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The ancient city of Kaifeng (开封; Kāifēng) is on the southern bank of the Yellow River in eastern Henan Province. The capital of several dynasties, with a history of over 4,100 years, it is a vibrant city today.





Kaifeng is one of the oldest cities in China, and was the capital of China during several dynasties including the Xia, Song and Jin and is believed to have been the largest city in the world for most of the 11th century. Marco Polo visited in 1260. Kaifeng's central axis has never changed, and successive iterations of the city were built on top of the ruins of its previous versions.

Around 1,000 years ago, when it was the capital of the Song dynasty, Kaifeng was the most prosperous and busiest city in China and the world. Countless expats immigrated right here and lived their whole lives, especially Arabians and Persians, who afterwards formed a new ethnic group in China, named Hui (回族). Jews also settled in Kaifeng in the Bible Hutong (教经胡同; Jiaojing Hutong). Kaifeng is also famous in China because it is where the huge classic handscroll painting "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" was painted.

Get in

Map of Kaifeng

By plane


The nearest airport is in Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport (FTAT Code:CGO), an hour away and ¥160 by taxi or ¥30 by high-speed train (see below). An alternative way from the airport to Kaifeng is to take a shuttle bus from just outside the arrival gate to Civil Aviation Hotel (民航大酒店) in Jinshui Road (¥15), then walk east for around 20 minutes to the mini bus station Deyi Bus Station (德亿汽车站) from where you can take a bus to near Kaifeng Railway Station (¥7).

By train

  • Kaifeng Station
    1 Kaifeng Station. On the Shanghai-Xi'an line. Hard seat tickets may be difficult to obtain but next day (or even same day) hard-sleeper tickets (from Shanghai, 6½ hours, ¥222; from Xi'an, 7 hours, ¥140) are readily available outside peak periods. The train from Zhengzhou is around 45 minutes and costs ¥11-19.
  • 2 Songcheng Lu Station. Kaifeng has a dedicated high speed rail connection to Zhengzhou East (30 minutes), continuing to Xinzheng Airport, running about every 90 minutes. The terminus in Kaifeng is at Songcheng Lu, some distance west of the old city. It takes about 15-30 minutes to get there by bus or taxi (¥20-25). The high-speed connection to Kaifeng Station remains incomplete as of April 2018. Songchenglu railway station (Q19852369) on Wikidata Songchenglu_railway_station on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kaifeng North Station. Long-distance high speed trains on the Lanzhou-Xuzhou high-speed rail line call at Kaifeng North. Kaifeng North railway station (Q19852516) on Wikidata Kaifeng_North_railway_station on Wikipedia

By bus


There are buses to Kaifeng from other places in Henan, including from Zhengzhou Long-Distance Bus Station and Luoyang Long Distance Bus Station. There is also long-distance bus service to major cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

  • 4 Kaifeng Central Bus Station (开封汽车中心站). The main bus terminal is near Kaifeng Station.

Get around


By taxi


The starting price of a taxi in Kaifeng is 8 RMB. In this RMB 8, the mileage charge of 2 kilometres is included. Anything beyond 2 kilometres will be billed at RMB 1.8 per kilometre.

By bus


Local buses go everywhere within the city and cost ¥1. Bus 20 is a sightseeing bus going to all the major sights.

There is a bus stop at the corner of the carpark in front of the train station. From here bus no 9 and bus no 1 will take you into town - fare ¥1.

By rickshaw


One very good way to get around Kaifeng and see the sites is to take what the locals call "bengbeng"; essentially a tuktuk or motorised rickshaw. 6 kuai will take you from the train station to Henan University's old campus, essentially the length of the city. Short trips should be two or three kuai.


