Tianjin - Port Guide
Where is the ship/how to get to the sights?
Winter Oct-Feb cold 5-10 degrees Celsius, with snow possible Nov-Feb. Spring: Mar-May 10-16 degrees. Summer: 16-30 degrees. Rain possible year round.
Sights & Sites
The main things to see in the city of Tianjin are;
- The Tianjin Museum – Open 0900-1630 Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays). The original building dating back to 1918, then refurbished in 2007, with the new building unveiled in 2012 for the Beijing Olympics, this shiny new version beautiful museum, built to impress the tourists seems to have forgotten to translate a lot of the information on any of the exhibits into any other language than Mandarin. Pick up a leaflet in English (or whichever language you prefer) from the front door to get more information on what you’re seeing. It does however, have an impressive array of over 200,000 items, plus 200,000 books, about the history of the area and the Ming Dynasty, and Chinese arts in general. Highlights include bronze artifacts, sculptures, paintings, vases, porcelain and pottery.
- Temple – Full of bright red lanterns and replete with reclining Buddha statue at the gate, “baby New Year”, and cabbage sculpture statue for luck with money,
- Confucius Temple – Built in a lovely green park area in the middle of the bustling city, this temple offers a peaceful respite to modern life in this temple to one of China’s three great religions amidst the high-rise buildings and smog.
- Street – This street is a great place for tourists to enjoy the atmosphere, and buy some souvenirs. There are many stalls and shops with local crafts as well as the locally made snacks and sweets.
- Tianjin Aquarium – This large, impressive aquarium has many sea creatures within its walls, including a polar section with penguins, polar bears and arctic wolves, and large marine mammals like seals. They have a lot of fish species, from rays, to grouper, sand tiger sharks, electric eels and many tropical fish species and an impressive jelly fish section.
- See Beijing port guide for information about going out into port in the evening and general tips on getting around.
China is full of souvenirs. The fact that so many items are ‘made in China’ means there are a lot of things to buy everywhere. You can buy tourist souvenirs and trinkets, as well as art, crafts, and many different things. There are market stalls in most areas in most Chinese cities, so it is easy to find things to buy as presents or for you.
If you only have two hours
What is it known for?
Tian Jin is one of China’s largest cities. It wasn’t a well-known city for foreign tourists until the Olympics in 2012. You can reach and see parts of the Great Wall of China from this area. The Tian Jin Museum, along with concert hall and national library were built to impress visitors for the event. The aquarium is large and impressive, with aquatic shows as well as exhibits. The shopping area of is a good place to soak up the atmosphere while finding some good memories of your trip. The city is trying to be more open to tourism, and I think will continue to become more open and more accessible over the next few years.
Food & Drink
Chinese food, (or simply ‘food’ here) is a plenty everywhere. Tianjin has many large restaurants where you can get set menu lunches for reasonable prices, where you sample several different dishes and courses on a large table with lazy Susan. Food is usually shared family style in China, so eating with a group is always a good way to try multiple dishes in one meal. Xiang Long Bao, dumplings filled with soup and meat (most commonly pork, but chicken and beef are available too depending on the restaurant), are one of my favorites.
Wi-Fi is available in some bars and restaurants in the city. Remember in China, Facebook, Google, and quite a few popular websites are banned. It is possible to access them through the use of a VPN. This isn’t too technically tricky to do, but it depends on how many days you are in China, and how much you’d need these sites, if it is worth the effort or not. It is worth noting that the Internet on the ship itself will remain unaffected by China’s restrictions, as the servers used are international ones and not from China itself.
I recommend exchanging money on the ship, or before in another port or at home before joining the ship if possible. You can exchange money in banks in Tian Jin, but bureau de changes are few. Be very wary of money exchange scams, as they are quite common, even in official currency exchange vendors. People being given counterfeit bank notes or not the correct amount is sadly quite common. You will need local currency for buying anything in any market, or small business. Only larger shops, restaurants, hotels or tour companies will accept credit cards. If you need to exchange the money when in China, go into a reputable bank or hotel lobby of an international hotel, and count your money in front of the person giving you it before leaving.
Karen’s Top Tip
In Tian Jin, take an organized tour, either from the ship or an independent one you organize yourself, or a crew tour. It will make your trip here (especially as you have very limited time going on a ship), much easier and smoother.
My experience here
I visited the port for Tianjin three days. The first day I went on the crew our to the Great Wall of China, see the Beijing Guide for more details on this. The second day I went on “The Best of Tian Jin” tour with the guests as a tour escort. We visited the Tianjin Museum, the Palace Temple, the Confucious Temple, street and had lunch in a large local restaurant eating family style local dishes. The third time here, I went on a ship tour as a tour escort to the Tianjin Aquarium. I found the easiest way around here was on an organized tour.
My Most Memorable Moment
My most memorable moment in Tianjin was standing in the middle of the Confusious Temple, right in the middle of the city. I was gazing in awe at towering tall apartment buildings all around the park, which clearly are home to thousands of people in each edifice, then looked back into this small park at the statue of Confucious thinking the juxtaposition of this situation would have surely pleased Confusious, and how his teachings are still relevant.
Sorry we didn’t take any video here