Friday, April 12, 2024
Tianjin Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Tianjin (meaning “Heaven’s Ferry”) is a northern coastal Chinese city and one of China’s five national core cities, with a total municipal population of 15,469,500. It is managed as one of the PRC’s four direct-controlled municipalities, and hence is directly administered by the central government. Tianjin has borders with Hebei Province and Beijing Municipality, and is surrounded to the east by the Yellow Sea’s Bohai Gulf. It is the biggest coastal city in northern China and is part of the Bohai Economic Rim.

Tianjin has the fourth biggest urban population in China, behind Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. Tianjin is the sixth most populous administrative region in Mainland China. Tianjin’s walled city was established in 1404. Tianjin has been a key seaport and gateway to the nation’s capital since it became a treaty port in 1860. During the Boxer Rebellion, the city served as the headquarters of the Tianjin Provisional Government. Tianjin grew to become one of China’s greatest cities during the late Qing dynasty and the Republic of China. Many western-style houses and mansions were built in concessions during the period, many of which are still standing today.

Tianjin had a downturn after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China as a result of central government policies and the Tangshan earthquake, but rebounded by the 1990s. Tianjin is now a dual-core metropolis, with the major urban region (including the old city) situated along the Hai River, which links to the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers through the Grand Canal; and Binhai, a New Area urban core located east of the old city on the shore of the Bohai Sea. As of the end of 2010, over 285 Fortune 500 corporations have established a foothold in Binhai, China’s new development pole and a center of innovative industrial and financial activities.

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Tianjin | Introduction

Tourism in Tianjin

The city offers numerous attractions, but it’s the streetscapes – an assemblage of ancient nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European architecture contrasted with modern China’s concrete and glass monoliths – that are the most absorbing. Though large swathes of the city are being renovated, most of the colonial architecture has been preserved, and the shopping choices, particularly for antiques, just about justify a day trip from the capital, which is an hour distant by train.

The port city drew the attention of maritime Western nations in the nineteenth century, who used the boarding of an English ship by Chinese forces as a reason to declare war. They were guaranteed of victory with well-armed gunboats, and the Treaty of Tianjin, signed in 1856, granted the Europeans the right to build nine concessionary posts on the mainland from which to conduct commerce and sell opium. Along the banks of the Hai River, these concessions were self-contained European dream worlds: the French erected beautiful châteaux and turrets, while the Germans created red-tiled Bavarian homes. Tensions between the indigenous population and the foreigners erupted in the Tianjin Incident of 1870, when a Chinese mob attacked a French-run orphanage, and again during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, when the foreigners demolished the walls surrounding the old Chinese city to keep an eye on its residents.

The dense network of ex-concession streets south and west of the central railway station, as well as south of the Hai River, are currently the most popular tourist destinations. The châteaux of the French concession, which today form the downtown area directly south of the river, and the pretentious mansions erected by the British east of here are unmistakable. Farther east, also south of the river, the architecture of an otherwise unimpressive region is dotted with stern German structures.

Climate of Tianjin

Tianjin has a four-season, monsoon-influenced climate that is characteristic of East Asia, with cold, windy, extremely dry winters reflecting the effect of the enormous Siberian anticyclone and hot, humid summers caused by the monsoon. Spring in the city is dry and windy, with sandstorms coming in from the Gobi Desert that may last several days. The monthly 24-hour average temperature varies from 3.4 degrees Celsius (25.9 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 26.8 degrees Celsius (80.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in July, with an annual mean of 12.90 degrees Celsius (55.2 degrees Fahrenheit). The city enjoys 2,522 hours of bright sunlight each year, with monthly percent potential sunshine ranging from 48 percent in July to 61 percent in October. The city sits inside the semi-arid zone, with sections of the municipality being humid continental, and has a low annual total precipitation of 511 millimetres (20.1 in), with approximately three-fifths of it happening in July and August alone.

Extreme temperatures have varied from 22.9 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) to 40.5 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit).

Geography of Tianjin

Tianjin is situated on the west coast of the Bohai Gulf, looking out to the provinces of Shandong and Liaoning across those seas. It is bordered by Beijing 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the northwest, and Hebei surrounds it on all sides save the east. The entire area is 11,860.63 square kilometers, with latitudes ranging from 38° 34′ to 40° 15′ N and longitudes ranging from 116° 43′ to 118° 04′ E. (4,579.41 square miles). There is a shoreline of 153 kilometers (95 miles) and a land border of 1,137.48 kilometers (706.80 miles). It is located near the northern end of China’s Grand Canal, which links the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. The municipality is mostly low and marshy along the shore, although it becomes mountainous in the far north, where the Yan Mountains intrude into northern Tianjin. The municipality’s highest point is Jiuding Peak in Ji County, on the northern boundary with Hebei, at an elevation of 1,078.5 m. (3,538 ft).

The Hai River originates in Tianjin Municipality at the confluence of the Ziya River, Daqing River, Yongding River, North Grand Canal, and South Grand Canal, and flows into the Pacific Ocean at Tanggu District. Major reservoirs include the Beidagang Reservoir in Dagang District’s extreme south and the Yuqiao Reservoir in Ji County’s extreme north.

Economy of Tianjin

Tianjin’s GDP reached 1.572 trillion yuan in 2014, a 10.0 percent rise over 2013. Tianjin had the highest per-capita GDP in China, at $17,126, followed by Beijing at $16,278 and Shanghai at $15,847.

In 2009, the municipality’s GDP increased by 16.5 percent, behind just the 16.9 percent pace in resource-rich Inner Mongolia and almost double the national growth rate. Infrastructure expenditure will help Tianjin’s economy in the near run. There are major efforts underway to expand the metro system as well as enhance road and rail connections to the adjacent national capital, Beijing.

