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Siwang Ting ("The Pavilion for Looking into Four Directions"), one of the main historic landmarks in downtown Yangzhou

Yangzhou (扬州; Yángzhōu) is a city in Jiangsu province

Understand

A typical modern middle-class neighborhood in Yangzhou

The city has a history of over 2,500 years and developed as a major trading center for salt, rice and silk. Marco Polo served as the city's governor (or possibly a Salt Official for the government, or he just stayed there for that period of time) for three years in the late 13th century. Yangzhou has a population exceeding 1,000,000.

Built on flat land a few miles north of the Yangtze River, Yangzhou is criss-crossed by a network of canals of all size, from the Grand Canal of China (which, actually, has two routes - the old, next to the city center, and the modern, a few miles to the east) to small neighborhood canals.

Several walled cities existed here over the two millennia, but even the last (Ming Dynasty) wall has been demolished long ago. Still, the contours of the Ming city wall are traced by the canals surrounding the two kilometer square in Yangzhou's city center. New neighborhoods have grown for about 5 km or more in all directions outside of the former walled city.

Most of Yangzhou is built on a rectangular grid street plan. The main east-west artery is Wenchang Rd, divided into the West, Central, and East sections (文昌西路 Wenchang Xi Lu,文昌中路 Wenchang Zhong Lu, 文昌东路 Wenchang Dong Lu). The main north-south street within the old city center in Wenhe Road, with the North and South sections (汶河北路 Wenhe Bei Lu, 汶河南路 Wenhe Nan Lu) divided by Wenchang Road. The Wenchang Pavilion (文昌阁, Wenchang Ge), one of the city's few surviving historic buildings, stands in the traffic circle at the crossing of Wenchang and Wenhe Roads, which is often viewed as the city's symbolic center point. Many of the city's upscale shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues are found within a few blocks of this circle.

Get in

Yangzhou Bus Station
Yangzhou Railway Station

By plane

The new 1 Yangzhou Taizhou Airport YTY IATA, opened in 2012, as the name indicates, is located about halfway between Yangzhou and the nearby Taizhou, about 30 km east of Yangzhou's city center. So far, it has fairly limited service (domestic only).

The closest major airport in Nanjing Lukou, 37 miles southwest of the city; buses from there go to either the east or west bus stations in Yangzhou.

One can also fly into Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, and take a high-speed train from the nearby Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Zhenjiang (under 2 hrs; see below), and then a bus across the river to Yangzhou. However, if you are flying from overseas, you probably will arrive to Pudong Airport instead; which means that you'd have to spend an extra 1-1.5 hr crossing Shanghai by subway, shuttle bus, or taxi, to get from Pudong Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station (or to Shangahi Railway Station, downtown).

By train (directly to Yangzhou)

2 Yangzhou Railway Station, newly built in 2003, stands remote from the town's center, roughly two kilometers further out than RT-Mart. It's located on the newly completed Nanjing-Nantong branch line, which has only a limited service, and no high-speed trains. As of 2015, about 14 pairs of train a day serve the Yangzhou station. At least half a dozen of them go to Nanjing (Nanjing Railway Station; about 1.5hours and around ¥10), some continuing to various destinations around the country. There are also convenient overnight trains to Beijing (Z29) and Wuhan, and of course plenty of trains to eastern Jiangsu (Taizhou, Nantong, Yancheng). As elsewhere, T-series trains are faster than K-series, which in their turn are faster and more comfortable than "plain" (no-letter) trains.

Departures are on the upper level of the station, tickets and arrivals are on the lower level.

There's a small convenience store inside the station. Buses and taxis depart from outside - 'black' illegal taxis are rare in Yangzhou, but regular drivers may 'forget' to use the meter.

By train via Zhenjiang

Erdaohe, the canal that runs along the western edge of the former walled city

Zhenjiang, located across the river from Yangzhou, is located on one of the busiest passenger railways in the country. (Actually, it's 3 parallel railways: one "conventional" and two high-speed). Most buses from Yangzhou go to 3 Zhenjiang Railway Station (which is combined with the bus station), which has frequent high-speed service on the Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity Line. Some trains continue beyond Shanghai to Hangzhou, or beyond Nanjing to Hefei and Wuhan. Most of the "conventional" trains running between Shanghai and the northern part of the country (every place north of the Yangtze) stop at Zhenjiang as well (there is a separate, older station building for them). Buses across the river stop running around 8 pm.

