Tianjin is only 30-40 minutes by train from Beijing, but it felt like a different world. Once we figured out the train tickets were so cheap, it instantly became something on my list on places to go. We picked a long weekend, but unfortunately we planned a little too late because ALL THE HOSTELS WE WANTED WERE BOOKED. All of them. So my number one tip here is to tell you that you gotta BOOK EARLY.
If you are heading there check out Cloud Bay hostel or ZEAKO hostel. Cloud Bay has amazing reviews on booking.com, which is where I have booked all my hostels in Asia so far. We stayed at Hotel Nikko, incredibly convenient because it was located right near the subway stop that goes to the train station we needed.
Tianjin is small, we walked or biked everywhere. By the river you can find a few cafe’s and shops. There are also some massive malls, like three or four on each corner street. We enjoyed walking around the five great avenues area the most. You can stay on the main streets or tuck into the small alleys. I usually walk slowly just incase I am trespassing instead of traveling, but you can find the best places here. I found a cafe that served coffee from the Yunnan province, which even though I am in china, I hadn’t had coffee grown here yet!
So in the Five Great Avenues there are some really wonderful restaurants and cafe’s, and I am sure there are even more than I found. I had ramen both days I was there. Once at this Japanese lunch place where the women outside wore kimonos, and another time for dinner at ZEAKO’s, which showed the the movie Pulp Fiction on the wall. Some some slightly different stylings. Johnny and I felt like while we were walking around we found tons of places we would want to go again. I couldn’t look up these places, it’s like every place is a hole in the wall? How is that possible? I don’t know but it is.
Even though I wanted to stay in a hostel, the hotel we stayed at had a BATHTUB, a GIANT SHOWER, ROBES, a TV that WORKED, and free breakfast. Which was the biggest treat ever. I love hotel breakfasts, I would take my laptop, a newspaper, my phone, a book, whatever I could to make it normal for e to sit there for as long as possible. It feels fancy and professional. So my kid like excitement over it completely negates that professionalism probably.
One thing that is on everyones Tianjin list is the library. Well let me tell you, it is hard to get to. Tianjin is a fun little city, and an HOUR outside it, there is a cool library. I would not recommend going for an hour driving or a three hour bus ride to it. It’s a library, most of the books are fake, and I think you have to pay to get in too.