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Why Tianjin is a must visit place after Beijing?

I visited Tianjin as my Birthday trip in October this year. I didn't plan much for this trip. Just went on with this trip since my China Visa is expiring on early Dec 2019. (Just an excuse!)

I was aiming to climb up the Great Wall of China from this part of China but at the end couldn't make it. My back condition didn't permit to do so. So..I end up settled with just rest and relax trip with no self-challenge. I just use the google explore for a place to visit. hahaha

I stayed at Holiday Inn Express Tianjin Heping. The Hotel located right next to a metro station (Anshan Station). Just next to the hotel building. Very convenient as the place has some fast food at the annexe too. Getting a cab also not that difficult here.

As for the Hotel Room, to me as long as I have a comfortable bed, clean bathroom and no noise, everything seems reasonable. Anyway, I am not that kind who enjoy the hotel facilities and stuck in the room watch TV all day. I was out of Hotel room from 9am until at night. Basically, I just need a place to sleep. Breakfast? Well, they do have Buffet Breakfast which the selection kind of not that interesting to me at all. I have been eating eat sandwich toast, which I made from the buffet counter selection. I skip my breakfast on the last 2 days. Can't stand to see any sandwich anymore. hahaha. Price isn't that expensive here so overall reasonable to stay here since the location is convenient. I took time to even explore the nearby neighbourhood too. There are many local shops nearby too. Just cross the opposite main road it will lead you to another neighbourhood too. Just walk and explore the local life there. It's interesting to do that when travelling to other countries. 

Safety? I feel safe over there since Police is everywhere too. You can reach out to them anytime. I know language might be an issue for non-Chinese speaker but if you are in distress, language wouldn't be a big issue to get help at anywhere. 

In general, people were good to me during my stay. They just curious about my origin and trying to make conversation with me. As usual, I will just reply with my super basic mandarin skills. hehehe...Google translate? Well, I don't even use any of those since I have that impatient mindset. So troublesome for me to use that. hahaha

Where to Stay in Tianjin?

Holiday Inn Express Tianjin Heping
No. 26, Xizang Road, Heping District, Tianjin 300020 China.

Places to Visit in Tianjin

When I told my friend, I am going to Tianjin, they were like...What? Why? Its nothing to see there. It's a small place in China. mmmmm...wrong! This is the people who make comment without even experience the place. You got to experience and surprise yourself. Different people different opinion on many things. So don't take any comments blatantly without doing your own research. 

My honest opinion about Tianjin.

You shouldn't miss out of this place. People only see Beijing as a must-visit destination. Do include Tianjin to the itinerary since this city is only 40 minutes high-speed train ride from Beijing.

Historically, Tianjin is the most important port and also known as a doorway to Beijing. When I first step into Tianjin, I was mesmerized by the extraordinaire mix cultural of its building architecture. This place makes me curious about what is going on in the ancient time.

So? Its seems my routine when visiting other countries is to make Museum as my first itinerary. It just this time, I only got the chance to visit the Museum on the second day due to miscommunication with the Cab Driver. He drops me at the Ancient Cultural Street instead of Museum on the first day. I still enjoy my heart out on this trip!

Tianjin Museum

Address: 62 Pingjian Road, Hexi Qu, Tianjin
Check out their official website for operation hours to avoid disappointment.

I could describe Tianjin is the best city since it has more than 70 museums for you to explore. I manage to cover only four from this trip. Unfortunately, during my visit it was raining and cold day throughout the whole day. My umbrella doesn't work well too. Yeah! it got blown up by the strong wind. Haihhhh.... I still brave myself through. I was a worth it journey!

This place is spectacular huge. I spent the whole day here. When I feel tired to walk around, I just walked out at sat at the nearby bench. I even have a quick nap due to very tired. It has segregation between different sector such as Art, Science and Technology, Natural History Museum. Each section is huge and you can spend at least 2 - 3 hours each.

I was there since morning and still unable to cover all. Why? First, it closed at 4 pm. Second, most of the section is well-translated English descriptions. It is really interesting and worth to read through. Especially for someone like me who always have an interest in China history.

I learn about every era that transformed Tianjin into the cross-cultural city today. It was an interesting learning day from the primitive days to the last dynasty of China. The opium war to the spread of Catholicism to the boxer rebellion. It makes my entire stay in Tianjin more meaningful as I appreciate each place in different ways since I knew the origin and history of each.

The Tianjin Art Museum is a new place in Tianjin and if you are an art lover or even for a person like me find this place is interesting. It even has a display of the world's finest porcelain from the Ming and Qing dynasty. Interestingly, I basically explore all 4 levels of this museum and enjoy reading the good description of the display.