Despite the fact that the worldwide financial crisis has spread swiftly and the rate of global economic development is decreasing, the Tianjin economy continues to expand at a steady and rapid pace. Tianjin’s total production value in 2008 was RMB 635.438 billion, an increase of 16.5 percent, or RMB 130.398 billion, over the previous year, the first time with an increase of more than RMB 100 billion. Tianjin’s total production value per capita was US$7,800, approaching the threshold of middle-developed nations. Tianjin has achieved a direct contractual foreign investment of up to $13.256 billion, a 15.1 percent rise, and actual contributed capital of $7.420, a 40.6 percent increase year on year. Tianjin has had 21,048 foreign-invested enterprises thus far, totaling $47.2 billion in total foreign investment.

Simultaneously, Tianjin is vigorously pursuing financial reform and innovation. By the end of 2008, the China Bohai Bank, the first national commercial bank limited by shares with headquarters in Tianjin, had opened six branches and 14 public offices. Following State Council clearance, the national non-listed public enterprises stock exchange market (OTC) was formed in Tianjin in March 2008. Tianjin has emerged as China’s pilot city with the greatest industrial investment money. The China National Private Equity Forum was hosted in Tianjin once again, with over 500 investment businesses and private fund institutions, as well as approximately 2,000 rising enterprises, participating in global capital circulation through this Capital Connection in Tianjin. Tianjin considers futures sector growth to be an important aspect of its financial reform and innovation, owing to the city’s strong real goods exchange. The Yide Futures Broker Co. relocated its headquarters to Tianjin in July 2008. The Tianjin Finance Town Project, with North Jiefang Road as its axle, has begun. Within 10 years, it will have evolved into a complete, open, and intellectual financial service sector.

Tianjin is growing into a global center for international shipping and transportation, contemporary manufacturing, and R&D. Tianjin’s nominal GDP increased by 2.8 times from 184 RMB billion in 2001 to 505 RMB billion in 2007. Electronic information technology, automotive, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, and petrochemicals are Tianjin’s main industries. The new coastal region, which includes Tianjin Port, Tianjin Economic and Technology Development Area, and Tianjin Bonded Area, has attracted several world-renowned companies like as Motorola, Toyota, and Samsung. Globalization and the opening up of the economy to the rest of the world have had a significant impact on Tianjin’s economic development.

Tianjin’s government finance income more than tripled from 16 RMB billion in 2001 to 54 RMB billion in 2007. As income increased, so did spending on research and technology, education, culture, health, and sports, reaching 10 billion RMB in 2004, accounting for 30.7 percent of the city’s financial expenditure. Revenue has also been utilized to construct infrastructure such as new roads, bridges, and commercial buildings. One of the 11th Five-Year Plan’s development goals is to have financial income expand at a pace of 16 percent each year.

Tianjin’s overall fixed-asset investments climbed from 62 RMB billion in 2001 to 239 RMB billion in 2007, reflecting a 3.9-fold growth over a six-year period. Tianjin has established competitive advantages in the investment environment by providing accessible port transportation services, an open market, innovative logistic services, enticing preferential policies, and efficient government services. By the end of 2004, more than 118 nations and regions had invested in Tianjin, resulting in the establishment of nearly 16, 000 businesses. Tianjin is now transforming into an eco-city, which opens up several opportunities for investments in fixed assets in the next years.

How To Travel To Tianjin

Get In - By plane

Tianjin Binhai International Airport is located east of the urban area, in Dongli District, only 15 km east of the urban area. It provides a second alternative to high-speed rail, especially if one wishes to save the extra travel time and expense of flying to Beijing – only about 120 km from Tianjin.

The home base of Tianjin Airlines and the cheerful and modest Okay Airways serves most major Chinese cities on domestic routes. There are also some international routes, including destinations in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Mongolia.

Metro Line 2 now connects the airport directly to Tianjin Station and costs only ¥3. There are also four airport shuttle bus lines, the highest price of which is ¥25. The bus does not give change, so make sure you can change the exact ticket price.


China’s main airport in Beijing is a good alternative for getting to Tianjin, especially for long-haul flights from Europe or America. Ticket prices within China can also be lower, so it is worth considering this option.

  • Take the Airport Express train to Beijing, the subway to South Station and the high-speed train to Tianjin (see below). The journey takes at least 3.5 hours.

There is a direct bus from Beijing airport to Tianjin. The journey takes nominally 2.5 hours. The bus does not go to the center of Tianjin, but to a bus terminal a little outside. From there, you can ask to be picked up or take a cab.

Get In - By train

Tianjin Railway Station was built at one1888, time and is the main railway station of Tianjin, also known as “East Railway Station”. Tanggu Station serves the coastal district of the same name. Tianjin West and Tianjin South stations serve high-speed trains to Shanghai, while Tianjin West is located in the urban area and Tianjin South a little further from the city.

Tianjin Station is open for the high-speed train to Beijing South Station. One-way tickets cost ¥55 in economy class, ¥66 in business class and ¥94 in VIP class. The high-speed train, called “C”, takes about 33 minutes and can travel up to 300 km/h. It is equipped with an automatic braking system. Some C trains stop in Wuqing, which adds 5 minutes to the journey.

Shuttle buses run between Tianjin Railway Station and Tianjin Airport. A ticket costs ¥15 per trip. It stops about 200 meters from the north gate of the station (back gate). When you get off the shuttle bus, just walk along the sidewalk to get to the station.

If you want to take a cab, use the official cab stand (just follow the signs). The price of a cab from Tianjin Station to Tianjin Airport is about ¥50-65. It is not advisable to use one of the tugboats that provide cab services. Many cabs are available at the official cab stand.

