Quickly - whats the wealthiest city in China? Shanghai? Beijing? Guangzhou? It's Tianjin. In addition to the wealth the city feels a bit more sophisticated and mature too. The city's many neighborhoods feel well connected and there’s a nice blend of historical areas with the modern, but not gaudy, construction.
There’s not much from a tourist’s perspective in Tianjin but this would be a good place to live long-term in China. There's a lot of different areas easily reachable by foot and the city has a quasi-western feel without too many westerners. In hindsight I wish I had spent at least one more day here and explored a few neighborhoods beyond where I was staying.
Tianjin was one of my last China destinations and by now I was fairly good at finding the night time activities and senior dancers. In Tianjin the seniors gathered along the river and a new phenomenon was introduced - public night operas - check out the video to the right.
I walked around the Binjiang Dao Road pedestrian shopping plaza and it is fairly similar to the other shopping districts of China. The Binjiang Dao Road is also home to Goubol, the premier location to try Tianjin’s signature steam bun cuisine, although I think this place is resting on it’s historical pedigree. The walk along Binjiang Dao Road eventually reaches the Hai River which buzzes with nightly activity.
At the far end of Binjiang Doa Road near the Hai River is the Tianjin World Financial Center, a recently completed commercial complex.
On the north bank of the river is Tianjin’s “Italian” Town. This is a former foreign concession area and contradictory to the Italian name features mostly French restaurants and German beer gardens.
You can cross a bridge for an unobstructed view of the Tianjin Eye Ferris wheel.
Further downstream the dancing and marching women are out in full force with opera style singers belting out ballads under the bridge. Huge crowds gather to watch the performances. In other areas of the river people brave the pollution and dirt to swim and dive headfirst into the water.
On Binjiang Dao Road, heading in the opposite direction from the Hai River will lead you to the Wu Da Dao area. This is an upscale residential area with lots of former mansions converted to cafes and restaurants includinga Cafe Sambal, a hipster place specializing in Malaysia Cuisine. The center of the neighborhood is Minyuan Stadium a leisure and commercial complex.
For additional Tianjin photos see FLICKR ALBUM.