Zhenjiang's other train station, 4 Zhenjiang South, is for long-distance high-speed trains, most of which run between Shanghai and Beijing. A few continue to various other major cities throughout the country, from Harbin to Wenzhou to Guiyang. There are buses from Zhenjiang South to Yangzhou as well, but they are fewer, and the service ends earlier. You can find a bus schedule here (Chinese only): [1]

By bus

The city's main bus station, 5 Yangzhou Passenger Bus Terminal (扬州汽车客运站), is located about 2 miles southwest of downtown. It has fairly frequent service to nearby cities such as Zhenjiang and Nanjing, with some buses to elsewhere in Jiangsu and nearby provinces.

There are also other, smaller, bus stations elsewhere in town.

Get around

Buses are reliable and cheap, but many of them close around 6PM, the rest around 10PM. Fortunately, taxis are everywhere. Flat rate starts at ¥7, and all are metered (it is illegal to drive an unmetered taxi). If your feet get tired and you want an exhilarating ride, pedicabs are also abound in the city center.

See

A Tang Dynasty dragon boat on display in Yangzhou Museum
  • Daming Temple (大明寺; Dà​míng​sì; Lit. Temple of Abundant Light​). 8AM-4:45PM. Rebuilt after being destroyed in the Taiping Rebellion, this temple originally dated from the 5th century AD. There is a spring next to the tea house.
  • Hanlinyuan Museum. 8:30AM-5PM. A magnificent tomb for Liu Xu, ruler of the Guangling Kingdom. It is five stories deep, with different levels housing things like a warehouse, living quarters, and a coffin on wheels.
  • Slender West Lake 瘦西湖 (Shouxihu). Very slim lake winding through the park area just northwest of the city center. Several pavilions dot the park around the lake that was designed to mimic the west lake in Hangzhou.
The warrior deity Zhenwu, assisted by the Snake General and the Tortoise General, in Yangzhou's Wudangxing Palace (武当行宫, Wudangxing gong), a Taoist temple in Dongguang St (东关街, Dongguan Jie)
  • 1 Tianning Temple (扬州天宁寺; Yáng​zhōu​ Tiānníngsì​) (Just west of Shi Kefa Memorial Hall).
  • 2 Yangzhou Museum (扬州博物馆; Yáng​zhōu​ Bó​wù​guǎn​). 8:30AM-11AM, 1PM-5PM. The Yangzhou Museum has splendid displays of things like a boat salvaged from the Grand Canal that crosses through eastern China. The museum used to be housed in Tianning Temple downtown (see above), but now it is on the west side, in a new purpose-built building, known as the "Double Museum" (Shuang Bowuguan). It is "double" because the other tenant in the building is a museum of traditional Chinese book printing. free.
  • 3 Shi Kefa Memorial (史可法纪念馆 Shǐ Kěfǎ Jìniànguǎn). The memorial/temple honors a Ming general who refused to surrender the city to the Qing invaders in 1645.
  • Ge Yuan 个园 A lovely garden with sections representing the four seasons and with pavilions, open 7:30am-5pm daily, discount with student ID
  • He Yuan 何园 This true scholar's garden is cleverly arranged garden with several tea houses, open grottoes, and pleasant view. One of the best gardens in Jiangsu Province. open daily 7:30am-6pm, discount with student ID
  • Lu Shi Yan-shang Zhu-zhai (卢氏 盐商 住宅) A lavishly furnished home with 100 rooms that belonged to a local salt merchant, open daily 8am-5pm
  • Garden Tomb of Puhaddin Said to be a descendant of Mohammed, Puhaddin's grave is in an inscription-covered building on the grounds of the local mosque. Open daily 8am-5pm
  • Wenchang Ge文昌阁 (Promoting Literature Pavilion) Once part of the Confucian Academy, this pavilion is all that's left
  • 4 The Grand Canal. The old route of the Grand Canal runs along the southern and eastern edge of the historic center city. The new Grand Canal, with a continuous stream of cargo boats and barges, is a few kilometer east of city center, and is accessible by city bus.
  • Marco Polo Memorial Hall is situated somewhat away from Tianning Temple (and not inside it!!!) at the corner of Tai Zhou Lu/Dong Guan Jie. The exhibition itself is an uncritical scenic description of Marco Polo's journey, which may be interesting for children, but does not meet academic standards. There are no remnants of Marco Polo's time in China on view (that would be a sensation anyway!), and at the end of the exhibition you find a whole isle dedicated to the twinning between Yangzhou and Rimini in Italy, which has nothing to do with Marco Polo. The impression you get is that Venice was not available for twinning, so just another Italian city had to fill in. Open 9-11.30 a.m. and 2-5.30 p.m.
  • 5 Zhuyuwan Scenic Area and Yangzhou Zoo (茱萸湾风景区,扬州动物园) (About 5 km northeast of downtown).

