), an 11 percent rise from 2012. The average disposable income of an urban person was RMB 36,200, while the average net income of a rural resident was RMB 14,513. The urban unemployment rate was 3.02 percent, which was lower than the national average (4.3 percent). Nanjing’s GDP rated 12th in China in 2013, while its overall competency ranked 6th on the mainland and 8th including Taiwan and Hong Kong in 2009.

How To Travel To Nanjing

Get In - By plane

Nanjing Lukou International Airport is located 35 km from the city center and offers connections to most Chinese cities as well as some international flights from Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Los Angeles and Germany. There is also a daily evening flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport for international connections.

There is a new subway line from the airport to Nanjing South Station, the S1 line, which takes half an hour and costs ¥6. Be prepared to walk quite a ways between Line 1 and S1 at the South Station transfer station. A cab ride to the city center takes the same time, but costs about ¥100.

There are two express bus lines connecting the airport to downtown Nanjing – one terminates at North Station and the other at South Station, offering connections to the subway and local city buses. The lines run every 30 minutes and the trip to North Station takes over an hour. A one-way ticket costs ¥20 and can be purchased at the kiosk outside the arrivals hall.

If you are traveling to Shanghai, it is best to take the high-speed G train from Shanghai Hongqiao Station, which takes 75 minutes and costs 139.50 yen (2nd class). There is a slower bus that leaves four times a day from both Shanghai airports; it leaves from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, stops at Hongqiao Airport, then continues to Nanjing Zhongyangmen. The trip costs ¥136 from Shanghai and takes about five hours.

Get In - By train

There are two main stations, Nanjing Station (also called Nanjing North, located on the northern shore of Xuanwu Lake and in close proximity to Zhongyangmen Long Distance Bus Station) and Nanjing South Station. Both are very large and more like modern airports that serve many destinations by high-speed trains. Both are designed so that arrivals take place in the basement and departures on the second floor. Nanjing South is the main station for long-distance high-speed trains to Beijing, Shanghai, Xuzhou, Zhengzhou, Jinan, Tianjin, Wuhan, Hefei and other destinations. For destinations such as Zhenjiang, Danyang, Changzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou and Kunshan, Nanjing (north) station may be more appropriate. A trip to Hefei takes about one hour, and to Wuhan 3.5 to 4 hours. A trip to Beijing usually takes 4 hours with a G-series high-speed train.

From Shanghai, there are many daily departures to and from Shanghai Station and Shanghai Hongqiao, which is 75 minutes away by high-speed train (¥139.50 for 2nd class and ¥230 for 1st class), and depending on the route, trains also stop in Wuxi and Suzhou. Beijing is about 4 hours away by high-speed train.

The slower “conventional” trains (which include night trains to almost everywhere in China) all use the older Nanjing station.

Zhonghuamen Station (adjacent to Zhonghuamen Subway and Bus Station, formerly called Nanjing South and renamed Zhonghuamen Station to avoid homonymy with the new Nanjing South high-speed train station, opened in June 2011) will undergo a complete renovation and most long-distance nighttime connections will depart from here in the future. Although it is only a tiny station with a few trains a day, most trains between Nanjing and Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) will stop here, so it is worth booking a ticket to Zhonghuamen to avoid a slow 45-minute ride through the eastern suburbs to the central station. South Station is about a block east of Zhonghuamen Subway Station, making it easy and generally faster to continue the journey than from Central Station. (Note: as of 2015, Zhonghuamen Station does not appear to be served; it is not listed in the timetable).

Nanjing West Railway Station, mentioned in old guidebooks, has been permanently closed. The old terminal station, located west of the city center, was built in 1908 and is to be turned into a railway museum.

Get In - By bus

Nanjing is well connected by bus to Shanghai, Hangzhou and most destinations in Jiangsu, Anhui and northern Zhejiang provinces. There are also longer overnight bus connections to Beijing (12 hours) and Guangzhou (24 hours). Most buses depart from Zhongyangmen Bus Station, a large, clean and modern terminal located in the north of the city, about a 10-minute walk west of the central station. The station is equipped with English signs and announcements, but ticket sellers generally do not understand English. Some trains to Anhui province depart from Nanjing South (Zhonghuamen) Station, which is adjacent to Zhonghuamen Subway Station. There are also bus stations serving nearby destinations in Hanzhongmen, East Nanjing (north of Purple Mountain) and North Nanjing (on the west side of the Yangtze River), although they are less useful for travelers.

Get In - By Road

Between Shanghai and Nanjing, there is a modern highway system that allows you to get from one city to the other fairly quickly. Be aware of the traffic during morning and evening rush hours. If you are just one person, it can be much cheaper to travel by train, but if you are a larger group, it may be cheaper to share a car. Keep in mind that you need to be a very experienced driver to be able to handle the Chinese traffic. Therefore, you may be better served by trains and buses between cities and by cabs within cities, unless you are really looking for a challenge.

Get In - By boat

Nanjing is located on the Yangtze River. Between Shanghai downstream and Wuhan in Hubei province upstream, there is a regular passenger service on the Yangtze River, although the river is mainly used for freight transportation.

There are also regular ferry connections on the river, especially from Zhongshan Wharf (near Nanjing West Station) to Pukou.

How To Get Around In Nanjing

If you are staying for more than a few days, it is worth buying a jinlingtong (also known as IC-tong). You can get one at every subway station, most bus stations and every Huaxia Bank branch (check for an information window with the letters “IC”). The card costs ¥75, contains ¥25 deposit and ¥50 credit and can be reloaded at the above mentioned places. The card can be used in the subway, on all city buses (but not on all suburban buses), on ferries across the river, in cabs (although drivers are reluctant to accept it and may tell you that the scanner is defective) and in some Suguo stores.

