Tianjin Guide – Intro & Top Attractions

Tianjin Guide – Intro & Top Attractions


Tianjin (天津市) is a provincial-level administrative region under the direct administration of central government, one of the nine National Central Cities, and one of China’s mega-cities. The city has 16 districts under its jurisdiction, with a total area of ​​11916.85 square kilometers, a built-up area of ​​1007.91 square kilometers, a resident population of 15.5 million with an urban population of 12.9 million.

Tianjin is located in northern China with the Bohai Sea in the east. It is located at the confluence of five major tributaries of the Haihe River. It is located 155km by road from Beijing while also being connected by High Speed Rail.

Tianjin is the main node of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, the strategic fulcrum of the Maritime Silk Road, the “Belt and Road” intersection, the nearest eastern starting point of the Asia-Europe Continental Bridge, and the largest port city in northern China.

Tianjin, officially established in 1404, has always been an important transportation hub. After the middle of the Tang Dynasty, it became a hub for grain and silk transportation. The Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) set up Zhigu Village as a military outpost and during the Yuan Dynasty, it became a grain transfer center. During the Ming Dynasty in 1404, the city was officially built, and it is the only city in ancient China to have a record of the exact time of its establishment.

Attractions in Tianjin

AAAAA Attractions

Mount Pan (“Panshan Scenic Area”) (天津盘山风景名胜区)
Location: Jizhou, Tianjin
A 105 km² forest park surrounding 850 m Mount Pan, whose temples were first built in ad 25 during the Han. The four surviving temples include a 13-story dagoba and have all been renovated since the 1990s.
Guwenhua Jie (“Ancient Culture Street”) (古文化街)
Location: Nankai, Tianjin
A 560 m street lined with imitation Qing shops opened in 1986, selling traditional wares and snacks beside Mazu and Taoist temples (originally dating to 1326 and 1368, respectively) and a folklore museum.

AAAA Attractions

Scenic spot name Chinese Name
Tianjin Baocheng Museum 天津宝成博物苑
Tianjin Yangliuqing Museum (Shijia Courtyard) 天津杨柳青博物馆(石家大院)
Tianjin Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park 天津滨海航母主题公园
Tianjin Huangyaguan Great Wall Scenic Resort 天津黄崖关长城风景游览区
Dule Temple, Ji County, Tianjin 天津蓟县独乐寺
Tianjin Tianta Lake Scenic Area 天津天塔湖风景区
Tianjin Water Park 天津水上公园
Tianjin Tropical Botanical Garden 天津热带植物观光园
Tianjin Eye Ferris Wheel 天津之眼摩天轮
Tianjin Haichang Polar Ocean World 天津海昌极地海洋世界
Tianjin Italian Style District 天津意式风情区
Tianjin Beining Park 天津北宁公园
Tianjin Dagukou Fort Site 天津大沽口炮台遗址
Tianjin Limutai Scenic Area 天津梨木台景区
Tianjin Happy Valley 天津欢乐谷
Tianjin Five Avenue Tourist Area 天津五大道旅游区
Tianjin Dongjiang Bay Scenic Area 天津东疆湾景区

Accommodation

My picks for the top places to stay in Tianjin that are foreigner freindly with great location and English service.

St. Regis Tianjin
Location: No.158, Zhangzizhong Road, Heping, Tianjin
Located centrally by the river and Tianjin World Financial Center, near to Heping Road metro station. Five star with superb features and rates.
Courtyard by Marriott Tianjin Hongqiao
Location: No.166, Beimalu Road, Hongqiao, Tianjin
Located near the Drum Tower and Yuhuang pavillion, near to Xibeijiao metro station. Five star with superb features and and really great rates.
Liuyue Capsule Hotel
Location: No.48, North Jiefang Road, Heping, Tianjin
Superb location in the central area and near Heping Road metro station. Modern, clean and amazing rates from $US15 for single capsules.

Tianjin Map

Transportation

Railway

Tianjin is not only at the junction of the two traditional railway trunk lines: Beijing-Shanghai Railway and Jinshan Railway, but also at the intersection of Beijing-Shanghai High Speed ​​Railway, Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway, Tianjin-Qinhuangdao Passenger Dedicated Line, and Tianjin-Bus Passenger Dedicated Line.

High speed rail stations are Tianjin Station (天津站), Tianjin South Railway Station (天津南站), Tianjin West Railway Station (天津西站), Junliangcheng North Station (军粮城北站), Wuqing Station (武清站), Binhai Station (滨海站), Binhai West Station (滨海西站), and Binhai North Station (滨海北站).