If you leave the station by cab, be prepared for passengers to be loaded into cabs like an assembly line. Line agents keep the line moving. So pack your bags and have a goal in mind, or you may have to stand at the end of the line and wait for your turn to come back.

Tianjin South Station hosts some of the high-speed trains to Shanghai. It is not located close to the city, although there are a few bus routes connecting the South Station to the city, and cabs are generally illegal, so plan accordingly. Tianjin West Station, which has been renovated, is also responsible for high-speed rail traffic to Shanghai. It is accessible by Line 1 of the Tianjin Metro. South Tianjin serves as an intermediate station for high-speed trains between South Beijing and Shanghai Hongqiao. West Tianjin is not on the main line, but is the terminus for trains between West Tianjin and Shanghai Hongqiao.

The following railway lines pass through Tianjin:

Tianjin West Railway Station, Jingshan Railway, from Beijing to Shanghai Jinpu Railway, from Tianjin to Pukou District, Nanjing Jinji Railway, from Tianjin urban area to Ji County, Tianjin Jinba Railway, from Tianjin to Bazhou, Hebei

Inter-City trains between Beijing and Tianjin have a number range of C2001~C2298 :C2001~C2198: Beijing South Station to Tianjin, with no stop. C2201~C2268: Beijing South Station to Tianjin, with a stop at Wuqing Station (武清站) or Yizhuang Station (亦庄站); C2271~C2298: Beijing South Station to Tanggu Station in Tianjin.

Get In - By bus

Tianjin is well connected to other cities by bus. The price from Beijing is about ¥30.

There are also two school bus lines that connect Nankai and Tianjin universities to Tsinghua University. They leave daily at 3:45pm and 4:45pm from the northwest gate of Tsinghua University.

Get In - By car

Some places in Tianjin, including streets and bridges, have names taken from Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People (e.g., Minquan Gate on Zhonghuan Road). Names from the time of the Republic of Mainland China also appear (e.g. Beiyang Road). Many streets in Tianjin are named after a Chinese province or city. Also, unlike Beijing, very few streets in Tianjin run parallel to the four main cardinal points. Tianjin has three ring roads. Unlike Beijing, the inner and central ring roads are not closed streets with reduced traffic, and some of them often have intersections with traffic lights. The outer ring road is the closest to a highway-level bypass, although traffic is often chaotic, sometimes more than chaotic.

How To Get Around In Tianjin

Tianjin’s bus system, established in 1904, was the first in China, and the subway was the second in the country (1970), and today the city is well served by its public transportation. In the city, a trip on a bus line of less than 12 km (7 mi) costs ¥1.5, while a trip on a line of more than 12 km (7 mi) costs ¥1, even if you go less than 12 km (7 mi), but on a longer line, it still costs ¥1. The buses are comfortable and clean.

The old Tianjin Metro was closed in 2001, but reopened in 2006 after being renovated. In addition, a light rail line runs between the Zhongshanmen urban area and the Donghailu coastal area in TEDA.

Get Around - By taxi

Cabs are numerous. The minimum charge for 3 km is ¥8 (¥1.7 per km thereafter). Cabs also charge ¥1.7 per five minutes of vehicle downtime (less than five minutes is free). It is strongly recommended to avoid cabs near the train station. See the note in the “Taking the Train” section above on how to avoid cabs at the station. The same advice applies to tourist stops: it is best to walk a few blocks to a normal street to take a metered cab. Driving illegal cabs is at your own risk.

There are tourist maps for Tianjin, on which the destinations are indicated in Chinese characters and in English. If you show on it where you want to go, you will get very far with the cab drivers. It may be a good idea to bring a magnifying glass, as many drivers have problems with the small print.

You can hire a cab driver for the whole day or just for a few hours. The drivers are happy to wait and the cost for two hours is less than ¥100.

Another caution about cabs is that there are toll roads in some parts of China. In a cab, you are expected to pay the basic fare plus the toll. The driver pays the toll and receives a receipt at the toll station. Once you arrive at your destination, you ask for the receipt(s) and pay that amount plus the base price. If you are making a long trip, you may also be asked to pay the toll for the return trip. This is a legitimate request, although you may argue that the driver will collect an additional toll fee anyway. You may be able to get the driver to agree.

As in most Chinese cities, it is not customary to leave a tip.

Get Around - By Metro

The city has two urban transport systems, the Tianjin Metro and the Binhai Mass Transit. They are currently expanding rapidly from five to nine lines. Five lines currently run both in the city and in the Binhai area.

In 2013, the entire network of Tianjin Metro and Binhai Mass Transit includes 50 stations and 5 lines.

Number & name Terminals Exchange office
1 Line 1 Shuanglin – Liuyuan Line 2 and line 3
2 Line 2 Caozhuang – Tianjin Railway Station – Tianjin Binhai Airport Line 1, line 3 and line 9
3 Line 3 High-tech zone – Xiaodian Line 1, line 2 and line 9
9 Line 9 Tianjin Railway Station – Donghai Road Line 2, Line 3 and MGRT
T TEDA Modern rail guided tramway TEDA – District north of the college Line 9
5 Line 5 (u/c) North Warehouse – Dasizhen
6 Line 6 (u/c) Dabizhuang – Liqizhuang