Get Around - By taxi

Cabs are a good way to get around and most rides cost less than ¥25. The cab driver should turn on the meter as soon as you are picked up (all meters start at ¥9 + ¥2 service charge); if the cab driver doesn’t turn on the meter and you don’t say anything, he may assume you don’t know any better and overcharge you. When you leave the cab, ask for a printed receipt with the cab number, kilometers traveled, hours and money paid. Don’t expect to find a cab during morning and afternoon rush hour; demand is high and drivers change shifts at these times. Tipping is not expected in China, so the price on the meter is the price you should pay, plus a gas tax of two yuan (an extra receipt is provided for this tax.) Unlike cab drivers in Beijing or Shanghai (who often take foreigners for rides and are used to under-the-table tips), tipping is a foreign concept in Nanjing. You will probably confuse the driver, but you will please him if you insist that he accepts extra “free” money. Like anywhere in China, it is very unlikely that you will find a driver who speaks English. Therefore, if you don’t speak Mandarin, consider getting your hotel’s business card and ask the hotel staff to write down the names of your destinations in Chinese so you can show them to your cab driver before you leave.

Get Around - By Metro

The metro is a clean, cheap, safe and fast way to get from point A to point B quickly. It consists of 5 lines (more are under construction) and covers most of the city center, connecting two train stations and the airport. The lines are as follows:

  • Line 1 runs from Maigaoqiao in the north through Nanjing Station and Nanjing South Station to China Pharmaceutical University (CPU) in the south. There are three possible connections: with Line 2 at Xinjiekou Station in the city center, with Line 10 at Andemen Station and with Line S1 at Nanjing South Station. Trains between the two run every three minutes.
  • Line 2 starts from Olympic New Town area in the west, passes through Hanzhong Lu and Zhongshan Donglu and ends near the scenic Purple Mountain area. Trains run every 6-8 minutes. There are connections with Line 1 at Xinjiekou Station in the city center and Line 10 at Yuantong Station.
  • Line 10 starts from Andemen, passes through the New Olympic City area around the Olympic Sports Center, crosses the Yangtze River to the west and ends at Yushanlu Station in the Pukou area. Yuantong and Andemen stations offer connections to Line 2 and Line 1, respectively.
  • Line S1, also known as the Airport Line, connects Nanjing South Station with Nanjing Lukou International Airport. Trains run every 10 minutes. At Nanjing South Station, there are connections to Line 1.
  • Line S8 runs from Taishanxincun to Jinniuhu and is an urban subway in the Jiangbei area (the area north of the Yangzte River).
  • Line 3, more or less parallel to Line 1 in the north-south direction, opened on April 1, 2015. It leads from Linchang to Mozhou Lu via North Station/Fuzimiao/South Station. There are connections with Line 1 at Nanjing Station, Nanjing South Station and Line 2 at Daxinggong.

Trains run from about 5 am to 11 pm. Single tickets cost between 2 and 9 yuan, depending on the distance, and can be purchased from the station’s ticket machines. It is also possible to buy value cards (see above), which give a 5% discount. As in most Chinese cities, you must have your luggage or bag scanned by an X-ray machine before entering the subway.

Get Around - By bus

Buses are convenient for getting around, especially in places inaccessible by subway. However, Nanjing’s bus system seems a bit outdated compared to Hangzhou and Shanghai and lacks information in English. Google Maps shows bus routes for Nanjing, and some tourist maps, such as those sold at the train station, contain bus routes. However, as construction of the metro progresses, bus routes are constantly being rearranged to meet changing needs, so the printed information you receive may be out of date.

Buses operating within the urban area have a route number on a red plate under the windshield next to the entrance door. Low numbered routes (1-100) follow major transit routes and connect major commercial, residential and transportation centers. Three-numbered routes follow indirect routes and pass through quieter residential streets. They are less convenient for travelers, but can be an interesting way to see Nanjing’s ordinary working-class neighborhoods. Routes with the Chinese character “Sie” (travel) are mainly for tourists and connect all the major tourist sites. Routes with the number “8XX”, e.g. 801, 806, 813, etc., are night buses that run about twice an hour between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., when regular traffic ends. Buses to the surrounding suburbs depart from nodes on the outskirts of the city center, such as Nanjing Station (north/east), Changjiang Daqiao (Yangtze River Bridge No. 1 – northwest), Hanzhongmen (west) and Zhonghuamen (south/east). These lines have the name of the suburb/city they serve in Chinese characters and do not have a line number.

The fare is 2 yuan for numbered routes, except for some routes with older, non-air-conditioned buses, which cost 1 yuan – there is no change, so have some coins ready. On suburban routes, fares are based on distance and a ticket inspector collects the fare. IC card users receive a 20% discount. Note that many stops are within a certain distance of each other (often 3 or 4 blocks), so look for your stop and pay attention to the name of the stop in the loudspeaker announcements (which are only in Chinese). When the bus is quiet, press the buzzer next to the door to signal the driver that you want to get off.

Get Around - By bike

Nanjing is quite bike-friendly, with separate bike lanes on most busy streets – but there are a lot of bikes on the road, so you have to be careful. In general, the pace is quite slow, and some of the hills in the central-western part of the city can be tiring to climb (but fun and a bit scary to ride down). While it is possible to bike up Purple Mountain, it is best to do so early in the morning, as the streets are congested most of the day with fast-moving bus and cab traffic and there are no bike lanes. The bike/pedestrian path by Xuanwu Lake is a popular spot for cyclists and a popular racing ground for local bikers – be careful on the many blind curves.

Bicycles can be rented at most hostels – just make sure the tires are inflated and the brakes work before you leave.

Buying a bike is relatively easy and cheap – the cheapest way is to buy a good quality used (possibly stolen) bike from the bike markets around Tangzi Jie (behind the Sheraton Hotel) for ¥100-200. However, buying a cheap bike on Tangzi Jie sends a bad signal to thieves and is a sure way to aggravate criminal activity – and if that doesn’t make you feel bad, remember that you will lose your “used” bike if it is recovered by its real owner. Cheap bikes sold in department stores and supermarkets are of very poor quality and should not be trusted. Higher quality and better performing bikes: Giant, Trek and Specialized all have stores in Nanjing. Don’t forget to bring a strong lock – bike theft is very common.

