Just 30 minutes away from the capital of Beijing, Tianjin can easily be overlooked by many visitors to China. It is this that gives the city part of it’s charm. The city has a mix of ancient hutongs and neighbourhoods that stand alongside impressive libraries and museums. We cover everything you need to know before visiting, in this Tianjin Travel Guide.
Head to the Tianjin Eye for a view of the city or sample some of the local delicacies along the food street. Shop in one of the many malls or head to the expansive aquarium or Happy Valley theme park.
Budget:Hostel dorm beds cost around ¥50 whilst private rooms in small inns and hotels cost around ¥100.
Midrange: Good sized, double rooms cost around ¥300 – ¥600.
Luxury: 5 star hotels are relatively cheap with most costing around ¥1000.
Transport: A Taxi or a Didi around the city cost around 10 RMB for a 10 -15 minute journey, whilst 30-40 minute journeys cost around 40 – 60 RMB. Metro journeys start at 5 RMB and Buses cost 2 RMB.
Average cost of food:
Street food snacks start at 10 RMB whilst sit down meals at local restaurants cost around 30-40 RMB per dish.
Buffet or more high-end restaurants cost around 200 RMB whilst western food costs anywhere between 100 – 400 RMB.
Beer costs as little at 10 RMB whilst soft drinks cost around 5 RMB.
Best time to visit Tianjin
Located in Northern China, it is best to avoid visiting Tianjin from November through to March; the city is frozen over (literally) and pollution levels are high.
Visit in April through to October to experience warm weather and clearer skies. The best time to visit Tianjin is Spring and Autumn, when the weather is pleasant and there isn’t too much rain.
Whilst planning your trip, you also need to avoid the Chinese national holidays – Golden Week runs during the first week of October and Chinese New Year lands around February, with a handful of long weekends throughout the year.
Where to stay in Tianjin
Jinjiang Inn, Tianjin Train Station offers clean, fairly spacious rooms for just 170 RMB, plus it is a great location near the train station and a short walk from the Italian Town and food street.
The Tianjin Cloud Bay Hostel offers male and female dorm rooms from 56 RMB.
In the middle of the business district, Hotel Nikko is a popular hotel with spacious rooms from 430 RMB.
Chain hotel Holiday Inn offers comfortable, western rooms for 269 MB.
Shangri-La has an impressive interior with river view rooms costing 1000 RMB – they also offer a fantastic Sunday Brunch!
You may also wish to splurge for a room at the Four Seasons Hotel, also costing 1000 RMB a night.
Save money in Tianjin
China is a relatively cheap place to visit in the world but there are still ways that you can save even more money in the country, allowing you to travel for longer.
- Catch the train – Tianjin is a 30-minute journey on the speed train from Beijing. Stick to the train as taxis from the capital are 4 times the price and and more than twice as long.
- Fly into Beijing – Generally speaking, flights into Beijing rather than Tianjin work out cheaper when flying from an international destination. However, if you are flying domestically, you can use Tianjin airport; the airport is around 20 minutes from the city centre.
- Eat locally – Stick to the local food; this is predominately the only option but don’t be afraid of trying the food. Make sure to try to local Chinese pancakes (Jianbing), served on most streets.
- Don’t tip – it is not expected in China.
- Use the public Transport – Tianjin has an excellent metro which takes you across the neighbourhoods in the city.
- You can use Didi or Taxis in the city – taxi drivers aren’t likely to rip you off here so you can flag a taxi with ease.
Best things to do in Tianjin
How to get to Tianjin
Fly – Tianjin has a growing airport with direct flights from many destinations around Eastern and South East Asia. Flights to Beijing are frequent from most places around the world, direct flights from London are available with AirChina or British Airways.
Train – Speed trains from Beijing South get you to Tianjin in 30 minutes, tickets are available at the station or via the cTrip website and app.
Taxi – A taxi/driver from Beijing to Tianjin will cost around 500 RMB.
How to get around Tianjin
The metro is expansive and still growing. A ride on the metro is cheap and easy to navigate; use the Metro China app to help you plan a trip.
Download the Didi app to order a taxi anywhere in the city, plus it can be used anywhere in China too.
There are clusters of attractions in Tianjin, so you can walk between the sights in the city centre.
You can also rent a bicycle to get around the city; perfect for the warmer months.