Airports

The Tianjin Binhai International Airport (天津滨海国际机场) is located in Dongli District, Tianjin, about 13 kilometers from Tianjin city center and 134 kilometers from Beijing. It is a domestic trunk airport, international airport, national first-class airport, and one of China’s major air cargo centers. It is a hub for Air China Tianjin Branch, Tianjin Airlines, Okay Aviation, Xiamen Airlines, and Galaxy International Cargo.

Metro line 2 connects directly with the airport and a taxi to the central area will cost around 80 yuan.

Tianjin Metro

Metro map (click for larger version)

Current Lines and lines under construction

Line number Beginning and end station Beginning and end station Remark
Tianjin Metro Line 1 Liu Yuan Li Lou already opened
Construction of Dongyan Project started and has opened to Lilou Station
Tianjin Metro Line 2 Caozhuang Binhai International Airport already opened
Tianjin Metro Line 3 South Station Koyodo already opened
Tianjin Metro Line 4 Southeast corner Xinxing Village under construction
Tianjin Metro Line 5 Beichen Science Park North The First Affiliated Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine already opened
Tianjin Metro Line 6 Nansunzhuang Meilin Road already opened
Tianjin Metro Line 7 Koyodo Kita Saida Eight Branch Road planning
Tianjin Metro Line 8 Saltwater Zhangjiawo planning
Tianjin Metro Line 9
( Jinbin Light Rail )
Tianjin Station Donghai Lu already opened
Tianjin Metro Line 10 East Island Yutai under construction
Tianjin Metro Line 11 Xinkou Liujing Lu Under construction [26]
Tianjin Metro Line 12 Zhao Zhuang Big temple planning
Tianjin Metro Line 13 Zhangjiawo Airport Industrial Park planning

Landmark buildings in Tianjin

The Tianjin Tower (津塔): Tianjin’s new landmark building, with a height of 336.9 meters. It features an observation deck at 305.2 metres.

Drum Tower (鼓楼): Located in the center of the old city of Tianjin.

Jinwan Plaza (津湾广场): Located in the Financial Street area of ​​Jiefang Road, Heping District, it is one of the 20 major service industry projects in Tianjin and a landmark area of ​​Tianjin Financial City.

Tianjin Radio & Television Tower – Sky Tower (天塔): Sky Tower has a total height of 415.2 meters and covers an area of ​​300 acres. It is the fourth tallest tower in the world and the second tallest in Asia. It also has an observation deck at 200-meters.

Eye of Tianjin (天津之眼): The Eye of Tianjin is the Yongle Bridge Ferris Wheel, the only Ferris wheel built on the bridge in the world. The Ferris wheel is 110 meters in diameter, with 64 360-degree transparent cockpits mounted on the outside of the wheel. Each cockpit can seat 8 people.

Tianjin Specialty foods

Tianjin cuisine is heavily influenced by Beijing cuisine, due to its proximity, but differs by being sweeter, and focused on seafood.

Famous snacks are Goubuli (狗不理包子) is a famous and traditional brand of baozi (steamed buns with filling) that is famous throughout China. Guifaxiang (桂发祥麻花) is a traditional brand of mahua (twisted dough sticks). Erduoyan (耳朵眼炸糕) is a traditional brand of fried rice cakes.

A popular destination for foodies is Nanshi Food Street (南市食品街) which features over 100 stalls in one location.

Climate

The annual average temperature in Tianjin is about 14 ° C. It is the hottest in July and the monthly average temperature is 28 ° C. The highest temperature in history is 41.6 ° C. January is the coldest month with an average monthly temperature of -2 ° C. The historical minimum temperature was -17.8 ° C. The average annual precipitation is between 360-970 mm, and the average (1949-2010) is around 600 mm.

There are four distinct seasons

  • spring – windy, dry and little rain – Av. 16 °C – late March to June
  • summer – hot with concentrated rain – Av. 28 °C – June to August
  • autumn – moderate and comfortable – Av. 16 °C – August to October
  • winter – cold, dry, and snow – Av. -4 °C – October to March

Economy

In 2018, Tianjin’s gross domestic product (GDP) was 1,809.9 billion yuan, an increase of 3.6% over the previous year. The region has a per capita GDP of 120,606 yuan which is the third-highest in the country.

Major industries include petrochemical industries, textiles, car manufacturing, mechanical industries, and metalworking. Major manufacturers here include EADS Airbus who opened an assembly plant for its Airbus A320 series here. Tianjin is also home to the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin and the Tianhe 1A.

The Tianjin Binhai New Area (滨海新区) is a national reform pilot area based on high-level modern manufacturing and R & D transformation base, a northern international shipping center and an international logistics center, and a livable ecological new urban area. It is also the location of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone and Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City.