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Nanjing

The sub-provincial city of Nanjing is divided into 11 districts.

District Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Population (2013) Area (km2)
Xuanwu 玄武区 Xuánwǔ Qū 660,557 80.97
Qinhuai 秦淮区 Qínhuái Qū 1,034,822 50.36
Jianye 建邺区 Jiànyè Qū 446,899 82.00
Gulou 鼓楼区 Gǔlóu Qū 1,292,291 57.62
Yuhuatai 雨花台区 Yǔhuātái Qū 415,885 131.90
Qixia 栖霞区 Qīxiá Qū 664,103 340.00
Jiangning 江宁区 Jiāngníng Qū 1,178,628 1,573.00
Pukou 浦口区 Pǔkǒu Qū 728,798 913.00
Luhe 六合区 Lùhé Qū 926,445 1,485.50
Lishui 溧水区 Lìshuǐ Qū 419,523 983.00
Gaochun 高淳区 Gāochún Qū 420,429 801.00

Prices In Nanjing

Tourist (Backpacker) – 47 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:meals in cheap restaurant, public transport, cheap hotel.

Tourist (regular) – 101 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:mid-range meals and drinks,transportation, hotel.


Milk 1 liter $2.09
Tomatoes 1 kg $1.18
Cheese 0.5 kg $
Apples 1 kg $2.00
Oranges 1 kg $1.98
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $0.72
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $11.50
Coca-Cola 2 liters $1.02
Bread 1 piece $
Water 1.5 l $0.57


Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $22.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $39.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $60.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $4.60
Water 0.33 l $0.27
Cappuccino 1 cup $4.40
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $3.80
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $1.72
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $0.50
Coctail drink 1 drink $8.00


Cinema 2 tickets $16.00
Gym 1 month $55.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $6.00
Theatar 2 tickets $80.00
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $0.05
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $3.00


Antibiotics 1 pack $3.10
Tampons 32 pieces $5.50
Deodorant 50 ml. $5.60
Shampoo 400 ml. $5.40
Toilet paper 4 rolls $1.60
Toothpaste 1 tube $1.65


Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 $68.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M) 1 $45.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas) 1 $112.00
Leather shoes 1 $100.00


Gasoline 1 liter $0.97
Taxi Start $1.50
Taxi 1 km $0.40
Local Transport 1 ticket $0.30

Sights & Landmarks In Nanjing

The city pass can be purchased for ¥100 at the entrance of one of the city’s major parks, such as the zoo or Yuhuatai Memorial Park, and gives you free access to 21 different places. Each pass requires a photo ID and is valid for one calendar year.