Do

Stroll along the Xiaoqinhuaihe Canal (小秦淮河) that crosses the city's historical center, and the narrow lanes of the (few) surviving blocks of the old city nearby.

On a summer day, walk on a boardwalk trail to Baozhang Lake (保障湖) a popular locals' swimming place, about 2 km north of downtown.

Buy

Hongyuan Market, a popular craft and antique market just north of the city center

For goods and necessities, there are 2 RT-Mart(s) (大润发, da run fa) one on Hanjiang Road and the other on Wenchang Middle Road; several bus lines run there from downtown and from the local colleges. As far as Western products go, RT-Mart, Tesco (Hanjiang Rd, north of the bus station) or Auchan (Jiangyang Rd, east of the bus station), are good.

One major local industry is ceramics and teaware; a few big ceramics factories and showcases can be visited here.

Not a shopping mecca, however, there are a number of department stores in the city centre. Here you can find the Golden Eagle Shopping Centre (in the city's main square, facing the Wenchang Pavilion), Times Extra Mall and the Times Square Mall. If you feel the need for a more Western-style shopping experience, the Living Mall, located in the new development zone was completed in 2008 and is easily reached by taxi. Big name foreign and domestic designer brands, western style restaurants, K-TV bars and a cinema can be found here.

Clothes, footwear

Ganquan Road

A popular area for the locals to shop for clothes and footwear is Ganquan Road (甘泉路), a major east-west in the southern part of the historic central city. Over a mile of shops of various level, from bargain-basement to boutique level. The north-south Guoqing Rd, which crosses Ganquan east of the city center, is full of such shops as well.

Books and maps

Xinhua Bookstore is located in South Wenhe Rd (Wenhe Nan Lu) just a block south of the city's main square, where the Wenchang Pavilion stands.

Cell phones, electronics

Cell phone and electronics stores congregate in Siwangting Street, within several blocks to the west of the Siwangting Pavilion.

Eat

Baozi at the Fuchun Tea House

The big-name local dish is Yangzhou fried rice 扬州炒饭, filled with fried egg, muer mushroom 木耳, ham, shrimp, scallions, peas, and carrots. It's representative of the Huaiyang cuisine. Other famous dishes include the Lion's Head 狮子头, which is a giant meatball made with pork and crab. Also suggested is; semisweet Thousand-layer cake 千层糕, steamed dumpling 蒸饺, amazing tofu noodles often like chicken soup 大煮干丝, delicious soup fill dumplings 小笼汤包, and stinky tofu 臭豆腐。 For breakfast you'll be sure to find steamed filled buns(baozi)包子, steamed buns(mantou)馒头,rice porridge(zhou)粥,boiled eggs(zhujidan)煮鸡蛋。

If these choices look unappealing to you -- or if they look appealing, but you just don't eat that stuff -- try Damingsi Vegetarian Restaurant 大明寺素菜馆, 1802 Wenhui Road East. It's affiliated with the temple, and serves vegetable-matter simulacra of the local favorites for very reasonable prices.

Drink

Xiaohongqiao ("The Little Rainbow Bridge") over the not-so grand Xiaoqinhuaihe Canal in Yangzhou's old city

The most popular beer is from Shenyang, called Snow 雪花啤酒, and costs around ¥3 for a large bottle. But should you want something with a stronger beer-flavor, the L-Mart at the Living Mall has Kirin Japanese beer, brewed in Taiwan, ¥5 a can. The Living Mall 京华城 also boasts a Starbucks 辛巴克, semi-conveniently placed between the train station and the RT-Mart.

Sleep

Unlike most Chinese cities, Yangzhou has practically no lodging available in the train station area.

Hotels are mostly concentrated in two areas: around downtown, and within a few blocks of the main bus station (Jiangyang Rd and Hanjiang Rd, a few km to the southwest of downtown). As of the early 2011, it was not that difficult to find a decent room for under Y100 in both areas.

Go next

Public art in one of Yangzhou's new neighborhoods


This city travel guide to Yangzhou 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.