Xiong’an – the Bold New Mega City that will shape China’s Future

Xiong’an – the Bold New Mega City that will shape China’s Future

Xiong’an New Area (CN: 雄安新区) is a new mega urban area and smart city project that encompasses three counties and 500 villages located in a strategic area that lies within the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei triangle. What makes this project unique is, not only the scale and the vision, that it is directly under the management of the CCP Central Committee and the State Council.

What also makes it something special is the price tag, with some research firms quoting figures between 1 and 2.4 trillion RMB.

The three existing counties that make up Xiong’an New Area are Roncheng, Xiongxian, and Anxin which are located 100km to the southwest of Beijing. The area will be connected by High Speed Rail via the Beijing-Xiongan intercity railway which connects to the new Beijing Daxin International Airport taking just 20 minutes to travel between the two and 30 minutes to central Beijing.

The area was officially announced on April 1, 2017 with a master plan later released for an initial area covering a 100 sq. km later expanding to 2,000 sq. km area.

The planning and construction phase is expected to run until 2022 following which is followed by the relocation phase and shifting of several state-owned enterprises into the newly developed area from Beijing and beyond which is expected to take until 2035. The next phase from 2035 to 2050 is to develop the area into a modern socialist city to which there are only vague specifics as to what may look like.

It has several goals including

  • relieving pressure on Beijing with non-capital functions moving to the new area
  • create a modern socialist city
  • explore new models of growth
  • raise the prosperity of the Hebei region
  • creating a world-class smart city
  • a hub of hi-tech industry and innovation
  • green development and ecological protection
  • connecting the Beijing/Tianjin/Hebei regions into a megalopolis (known as Jing-jin-ji 京津冀城市群) which is currently home to 112 million people
  • to be a low carbon city utilizing 100% renewables

Industries likely to take hold here will likely be heavily state-backed, including research institutes, high-end technology enterprises, IT companies, bioscience, new-age materials, while attracting innovators into state-backed collaboration spaces employing facets of the sharing economy.

Ecology will also be a key theme of the area with forestation and development of wetlands. A major ecological feature is Baiyang Lake (CN: 白洋淀) which covers a staggering 336 sq km and after some revitalization that started back in 2006 it is now an AAAA national rated scenic area.

Another feature often mentioned is that it may include heavily subsidized living costs (all properties are state-owned), along with first-rate medical, schools, and public services for local talents and innovators that move to the area. This may have an odd twist, as to live in Xiang’an you won’t be required to have a Hukou (residence permit) but instead, a work permit acquired via having a work contract or business license. And once you finish the contract etc ability to stay in public housing is rescinded according to some early reports but I think clarity on those details is a long way off.

Investment into the area is also being helped along by the City of London who have established a finance centre to fund sustainable projects with a focus on the new area. London’s Canary Wharf Group have also joined a consortium of developers who will be working on building the new area.

Returning to transport connections, in total there will be five High Speed Rail lines that connect the Xiong’an New Area via two stations namely Xiong’an Station and Xiong’an East Station. The five rail lines are

  • Beijing–Xiong’an intercity railway (CN: 京雄城际铁路)
  • Tianjin and Xiong’an intercity railway (CN: 津雄铁路)
  • Beijing-Shijiazhuang Intercity Railway (CN: 京石城际铁路)
  • Guan-Baoding Inter-city Railway (CN: 固保城际铁路)
  • Tianjin-Baoding railway (CN: 津保铁路)

“New Area” is not a term that you will hear often and is used to indicate that it will be a testing ground for new ideas.

Many may want to compare this with Guangdong and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong area, but immediately there is a notable difference in that one was founded from market-led concepts and grew exponentially from that liberation, while the other is a state-funded development where organic growth has not been achievable.

Also remembering that residential real estate was a major contributor to Shenzhen’s boom which won’t be a factor in Xiong’an with all housing being state-owned.

Furthermore, Guangdong attracted not only tech talents, innovators, entrepreneurs, and traders in a purely utilitarian directive, it also let them make it their home and be part of a community, something that may not be possible in Xiong’an making the character of the area somewhat, well, odd. But, I think it would be unfair to speculate on that too much until further details come out.

Some reports are even explicitly calling Xiong’an the next Shenzhen. For the same reason stated earlier, the two are very different models of development likely to have very different outcomes and characteristics.

Xiongan New Area will be a testbed for large-scale central planning and implementation of socialist principles under the guidance of President Xi Jinping.

All of this makes Xiongan New Area a pivotal place to watch as it will be the testbed, or laboratory, for pilot schemes, new technologies, new industry, and urban planning that will become China’s future.

Image Credits: Caixin and Xiongnan.gov.cn