  • Qin Huai River (秦淮河). The Qin Huai, a tributary of the greater Yangtze River, is 110 kilometers long and has a watershed of 2,631 square kilometers (about 1,016 square miles). The river was originally called the Huai River, and it is said that during the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the river was channeled to the city of Nanjing, so it was now called the Qin Huai River. The Qin Huai River is the largest river in the Nanjing area and the “life blood” of the city. On the banks of the Qin Huai River are many famous sites, including the Confucius Temple, which is only 5 minutes away, Zhanyuan Garden, Zhonghua Gate and sites along the Taoye Ferry to Zhenhuai Bridge. Visitors can take boats at various embarkation points to enjoy the scenery along the river.
  • Nanjing City Wall (城墙). The Nanjing City Wall was designed by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (r. 1368-1398) after he founded the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and made Nanjing his capital 600 years ago. In order to consolidate his rule and repel invaders, he accepted the proposals of his advisor Zhu Sheng to build a higher wall, collect grain and postpone the coronation. He then started the construction of the wall. The project lasted 21 years, during which 200,000 workers moved 7 million cubic meters of earth.
  • Confucius Temple (夫子庙). The museum, which once served as the imperial examination center for the entire Jiangsu region, now consists of only a tiny portion of the original, once huge buildings. The rest of the site is a huge maze-like market, a popular tourist attraction in Nanjing and a place to pass the time by haggling. Have your picture taken with the Confucius sculpture and have tea in one of the gondolas on the canal. On the south side of the city, next to Zhonghua Gate and Taiping Museum.
  • The Gate of China (Zhonghuamen) (中华门), 8 Jiefeng Gate, Zhonghuanan Lu (take Metro Line 1 to Zhonghuamen Station and get off at Exit No. 2, cross the highway and go right, continue to Yuhua lu, turn left and go directly to the gate). The South Gate of the Nanjing Wall; this massive gate is one of the best preserved parts of the Nanjing Wall and one of the best surviving examples of early Ming defensive architecture. The wooden castle at the top was destroyed by fire, but the huge masonry base (marked with the name of the stonemason and his province of origin by order of the emperor) was preserved. Two courtyards house an archery range and vegetable gardens. The main gate has three huge storerooms in which one can find, once the reserves have long been exhausted, some scale models and objects displayed on the gate. In one of the depots is an air raid siren used during the Japanese attack on the city. The entrance fee is ¥50.
  • Ruins of the Ming Dynasty Imperial Palace (明故宫遗址), ZhongshanDong Lu (just above the Minggugong subway station on line 2). The palace was built in 1366 by the first Ming emperor and was originally 2.5 km long. It was completely destroyed during the Qing Dynasty, and what remains today can hardly be imagined. In the southern half, shaded by trees, there is the small wall with the huge arches of the meridian gate, five stone bridges of the “outer dragon” and a series of megaliths, some of which have fragments of sculptures. The site was practically a prototype of the Forbidden City in Beijing, since the emperor’s grandson copied it when he moved the capital north in 1421.
  • Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall (侵华日军南京大屠杀遇难同胞纪念馆), 418 Shuiximen DaJie (next to YunJinLu subway station), e-mail:[email protected]. 08:30-16:30; closed Mondays. A memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Chinese killed by Japanese troops in Nanjing during World War II. Two partially excavated mass graves display the remains of the victims in situ, accompanied by informative signs along the way. The lengthy site, with its sympathetically understated architecture and beautifully manicured gardens, is dotted with sculptures, murals and other works of art that encourage solemn meditation. Near the entrance is the recently opened museum, which displays a multitude of photos, videos and artifacts that tell the story of the place in a fairly balanced way and can easily keep you occupied for hours. Entries are in English, Chinese and Japanese. Lines at the entrance can be long, so plan accordingly. Free of charge.
  • Nanjing Museum (南京博物院), 321 ZhongshanDong Lu (next to Zhongshan Gate). 830-1700. Eleven exhibition rooms feature a mix of poetry, bronzes, and silk artifacts, dotted with cultural representations. A jade burial robe and a Ming-era porcelain vaulted pagoda door are especially worth a look. A great place to spend wet or rainy days. Free of charge.
  • Presidential Palace (总统府), 292 Changjiang Lu (from Daxinggong Subway Station (大行宫), take Changjiang Lu, the building is then on the left. ), 025-84578700. 08:00-18:00 in summer, 08:00-17:00 in winter. Spend half a day exploring the seat of the former emperors and the Nationalist government. The palace houses the former offices of many high government officials, including Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, as well as the former residence of Sun Yat-sen. It is one of the few places in mainland China where the flag of the Republic of China still flies. The information boards around the palace are partly in English. ¥40.
  • Taiping Kingdom History Museum (太平天国历史博物馆) (About 400 m from Sanshanjie subway station), 025-52238687. 08:00 – 17:00. A small museum that focuses on the Taiping Revolt (1843-1868), a piece of history little known in the West. It was one of the bloodiest conflicts in history – some estimates indicate that the death toll was higher than that of World War I, and it was certainly much worse than the American Civil War at the same time, although the Chinese used more primitive weapons. It was a defining moment in China’s relationship with the West, with modernity, and with its own imperial history. It was in part a religious movement; the leader claimed to be the second son of God, the younger brother of Jesus. This quasi-Christian insurgency, led by peasants, extended over a territory larger than Texas, with Nanjing as its capital. At different times, it threatened both the foreign settlements in Shanghai and the Qing government in Peking, but did not take over both. Documents are on display about the history of the Taiping and the exhausting suppression of their movement by the enterprising Qing generals and their European auxiliary troops, which culminated in the siege of Nanjing. Next door are the beautiful Zhanyuan Gardens.
  • Kunqu Theatre of Jiangsu Province. This well-respected theater company in Nanjing offers you the opportunity to experience Kunqu opera, a traditional Chinese art form, first hand. The dialogue is sung in ancient Chinese, but there are LED subtitles in English and modern Chinese characters.
  • Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing (南京长江大桥). This 6 km long bridge over the Yangtze River has sculptures that are among the classics of Chinese socialist art: Workers and peasants carrying tools, soldiers carrying weapons, and all holding books, probably quotes from Chairman Mao Zedong (better known as the Little Red Book). The bridge was built after Soviet advisors left China during the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s, making it the first major project built entirely by Chinese people without foreign assistance. On the other side, a new city is being built and may be connected directly to the metro in the future.
  • Jiming Temple (鸡鸣寺), Ji Ming Si Road No. 1 (Near Xuanwu Lake, there are several bus stops where more than 20 buses stop, e.g. No. 3, 11, 20, 31. Also accessible by subway line 3 at Jimingsi station. ), 025-57715595. Jiming Temple is the most popular temple in Nanjing and is located near the city center. The entrance fee is ¥10 and includes 3 free incense sticks per ticket. During popular times of the year (e.g. Spring Festival), the price may increase.
  • Meihuashan (formerly known as Wu Wangfen, but after Wang Jingwei was buried there, it was renamed Meihuashan). Area ticket of ¥70 which includes Ming Tomb, Plum Blossom Hill, PlumValley Arts BUILDING Red, Purple Cloud Lake 5 attractions.
  • Nanjing Yuejiang Lou (南京阅江楼).
  • Zifeng Tower (紫峰大厦) (Gulou subway station), 025-83280777. It is the tallest building (450 meters, 89 floors) in the city and the seventh tallest building in the world. It houses an expensive restaurant and bar on the 78th floor. In addition, there is a public observatory on the 72nd floor. The entrance to the observatory costs ¥10000 (November 2016).

Purple Mountain 紫金山

Some say that Nanjing is all about tombs. Plan a full day to explore the mountain and its surroundings. The park has a shuttle “train” that you can take which is included in the price of some entrance tickets. There is also a cable car that goes up to the top of the mountain for 25 ¥ one way and 45 ¥ round trip, or you can walk there. In the area are the graves of three very important historical figures:

  • Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum (明孝陵). Ming Xiaoling is the most famous site of the Ming era in Nanjing. It is the mausoleum complex of Zhu Yuanzhang, also known as Emperor Hongwu, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Most of the monuments are lined up along the kilometer-long Sacred Way (shendao), which leads from the Square Pavilion (Sifangcheng) and its giant turtle (giantbixi) to the artificial hill where the emperor is supposed to be buried. See the stone camels and elephants on the sacred path and the second turtle on the site – a tribute from Emperor Kangxi, the greatest emperor of the Qing Dynasty, to his predecessor Ming.

The third turtle at the site – the least known of the three, but the largest and most mysterious – was discovered in the late 20th century in a nearby ravine and is now located in the Red Chamber Cultural Park (红楼艺文苑, Honglou Yiwen Yuan), located east of the main Ming Xiaoling complex, which can be visited with the same ticket.

  • Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (中山陵). Resting place of the leader of the 1911 revolution and China’s first president. A beautifully designed complex with a blend of traditional Chinese and Western architectural styles.
  • Tomb of Sun Quan (孙权墓). Tomb of Sun Quan, late Han Dynasty general and ruler of the state of Wu during the Three Kingdoms period.