Natural History Museum and the Science and Technology Museum is not just for kids educational. I spent my time there too. It's ashamed that it almost closing hour by the time I reached this place. Oh! by the way, all Museum I mentioned in this post is just next to each other. That is why I mentioned you could spend your whole day time here. There are a huge lake and fountain outside the museum. I manage to catch the musical fountain dance during my visit. Yeah!!! I was out there standing in the rain before the strong wind blown away my umbrella. Hahaha...

The Ancient Cultural Street (Gu Wenhua Jie)

Address: Gongnan Main Street, Nankai District, Tianjin

This place supposes to be on the second day but the cab driver seems impatient to make this as my first destination. So...I just follow my destiny here. Too bad! I don't find any love here hahahaha..Who on earth find a Mr Right at 'Ancient Cultural Street' OMG! I must be so lonely and desperate hahaha...Ancient Uncle many here. Too many choices of ancient Uncle and Aunties here. 

The atmosphere here is kind of enjoyable and relaxing day for me. Just wander around this long street with buildings of traditional Chinese styles during Ming and Qing Dynasties and make yourself lost into this place. I explore every nook and corner here. In fact, went there thrice and never get enough of this place. I just love to see the colourful beads, stones, gems and some ancient relic. Most of it is a replica. But still interesting here.

If you are into calligraphy and arts, this is the place to buy some art paper and brush. You can sample many street foods here. I tried my first Tianjin must-try street food, Jianbing Guozi and Erduoyan Zhagao here. I will write more on the Tianjin food in a separate post. Subscribe to my blog to get the latest update notification.

It's a mixed feeling when you are at this interesting Ancient street. You get that traditional atmosphere and at the same time the modern days in one street. The souvenir here is worth to buy too. The price pretty much standard anywhere. Bargain? If you that kind of person...go ahead! I am sure you will get a good price.

Most enjoyable for me to sit at the bench in front of the main entrance and watch rows of tourist from different China province lining up to start the exploration. I just sat there and watch them while eating the snacks. Most of them are a senior citizen who joins the group tour. I even saw the tourist guides gave them a briefing and even told them off. Some of them not easy to manage, though! The old people have their own mindset. It's not like they are small kids who will follow you with some threatening words. I feel it's amusing to watch a cleaner who cleans the dustbin and collect every single cigarette bud and rubbish. It's really clean here. The public toilet is alright here compare to Lanzhou and Xining.

Tianjin Folk Museum

Address: Ancient Cultural Street, Nankai District, Tianjin

You can find this place somewhere in the middle of the Ancient Cultural Street. Don't give this place a miss. It worth to drop by here. Just a small museum and it's free. The cab driver is not wrong at all to drive me here on the first day. Since there are many museums in Tianjin, you just need to give them a specific address. It was my mistake from the start. I should have told him, I want to go to the Museum in Hexi District, not Nankai.

Here you can see the display of traditions and present daily life, trade, arts. religion, cultural and clothes. It displays the improvement of daily life from the ancient to the modern days. For example the weddings gift and clothing. There is some paper cutting, weaving and arts too. It will take less than an hour here.

Temple of the Queen of Heaven 

Address: Gongbei Main Street, Nankai District, Tianjin

You won't miss this temple since this place is inside the Ancient Cultural Street and near to the main entrance.  It really a calm and peaceful place here. I paid 10 Yuan to get away from the crowd and it really worth my 10 Yuan.

This place is also known as Tianhou Taoist Temple or Tianhou Temple. This place is famous for Mazu, The Goddess of Sea and Queen of the Heaven worshipping. This place was constructed in 1326 for marine sacrifices by sailors and fishermen and it served since centuries.

After tired walking around, I sat near one of the statues for a quick nap. leg was worn out and my back was hurting at this point. Since I was away from the crowd, so I feel peaceful here. Even have time to imagine the ancient time here with my own imagination. 

Italian Style Stree

(EE TA LI JIE ....well that was what I told to cab driver and he replied Hou!!! EE TA LI JIE.... hahaha)
Address: Marco Polo Square, Hebei District, Tianjin

If you still have energy after exploring Ancient Cultural Street, just walk around the HaiHe River which is located opposite the street and you will reach Italian Style Street. I couldn't afford to do that. My walking quota has reached the max for the day. Tired like hell!  I visit this place the next day. 
I went there for my birthday. Can't afford to celebrate my birthday in Italy, I settled with Ee Ta Li Jie. hahaha... Enjoyed shrimp pizza with cuppa coffee with an Italian song in the background. I convinced myself, I am in Italy. Self Hypnotized success! The feeling was real to me. muahahaha

I was hoping to meet my dreams Oppa here too. But seriously...all I met are Ajussi (old Uncles). mmm....only old uncle has money to loitering around this place? I will just keep dreaming then. Dreaming is always fun because I can end it without hurting my own feelings. kekeke

To me it just a row of Italian Architecture Building with some Al Fresco style cafe, restaurant and fountain. There are a few shops selling souvenirs and other than that nothing special about this place.

