I have two good friends from Nanjing and maybe this helped me a lot, especially with the transportation!
I arrived on Saturday morning and I was surprised that in the city are so so so many high school or university students everywhere..even the train was packed with young people.
I’ve found out later, at my hostel, that on that night was Super Junior’s concert in Nanjing! I knew that boy band, but wasn’t their fan…and what a surprise I had some weeks later (this time in Shanghai) when I met one of the guys from Super Junior (Han Geng, known also as Han Kyung) and had a short chat with him while sipping from my cup of warm tea!..but about this later on a special post about Shanghai!
Now, back on track! 🙂
Nanjing is one of the most beautiful cities of mainland China with lush green parks, natural scenic lakes, small mountains, historical buildings and monuments, relics and much more, which attracts millions of tourists every year. In Nanjing both, industry and culture, blend perfectly forming a forest of shining new skyscrapers, there are wide green streets and you can find UNESCO Heritage Sites as well…it was China’s capital 4 times, after all!
I had only 2 full days for Nanjing, and honestly I think this was too short to discover all the places! Therefore, when you go there, stay longer. I will say that 4 to 5 days should be enough.
The city is not that confusing and not as crowded as Shanghai or Beijing and maybe less polluted.
My friend, Roberto, met me somewhere in the downtown and then took me and his girlfriend to 5* restaurant. Because that night in the restaurant they had a wedding we were given a place on the rooftop in a private room with a great view over the city. The service was great and the food tasty! Where is that place I cannot tell simply because Roberto drove there…but if I see that building again, for sure I’ll remember it 🙂
When I told him that I stopped in a hostel in the nearby the place we met, he was against me staying there. He even tried to find a room in one of the luxurious hotels in the area, nearby the place we had dinner…..too much trouble especially when I was ok with my humble room and having around strangers 🙂
I stopped at Sunflower Youth Hostel, from the outside it looked like nothing special, but the place is popular among local and foreign tourists and visitors. The room was clean and quite big. Nothing special about this place, but if you need a central place to drop your backpack at a reasonable price, this is one of the places to consider.
Nanjing, what to see and do?
The downtown is very nice, packed with restaurants, luxury hotels and boutiques, but also you can find some food streets as well. Shops and shopping malls are open till late in the Xinjiekou CBD and Hunan Road. The “Nanjing 1912” district hosts a wide variety of pastime facilities ranging from traditional restaurants and western pubs to dance clubs. There are two major areas where bars are densely located: one is in 1912 block the other is along Shanghai road and its neighborhood. Both are popular with international residents of the city.
For those who want to know more about the nightlife in Nanjing (information in English) with recommendations about pubs and locals, events, lifestyle and guides, should access the following pages: Hello Nanjing and Nanjing Expat. Nanjing Expat is a more complex page and offers a wider information about this city.
To save some time and see more things in this great city, you could take the boat trip around water canals. Be aware of the two price system! The cheaper ticket will be for a tour in Chinese only!!! And the more expensive one will be with a guide in English…therefore choose carefully!
I had no time to go there, but if you like history and want to learn more facts about the modern history of China, then a visit to the Nanjing Memorial Hall is a place to go, too.
The Nanjing Memorial Hall was built in 1985 by the Nanjing Municipal Government in memory of the 300,000 victims who lost their lives during the Nanjing Massacre. The memorial exhibits historical records and objects, and uses architecture, sculptures, and videos to illustrate what happened during the Nanjing Massacre.
The place I loved the most in Nanjing is the Purple Mountain. There you can visit Xialing tomb, the botanical gardens, Linggu Pagoda and temple, the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum, etc.
The Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum is a good place to start your visit to the purple mountain. Go there as early as possible and if possible avoid weekends and national holidays!!!!! I went there on Sunday and it was very crowded even at 9am!!!! To visit this place you’ll need a lot of time, and if you’re not into long walks then you can take one of the carts to every place you want to visit. The price for a ride is 10 yuan.
Where to eat?
If you want to eat cheap but delicious foods go to the Lion’s Bridge. There you can find all kinds of food, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Western style restaurants, there’s always one kind you will like. For a sweet treat, try the bubble tea with tapioca or other types of jelly. I’ve fell in love with this tea in China and even now I buy it every time I pass by a shop that sells it 🙂
One reminder about the street food: DO NOT buy it if you’re not sure about the meat they serve or about the hygiene of that stall!!! It will be better to trust locals and eat where are many locals queuing. This is a golden rule in China and all over in Asia, never forget about this!!! Also, you must carry on you some alcohol gels, it will serve as an alternative to hand washing and time saver especially for the times you want to try some street foods!
If you are traveling in a group, then an after dinner your entertainment can be a Karaoke bar, it’s a good alternative to a club, pub or bar 😉
I hope that my short review about Nanjing made you curious about this amazing place and you’ll not skip it when traveling in China!
Travel safe and wise!