Purple Mountain Pass might be worthwhile if you want to visit 2 or 3 of the mountain parks. The Purple Mountain Pass can be purchased for ¥100 at the entrance of Sun Yat-sen Monument (and possibly at one of the other mountain parks) and provides access to nine parks.

Outside the city

  • Qixia Temple (栖霞寺), 88南京市栖霞街号 (From Nanjing, take bus 206 to Qixia Village (栖霞), fare: ¥3, travel time: 1 hour. The bus leaves from North Station Square, but it is best to get on at Xinzhuang Guangchang Dong (新庄广场东, subway line 3). On the way, the bus passes through a village and then back onto the highway, where it runs parallel to the railway overpass. Get off when the bus stops on a bridge in the next village; it then passes right in front of the parking lot and the temple entrance gate. Qixia Temple is at the back of the village), +86 25 8576 8152. 07:00-17:00. The temple, located at the foot of the maple-wooded hill that once served as the retreat of the QianLong emperor, now attracts crowds of less enthusiastic visitors who climb the network of paths connecting whimsically named pavilions, ponds, tombs and natural stone features. The temple itself is not very large, consisting only of two bell towers and identical-looking drums in front of a large, sober hall with elegant red-lacquered window frames, in which a relatively modern, but gracious and benevolent-looking giant Buddha sits on a golden lotus. At the back of the hall are two artistically carved cabinets, in which stone statues of Buddha and Guanyin are impressively and authentically placed. The temple is said to house an ancient bone relic from the historical Buddha, but it is well hidden. Further up the hill is a set of stone structures divided by a steep ravine, believed to have been split by mystical forces in ancient times, and from which a staircase leads to a pavilion with an expansive view of the valley. Further up the hill are the crumbling remains of a group of buildings used by the Qianlong army. The best time to visit is in autumn, when the maple trees turn orange, or in spring, when the peach blossoms are dotted with pink and white flowers.¥40.
  • Yangshan Quarry (阳山碑材) (Nanjing-Tangshan line bus (南汤线, Nan-Tan Xian) from Nanjing station. ). Here one can see in situ the three parts of a giant stele commissioned by Emperor Yongle for the mausoleum of his father, Emperor Hongwu. The project was never completed, as the Ming engineers realized that the stone monoliths could not be transported from here to Ming Xiaoling.

Museums & Galleries In Nanjing

Nanjing has some of the oldest and best museums in China. The Nanjing Museum, known as the National Central Museum during the ROC period, is the first modern museum and remains one of the leading museums in China with 400,000 pieces in its ,.permanent collection. The museum is known for its huge collection of Ming and Qing imperial porcelain, one of the largest in the world. Other museums include the Nanjing Municipal Museum in the Chaotian Palace, the Eastern Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Chinese History in the Presidential Palace, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, the Museum of the History of the Taiping Kingdom, the Jiangning Imperial Silk Museum and the Nanjing Yunjin Museum, Nanjing City Wall Cultural Museum, Nanjing Customs Museum in Ganxi House, Nanjing Astronomical History Museum, Nanjing Paleontological Museum, Nanjing Geological Museum, Nanjing River Stone Museum and other museums and memorials such as Zheng He Memorial, Jinling Four Modern Calligraphers Memorial.

Things To Do In Nanjing

  • Tangshan Regalia – Hot Spring & Spa (汤山御庭温泉), Tangshan Quan Yun Road, +86 25 8713 1188, toll-free number: 400 115 3388, fax: +86 25 8713 1188, e-mail: [email protected]. Tangshan is a historical natural spa area in Nanjing, known as one of the most popular places to enjoy the beautiful mountain view, surrounded by peaceful forests and a lake. Regalia Resort & Spa offers private rooms with hot springs followed by spa treatments. Easily accessible from Huning Highway by public or private transportation, Tangshan is the perfect place to enjoy the relaxing pleasures of natural hot springs.
  • Xuanwu Hu. One of Nanjing’s lakes has three islands in its center, connected by dikes, with a children’s amusement park, a small zoo and many beautiful views of the city and the Purple Mountain. It is also possible to rent canoes. The picturesque nature of this lake is a testament to Nanjing’s high appreciation of beauty in China. Free
  • Chaotiangong (朝天宫). 11:00-17:00. For antique lovers, there is a small market next to the Confucius Palace. There are all kinds of items, small and large, some are real antiques, some are fakes. If you want to buy something, be prepared to negotiate the price! It is fun to walk around the market and observe both the sellers and the vendors, as the environment is very charming.

Food & Restaurants In Nanjing

Local specialties include xiaolongbao (小笼包), thin-skinned ravioli filled with soup and meat, served hot and steaming in baskets, and tangbao (汤包), similar but much larger, filled with crab meat and soup. The soup is drunk through a straw. Restaurants serving this soup can be found all over Nanjing, usually in small restaurants or cheap dining rooms (餐厅). They are usually served with Yaxue Fensi duck blood noodles (鸭血粉丝), another local specialty.