Sights & Landmarks In Tianjin


  • The Five Avenues (五大道; Wǔdàdào; literally. The Five Avenues), Wudadao, Heping, Tianjin (和平区五大道) (best route: intersection between Hebei Lu and Chengdu Dao – Changde Dao – Dali Dao – Xinhua Lu – Machang Dao – Munan Dao – Hong Kong Lu – Chongqing Dao – Nanhai Lu – Hebei Lu). Located south of downtown Tianjin, Fifth Avenue (Wudadao) is a parallel street running east-west and named after five cities in southwest China, namely Chongqing, Changde, Dali, Munan and Machang. Tianjin residents call it the “Fifth Avenue”, with more than 230 buildings of all types from the architecture of Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as more than 50 houses that have been inhabited by celebrities. The colorful architecture ranges from Renaissance to Carson, Greek, Gothic, Romantic and Eclectic, and is a true artistic delight. The second part is the residential area, with the first small western-style residential area for foreigners who opened concessions, whose residence is next to the office area, near Jiefang Road, around the former Italian concession east of Marco Polo Square. In the 20th century, Tianjin’s position in China had become very special and important because of the current situation. On the one hand, social and political unrest made the concessions a haven for fallen politicians and businessmen, and on the other hand, Tianjin, which benefited geographically from transportation and exemption from customs duties, was a city full of opportunities. Many dignitaries and rich people lived in Tianjin. Living in a small western-style house was more comfortable and convenient than a traditional courtyard, and Fifth Avenue was ideally located in the British Concession, so people flocked there to build their houses. At that time, the area became the wealthy district of Tianjin. Among the prosperous cities in modern China, Tianjin was undoubtedly the first in terms of the size of the prosperous areas.
  • Tianjin Ancient Culture Street (古文化街; gǔwénhuàjiē), 天津市南开区鼓楼北 north of Gulou, Nankai, +86-22-27275039. Open all day, extended hours on holidays or major events ..Tianjin Ancient Culture Street opened on New Year’s Day and1986, is built in the popular Qing Dynasty architectural style, with the Tin Hau (Matsu Temple) at the center of the entire street. Along the street, there are almost hundreds of stores, the most famous of which are Yangliuqing Painting Gallery and Clay Figure Zhang’s painted clay sculpture, as well as calligraphy and painting brushes (文房四宝) from Four Treasures and Spring Church, Cultural Antiques from Sui Man Chai and Cloisonne (景泰蓝), double-sided embroideries (双面绣), jade carvings (牙玉雕), artistic ceramics (艺术陶瓷), Chinese and Western musical instruments, and gold and silver jewelry from dozens of other famous artists and craftsmen. All the goods are authentic, affordable and of good quality for free.
  • 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 (750m away)), maintenance on Monday morning, still open in the afternoon. The Tianjin Eye is the second largest Ferris wheel in the world and the only Ferris wheel in the world built on a bridge. It has a diameter of 110 meters and 64 transparent external suspensions offering a 360º view. Ideal to admire the surrounding landscape. It takes 40 minutes for a tour. At the highest point, you can see the landscape in a radius of 40 km. Adults ¥70, children ¥35/person (less than 1.2m), lodge ticket ¥400 (less than five people), couple ¥240 (2 or less), VIP ¥140 (no queue), VIP couple ¥480 (2 people in a separate lodge, no queue), VIP lodge ¥800 (less than five people)
  • Tianjin Museum (天津博物馆(tiānjīnbówùguǎn)), Youyi Lu 31, Hexi, near Pingjiang Daokou31(河西区友谊路号,平江道口), +86 22 58793000. 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (Tuesday to Friday, closed on Monday). Tianjin Museum has modern exhibition halls covering 11,000 square meters, as well as cultural and recreational facilities with multiple functions. It looks like a swan spreading its wings to fly away from the surface of the lake. With its fluid and concise exterior, it is full of modernity and artistic quality. All this makes it characteristic and full of fantasy. The museum has nearly 200,000 cultural assets, including calligraphy, painting, bronze, ceramics, jade, ruler’s seals, chariot bones, coins, historical documents, relics of modern times, handicrafts and many other things. Among them, nearly 1000 level one state cultural monuments. Free of charge.
  • Dabei Monastery (大悲院; Dàbēiyuàn; literally: temple of great compassion), Tianwei Road, Hebei District (河北区天纬路; Heběiqū Tiānwěilù) (About 2 km W of Tianjin North 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 go NW of Tianwei Rd). 09:00-11:20, 14:00-16:30. The monastery was first built in the Ming Dynasty, but has been extensively rebuilt and renovated since then, and now consists of the west monastery from 1669 and the east monastery from 1940. With an area of 10,600 square meters, it is the largest and oldest monastery in the city. The temple houses the Tianjin Buddhist Institute and has many ancient statues. The Buddhist Monastery It consists of two parts: the old and the new monastery. The old monastery refers to the three large halls in the western courtyard. The construction of the old monastery began in the early Qing Dynasty and it was renovated in the eighth year of the Kangxi Emperor’s reign during the Qing Dynasty. The eastern court is part of the new monastery. The statue of Sakyamuni, installed in the eastern courtyard of Daxiong Palace, was created during the Ming Dynasty. The whole statue of Sakyamuni is 7 meters high, weighs 6 tons and has 9,999 small Buddhas carved on the lotus throne. Inside the Hall of Great Compassion is a 3.6 meter high mud statue of the Thousand-Handed Kwan-yin in a flattened form. The monastery was once famous for housing a relic of Xuanzang’s skull, but this was taken to India in 1956, when it was brought to Nalanda – supposedly by the Dalai Lama – and offered to India. The relic is now in the Patna Museum. Since then, the Great Compassion Monastery has been venerating the effigy of Master Xuanzang in place of the spirit bones. In the eastern courtyard there are memorials for Master Xuanzang and Master Hongyi, while the western courtyard serves as the office for the Palace of Cultural Relics, the Abbots’ Palace and the Tianjin Branch of the Chinese Buddhist Association. The Palace of Cultural Relics in the western courtyard houses many collections from all dynasties since the Wei and Jin eras, including hundreds of Buddha statues made of different materials such as bronze, iron, stone and wood. Vegetarian food: In doing so, the Great Monastery is the only monastery in Tianjin to offer vegetarian food, so this is good news for vegetarian visitors. The monastery serves dishes prepared by the famous Tianjin Dabei Buddhist Monastery Vegetarian Food Corporation, including long-life perch, vegetarian soybeans, noodles containing several vitamins and calcium, eight precious frozen vegetarian steamed buns and vegetarian dumplings, etc. ¥10.
  • Haihe River (海河), Haihe Cruise +86 22 27059678. Haihe River is one of the major rivers in northern China. The North Channel, Yongding River, Daqing River, Ziya River, South Channel, five rivers on three sides, the north, west and south converge to Tianjin.Free.
  • Confucian Temple (孔庙), 2 Dongmenli, Nankai District2 (南开区东门里大街号; Nánkāiqū Dōngménlǐdàjiē. 09:00-17:00. Early Qing Dynasty temple with a hall honoring Confucius and other rooms for prayers. ¥4.
  • Great Mosque (清真大寺; Qīngzhēndàsì), Xiaohuo Ln, Dafeng Rd, Hongqiao County (红桥区红桥区大丰路小伙巷 ; Hóngqiáoqū Dàfēnglù Xiǎohuǒxiàng) (Near Ancient Culture Street, northeast of Xibeijue Subway Station (西北角; Xīběijué)). 09:00-17:00. The mosque was built in 1644 and is made of wood. The mosque is still used by the Muslim community in Tianjin. Access to the interior is limited for tourists. Free
  • Xikai Church (西开天主教堂; Xīkāitiānzhǔjiàotáng; also known as the French Church or the Catholic Church), Dushan Rd, +86 22 2835-8812. M-Sa 09:00-11:00, 14:00-16:00. Built in 1917 by the French Jesuits.
  • Drum Tower (鼓楼; Gǔlóu), Gulou E St, Nankai District (南开区鼓楼东街; Nánkāiqū Gǔlóudōngjiē) (bus 652 takes you directly in front of the gate, buses 161, 635, 652, 657, 855, 863, 865 also take you nearby). The tower was originally built during the Ming Dynasty, but was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The drum tower was rebuilt in 2001 and now houses a bell instead of drums. The tower hosts temporary exhibitions. Free of charge.
  • Tianjin Radio&TV Tower (广播电视塔; Guǎngbōdiànshìtǎ), 1 Jinzi Rd, Hexi District, +86 22 2334-3557. The fourth tallest tower in the world. But this one is perhaps the most spectacular, as it is surrounded by water.


