Tianjin

Tianjin (天津; Tiānjīn) is a major city in North China that neighbours the capital city of Beijing.

Understand

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 2 5 12 21 26 30 31 30 26 20 11 4
Nightly lows (°C) −8 −5 1 9 15 20 23 22 16 9 1 −5
Precipitation (mm) 3 4 8 21 38 71 171 146 46 23 10 4
Sunshine (hrs/day) 5.8 6.3 6.6 7.7 8.6 8.4 7.0 7.2 7.4 6.8 5.8 5.4

Humidity is highly seasonal; only summer is consistently humid

Tianjin (Chinese: 天津; pinyin: Tiānjīn) is a metropolis in northern China and one of the five national central cities of the People's Republic of China. Tianjin borders Hebei Province and Beijing Municipality, bounded to the east by the Bohai Gulf portion of the Yellow Sea.

Tianjin is divided into the old city and the Binhai New Area. Binhai New Area is growing fast, with many international companies establishing branch offices. It is a base of China's advanced industry, financial reform, and innovation.

In terms of urban population, it is the sixth-largest city of the People's Republic of China. Tianjin's urban area is located along the Hai River, which connects to the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers via the Grand Canal in Tianjin. Tianjin was once home to foreign concessions in the late Qing Dynasty and early Kuomintang era.

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

History

Tianjin has been trading port since historic times and was previously called "Zhigu" (直沽), or "Straight Port". In until 1404, the Yongle Emperor renamed the city Tianjin, meaning "the Heavenly Ford", to indicate that the Emperor forded the river at that point.

Due to its proximity to Beijing, Tianjin was involved significantly during the Opium Wars. Many concession areas in the city were run by the European powers as well as Japan, leaving many foreign architectural reminders of their rule, notably including churches and thousands of villas.

Get in

By plane

Tianjin Binhai International Airport (IATA: TSN) is located in the east of the urban area, in Dongli District, which is only 15 km (9 miles) to the east of the urban area. It is a second alternative to high-speed train, especially if wanting to reduce the added travel time and cost that comes associated with flying into Beijing -- just some 120 km (75 miles) from Tianjin.

The home base of Tianjin Airlines and the delightfully humble Okay Airways, domestic routes include most major Chinese cities. A few international routes are available, including destinations in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Mongolia.

Metro Line 2 now connects the airport directly to Tianjin station, with a fare of just ¥3. There are also four Airport Shuttle Bus routes, and the most expensive price is ¥25. No change is given on the bus, so make sure you have exact change for the fare.

From Beijing Capital International Airport

China's main airport in Beijing is a good alternative for getting into Tianjin, especially for long distance flights from Europe or the Americas. Ticket prices inside China may be lower as well, so worth checking this option.

By train

Tianjin Railway Station

Tianjin Railway Station was built in 1888, sometime known locally as the 'East Station', is the main station in Tianjin. Tanggu station serves the seaside district of the same name. Tianjin West and Tianjin South stations serve bullet trains to Shanghai, while Tianjin West in urban area and Tianjin South are a bit far from the city.

Tianjin railway station is open for the bullet train to Beijing South train station. One-way tickets are ¥55 for Economy, ¥66 for Business, or ¥94 for VIP. The bullet train designation is a 'C' and takes about 33 minutes, travelling up to 300 km/h. Some C-series trains make a stop in Wuqing, add 5 more minutes to the whole trip.

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

Should you choose to take taxi, use the official taxi stand (just follow the signage). The taxi fare from Tianjin railway station to Tianjin airport is about ¥50-65. It is not advisable to use any of the touts that offer taxi services. The official taxi stand has plenty of taxis.

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

Tianjin South Railway Station handles some of the high-speed rail service to Shanghai. It is not near the city, although there are some bus routes from the South Railway Station to the city, and the taxis are mostly of the illegal variety, so plan accordingly. The renovated Tianjin West Station also handles the high-speed rail service to Shanghai. It can be reached by Tianjin Metro Line 1. Tianjin South serves as an intermediate station for bullet trains between Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao. Tianjin West is not located on the main line, but as a termini for trains between Tianjin West and Shanghai Hongqiao.

The following rail lines go 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

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

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

By car

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

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

By bus

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

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

By boat

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

Kobe, Japan - is served by a weekly China Express Line ferry, departing Kobe at 11:00 on Fridays and arriving in Tianjin at 14:00 on Sundays. It takes 51 hours to do the nearly 2000 km (1242 mi) crossing between the two cities. Tianjin Office Tel.:+86 22-2420-5777

Get around

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

The old Tianjin metro was suspended in 2001, but after refurbishing was re-opened in 2006. In addition, a light-rail line runs between the urban area of Zhongshanmen to the seaside area Donghailu in TEDA.