  • In Nanjing, dozens of small noodle (miantiao) and sticker (jiaozi) stores are found on many streets. In Qingdao Lu, a side street that passes before the intersection of Shanghai Lu and Guangzhou Lu heading north, there are excellent miantiao stores, including a Hui restaurant (the Hui are an ethnic Chinese who practice Islam) that serves only mutton and beef. A big bowl of hot soup and noodles here costs only about ¥6. Near Nanjing University, there are many good and cheap restaurants, including a number of jiaozi stores. In most jiaozi stores, you order and pay at the cashier at the entrance and receive a ticket that you have to show at the distribution point.
  • If you want something to eat at a late hour, just head to a small side street and follow your nose, and you’re sure to find a small BBQ restaurant. These smoky little restaurants offer spicy meat skewers (usually beef or lamb) accompanied by grilled vegetables, bread, fish and even sticky rice balls, and also serve beer for about ¥3 a bottle.
  • If you are looking for real handmade ravioli, there is an excellent ravioli restaurant (with an English menu) on Ninghai Rd. The ravioli are sold with different fillings in batches of 6, at prices ranging from ¥2 to ¥5, and you must order at least 2 batches.
  • If you can’t read Chinese and are a bit picky about food, there is a great restaurant called A Simple Diet, located on Hunan Road (next to McDonalds). Here, they have adopted the Japanese innovation of reproducing the menu items in plastic, so that you just have to point at them to order. When you enter the restaurant, you are given a card – when you order, you give it to the staff who stamp your card. When you leave the restaurant, you go to the cashier with your card to pay.
  • Cheap Western-style sandwiches are available at the popular American store Subway, which has four branches in Nanjing: two in Carrefour stores, one in the Golden Wheel shopping center and one in the popular Da Yang department store. The Walmart (wa-er-ma) in Xinjiekou has a large food and convenience store in the basement. McDonalds has a number of restaurants in the city, if you are interested in the ¥7 menu (the Chinese equivalent of the dollar menu).
  • If you want to eat or just stock up on snacks and drinks, there are many supermarkets and grocery stores in Nanjing. The main supermarkets in the city center are Times Extra (in Zhongyang Lu, near Xinmofan Lu subway station), Lotus (near Zhongyangmen bus station), Walmart (on the second floor of Wanda Plaza Mall in Xinjiekou) and Carrefour (in Zhongshan Dong Lu). There are also many Suguo CVS convenience stores, which look like 7-Eleven and offer drinks, snacks, instant noodles and cigarettes. In most Suguo stores, it is possible to pay with the IC transport card. In the basement (Food Court) of the Aqua City shopping center, there is a quality BHG supermarket.


  • Soul Mate, Nan Xiu Cun 15-1 (near Shanghai Road), +86 25 8332 8418. Western-style restaurant and cafe run by French expats, offering homemade pizzas, burgers, salads and French dishes at reasonable prices. A good place to have a few drinks and eat in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
  • THE 5 SENSES (乐尚法国餐厅), 52-1 Hankou Lu (near Shanghai Street), +86 25-83 59 58 59, e-mail: [email protected]. 11:30am to 10pm. French restaurant with a French chef and a warm atmosphere, offering traditional and homemade French dishes. ¥38-119.
  • Yunzhong Xiaoya (云中小雅餐厅), 55F, 49 Zhongshan Nanlu, 025-8689 3333, 8689 3131. 10 – 23 hours. Located on the 55th floor, this restaurant has a great view of the city and also turns on an axis. It offers Cantonese cuisine and huaiyang. Not very tasty, but the view is worth it. ¥20-150.
  • Gold & Silver (金银餐厅), 金银街 (on Jinyin Jie Street. It is located right in front of Nanjing University’s international dormitories, right next to Shanghai Lu Street. ). It has reopened its doors. ¥10-¥30.
  • Old Place Sichuan Food (老地方餐厅), 金银街 (located on Jinyin Jie Street. It is right across the street from Nanjing University’s international dormitories, right next to Shanghai Lu Street. ). ¥10-¥30.
  • Skyways Bakery (also known as German Bakery). It is run by a German-Belgian couple. The sandwiches are of good quality, quite large and include a drink. They also have good salads and coffee at reasonable prices. Ask about job opportunities in town by checking the bulletin board.¥27.
  • Skyways Bakery site 1, Shanghai Lu (south of Bejing Xi Lu), +86 25 8663 4834.
  • Skyways Bakery Site 2, Xianlin Site: A18, Yadong Commercial Plaza, 12 North Xianyin Road (From Metro Line 2, exit Xueze Lu Subway Station. Walk 1 block west to Xianyin Bei Lu, turn right. Walk along the Yadong City complex for about 2 blocks, and the Skyway is on your left. ), +86 25 8579 1391.
  • A German bread store. If you miss the taste of your homeland or are just looking for good bread and sandwiches, you should visit this cafe next to Nanjing Normal University. You will find sandwiches, drinks and different kinds of original German bread. There are probably foreign visitors here at all hours and many customers speak different European languages. ¥20.
  • Kung (main gate of Mei Hua Shan Zhuang site). A Korean-owned restaurant, very popular with the Korean community in Nanjing. Kung serves a wide variety of traditional Korean dishes like bulgogi and kimchi (in all its colorful variations). Order a selection of dishes and share with four or five friends. ~¥150 for four people.
  • 24hr Coffee Tea. (Can anyone confirm that 24hr Coffee Tea is closed? ) This cozy but low-key establishment has excellent coffee and tea and reasonable lunch offerings. The little bento boxes, which come with a cup of soup and fruit, are great. The service is very attentive and meals are usually delivered very quickly. The menu is only Chinese characters (no pinyin) and the servers don’t speak English, so you should brush up on your Mandarin. Wi-Fi is available if you have either a China Mobile or a China Unicom account. The two establishments are right across the street from each other, on either side of Shanghai Lu. ~¥100.
  • Blue Sky (on Shanghai Lu). An expat bar particularly popular with Australians, with a pool table and jukebox. The eclectic menu offers pub food like burgers or Indian dishes like vindaloo. Service can be slow, so don’t try to get lunch here quickly. If you’re in the mood for an ale or stout (Chinese beer is always light), you can break the monotony with a nice imported heavy beer. ~¥100.
  • Below Xinjiekou, near the Fashion Lady shopping center, there is a large food court with a multitude of options. Among them, there is a Dairy Queen.