Tianjin Haichang Polar Ocean World (天津海昌极地海洋世界; Tiānjīn Hǎichāng Jídì Hǎiyáng Shìjiè), Tianjin Binhai New Area Xiangluowan Business District No. 61; 61天津市滨海新区响螺湾商务区第号(Tiānjīn Bīnhǎi Xīn Qū Xiǎng Luówān Yóuxiāng Qū Qì 61 Hào), +86 22-66227777. A large building where you can see a wide variety of fish and mammals from the northern and southern polar regions, such as penguins, polar bears, whales, seals, wolves, a wide variety of marine animals, etc. You can also watch the dolphin shows that take place several times a day.

Streets and territories

  • Old Cultural Street (古文化街; Gǔwénhuàjiē), Gongbei-Gongnan Avenue, Nankai District (南开区 宫北大街-宫南大街 ; Nánkāiqū Gōngběidàjiē-Gōngnándàjiē) (2km east of Xibeijue Station (西北角), buses 1, 4, 12, 15, 611, 612, 619, 624, 824 also take you much closer to the street). The street is not only lined with stores and cafes, but also with interesting architecture, including many reproductions 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). This street is worth visiting, even though it is very touristy.
  • Gulou Street (鼓楼街; Gǔlóujiē), Gulou West Street-Gulou E St, Nankai District (南开区 鼓楼西街-鼓楼东街 ; Nánkāiqū Gǔlóuxījiē-Gǔlóudōngjiē) (Getting off at Xinanjue Station (西南角), it is 500m south of the western end of Gulou Street, bus 652 runs along part of the street, and buses 161, 635, 652, 657, 855, 863, 865 cross the street). An old cultural street with many cheap and delicious cafes.
  • Jiefang Road North (解放北路; Jiefang Beilu). This street, running north-south a few blocks from the Hai River, is where the colonial banks set up their offices in Tianjin during the port treaty era and is interesting to anyone interested in colonial architecture or history. Many of the buildings have been well preserved and give the street a distinctly European feel. Since the street is no longer the central business district, it is not very busy and has much less car and pedestrian traffic than other parts of the city, making it a good place to stroll for a few hours. Most of the buildings are now home to local Chinese banks. Feel free to take a look inside, many of which have original woodwork and stained glass windows (though the staff may object to you taking photos). Also down the street, the “Chinese Museum of Finance” houses some interesting financial artifacts, including the only surviving stock certificate with a picture of Mao Zedong.
  • Heping Road. One of the busiest shopping streets in Tianjin.
  • Machang Dao. Lined with large English-style houses, another cultural street of Tianjin.
  • Binjiang Dao. A huge street with many stalls and stores offering almost everything you need.
  • Binhai District. The new district of Binhai, with an area of 183 km², includes three administrative regions: Tanggu, Hangu and Dagang, as well as some cities.