Iron Pagoda

Landmarks and buildings

  • 1 Daxiangguo Temple (大相国寺; Dà​xiāng​guó​sì​; lit. Temple of the Chief Minister), Ziyou Road (Bus 9 or 20). This temple was built AD555 during the Qi Dynasty with new buildings added in 1661 and 1766. The entire complex has 64 temples but the three main halls are of the greatest interest. The large rectangular Tathagata Hall (Daxiongbaodian) is where monks perform daily chanting rituals in front of three huge Buddhas. In the middle is an impressive bronze Sakyamuni, left is Amitabha and right is the Medicine Buddha, each with a silk hood surrounding their head. At the back of the three Buddhas is a Goddess of Mercy standing on a dragon's head and flanked by a various golden figures. Rising behind them to the roof are a multitude of heavenly figures supported on clouds. Along the side are sculptures of some peculiar looking Arhats; look for the one with an abnormally long arm reaching almost to the roof. The octagonal Arhat Hall (Louhandian) is beautifully constructed with upturned eaves and painted roof beams. The hall houses a breathtakingly beautiful four-sided golden Avalokitesavara said to be carved from a single tree over 50 years. She has six main arms, one set holding aloft a Buddha and 1000 other arms radiating outward with an eye in each palm. The rear Tripitaka Hall has two floors, the upper holding sutras and the lower a white Burmese jade Buddha in the Burmese style and a glass replica of the Emerald Buddha in Thailand’s Grand Palace. Unfortunately, all halls have a No Photo policy which is rarely adhered to even by local tourists, and rarely enforced by the attending monks. ¥30. Daxiangguo Temple (Q1178995) on Wikidata Daxiangguo_Temple on Wikipedia
  • The Site of Kaifeng Synagogue, 21 South Jiaojing Hutong 南教经胡同21号, +86 13781152704, . Esther Guo Yan is a descendant of Kaifeng Jews, who moved from to Kaifeng via India in the Northern Song Dynasty around 1,000 years ago. She is a former Chinese teacher who now works full time at the Kaifeng Jewish History Memorial Center, to preserve and restore Jewish culture in the city. Listen to her stories on how her ancestors came to China, the current presence of Jews in Kaifeng, her sense of Jewish identity and her plans to restore the ancient synagogue buried under the ground. Just give her a call on her mobile — she is very passionate about her cause and eager to share her stories. All contributions go towards her cause. ¥50.
  • 2 Shudian Jie (书店街, Bookstore Street). Running north from Gulou Square this busy street is lined with a mix of old wooden and newer concrete buildings in various styles. Originally called Big Store Street in the Ming Dynasty it was renamed Bookstore Street in the Qing Dynasty when it became the center for shops selling books, paper and pens. Carved doors, shuttered windows and painted roof beams peek out from between oversized billboards but there is still plenty of facade remaining visible to give a feeling of the old street.
  • 3 Dragon Pavilion (龙亭公园), Northern end of Zhongshan Road. The area around Dragon Pavilion was the site if the Ming dynasty palace of Prince Zhou. At the southern end of the street leading to Dragon Pavilion stands a reconstructed Wu gate. The remainder of the street is lined with many old buildings. In the late Ming period the palace was destroyed by floods, leaving only the foundations buried 5m under modern Kaifeng, however the city walls were later built along the same axis. A long bridge divides Yangjia Lake leading to the pavilion itself. Much the same views of the pavilion and lake can be seen by walking around the right side of the lake (without buying a ticket) as from inside the park. ¥35. Dragon Pavilion (Q5305247) on Wikidata Dragon_Pavilion on Wikipedia
  • 4 Iron Pagoda, Next to North Gate on Jiefeng Road. Built in 1049 the 13-storey octagonal pagoda is said to be the most famous pagoda in China. It got its name in the Yuan Dynasty due the brown glazed tile covering its exterior giving the appearance of iron. It is still in good condition and can be climbed using the internal stairs for ¥30 (not for the claustrophobic, no viewing platform, just a dead end at the top, but several windows along the way and interesting bricks to look at). There is a Buddhist temple located near the pagoda and a small lake. ¥60, ¥30 concession. Iron Pagoda (Q1561904) on Wikidata Iron_Pagoda on Wikipedia
  • 5 Po Pagoda (繁塔, pó tǎ), 30 Po Ta West Road, 禹王台区繁塔西街30号. Standing nine storeys tall until the Ming dynasty, this stocky three-storey hexagonal pagoda dates to 974, and is covered in large tiles featuring Buddhist figures. Tourists seldom visit. It can be climbed if the internal stairway's gate is unlocked that day. ¥30, ¥15 concession. Po Pagoda (Q15931353) on Wikidata
  • 6 Baogong Memorial Temple (包公祠), No.1 Xiangyang Road, Gulou District, Kaifeng City, Henan Province, China (on the shore of Baogong Lake, buses 1 and 20). 08:00-17:30. Temple built to honor Lord Bao. ¥20.
  • 7 Yanqing Taoist Temple (延庆观), No.53 Guanqian Street, Gulou District, Kaifeng City, Henan Province (Northwest of Kaifeng Mansion). A small temple containing a two-story pagoda with a beautiful blue glazed tile balcony and painted carvings on the front gate. ¥15.
  • The city wall. Surrounding the city is the old city walls punctuated at various points with gates. Of most interest are the North gate and Little South gate on either end of Jiefeng Road that resemble the arched gates in Xi'an. The other gates are merely gaps in the wall.
  • Kaifengfujian Street (Kaifeng Tourist Theme Park). Set on the edge of Baogong Lake this new construction is supposed to be a recreation of old Kaifeng and is of little interest unless you are into hourly parades of people dressed up like Song dynasty officials. ¥50.
  • 1 Kaifeng Qingming River Garden, No.5 West Longting Road, Longting District, Kaifeng City, Henan Province, China. Kaifeng Qingming River Garden is a national AAAAA-level tourist attraction, a large historical and cultural park with Song culture as the theme.It is based on the famous Northern Song Dynasty painter Zhang Zetuan's work "Qingming River Map" for the model built.The scenic area covers an area of more than 600 mu, of which 180 mu of ancient ships, landscape construction area of more than 30,000 square meters, forming a large-scale Song-like ancient architectural complex in Central Plains.
  • 8 Kai-Feng-Fu (开封府), No.53 Guanqian St, Gulou District (Northwest of Kaifeng Mansion), +86 371-23963159, +86 371-23983319. Spring, summer and autumn 07:30-19:00, winter 07:00-18:30. Tickets: ¥30-¥60.