  • Yi Palace (如意轩), E5, No. 388 Yingtian Street, Qinhuai District (Chenguang 1865 Technology Park) (from Ying Tian Street, turn right onto Jiang Ning Road and go straight for 50m to Regalia Resort & Spa), +86 25 5188 5688, toll-free: 400 115 3388, fax: +86 25 5188 5656, e-mail:[email protected]. From 11am to 10pm. Located in Regalia Resort & Spa, Yi Palace has a private setting with windows overlooking the beautiful Qing Huai River. It has 6 private VIP dining rooms with modern Thai and Chinese decor, offering the best of Chinese cuisine.
  • Lotus Restaurant (莲轩餐厅), E5, No. 388 Yingtian Street, Qinhuai District (Chenguang 1865 Technology Park) (from Ying Tian Street, turn right onto Jiang Ning Road and go straight for 50 meters to Regalia Resort & Spa), +86 25 5188 5688, toll-free: 400 115 3388, fax: +86 25 5188 5656, e-mail: [email protected]. From 7am to 11pm. Regalia Resort & Spa’s Lotus Restaurant offers a breathtaking view of the Qinhuai River and serves authentic Thai and Chinese cuisine, while the Outdoor Cafe is a delightful tribute to delicious fusion cuisine that is sure to tempt your taste buds.
  • OMAX Restaurant, 5th floor, Bangkok Yatai Plaza (in the Xinjiekou district), offers a good steak for ¥68 and other “western” dishes as well as Chinese ones. The owner and the hostess speak quite good English, and a pianist often plays.
  • Skyways Bakery. Lots of relatively expensive baked goods. The apple pies, cakes and cheesecakes are all excellent. There are also cinnamon rolls, croissants, muffins and cookies. Nice, if limited, selection of ice creams.
  • Jack’s. Italian food, barely passable, but decent enough when you’ve been in China for a few years. Some employees speak good English and many customers are foreigners. Pasta or pizza cost about 40-60¥, good steaks are available from about 70¥.
  • Tairo. Japanese restaurant “teppanyaki” in Nanjing 1912 district. Excellent food and good option if you have a lot of extra yuan in your pocket. This teppanyaki restaurant chain always has good food, prepared in front of the customers, and you can eat until you run out. You may get all-you-can-eat Haagen-Dazs ice cream for an extra fee. If you are feeling brave, try the snake pancakes! ¥150
  • New Cafe (Sculpting in Time), at the corner of Qingdao and Hankou Lu (next to Nanjing University). Modern and confident restaurant/lounge, offering a fairly wide selection of western brunch dishes: waffles, omelets, French toast, paninis. There’s also a good selection of coffee, tea and some pretty decadent desserts. The food here – a sort of continental-American food with the inevitable anomalies – is good, especially in presentation; but watch out for the service. If you just want to eat a sundae or French toast and don’t mind looking for a waiter, this is a great place. Here you can surf wireless if you have a China Mobile or China Unicom account. At least ¥50 per person for tea and pastries, but you should probably budget ¥80 or more if you have a full breakfast or lunch.
  • Prime, Intercontinental Hotel (Zifeng Tower) 78th Floor, 1 Zhong Yang Road, Gulou District, 210008. 5-10. Prime is the highest bar, lounge and restaurant in Jiangsu Province and offers a spectacular view of Nanjing in a western atmosphere with first-class service and international gourmet cuisine. The Cigar Lounge has a live music stage (Western jazz musicians play at irregular intervals) and a fully equipped bar with a wide selection of wines, beers and more than 100 specialty cocktails.
  • If you have some time, you should try other options in Nanjing, including the two restaurants in the upscale Deji Plaza shopping area on the 7th floor and a cafe on the 3rd floor. All three are good places to stop after a hard day of shopping at Louis Vuitton or before going to the arcade or movie theater. Next to the New Cafe, in Qingdao Lu, is a small German cafe discreetly hidden. A very good coffee in a pleasant Bavarian/Turkish setting. For a good cup of coffee, you have to pay at least ¥25 (it is the same as everywhere else in Nanjing). A restaurant located by the Confucius temple is also worth a visit. It offers a 14-course menu, which could be described as Chinese tapas. This is a great opportunity to try dishes that you might not want to buy in large portions: coagulated duck blood, tofu, etc. A fun way for difficult groups to experience real Chinese food.

Shopping In Nanjing

  • Xinjiekou is Nanjing’s fashionable district, the cosmopolitan and bustling heart of the city, bathed in neon lights. This is the area that Nanjing can best compare to Tokyo or Times Square. All the major retail outlets are located in this area, which, despite its complexity, is only a few blocks long. There are huge department stores, including Wal-Mart, Watsons, Suning and “Fashion Lady” – a confusing underground complex of clothing stores and vendors that looks like a video game come to life. In the outlying areas of Xinjiekou, a few high-end stores sell everything from single malt scotch to MINI’s. The eight-story Deji Plaza is home to a number of retailers such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Ermengildo Zegna, Coach, Guess, Versace, Vasque, Crocs, Toys R Us and so on. At DongFang Shopping Center, you will find Gucci, Fendi, Celine, etc. While you might be able to bargain at Fashion Lady, don’t expect that at Deji Plaza.
  • Hunan Road is a more discreet version of Xinjiekou, running between Xuanwu Lake and Zhongshanbei Lu. It has most of the same stores, including the Phoenix International Bookstore, which has an entire floor of English books. There’s also a small pedestrian street that runs south of Hunan Road that’s lined with just about every type of restaurant you can imagine, including the usual KFC and McD’s, several cheap jiaozi and noodle restaurants, a few upscale Chinese restaurants, and a handful of international restaurants, including a Thai restaurant and an Indian restaurant.
  • In the Confucius Temple area in the south of the city, there are many shopping opportunities, especially for clothes and tourist items. It’s a maze of tiny individual stores and it’s fun to explore, even if you don’t buy anything. If you want to buy something, haggling over prices is essential. If you are used to the art of haggling, you can easily reduce a price from ¥380 to ¥80 without breaking a sweat. The streets outside the temple district offer other shopping opportunities, as does the underground mall. The entrance to this mall is between two stores, but the neon lights give an indication. This is a Nanjing shopping experience you will return to again and again. Opposite the Confucius Temple is the Aqua City shopping mall with stores like H&M, Uniqlo, Zara, Mango, etc. If you’re there, feel free to walk around the temple and the historic bridge, which offers great photo opportunities. If you are tempted by a cup of tea, check out the small floating tea houses with golden roofs on the canal.

