Nanjing On a Budget
Nanjing experiences hot, humid, and rainy summers that often reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to visit tends to be in Autumn when temperatures cool to the 60's and are much dryer than summer months.
SightsThere's no shortage of sights to see in Nanjing, with everything from ancient tombs to presidential palaces, and much more. One of the most popular sights are the Ruins of the Ming Dynasty Imperial Palace which was built in 1366 by the first Ming Emperor. While it was destroyed in the Qing Dynasty, there are still fragments of the bridges, arches, and even megaliths with ancient carvings on them.
Head over to the Gate of China, which is actually a series of gates that allow entrance through the old city wall. The southern gate area has the best preserved parts of the wall while the main gate area has exhibits and scale models of the old town. From here, take a walk along the Qin Huai River, which is considered to be the life blood of the city. From the river, you can catch views of the Confucius Temple, Zhanyuan Gardens, and Zhonghua Gate.
As there are so many things to see in Nanjing, it is well worth purchasing a city pass that allows you free entry into 21 locations. Passes can be purchased at various tourist centers or online.
NeighborhoodsNanjing is divided into six districts, some of which are more intriguing to tourists than others:
Xuanwu: The old eastern district within the city wall and acts as the center of the ancient culture of Nanjing.
Gulou: Makes up the north and west parts of the old city where you'll find many of the major hotels.
Xiaguan: Known as the northern gate of the city and is predominately residential
Baixia: This is the shopping and business center of the city
Qinhuai: Located along the Qinhuai River, this district is famous for being home to the Confucius Temple
Jianye: Considered to be the new city center with a large science and technology park
ActivitiesTake in the natural beauty of Nanjing with a hike and tour on the Purple Mountain. The mountain is scattered with ancient tombs, including those of a few important emperors such as Ming Xiaoling and Sun Quan. The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular sites on the mountain. There are 9 parks throughout the mountain, so if you plan to visit 3 or more, it is worth purchasing a Purple Mountain Pass to get you into the parks at a discount.
After a day of hiking, take a relaxing dip in the Tangshan Regalia hot springs which offers vistas and sights of the Purple Mountain. Or, take a paddleboat ride on Xuanwu Hu Lake where you can ride to the three different islands to visit the zoo and amusement parks while enjoying views of the Purple Mountain.
Food and DiningNanjing's greatest specialties are their thin skinned dumplings, there are two main types: xiaolongbao, which are filled with soup and meat, and tanbao which are filled with crab meat and soup. The city is also known for their yaxue fensi duck blood noodles.
You can find many of these specialties in the some of the smaller restaurants scattered about the city. Nanjing has an interesting mix of restaurants, ranging from classic Chinese to French and Italian.
Nanjing is known for their nightlife, with countless bars and clubs to explore. The 1912 district has the majority of clubs while the Shanghai Lu college area has more pubs and bars.
TransportationNanjing has an international airport with buses and subways making it easy to get from the airport to the city center. Buses, trains, and even Yangtze River boats are also great options for getting into the city.
It is fairly easy to get around via bus or subway; you can purchase a IC-tong pass from the bus terminals to save money on fares and easily move about. Taxis are a popular option, although be sure to have them turn the meter on and have the address of your destination written down in Mandarin.