I thought this place is more happening during the night. But to my disappointment, it was not as what I thought at all. I visited this place at night before taking the HaiHe River Cruise. Many places not open and it so quiet even the Starbuck have few people in it.

Overall, a great place for a change of atmosphere here. Recommended to visit for a cup of coffee or even enjoy some beer here. 

Tianjin Haihe River

Address: Ancient Cultural Street is along the Haihe River. All you need to do is to cross the main road.

Haihe River is well known as 'Mother River' of Tianjin and have a huge contribution from ancient times to Tianjin people. I visited Haihe River a few times during my stay in Tianjin. Just love the atmosphere here. Really a great place for a morning or evening stroll. Day time or night time this place seems never sleeps. It cleans and has lots of activities. Very lively especially at night.

Along the Haihe river, you can find Haihe Park, Haihe Cultural Square, Haihe Fountain Amusement Park and Tianjin Eye.

This is a great place for leisure for local residents here. Many beautiful trees and flowers blossoming here. At night everything will be light up beautifully.

In the photo above you see the first catholic church called Wanghailou. This placemark a historical event where the first uprising against the foreign occupation starts here in the year of 1870.

You can take the day or night Haihe River cruise. I took the night cruise which I will write more in my next post. You can see different architectural influence along the river. That is why, in my earlier post, it is important to visit the Tianjin Museum before you explore the rest of Tianjin. Due to its strategic place, Tianjin went through few foreign countries colonial. The colonial begun right after the end of the Second Opium war. You should read Tianjin history on how the Opium War has begun.

You can see the traces of building architectural influence from Russian, Japan, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, France and Great Britain. All this along the Haihe River. Advisable to take the Haihe River cruise (whether day or night time) to see all this.

Five Great Avenues 

Address: Just tell the cab driver you are going to Wu Da Dao. They will bring you here

This is another great place to admire the European-style architecture. I have a fun day walking around this place while on and off did some cafe hoping here. There are many nice cafes here.

You can see the European influence in all building and cafes here. This place is known as Tianjin's rich and elite area. As many rich people build their home.

If read the history, there are two China's presidents and seven premiers or acting prime ministers resided here from the 1920s to the 1930s.

What are the attractions at Five Great Avenues?

Machang Avenue or Ma Chang Dao in Chinese is the oldest and the widest road among the Five Great Avenues. You will find the former residence of the British Overseas scholar here. It looks like a Spanish Villa style.

Muna Avenue or Mu Nan Dao in Chinese is where 74 buildings and 22 former residences of celebrities live. This look like a 3-floor western classical mansion with a basement.

Da Li Dao is another building worth to visit since its look like a French Roman style and they use Chinese wood carving as deco here.

I just walked around the street here since the weather is not that hot. Just walk into one of this cafe if you feel tired.

By the way, the photo is not related to my write up since I just wrote randomly based on what I read during my visit. I can't identify my photo which and which anymore. But all the photos were taken during my recent visit to Wu Da Dao. 

Now,  let us go shopping to the shopping street.

BinJiang Dao BuXingJie

Address: Just tell the cab driver you are going to the BinJiang Dao. 

If you are taking the metro just take metro line 3 to Yingkoudao station and take the Exit from B1 and cross the pedestrian bridge on your right.

Very huge shopping mall is everywhere here. You just need to start your exploration and get ready with your money here.

I totally love walking through the pedestrian streets here. But if you asked me to choose here or Ancient Cultural Street? Well, I prefer Ancient Street Cultural. I walked into some of those big shopping malls but it really not up to my expectation when it comes to the merchandise and the vibes. Some even look like they are closing down. There are big ones like Joy City and Isetan but still, don't like the vibes. 

I prefer to walk around outside the building and enjoy some of the architectural because of some of the building as old as 100 years.

You won't miss this Old Xikai Catholic Church if you are around BinJiang Dao. This church is also known as St Joseph Cathedral, Tianjin and was built by a French missionary in 1916.

There are many other places which I skip due to the location is far away from the city such as the Great Wall of China from this part of China and Porcelein House which is not that far from BinJiang Dao since I find not worth to pay for the entrance fees. 

Transportation in Tianjin is relatively cheap and convenient. I mostly took a cab and metro to most of the places. 

Language is not a problem to a non-Chinese speaker like me. I just show my print out Chinese word just in case the cab driver doesn't understand my Chinese slang. 

You can check out my next post on HaiHe River at night soon. You can subscribe to my blog for the latest update.

This article is also available on GPSmyCity.


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