Welcome to Nanjing, China!
The old capital of China, Nanjing has tons to see and discover. Nanjing, in fact, means “Southern Capital,” as opposed to Beijing, which means “Northern Capital.” Nanjing is culturally diverse and has been the seat of many dynasties throughout history, but unfortunately has seen a lot of turmoil in its history, as well. From 1927 to 1949, Nanjing was the capital of China under the Kuomintang. Still, Taiwan recognizes Nanjing to be the official capital.
Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites and explore the ancient tombs, thriving city center, and beautiful natural surroundings. If you follow this guide you’ll be a worldwide local in no time.
Worldwide Local Tip: Public transportation in Nanjing is some of the best in China, so if you’re looking to get around the city and are planning to spend more than two days, invest in a IC-tong card. They’re available for purchase at banks, metro stations, and bus terminals, and can be used for most public transport options in the city, including taxis and cross-river ferries.
Where to Begin
Once you’ve become more acquainted with the city, one of Nanjing’s most popular areas, Fuzimiao will likely be one of your first stops. The area is a bustling market surrounded by a confucius temple, with lots of historic buildings and temples. It’s not too far off either, making Fuzimiao a good central location to look for your Nanjing hotel. Fuzimiao also comes alive at night with little lights and twinkling lanterns, contrasted against the traditional Chinese architecture of the area.
Worldwide Local Tip: Nanjing has some of the lowest crime rates in all of China, but where there are tourists there may be some trouble. Since Fuzimiao is a central and busy location, be on the look out for pickpockets and vendors selling knock-off merchandise in the market.
Step into Xuanwu Park
A worldwide local knows to get a taste of local life, then you have to go where the locals do. Xuanwu Park is a perfect place for people to hang out and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As the park is very green and picturesque, this is a popular spot with the Nanjing population, so Xuanwu Park is almost always full of locals. The park is surrounded by the iconic Nanjing Wall, which is full of trees such as maple, cherry blossoms, and lilies. There are various restaurants nearby, as well, so if you’re hungry, some good street food is not far away.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you want amazing views of the city and the park, book a tour around the Xuanwu lake. There are often boats going around the park offering rides, so if you’re looking to get some great shots of the city from far away, this is the best bet. Make sure to bring your camera!
Don’t Miss Purple Mountain
A worldwide local knows that in order to understand the culture you have to understand the history of the people. Nanjing is full of history, and one of the best places around is the Purple Mountain. The Purple Mountain is a park that not only offers respite, in the face of an ever expanding city, is also full of interesting places, like the Ming tombs and the mausoleum of Sun-Yat-Sen, the “Father of Modern China.” There is also the popular Purple Glow Lake, where you can jump in and cool off from the hot Nanjing weather. It is popular with locals and tourists alike.
Worldwide Local Tip: Nanjing has a memorial dedicated to the people who were killed there during WWII, under the Japanese occupation. It’s a pretty somber and harrowing memorial with bones of the massacred on display. While very important to world history, it may be too much for some people to handle. Definitely worth checking out for those interested in history.
Have a Spectacular Time in Nanjing!
Nanjing should be much higher on the list of places to visit in China, as it has beautiful nature just outside the city, as well as tons of culture and history. A worldwide locals knows that those things are what makes a city great.