Hebei (河北; Héběi) is a province in China. Home to approximately 70 million people, Hebei forms the core of the China Northern Plain- A pancake flat, primarily agricultural region. The two mega-cities of Beijing and Tianjin long since carved their way out from the province, leaving Hebei having a sickle shape. While Hebei doesn't pack in the sights like other regions, there is still plenty to see and do in a region where few venture for long and Western tourists are about as common as pandas.
This is China at is most raw and authentic. The industrial core with that goes with it. The smog, the relentless but incredible construction, the traffic and the endless maize fields. But its also where you will be able to see welcoming people and good food.
- Shijiazhuang — the capital
- Shanhaiguan - Part of Qinhuangdao. It is where the Great Wall juts out into the sea.
- Niangziguan - or Niangzi Pass
Hebei means 'North of the River' due to it being located entirely North of the Yellow river. It is at the very core the cradle of Chinese civilization, and has a history of thousands of years, and its history is pretty much the whole history of China. Hebei once included Beijing and Tianjin, but these cities are now big enough to have their own administration. Shijiazhuang is now the administrative capital of the province.
The majority of people speak standard Mandarin (Putonghua). Hebei Mandarin is considered to have the most classical of dialects and accents, and is the model for the rest of China. However, each city has its own dialect which is more common amongst the working classes. English fluency is rare, but younger people are more likely to speak it.
Hebei is now served by High-speed trains which run from Beijing south to Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Handan. A further line travels to Qinhuangdao. Buses and slower trains cover the province.
Buses, trains and taxis abound.
- Panjiakou Reservoir - sunken part of the Great Wall
- Tianyi Farm Strawberry Emporium. A large strawberry farm in the countryside outside of Beijing. From December to May you can pick your own strawberries for purchase. The strawberries are expensive so remember to pick only the best ones you can find. 150 yuan per kilo.
Hebei has no shortage of restaurants.Hebei cuisine is fairly meat heavy, with more noodles than rice, and fairly similar to Beijing cuisine. Pay careful attention to cleanliness ratings.
Hebei has a wide range of local 'liqor' or Baijiu. Each city has its own favourite.
Smog can be dangerously high at certain times of year- wear a mask with a PM2.5 filter as a precaution.