Wenzhou

Wenzhou (温州; Wēnzhōu) is a city in Zhejiang Province.

Understand

Wenzhou is the third city of Zhejiang Province and one of the economic power houses of the region. Famed for its businessmen and women of the night (and the Wenzhou model of business), Wenzhou is frequently used by Western media as a barometer of the Chinese export economy; among other things, Wenzhou manufactures around 90% of the world's spectacles and massive quantities of shoes. Wenzhou is not on many China tour itineraries and despite being a Chinese cultural hotpot, it is not the most foreigner friendly of cities (compared with Hangzhou and Ningbo, for example). However, there are plenty of things to do and see should you find yourself with time on your hands in Wenzhou. The city has a resident foreigner community that is below average for the city's size (100-200), although foreign businessmen often pass through.

Although Mandarin is widely spoken, the local dialect is Wenzhounese (温州话; Wēnzhōuhuà) and is regarded by Chinese nationals as one of the most difficult dialects in the country, so much so that Wenzhounese speakers were used by the Chinese resistance in World War II to communicate under the nose of the Japanese. Wenzhounese people populate many of the China towns around the globe (where their language is still spoken) and own the leases to many properties in Beijing and even San Francisco.

Wenzhou is near the East China Sea (called East Ocean in Chinese) in the south-eastern part of China. It is a prosperous city with a rapid economic boom because Wenzhou was one of the first port cities to be opened to foreign trade after Deng Xiaoping took over China in the 1970s. Wenzhou is the biggest and most prosperous city in the south of Zhejiang Province, and considers the importance of education highly. Hence, many famous mathematicians have come from this city.

Weather

Wenzhou is a city with frequent rains, and the average annual temperature is around 17 degrees.

Get in

By plane

Wenzhou Airport is east of the city. It receives flights from around China, and because it also supports flights to and from Hong Kong, it is considered international. Wenzhou Airport recently built a new terminal which is much more user friendly and less oppressive for foreigners.

You can get from the airport to the city center by taxi or bus. Taxis are the most expensive and you should bargain hard; if they do not like the price you are offering they laugh at you and start shouting Bus!. If a taxi driver offers you a ride under ¥100 it can be regarded as a good deal. Taking the bus is now much easier due to a ticket desk in the new terminal opposite the exit gate. The bus costs ¥12 and drives through New City (新城; Xīnchéng), Xialüpu (下吕浦; Xiàlǚpǔ) and finally stops at a depot on Nanpu Road (南浦路; Nánpǔlù).

By train

Wenzhou Central Train Station serves most cities throughout China, although because of Wenzhou's mountains, train journeys are sometimes much longer than their bus counterparts. The train station is at the major junction of Wenzhou Avenue (温州大道; Wēnzhōudàdào) where it meets Chezhan Avenue (车站大道; Chēzhàndàdào).

Wenzhou South Train Station (温州南站; Wēn​zhōu​nán​zhàn​), which opened in 2009, is served by the high-speed trains that come from Shanghai, bound for Fuzhou and Xiamen. Some of the stations along the way are Hangzhou, Ningbo and Taizhou. This station is also served by trains via Jinhua-Wenzhou High-speed Railway, which commenced operations in December 2015.

By bus

Wenzhou has a number of bus stations that serve a variety of locations around the country. Arrivals from Shanghai and Fuzhou will find themselves at New South Station (新南站; Xīnnánzhàn) which is near the train station on Wenzhou Avenue (温州大道; Wēnzhōudàdào), arrivals from Hangzhou and Ningbo will find themselves at New City Station (新城站; Xīnchéngzhàn) which is in New City, and arrivals from places as varied as Yiwu and Qingdao will find themselves at Shuangyu Bus Station (双屿汽车站; Shuāngyǔqìchēzhàn) which is on the west side of the city near the suburb of Huanglong.

Get around

By bus

Buses cost ¥1.5-2.5 within the city and can be very useful once you figure what number goes where. Useful buses include the 81 that goes between the old train station and the new south train station (¥2). The price is listed on the outside of the bus and on the bus stop sign. The bus stop sign also lists the stops on one side and shows a map on the other. Strangely, you will not find this in Beijing or Shanghai.

