Today’s Ningbo is as much a reflection of the vibrant, modern age as it is of the ancient world. Influenced and shaped by these two diverging times, Ningbo boldly looks toward the future with an eye on the past. Ningbo played an influential role as a vital stop on the world’s great Silk Route. From as far back as the Han Dynasty over two thousand years ago, international commerce and ocean transport were instrumental in the region’s growth.
Ningbo is a cosmopolitan mix of urban chic and traditional elegance, with ancient temples and gates interspersed among the glittering skyscrapers and charming city squares. Ningbo’s vibrant shopping and nightlife scene, much of it centred along the thriving Tianyi Square area will keep shoppers and diners busy for days. Best of all, the square and most major hotels are centrally located in the relatively small and easy to navigate downtown area making this a pleasant city in which to explore.
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If you’re looking for modern Ningbo’s shopping and entertainment district in the heart of the city, this is the place for you. It may be devoid of any traditional Chinese appearance, but then again, Tianyi Square is a reflection of Ningbo’s vibrant, contemporary age, where the east meets the west. From upscale department stores and international retail chains to restaurants and cafés, this is where Ningbo residents go to ‘see and be seen.’ The square features inviting outdoor seating areas and is decorated by a central water feature.
Designed to reflect Ningbo’s mountainous surroundings and ancient sea-faring history, this award winning museum resembles a mountain fortress from the outside and a boat from within. While the structure itself is a magnificent work of art, it’s the engaging exhibitions and displays inside that offer a revealing look at the history and culture of Ningbo. The modern gallery spaces are spread over three floors, where ancient artefacts and historical displays combine to tell the rich story of the area’s ancient civilisations and the expansion of the city through the centuries.
One of China’s oldest and most revered temples, Tiantong is located about an hour outside the city. Situated in a beautiful forested area on a lovely mountain slope and surrounded by bamboo groves and giant trees, the temple grounds offer a refreshing natural respite from the bustling city. At over 1,500 years old, the temple’s traditional Chinese architecture offers dramatic photographic opportunities against the backdrop of the peaceful forests, mountains and valleys.
A popular resort area less than one hour from the city centre, Jiulong Lake offers a stunning natural setting. A popular destination for international tourists as well as Ningbo residents looking for a weekend getaway, Jiulong Lake is the perfect escape for a quiet country holiday. With its bountiful beauty and diverse landscape, Jiulong Lake is a photographers dream and nature lovers will enjoy activities such as hiking and kayaking.
Having the distinction of being China’s oldest existing library, Tian Yi holds a breathtaking collection of ancient books, manuscripts and writings detailing just a fraction of China’s historic literary accomplishments. The library and museum grounds are an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the heart of the bustling city. Just a short walk from Tianyi Square, the imposing main gate of the library reveals a world of quiet pathways and enchanting gardens, where colourful Chinese lanterns and traditional architecture offer one of the most magical settings in the city.
Ningbo is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination for both Chinese and international tourists and the choice in accommodation reflects the city’s growing diversity and size.
Many of the well-known international hotel brands and upscale Chinese hotels are located in Central Ningbo within walking distance of the Fenghua River. For those looking for budget accommodation, this area also features many options. Many of the bigger hotels offer free Wi-Fi and transport shuttle service to and from the airport.
With Ningbo’s proximity to the many lakes, mountain ranges and ocean side coastal areas, visitors will find a plentiful array of hotels in the outskirts of the city too. Dongiann Lake, just south of the city centre is one location where the lovely natural scenery of Ningbo can be enjoyed. This natural, freshwater lake is a popular scenic area, is within close proximity to the city and offers many choices in accommodation.
While Ningbo covers a wide area, getting around the city is relatively simple. Taxis, buses, as well as train services all provide convenient options when travelling within Ningbo or to any of the nearby cities such as Hangzhou or Shanghai. Car rentals also provide a quick and easy way to get around and Ningbo’s airport features several car rental companies to choose from.
For those who prefer to use public transport, Ningbo airport offers frequent bus service to most regional towns and cities. Departing hourly, bus service to Ningbo City connects the airport with Central Station and South Bus Station. Long distance bus service is also available to destinations throughout the region.
Taxi service is widely available from the airport and within the city and surrounding areas. There is usually a flat rate for the first 3.5 kilometres, plus a small fuel tax. The distance from Ningbo Int. Airport to the city centre is about 11 km.
If you like to get your exercise, bicycles continue to be a popular way to navigate the city. In fact, Ningbo ranks as one of China’s leading cities in public bicycle ridership. Biker friendly Ningbo now has over 30 rental stations with 15,000 bicycles available. As of early 2014, a Chinese Identity Card was needed to rent a bike, but the citywide program is set to become available to foreign tourists sometime within the year.
Whether it’s getting around Ningbo or travelling to any of the nearby cities such as Hangzhou or Shanghai, rail continues to be a quick and comfortable way to travel. Ningbo currently has one city rail line stretching from the city centre to Gaoqiao West and Donghuan South Road. Regional train service departs from Ningbo Train Station. Travel time to Shanghai is approximately 4 hours. Travel time to Hangzhou is about 2 ½ hours.
Ningbo is usually warm and humid. Summers in Ningbo are not really hot, with an average temperature of around 26°C.The rain season falls between June and September with frequent typhoons particularly in September. Winter is dry and cold in Ningbo with frequent snowfalls so make sure to bring your winter coat if you travel during winter.
Renminbi Yuan (CNY)