NingboOne of the oldest cities in China, Ningbo is the birthplace of the Hemudu culture, which dates back over seven thousand years. Translated from Mandarin as ''the Serene Waves'', Ningbo is located at the shores of Hangzhou Bay and is a long-established international port and trading post. With the Hangzhou Bridge, the longest trans-oceanic link in the world, Ningbo is now directly connected to Shanghai and has emerged as an important international hub in its own right.
The CityThe Xinjiang Bridge straddles the most interesting sections of Ningbo and serves as a useful tool for finding your way around the city. On the eastern bank is the Old Bund or Laowaitan area - already popular with visitors by day, the quarter transforms into the city's major nightlife happening area after sundown. Stretching from the Catholic Church are old warehouses that have been transformed into riverside bars and restaurants and behind them are modern skyscrapers that complete the business district. On the other side of the river are the Town Hall and the Drum Tower where the architecture remaining from China's imperial times provides visitors with an excursus into the city's glorious past. Further south lies the scenic Moon Lake (Yuehu), Tianyi Square (perhaps the city's busiest commercial hub) and the Tianfeng Pagoda, dating back to the 7th century Tang Dynasty.
Do & See
Most of Ningbo's attractions lie outside the city limits - the countryside boasts an abundance of scenic natural areas teeming with striking Buddhist temples inviting for a day-long field trip (Tiantong and Baoguo Temples top the list of those most attractive to visitors). Venturing even further out is the unspoiled Yushan Island. Inside Ningbo, sights not to be missed include China's oldest library Tian Yi, the historic Drum Tower and surrounding areas as well as Laowaitan neighbourhood at night.
Ningbo cuisine is known for its generous use of seafood, though regional favourites like dumplings and noodles are also widely available. A variety of eateries can be found throughout the city, cuisines represented a range from local Chinese, Turkish, Lebanese, Indian to European. You might find that quite a few of the local restaurants do not offer English menus - if that is the case, use the photo illustrations to decide on your order.
The long-time presence of foreign expatriates in the city means that there is no stranger to a good cup of coffee. Coffee shops and western-style cafés serving pancakes and waffles aren't at all rare, neither are authentic Chinese tea houses.
Bars & Nightlife
The definitive location for a pub crawl in Ningbo is the Laowaitan area, a stretch of bars and pubs (and even several night clubs) right by the waterfront. Most serve imported beers alongside the iconic Tsing Tao and have a local DJ spin tunes late into the night. A few of the local haunts are frequented by expats, and it isn't uncommon to run into English speakers on a night out.
For those seeking goods with a bit of local flavour, there is a number of markets selling a whole variety of products, from bamboo carvings and traditional artwork to exotic local snacks and fresh seafood. Local handicrafts include bone and woodwork, gold and silver embroidery, Zhujin wood carvings, bamboo engraving, colourful paint of mire gold and the special straw mats. Ningbo also boasts a huge number of modern shopping malls, with the central Tianyi Square being the prime location for brand-name shopping.