By taxi

Taxis are ¥10+2(gas charge) for the first 4km and ¥1 for each .5km thereafter (after 11:30PM prices rise to ¥12+2(gas charge) for the first 4km and ¥1 for each .5km thereafter). If you are outside the centre of the city, or in the centre trying to get elsewhere, you will not be able to catch a taxi between 4:30PM and 6PM. This is because of the driver shift change. If you are taking a longer-distance ride or travelling during rush hour, expect to "share" your taxi ride with others going to same section of the city (and pay more about ¥15 plus ¥2 tax for longer rides).

Watch out for prices charged by taxi drivers "off the meter" and negotiate price if it is raining, or during rush hour, prior to your ride. Do not allow them to charge you over ¥12!

By ferry

Although one ferry serves the tourist island of Jiangxin, there are other ferries that serve destinations up and down the Ouhai River ( 瓯海; ōuhǎi) such as the suburb of Oubei (瓯北; ōuběi)

See

Taiping Temple

Do

Work

Schools licensed to employ foreigners to teach English include D.D. Dragon, Dr Mike's, Kid’s Castle, English First and Web International English. Always inquire about a Z-Visa and check that the school has a license from the local government. There are many unlicensed schools, some of which provide a good teaching experience but your passport might not bear up to scrutiny. See also Teaching English and China#Work.

Buy

There are no token "Wenzhou" things that you need to buy (though Wenzhou is apparently known locally for high-quality shoes), but there are many things made in Wenzhou, so if you look and bargain well, you can buy them at very cheap prices. This section is helpful if you are looking for something that would be easy to find in a western city, but you are unsure of where to find it in a Chinese one.

Clothing

Computing

Luggage

Books and Stationery

Toiletries

Musical equipment

Currency

Eat

Budget

Mid range

One-of-a-kind restaurants

Chinese Chains

Sushi

Western Chains

Expect differences in the menu - chicken leg or wings but not chicken breast is typical for Chinese chicken places :)

Pizza hut has stopped giving discounts to foreign students studying in Wenzhou. Discounts are only for Chinese Students nowadays! This is really a waste of time because not many Chinese Students go to Pizza Hut! Generally will see families with children.

Drink

Do not miss out on the locally brewed delight, Double Deer Beer, ¥2-2.5 on the streets. Also, do not forget to look under the cap for a free beer or ¥1 refund. Known as Shuan1 Lu4 in Chinese. It also has a more expensive, premium light counterpart.

Wenzhou four four main areas for nightlife.

La Luna offers a foreign teacher discount card, so bring copy of contract or foreign expert papers. Discount is 50% off drinks and well worth the fee to obtain discount card (I think it is ¥100).

Odessa (center of city, downstairs by the bowling alley) has two parts, the restaurant (with foreign menu) and the bar. Foreigner owned and friendly. Has golf and is beside the archery, billiards, and bowling places.

Xialü Waterfront

Xialü Waterfront (下吕浦; Xiàlǚpǔ) is the area where most foreigners live and some bars have sprung up around; bear in mind that it is not actually a waterfront in the traditional sense (there is no water, nor front).

Jiangbin Road (The River)

Jiangbin Road (The River) (江滨路; Jiāngbīnlù) plays host to some of the biggest clubs, bars and restaurants in town. Technically, the main strip is on Wangjiang Road (望江路), but taxi drivers regard the whole area as Jiangbin Road.

Shuomen Old Street

Shuomen Old Street (朔门街; Shuòménjiē) is a hip and happening part of town set back from Jiangbin Road, off Jiefang Road (解放路). New bars open every week as well as strange little shops and board game bars.

There is also a movie room on the top floor with thousands of dvd's. Get some of their delicious coffee in the afternoon and watch a good movie by your choice on the 200" screen on the wall.

Renmin Road

Renmin Road (人民路; Rénmínlù) is the main road of Wenzhou and hosts a few massive clubs, though definitely not a place for a quiet (or cheap) drink.

Sleep

Budget

There are no hostels in Wenzhou, but couch-surfing is a valid option with a large number of Wenzhou residents registered to welcome travelers. There are also some budget hotels around:

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay Safe

Wenzhou is not a dangerous city for foreigners, especially foreigners that are careful.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.