By taxi

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

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

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

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

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

By metro

Map of Tianjin Metro and Binhai Mass Transit

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

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

Number & Name Terminals Interchange
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 TEDA MGRT
T TEDA Modern Guided Rail Tram TEDA – North of College District Line 9
5 Line 5 (u/c) North Warehouse – Dasizhen
6 Line 6 (u/c) Dabizhuang – Liqizhuang

See

Buildings

Tianjin Eye.
Tianjin Astor Hotel
Tianjin Skyline 2009
Tianjin Airport Industrial Park

Parks

Museums

Streets and areas

Further away

Culture

People from urban Tianjin speak Tianjin dialect, which comes under the Mandarin subdivision of spoken Chinese. Despite its proximity to Beijing, Tianjin dialect sounds quite different from Beijing dialect, which provides the basis for Putonghua, the official spoken language of the People's Republic of China.

Tianjin is a respected home base of Beijing opera, one of the most prestigious forms of Chinese opera.

Tianjin is famous for its Xiangsheng (相声) stand up comic crosstalk and comedians including Guo Degang and Ma Sanli. Ma Sanli (马三立) (1914–2003), an ethnic Hui and longtime resident of Tianjin, is renowned for his xiangsheng, a hugely popular form of Chinese entertainment similar to comedy. Ma Sanli delivered some of his xiangsheng in the Tianjin dialect. Tianjin, along with Beijing, is a center for the art of xiangsheng.

Yangliuqing (Green Willows), a town about 15 km west of Tianjin's urban area and the seat of Tianjin's Xiqing District, is famous for its popular Chinese New Year-themed, traditional-style, Yangliuqing colourful wash paintings (杨柳青年画). Tianjin is also famous for Zhang's clay figurines (泥人张) which are a type of colourful figurine depicting a variety of vivid characters, and Tianjin's Wei's kites (风筝魏), which can be folded to a fraction of their full sizes, are noted for portability.

Worship

Tianjin has a Buddhist Temple of Great Compassion, a Catholic St. Joseph’s Cathedral (Laoxikai Church), a Catholic Our Lady of Victory Church (Wanghailou Church), a Tianjin Jewish Synagoge and a Roman Catholic Diocese of Tianjin.

Do

There are a number of attractions of interest to the foreign travelers, in particular the colonial architectures and streetscapes that are a vestige of Tianjin's legacy 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 Town(意大利风情旅游区) located to the west of the train station (see the previous section). All of these areas are fairly compact and flat, lending themselves well to walking tours.

Buy

Tianjin has both modern shopping malls and distinctive traditional stores, for shopping delight. Binjiang Dao Business Street and Heping Lu Business Street are the busiest and most prosperous shopping centres in Tianjin. Most of the top shopping malls or department stores can be found on these two streets. Optionally, buy a good translator. Also, most restaurants have a picture menu where you can point and order. You could also learn the hand gestures for numbers that sellers and buyers occasionally use for negotiating. Always carry a pen and paper too.

There are other large shopping districts where only local people shop. You will be a novelty in those areas, but you do not need to be nervous. You will probably get some great deals because even the inflated tourist prices in Tianjin are half what they are in Beijing. Add in some friendly bargaining, and you will feel like the Champion Shopper of the World!

Tianjin is also famous for the following products:

Eat

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

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

Drink

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

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

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Tianjin is known to be as safe as any city in China.

Generally you do not have to concern about personal safety in China if you just follow the basics you would at home. Girls generally say they are happy to walk anywhere in the main city areas where there are lights. But if you come out of a night club drunk, you are an obvious target.

Enforcement Hotlines

Connect

Cope

Though credit and debit cards are gradually becoming more widely accepted at department stores and supermarkets most stores and all attractions still operate on a cash-only basis and only the very largest or most expensive shops accept foreign credit cards. It's generally best to ensure that you have a decent amount of cash on hand when going out. ATMs are located at virtually all bank branches, and most (though not all) of the large banks now accept foreign debit or credit cards. Bank of China branches all have the ability to take cards from foreign banks, and most offer English instructions. For more advanced financial transactions (converting currency or travellers checks, for instance) the best places to go are the Bank of China branch.

Go next

Routes through Tianjin

Beijing  W  E  Tangshan Harbin
Beijing  W  S  Dezhou Shanghai


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, September 16, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.