Museums & Galleries In Tianjin

  • Serenity Garden – Former residence of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China (静园; Jìngyuán), 70 Anshan Road, Heping District; 70和平区鞍山道号(hépíngqū ānshāndào 9hào) (take bus lines 3, 50, 673, 632, or 800 to Anshan Road. You can also take subway line 1), +86 22-27311618, +86 22-27317393. Jingyuan Garden, with its 80-year history, is a famous residence that combined Chinese and European architectural styles. It is now one of the city’s listed monuments and an important historical site in the Tianjin Special Protection Zone. Built in 1921, Jingyuan Garden, also known as Qianyuan Garden, was the private residence of Lu Zongyu, a minister-counselor for Japan appointed by the government of the Northern Warlords. Later, it was named by Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, when he moved there with his wives in July 1929. Jing” means “silence” in English, and the garden was named after the emperor, who sought to strengthen his noble spirit by living in a peaceful environment. Jingyuan Garden, with an area of 3360 square meters, consists of three different courtyards: the front courtyard, the back courtyard and the side courtyard. The main building is a two-story Spanish architecture. The second floor has a living room, dining room, guest rooms and kitchen, while the second floor has bedrooms, a library and a bedroom. Exterior walls and balconies with projecting battlements were used to give the building more space. A garden will be laid out in front of the garden, in which giant poplars, pagoda trees and carnations will be planted, and some ponds and pavilions will be built. In addition, a reception office, kitchen, garage and tennis court will be built on the northeast side of the garden. Jingyuan Garden combines different architectural styles, such as Japanese style and Spanish style. The structure and materials of the gates are typically Japanese, simple and sober, while the low-sloped roof and detailed decorations clearly correspond to the Spanish architectural style. The garden is now visible in its original arrangement of furniture and ornaments. Also on display are some paper documents and photographs relating to the daily and political life of Pu Yi, the last emperor.
  • Former residence of Zhang Ailing, No. 61 32. British colonial road; 英租3261界号路号 Yīngzūjiè 32 hào lù 61 hào. Ancient modern Chinese writer whose stories have been adapted to film in movies like Ang Li’s Lust, Caution. Zhang Ailing lived here for a short time during his early childhood.
  • Tianjin Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao Memorial Hall (周恩来邓颖超纪念馆;Zhōu’ēnlái dèngyǐngchāo jìniànguǎn), 9 Shui Shang Gong Yuan Xi Road, Nankai District; 9天津南开区水上公园西路号. 09:00-16:30, no entry after 16:00; closed on Mondays.
  • Huo Yuanjia’s former residence and mausoleum (霍元甲故居纪念馆; Huò yuánjiǎ gùjū jìniànguǎn), XiQing District 天津市西青区 (Take bus No. 156 or 162 for about 40 minutes. ). 09:00-18:00. A large museum that showcases the life of Huo Yuanjia (a historical figure played by Jet Li in the movie “Fearless”) and his contribution to China and kungfu. The museum also displays a wide variety of weapons that he collected. Just outside the museum is the tomb of Huo Yuanjia himself. A professional wushu/kungfu school is also located near the museum and the residence. ¥60.
  • China House Museum, 72 Chi Feng Road(赤峰道), He Ping District(和平区), +86-22-27123366. 09:00-17:30, 7 days/week. China House is a priceless building, adorned with about 4,000 pieces of ancient porcelain, 400 pieces of jade carvings, 20 tons of crystal and agate, and one million pieces of ancient Chinese ceramic fragments. China House Museum is a private museum owned by Tianjin Yueweixian Cultural Industry and Investment Group. It consists of more than 700,000,000 pieces of ancient Chinese porcelain, 15,000 ancient porcelain bows, bowls and vases, 300 ancient porcelain cat cushions, 300 stone lions, 300 marble sculptures, more than 20 tons of natural crystal, etc. Inside the museum are four floors of antique Chinese furniture, wood carvings, etc. All the exhibits were collected by the museum’s president, Zhang Lianzhi. The porcelain house is located in a lively neighborhood, near the former residence of Zhang Xueliang, the instigator of the Xi’an Incident and China’s patriotic hero. The French-style villa, originally 100 years old, is a five-story building with a total area of 3,000 square meters. The porcelain used to decorate the house dates back to the Han Dynasty. Visitors can find almost any type of porcelain in the house, which perfectly combines traditional Chinese and Western architecture. On the roof of the house is a 768-meter-long dragon relief made of more than ten thousand pieces of porcelain, as well as a catchy English word, “China”, with some Chinese characters and the Chinese flag on each side. Inside the house, there are many famous paintings made of ceramic chips, including the world-famous Mona Lisa painting. In addition, the walls of the house are called “Peace Wall” and are made of 635 vases made during the Republic of China and the late Qing Dynasty. ¥35.
  • Tianjin Museum (天津博物馆).
  • Tianjin Museum of Science and Technology (天津科技馆).
  • Tianjin Museum of Natural History (天津自然历史博物馆).
  • Tianjin Opera Museum (天津戏曲博物馆).

Things To Do In Tianjin

There are a number of attractions of interest to foreign travelers, especially the colonial architecture and streetscapes, which are a remnant of Tianjin’s heritage as a treaty port. The architecture is concentrated in three main areas, Wu Da Dao (五大道), Jiefang Road North (解放北路), and the Italian City (意大利风情旅游区) west of the train station (see previous section). All of these areas are relatively compact and flat and are well suited for walking.