Nightlife In Nanjing

Traditionally, Nanjing’s nightlife was mainly concentrated in the Nanjing Fuzimiao (Confucius Temple) area along the Qinhuai River, where night markets, restaurants and pubs flourished.  The night boat ride on the river was one of the main attractions of the city. Statues of famous teachers and educators of the past can be seen not far from those of courtesans who trained young men in other arts.

Over the past 20 years, several shopping streets have sprung up, diversifying the nightlife: Xinjiekou CBD and Hunan Road are home to shopping malls that are open late into the night. The well-established “Nanjing 1912” district is home to a multitude of entertainment establishments, ranging from traditional restaurants to western bars and dance clubs. There are two main areas where bars are in close proximity to each other: one is in the 1912 block, the other along Shanghai Road and its surroundings. Both are very popular with the city’s international residents.

Locals continue to enjoy street food like Turkish kebab. As everywhere in Asia, karaoke is very popular with young and old.

  • Nanjing’s nightlife is very lively, and the epicenter is in Nanjing‘s 1912 district, comparable to Shanghai’s Xintiandi. The district consists of two- and three-story buildings with paved courtyards between them. Almost all of them are restaurants, bars or nightclubs, plus a few spas and high-end clothing stores. Many of the buildings look like they’ve been around since 1912, and the newer ones fit the style of the older ones. The location is superb: directly in the city center, west of the presidential palace. There is underground parking for cars and ample outdoor parking for bikes and motorcycles on the north side of the complex.
  • Around Shanghai Lu. In the area of Shanghai Lu, which passes between Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University, there are many foreigners – mainly foreign students or English teachers from both universities – and there are a few establishments that cater to them. On Shanghai Lu, near Guangzhou, there is “Blue Sky”, a bar run by Australians with a free pool table. Next to Blue Sky is Brewsell’s, a recently opened Belgian bar with great Belgian beers and a fancy menu (I recommend the chicken pot pie if you’re in the mood for a good home-cooked meal). Further north, Behind-the-Wall Cafe offers cheap Mexican food and drinks. Near Shanghai Lu, there is good music, and at the last corner before Beijing Lu, there is an establishment that serves good Italian food and drinks (Jack’s).
  • Ellen’s Bar (at the intersection of Shanghai Lu and Guangzhou Lu). A very popular bar for foreign exchange students. During the day, it is a western-style restaurant that turns into a bar every night around 8pm. It fills up every night with expatriates and foreign students, but also with many young locals. Most of them are attracted by the atmosphere, the music and the drinks offered at night. Drinks are available in abundance. A “bucket” of whiskey and coke costs ¥25 and for many people contains enough alcohol for the whole night. Arrive early to get a table, write your name on the wall and say hello to Xingxing.

Other popular places for expatriates to shop are

  • Jimmy’s, Shigu Lu.
  • Finnegans Wake Irish Bar, 400 ZhongShan South Road north of ShengZhou Road (exit from Sanshan Street subway station via exit 2. Walk 200 meters north. Turn left at the entrance of the underground parking/Wang Steak in the pedestrian street. Walk about 30 meters. You will soon see the famous Guinness sign on your left), +81 25 5220 7362. An authentic Irish bar offering excellent food (meals around ¥100), using ingredients of Irish origin, and a good selection of drinks, including Kilkenny and Guinness (¥70 per pint). Good news if the bill is too high – they accept VISA!
  • Bloom’s, 6 Cinnalane, S. Zhongshan Rd (above Finnegans Wake), +81 25 52207362. 17.00 – 23.00 HOURS.

Festivals & Events In Nanjing

In the past, many traditional festivals and customs were celebrated, including climbing the ramparts on January 16, bathing in the Qing Xi on March 3, hiking in the mountains on September 9, and others (the dates correspond to the Chinese lunar calendar). However, almost none of these festivals are still celebrated by modern Nanjingians.

Instead, Nanjing, which is a popular tourist destination, hosts a series of state-organized events throughout the year. The annual International Plum Blossom Festival, held on Plum Blossom Mountain, the largest collection of plums in China, attracts thousands of domestic and foreign tourists. Other events include the Nanjing Baima Peach Blossom and Kite Festival, the Jiangxin Zhou Fruit Festival and the Linggu Temple Sweet Osmanthus Festival.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Nanjing

Nanjing is now officially the safest city in China – that honor was reserved for Hangzhou until a spate of hotel attacks made headlines in Hangzhou. But that doesn’t mean there are no risks. Pickpockets are a problem in Fuzimiao as well as on crowded buses, in the subway and in major transportation hubs. Since Nanjing has a relatively small number of foreigners for a city of this size, the usual scams in Shanghai and Beijing are almost non-existent, although you may occasionally run into shady vendors selling counterfeit goods in Fuzimiao.

Be careful if you take the bus from Zhonghuamen bus station to the airport, as many providers pose as an official bus service. However, you may end up paying too much or being taken to a place several kilometers away from the airport itself. The official bus leaves from gate 7 and tickets must be paid for at the gate. Bus tickets cost ¥20 since March 2010 and the fare remains the same as of July 2012. Also beware of fake cabs operating from the bus stations and occasionally from the train station – always use the official cab stand and ignore all cab delivery people.

Although traffic is a bit calmer than in most Chinese cities, it can still be much more hectic than in most Western countries – take the usual precautions when crossing the street, and also remember that it is sometimes allowed to turn right when the light is red in China (but in Nanjing, there should be a special signal for turning right in most cases), so people who cross in the crosswalk while the “walk” signal is displayed are not really breaking the law. Also, watch out for motorcycles and bicycles riding on the sidewalk.

Many older Nanjingians have a certain dislike for the Japanese because of the events of World War II. If you are Japanese, this should not frighten you, as the locals are always very friendly, but it is recommended not to appear too conspicuously Japanese and to keep any opinions to yourself. Young Nanjingians are more open and will often talk about the war.



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