Zhengzhou

Zhengzhou (郑州; Zhèngzhōu) is a city on the south bank of Yellow River (Huang He) in China. It is the capital of Henan Province.

Zhengzhou

Understand

The name Zhengzhou comes from a city in the Sui Dynasty, but its actual location was in modern day Chenggao. During the Tang Dynasty, the name switched here. The area remained an unimportant backwater until it was selected for development by the Chinese Government after 1949. Strategically located in the center of the country, Zhengzhou is now a major transportation hub and rapidly growing city. To travelers, Zhengzhou is a convenient start point to explore a series of Chinese cultural sites, like Kaifeng, Luoyang and Shaolin temple.

Get in

By plane

The airport is about 30 km outside of town.

An airport shuttle bus leaves from Zhengzhou Hotel, centrally located and costs ¥15.

A public bus runs from the airport to the Aviation Hotel (民航酒店 mín háng jiǔ diàn) on Jin Shui Road (金水路 jīn shuǐ lù). It costs ¥25.

Taxis to the airport will cost around ¥120-140. While the distance implies it should only be ¥60, you're charged for the round trip driving. Unfortunately, bartering seldom helps as locals pay this price as well.

Metro Line 2, which will connect the airport to the city centre, is expected to open by end 2016.

By train

Zhengzhou is China's biggest train hub; you can get here from nearly every major metropolitian area in China. There are several arrivals each day from Beijing (about 11 hours, or 5.5 hours by high-speed rail), Guangzhou (about 18 hours), Xi'an (about 5 hours, or 2 hours by high-speed rail) and Shanghai (about 14 hours, or 6 hours by high speed rail). Trains arrive from other places less often. The Hanoi to Beijing train also stops here.

Be sure to clarify which station your train will arrive at or depart from; Zhengzhou Station (郑州站), located in the main city centre, serves all regular and some high-speed trains. Zhengzhou East Station (郑州东站), on the other hand, is located on the east side of town in the Zhengzhou New Area, and exclusively serves high-speed trains.

By bus

Across from the train station, you will find a long-distance bus station. Buses arrive regularly from almost anywhere in Henan province. Buses may be less comfortable than the trains, but are cheaper and you do not have to push and shove your way in and out of the train. You are guaranteed a seat but sometimes buses wait to fill up, rather than leaving at a set time, and be aware that long-distance buses may be sleepers rather than seated if the trip is very long.

Get around

The city's focal point is Erqi (February 7) Square (二七广场). This large public square comes alive at night, when an entire market fills the space with vendors and locals hanging out. From the square, several main streets fan out to different areas of the city.

Since Zhengzhou was handpicked to serve as a transportation hub - and does not have a very long history as a large city - the urban planning is more noticeable here than in other places of China. This means there is plenty of green space, tree-lined streets and logical arrangement to the city.

Zhengzhou is relatively spread out, but most sites are accessible by public bus, which costs ¥1 or ¥2 per ride - depending on whether or not there is air-conditioning, those with A/C being more expensive but usually less crowded.

Taxi fares begin at ¥8 in the day, and ¥10 late at night (after 22:00), with each kilometer after the second costing ¥1.5. All taxis are metered but sometimes the drivers will try to cheat foreigners.

A new Metro system opened in 2013, currently consisting of a single Line 1 running east-west that connects Zhengzhou Station, Zhengzhou East Station and a few other points of interest. A journey costs between ¥2 to ¥4 depending on distance, with the first train leaving each terminus at 0600 and the last at 2200, at a 6-minute frequency. Line 2 has a north-south route, and is scheduled to open in 2 phases by 2016. It will run to Zhengzhou International Airport.

See

Landmarks

Museums

Parks and nature

Do

There's relatively few things to do in Zhengzhou but a possible evening might involve eating at a Sichuan or Henanese restaurant, buying yourself a bottle of decent Dynasty wine, parleying with the local clentele, getting lazy, and rounding off the evening at a KTV bar.

Buy

Large department stores and international brands tend to be concentrated around Erqi (February 7) Square. The two major department stores are Kingbird (金博大) and Beijing Hualien (北京华联), which are next to each other. Both stores have supermarkets in their basements.

Some of the most interesting gifts can be purchased at the city's antique market. Most of the shop owners will have a calculator handy so you can bargain by typing in prices. Consider that you got a good deal if you pay half of what they originally quoted. The people are friendly but many of the shops sell fake antiques made to look old. Nevertheless there are interesting items that will decorate your walls or look great on a stand back at home. You can even impress your friends by telling them you bought them an antique from China.

Some of the small shops sell real antiquities. You'll know when you're buying one because the prices will rise dramatically from about ¥100 or less for fake goods to well over ¥5,000 for the real deal.

If you are a collector, China will not let foreigners take antiques out of the country that are over 200 years old or possibly even more recent items depending on their cultural value.

Make sure you know where your wallet is at all times. There are some unsavory characters in the markets. This is, in fact, true of Zhengzhou in general, which has a reputation for pickpockets. Buses are especially risky. Keep your wallet in your front pocket.

Eat

Zhengzhou has a diverse array of fine Chinese cuisine. Its location at China's center means you can find almost any type of Chinese food here. The city is big enough to have a scattering of cosmopolitan restaurants, and while there are a number of fake Korean, Japanese, Indian, and Western options about, you will do best to stick with Chinese food.

Budget

There is the usual assortment of dumpling shops and noodle joints on every street and back alley.

There is a good number of Sichuan restaurants, which makes sense considering the proximity to the Province of Spice.

You should not miss a special breakfast in Zhengzhou (hulatang), it is a special soup, a little spicy. You better go to Shunhelu where you will find the best hulatang in town.

Noodles, especially the mutton noodle (羊肉烩面; yangrouhuimian) and beef noodle (牛肉拉面; niuroulamian) are must-eat in Zhengzhou. There are three good yangrouhuimian restaurants with many locations, ask a taxi driver to take you the nearest one, and you will taste the best delicilous huimian in zhengzhou:

Other cheap eating places include:

Mid range


Chinese

Some of the finest Chinese restaurants are located on Jingsan Road (经三路). To find these restaurants, ask a taxi driver to take you to Xiaonanguo Restaurant and just look around. You will find a number of options about:

Other Asian

Korean:

Muslim halal food is available all throughout Zhengzhou, with the banner on the entrance board saying Mata'am al muslimeen(Restaurant of the muslims) in Arabic. The food tastes delicious. Once you go and eat at these restaurants you just feel like coming back again, especially those yangrou chuars (lamb kababs) taste yummy:

Western

Drink

There are bars around the city, but the best area for drinking is around the tree-lined Weiyi Road:

Other areas:

Sleep

Budget

Zhengzhou is not a major backpacker stop, so there are few cheap lodgings in the city. That said, there are some hotels that offer real value for money if you are more than two people. As with most Chinese cities, there are several a bit run down hotels to be found near the train station. These might be your cheapest options. Most likely English is not spoken but you can get a room for ¥50 or even cheaper if there are two people splitting a bill for a double room. Bargain, especially if you are staying more than one night.

Mid range

Go next

Henan awaits:

Routes through Zhengzhou

Beijing Xinxiang  N  S  Wuhan Changsha
Xi'an Luoyang  W  E  Kaifeng Xuzhou


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.