Tianjin Italian Town (意大利风情旅游区 (yìdàlìfēngqínglǚyóuqū)), Guangfu Dao 39, Hebei39 (河北区光复道号) (bus no. 27, 868, and 901, get off at East Station. ). 24 hours. Tianjin Italian City is also known as the Italian Concession, built in 1902. The Italian City was completed in 2005. It extends from the coastal area to Victory Road. Across the river, the Italian City is home to Ancient Culture Street, Peace Street and Pedestrian Street, Tianjin Financial Road, the Small White Center (小白楼) and the Tianjin Municipality. Due to its unique location, the Italian city is a mixture of different cultures. There are celebrity residences, chic bars, international restaurants, western art deco, etc. The most famous of these buildings are Liang Qichao’s Yinbin Room, Feng Guozhang’s residence, Cao Yu’s residence, Hua Shikui’s residence, the First Worker’s Cultural Palace and the Italian Military Camp. Although the Italian town is named after a street, it is actually a small town. The center of the city is Marco Polo Square. The street plan has the shape of a checkerboard. Both sides of the street are decorated with lights and green trees. In addition, the well-preserved fences and other old buildings give the city an Italian air. The Freeway is the only pedestrian area in the Italian city and most of the buildings are restaurants and bars that attract many tourists. Most of the restaurant owners are from the Apennine peninsula. Not only can you enjoy real pizza, Italian pasta and other Italian appetizers, but you can also enjoy Italian shows and exhibitions of Italian clothing and crafts. There are 24-hour bars, cafes, restaurants, art museums and cinemas that attract tourists from all over the world.

Fanta Wild Advanture (方特欢乐世界), No.4888, Zhongsheng Ave, Binhai District4888 天津市滨海新区中新生态城中生大道号 (Bus No.462, 528, 128, 932. Or take the Fanta express bus to Donghai Lightrail station. ). On weekdays, 9am to 5:30pm, on weekends and holidays, it closes at 6pm. If your children want to go to an amusement park. 200 RMB for adults, 150 RMB for children from 120 to 150 cm.

Food & Restaurants In Tianjin

Because of its proximity to the sea, Tianjin’s cuisine emphasizes seafood. Among the most famous dishes are the Eight Big Bowls (八大碗), a combination of eight meat dishes. They can be divided into several variations, including coarse (粗), smooth (细) and high (高). The four large stews (四大扒) refer to a very large number of stews, including chicken, duck, seafood, beef and mutton.

Tianjin also has some famous snacks to offer. Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子) is a famous and traditional brand of baozi (steamed stuffed buns), known all over China. Guifaxiang Mahua (桂发祥麻花) is a traditional brand of mahua (fried dough cake). Erduoyan Zhagao (耳朵眼炸糕) is a traditional brand of zhagao (fried rice cakes).

  • Goubuli (狗不理包子; Gǒubùlǐ Bāozi), 77 Shandong Rd, Heping District77 (和平区山东路号; Hepíngqū Shāndōnglù), +86 22 2730-2540. A Tianjin-style steamed bun restaurant that also offers other dishes. Expect to pay ¥50-100 for a couple.
  • DaFuLai (大福来), a few branches in the city. All the locals know and love DaFuLai. It serves halal breakfasts. According to legend, the Qianlong Emperor once visited this noshery in Tianjin, which mainly sold pancakes at the time. After eating the pancake, the emperor asked for some soup. The owner, caught off guard, broke a pancake into small pieces, added boiled water, spices and condiments. The emperor enjoyed the taste and named the dish GuoBaCai 锅巴菜, or GaBaCai 嘎巴菜, as it is commonly known. After the emperor left, his entourage said to the hostess, “Your chance has come. (Da Fu Lai = Great luck has arrived)” Since then, DaFuLai’s GuoBaCai has become one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Tianjin. Although you may not like the taste (many Chinese from other regions don’t like it either), DaFuLai is a very good place to people-watch, as almost all the customers there are locals. Besides the GuoBaCai, the tofu soup is also good (and sells out quickly). Expect to share a table with other people.
  • Sheraton Hotel, Zijinshan Rd, Hexi District, +86 22 2334-3388. Fine dining at any of the three first-class restaurants on site.
  • Bawarchi, 3/F Shanggu Business Complex West Building, 69 Tianta Rd, Nankai District, +86 22 2341-2786. Excellent Indian cuisine prepared by Indian chefs in a traditional Indian tandoor clay oven.
  • Helen’s Cafe (Hǎilún kāfēi; 海伦咖啡), Heping District, He Yan Dao Number 116, (near Qixiangtai Lu and Wu Jia Yao Number 2 Bridge); Tiānjīn shì hépíng qū hé yándào 116 hào (wú jiā yáo 2 hào qiáo páng); 1162天津市和平区河沿道号(吴家窑号桥旁). It’s a great place to eat simple Western dishes like burgers, fries and pizza. During the day, it is a nice and quiet place to study while having lunch. At night, it’s a lively place for foreign guests to come and get drunk. Free Wi-Fi is available.
  • Qishilin (Kiessling). Western food of good reputation.
  • YY Beer House, 3 Aomen Rd, Heping District (behind the International Building), +86 22 2339-9634. A great Thai restaurant at reasonable prices with a great selection of beers. Especially recommended during the Thai Water Splashing Festival in 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, e-mail:[email protected]. At Aulare, you can experience Latin American, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and South and Central American flavors.
  • Kudos Thai, 88 Chengdu Rd, Heping District (near Bank of Communication of China, close to Guilin Rd), +86 22 23329988. From 11:30 am to late. Well-appointed Thai restaurant with a warm, modern atmosphere. All dishes are prepared authentically by a Thai cook, without MNG or artificial additives. It has a nice courtyard and a 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 package and has an enthusiastic, if somewhat kitschy, Filipino band playing live music while you eat.
  • Alli Baba, 2 Hutong, Tongan Rd, Nankai University, +86 22 2351-3976, offering international cuisine and international students near the Nankai University campus, offering a range of dishes such as pasta, pizza, salads, etc.

Shopping In Tianjin

Tianjin has both modern shopping malls and distinctive traditional stores that invite shopping. Binjiang Dao Business Street and Heping Lu Business Street are the busiest and most prosperous shopping malls in Tianjin. Most of the major shopping malls and department stores are located on these two streets. Buy a good translator as an option. Also, most restaurants have a pictorial map that you can point to and order. You may also want to learn hand gestures for numbers, which sellers and buyers sometimes use in negotiations. Also, always carry a pen and paper with you.