Parks and nature

  • Banjiang Park, Next to Xinkai Gate. Just outside the city walls at XinKai Gate, a large statue of a heroic looking Mao fronts this unremarkable park. Inside are various gardens, statues and a rusting ferris wheel. ¥10.
  • 9 Millennium City Park (清明上河园; Qīng​míng​shàng​hé​yuán​), 5 Longting West Road, Longting District (龙亭区龙亭西路5号; Lóng​tíng​qū​ Lóng​tíng​xī​lù​) (Bus 1, 15, 20), +86 378 5663819. 09:00-22:00. This park is based on a Song Dynasty painting called Going Upriver for Qingming Festival. It illustrates Song Dynasty daily life, shops and workshops. The original painting can be seen the Forbidden City in Beijing. Copies can be bought in the park. ¥80.


  • 10 Kaifeng Museum (开封博物馆; Kāi​fēng​ Bó​wù​guǎn), Intersection of 6th Street and Zhengkai Avenue, Longting District (龙亭区郑开大道与六大街交叉口) (bus nos. 36, 44, 57 and K101), +86 371 23299192. 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:00, closed on Mondays. Huge museum in the new part of Kaifeng with exhibitions of paintings, stelae and bronze. There is an exhibition on Song technology including a life-size copy of water-powered observatory and a room dedicated to the painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival showing Song-era Kaifeng. The original is not in Kaifeng but there are several old copies and a well-made multimedia version. Kaifeng Jews stelae are not on display as of April 2018. Free.
  • Cooking Museum (on the West Gate).


  • Walk inside the wall. Take a walk along the inside of the wall between Xinkai Gate and Song Gate to see houses made from bricks scavenged from the wall.
  • Yellow River
    Yellow River (besides taxis, there is a city bus which leaves from near the Northern entrance to Iron Pagoda park (Bus 6)).


  • China Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival. 28 October-28 November. The chrysanthemum is the city flower of Kaifeng, and 1,200 varieties are planted there.



Local products

  • Embroidery — dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty
  • Fighting Kites
  • New Year Posters — originally made in nearby Zhuxianzhen and dates back to the Tang Dynasty, shows rural scenes with persons from famous legends.
  • Watermelon — the local watermelons are considered especially tasty
  • Spiced Bean Curd — the local tradition for spiced bean curd dates back at least 2000 years
  • Peanut Cake — has been made here for more than 1000 years

Markets and shopping streets

  • Shidun Street Market. Great varitey of products for sale including clothes, cosmetics and kitchenware.
  • Daxiangguo Temple Market, Ziyou Road (just outside Daxiangguo Temple). The largest market in town, offering clothes, electronics and much other.
  • Song Street. Tourist shops selling souvenirs.
  • Sihou Street. The main shopping street in town.


