Over the weekend we made some last-minute plans to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of Beijing. We love our little apartment, and the surrounding neighborhood, but sometimes a break from the things you love is pretty refreshing.
So, yes, if you’re reading this. Take a break. No, the world won’t end if you check out for a few days. Yes, you will feel refreshed, and ready to resume the hustle and bustle of life.
If you’re in Beijing, and planning to go to Tianjin, then this article should be a good reference for places you might want to visit. If you’re planning to travel around China, and you plan to stop in Tianjian, then this should be a good supplementary guide. It’s important to know that a lot of hotels in Tianjin apparently don’t host foreigners. We have no idea why, perhaps some governmental regulation of international travelers. Whatever the case, you will want to be sure that your hotel accepts foreigners. Some 3rd-party agencies will not have that on the hotel’s page.
If you’re traveling from Beijing, and not driving, then travelling by Bullet train is really convenient. It takes about thirty minutes from Beijing to Tianjin. (Honestly, it’s so fast, it won’t even feel like thirty minutes). Unlike flying first class, riding first class in the train is extremely cheap, so treat yo’self! Ride first class! I promise you will not regret it, especially since the rest of the train is extremely crowded.
We arrived in Tianjin on Sunday afternoon. Immediately upon our arrival, we decided to eat hotpot (my favorite Chinese meal). If you’ve never eaten it, you’re honestly missing out. The place had a nice atmosphere, and the food was good. They didn’t have English menus, or pictures, which is typical of most hotpot restaurants. Unless you’re the type that likes to try new, exotic foods, I wouldn’t try guessing with menus like these. You could be ordering anything from a slice of regular beef, to intestines, or cow tongue.
After hotpot, we decided to walk to our hotel, Holiday Inn. (A lot of the attractions are within walking distance of some hotels.)
Joy City is a nice mall that has a lot of stores to choose from. Mostly they are brands I never heard of before China, but there were some I recognized. It has a really nice Starbucks, with a lot places to sit (unfortunately, not many are available sometimes because there are so many people.)
As far as shopping malls go, this mall is pretty standard. On one of the floors it has a phone charging station, which is powered by peddling. It’s pretty cool!
The mall also includes a restaurant complex outside, in addition to restaurants within the buildings itself. The complex is pretty interesting, but kind of annoying when the weather is frigid.
We ate dinner at a restaurant called Blue Frog. They serve really good comfort food, and steaks. They have a pretty good selection of alcoholic drinks, and really cool seasonal ones too. As of now, there are two: pumpkin latte and mulled wine. I tried the mulled wine and was not disappointing. It has an interesting taste, to say the least. It was spiced with cinnamon sticks, an orange peel and anise.
Chan Su (Zen Vegetarian)
We ate here for lunch on Monday. Out of all of the restaurants we dined at in Tianjin, this was the best one. Meat lovers may scoff at the idea of eating at a vegetarian restaurant but food is food. And this food was amazing. I would definitely return to eat there.
This place also has a very nice atmosphere. It’s very clean, and has soft lighting. The waiters and waitresses have excellent customer service. Upon entering the establishment, there is a large buddha off to the side. It’s overall a great place to visit.
To see the buddha, visit my Instagram simply_bernie.The link is on the homepage.
Besides the restaurant itself, the complex it sits in is quite engaging. We recommend going to any of the vendors and shops within the complex. You may find some interesting stuff. Remember to bargain!
During the Summer and Spring, tourists can probably ride in ferries along the river, but the water is frozen during the winter. Don’t let that stop you from taking a walk along the water, and even getting on the ice with the locals (if you deem it safe enough).
There is a Ferris Wheel on a bridge that traffic routinely drives on. Yes, you read that right. The wheel overlooks the river in both directions, and the view from the top is amazing. Because it was under maintenance all day Monday, we were only able to ride during the day. We recommend riding during the day and at night, because both views must be breathtaking.
Beware, the workers may try to stuff you into a car with strangers, because of the riding limit of 8 people. But I think if you are persuasive enough, you may be able to get away with riding with only friends/ family.
To see the time lapse video of our view, see either his guuklife Instagram, or mine simply_bernie.
Ancient Culture Street
There are tons of these streets throughout China, and I recommend seeing as many as you can. They often have some historical architecture somewhere nearby, or really cool merchandize.
We bought Tibetan tea, two traditional children’s outfits (for my nephew, and baby cousin).
This is a HUGE mall. It’s incredibly spacious, and extremely clean. You could pretty much see yourself in the reflection of the floors here. No lie!
There are obviously a lot of stores. NOT recommended for the lazy shopper, OR the female who is already fatigued by wearing high heels (writing from experience). This place is definitely worth a visit, especially since it sits right next to/on top of an outdoors shopping complex.
The architecture here is really amazing, shops aside. So even if you’re not looking to spend money, walking through this area should be pretty engaging.
Chuan Fu Lao Ma
We ate dinner here. It’s nice restaurant, with a good atmosphere. The waiters and waitresses are very professional. Although, we did begin to refer to our waitress as ‘the warden’ because she stood right across from our table, with her arms behind her back and feet spread apart. In all, I recommend this place too, but there are many other restaurants in the mall that look just as good. Be sure to look around!
Here are the highlighted songs from our trip:
Passion Flower- Jon Gomm
Bed of Lies—Matchbox 20
I’m yours—Jason Mraz
I see Fire—Ed Sheeran Remixed by: Kygo
Thinking Out Loud—Ed Sheeran