You could of course sit in your beanbag and watch a movie on TV, but can you beat the big screen for the full cinematic experience? Visit your local theatre and see what’s on. I can also recommend visiting the special cinema at WeLife by TJ5, massive screen and you can feel the sound (closest subway Yuanyangguojizhongxin). You can book tickets early on WeChat to try and save a penny or two. While it’s all in Chinese steps are provided the steps below.
After all this you should be sent a confirmation via SMS. You can also buy tickets at the cinema, but it may be more expensive.
Galaxy Mall – YouYi Lu
Visit Galaxy Mall for a shopping and eating (Pizza Bianca) adventure, and while you’re there, sample some of Tianjin’s museums and galleries (you may need your passport for entry). Visit this site for more information. Here is a few top picks:
• Tianjin Museum – Cultural and historical relics significant to Tianjin.
• Science and Technology museum – 318 exhibits combining fun and education through modern, computer enhanced interactive displays. A 300-seat planetarium enjoys star status with visitors for its 360-degree movie theatre.
• Natural History Museum (a little further away, but the same side of town) – The exhibits emphasize themes of earth and life, and display a variety of species and zoology, the unity between life and the surroundings, and the harmony between human being and nature.
• Art gallery – A collection of modern and contemporary art work.
Don’t forget, while it may be a little more crowded than usual (人山人海 – people mountain, people sea), Beijing is just a hop, skip and a jump away (or 30minutes on the bullet train).
• Visit Sanlitun if you need a western fix. Eat, drink and shop until your heart’s content.
• Peking Opera – this is nearing the top of my list, because, when in Rome. Huguang Guild Hall is one of the ‘four great theatres in China’ and has nightly performances. Bookings can be made online.
• China Open – if you’re a fan of tennis, the China Open is on in Beijing from 24 September until 8 October. Tickets can be booked online.
• Beijing 798 Art Zone, or the Dashanzi Art District – the exhibition centre of Chinese culture and art, and the world-famous cultural and creative industries centralized area.
“798 stands for much more than a three digit number: in Beijing these numbers symbolize the country’s cutting edge art movement led by the Chinese vanguard, unchained artistic personalities with alternative life goals. The largest, most influential art district in China – the 798 – hosts world-class international and Chinese exhibitions in the midst of former weapons factories.”
Just 15 minutes away on the bullet train, you can rome (pun intended) the streets and canals of this replica Italian village and enjoy European architecture, delicious restaurants and China’s very own Colosseum. If it tickles your fancy, this is also the home of designer outlet stores where you may or may not be able to snatch up a bargain.
Travel a little further afield
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and want to brave the national holiday crowds, here are a couple of suggestions that are not too far away. If you don’t go on the holidays, definitely take a couple of weekends to visit them.
Hanging Monastery by Datong
Hanging Monastery stands at the foot of Mt. Hengshan, 65km from downtown Datong City. Since it hangs on the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge more than 50 meters above the ground, it is called Hanging Monastery. Built in 491, it has survived more than 1400 years. The extant monastery was largely rebuilt and maintained in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
You can travel to Datong via an overnight train from Tianjin. Tickets are from 60-200RMB depending on your seat choice and the trip takes about 8h 22m. Train schedule and tickets can be found here.
Ancient City of Pingyao
Founded during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 771 BC) and rebuilt in 1370, the Ancient City of Pingyao is one of China’s four best preserved old cities. Visit this world cultural heritage site via a fast train from Beijing West to Pingyao Ancient Town railway station. Tickets are between 90-250RMB depending on your seat choice and the trip takes about 4h 23m. Train schedule and tickets can be found here, for more information on what you can see, click here.
Whatever you end up doing during your time off, be sure to stay safe and have fun!