There are other large shopping areas where only locals shop. In these areas, you will be a newcomer, but you should not be nervous. You will probably get some good deals, as even the excessive tourist prices in Tianjin are half of those in Beijing. If you haggle nicely, you will feel like the Champion Shopper of the world!

  • Binjiang Dao Business Street (滨江道). The most famous business district.
  • The road of the ancient culture. You will find many souvenirs and jewelry, but you must know (or learn) how to bargain. A small silk handbag is worth ¥12-20; a set of 4-6 chopsticks is worth about ¥50-60 in Beijing and ¥35-45 in Tianjin; large dolls are worth about ¥80-120, depending on how enthusiastic the seller is.
  • Shenyang Dao Antique Market. China’s largest antique market is a place that must be on every traveler’s list. The Shenyang Dao Antique Market is full of stores selling porcelain, paintings, gold, silver, copper, jade, etc.

Tianjin is also known for the following products:

  • Buy the best tea in the many authentic Chinese tea houses in Tianjin.
  • Tianjin is famous for its high quality ceramics. These are a great souvenir to take home.

Nightlife In Tianjin

There are a number of expat bars that cater to business travelers. Most of them can be a bit pricey (starting at 25 yen for a small bottle of beer), so if you are looking for something more relaxed and comfortable.

As far as clubs go, Tianjin is a big university city for Chinese and foreign students, so there are plenty of places to dance. The style of music is generally Western and Chinese dance music, pop and hip-hop/R&B, so if you have alternative musical tastes, clubs may not be for you!

  • Sitong Bar (Somerset Olympic Tower B1 Floor, Chengdu Road 126, Heping District, intersection with Guizhou Lu 126(和平区成都道号盛捷奥林匹克大厦B1楼 贵州路口)), +86 22 23377177. Located in the basement of Olympic Hotel, quite nice atmosphere with good service. This is the most cosmopolitan music bar in Tianjin, the best DJs after 10pm combined with the best music from Filipino bands, the best place to meet interesting people. It is the only place where people go. The Filipino band, Barman Fire Works and so everydays Good DJ music is available.
  • 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). Has nothing to envy Jim’s. Good western food, cheap beer and foosball. At the back of the establishment, there is also a newly furnished private dining room in the style of Number 10 Downing Street, which can be rented. There is also free internet access.
  • The Tavern, Joy Business Center, Bldg B, 3F, +86 22 2341-9696. A bit more upscale and therefore a bit more expensive, but still a great place to hang out. Run by David, a British-born Australian who is always very welcoming, there is a good selection of draught beers and live music.
  • Rainbow Pub, 12 Yanhe Rd, Hexi District12 (河西区沿河路号; Héīqū Yánhélù)(Near the Sheraton). The pubs are very similar to those in the English suburbs, except that the clientele is mostly Chinese. Also, they host a very kitschy Filipino band. Great fun and unpretentious until the end. Has recently received some very bad reviews from expats in Tianjin.
  • Scarlet, 155 Weijin Lu (above the KFC, which is right in front of the main gate of Tianjin University (3rd floor)). It is a nice and rather upscale dance club. Not only Chinese people meet there, but also many Europeans. Every Friday and Saturday, there is an open bar at ¥80, but there is also a special restaurant and a bar on the 2nd and 19th floor. Go through the main entrance on the 3rd floor and ask the staff for directions (many speak English) or take the elevator.
  • New York Bar, Weijin Road (in front of Nankai University, 4th floor of KFC building). It was one of the hits in Tianjin 2-3 years ago. But it quickly fell into disuse because of the DJs who played there.
  • The Spot Café, Heping District, Nanfu Fang Dajie (across from Tian Yu Hotel on Dian Tai Street), +86 22 27837104. 07:30-24:00. An American-owned cafe that offers excellent coffee, tea, and pastries and regularly hosts various art and cultural events. ¥10.
  • Hank’s Sports Bar & Grill, No. 56, ShangGu Business Center, Nankai District (intersection of TianTaNan Road & ShuiShangDong Road), +86 23417997. Authentic Chicago cuisine. Steaks, pizzas, burgers, cold beers and great drinks. A good meeting place for families and strangers; friendly people are present; managed and owned by Hank Martin and his wife Jeannie. Cable TV on Hong Kong and Slingbox from America). Hank’s is also the only establishment in Tianjin to broadcast the latest NFL soccer playoffs and hold a real Super Bowl party.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Tianjin

Tianjin is considered the safest city in China.

In general, you don’t have to worry about your personal safety in China if you simply follow the same rules as at home. Girls generally say they like to walk around in brightly lit urban areas. But if you come out of a nightclub drunk, you are an obvious target.

  • There are several footbridges, but few tunnel crossings like in Beijing. Many people cross the street at traffic lights or crosswalks. But in general, you should be careful when crossing the streets, especially because the streets are wide and new, as they were built recently.
  • Make sure your cab driver turns on his meter. Many of them try to drive foreigners to their destination and overcharge them. If the cab driver does not turn on the meter, either ask him to stop and get another cab or refuse to pay at the end. Fraud hotline: +86 22 23549000
  • As this is a new station, it is a bit confusing to leave Tianjin Station to get to your next connection. There is a cab and bus station. At the same time, there are many transportation providers or day trips. This is illegal and it is best to wait until you find a travel agency or use the public bus or taximeter to get to your next destination. If you really want to take a cab, the price is usually less than ¥30 for a trip to the city center.


  • Fire : 119
  • First aid : 120
  • Police:110
  • Road accident: 122
  • Counterfeiting crime: 12333



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