  • Renmin Department Store, 23 Madao St. State-owned department store offering clothes and other merchandise.
  • Kaifeng City Antiques Store, Zhongshan Street.





You will find a lot of snack stands around, which include Sandao (made of flour, bee honey, sugar and stuff), peanut cake, sesame cake etc. There are also many other cheap options.

  • Night Market, Gulou Square (Gulou Guangchang) (in the center of the city). Wonderful selection of foods.
  • Simen (四门儿). This is one of the many Muslim restaurants in the city. The mutton soup is just perfectly boiled, try it for breakfast during the winter.
  • Diyilou Restaurant. A famous place to get the Kaifeng specialty, baozi, in best quality. These baozi contain soup, so be careful when eating them.
  • Nanyangshi (南羊市) (opposite No. 7 Middle School). Serves hula soup, which is the main choice of breakfast for the locals (other similar food stands are almost everywhere). They only serve in the morning time should it be sunny.
  • No. 3 Chemical Factory (化三). This food might make you guys feel weird, but it is highly recommended. This is a donkey meat soup shop. Buy it, sit there, close your eyes if you really doubt its taste, and eat! Do not worry, the bosses of the soup shop and the chemical factory do not know each other.


  • Youyixin Restaurant, 23 Drum Tower St, +86 378 2552888. Serves traditional local food.





Taiwan style milk tea stands in Bookstore Street (Shudian Jie).

  • Hangtian Night Club. Karaoke, disco and billards.
  • Zuitaibei, Drum Tower Square, +86 378 5251619. Soft music and dance. Warning: controlled by Hongmen.




  • Kaifeng International Youth Hostel, 30 Ying Bin Road (head towards the eastern part of Bao Gong Lake), +86 378-2231050. Check-out: noon. The only real budget option when it comes to Kaifeng and is a must to stay at compared to other options in town. Kaifengs only YHA (run by a friendly Australian ex-pat) which brings with it all the usual things: cheap rooms that are sparkling clean and quiet (dorm with western toilet/shower: ¥40-45, Standard spacious ensuite rooms (3 star standard) with flatscreen TV: ¥95-125), Free fast internet incl. WiFi and popular social network access, young local English speaking staff, western kitchen (great pizzas!), bar including espresso, wine & spirits, DVD's/BBC documentaries on a 36 inch LCD in the bar, Train booking service, Travel info, Bike Hire, Self Laundry service etc etc etc. Located 3km (¥5 taxi) from the main bus/train station next to Bao Gong Lake. Easy walk to the central sites, and simple bus/bike rides to the sights further out ¥40-125, discount for YHA membership.
  • Jin Xue Hotel. A few doors south of the PSB on ZhongShan Lu. This old hotel is no-frills, no English speaking staff. Standard ¥150-180.


  • Hanting Hotel (Kaifeng Gulou Branch) (汉庭酒店(开封鼓楼店)), No.23, Sihou Street, Gulou District, +86 0371 25956969. Alternate phone number: +86 18637852823. 400CNY-700CNY.
  • Haiyou Hotel (Kaifeng Xiao Songcheng Branch) (海友酒店(开封小宋城店)), Intersection of Yishan Street and Jin'an Road, Longting District, +86 0371 25286688. 300CNY-600CNY.


  • New Century Grand Hotel Kaifeng (开封开元名都大酒店), 开发区大梁路人民检察院对面, +86 378 3399999, fax: +86 378 3398888. Five-star hotel with rooms with free internet. Listed rates for doubles ¥1,280-2,280, including breakfast.
  • Yaddo Hotel Kaifeng Qingming Shangheyuan (开封清明上河园亚朵酒店), No.142 Xiguan North Street, Beijiao Township, Longting District, +86 0371 03238777. 1000CNY-1800CNY.

Go next


Small town with mainly Karaoke Bar and restaurant to hang out. You can get a taxi ride to the "Huang He" (Yellow River) which is quite near from Kaifeng.

By train or bus, the bus station is across the street from the train Station.

Routes through Kaifeng
LuoyangZhengzhou  W  E  XuzhouLianyungang

This city travel guide to Kaifeng is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.