Nanjing Travel Guide

Nanjing is capital of Jiangsu Province and lies on the Yangtze River in eastern China. It is a gigantic, bustling city with plenty of attractions in and around town, but can be a bit stifling for non-city folk.

Nanjing roughly translates as ‘southern capital’, with Beijing being the northern capital, and has been the center of China throughout various dynasties. It can be accessed by all forms of travel, including air, water, rail, and road, and is central in the region.

Nanjing looks more and more like the shining cities of Shanghai and Beijing, with its burgeoning skyscrapers, chain hotels, glitzy malls, and shopping streets. It also has a well developed tourist infrastructure and transport system. There is a modern metro system, along with fast public buses, tourist travel, and taxis.

There are a ton of attractions worth checking out in Nanjing, with dozens of monuments, historical sights and museums, including the impressive Nanjing Museum in the city center. The Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) is the most high profile temple in town and is also worth heading to for those not into religious goings on. There are also many shops and caf├ęs here.

Other major Nanjing landmarks include the Presidential Palace; the grand Gate of China; and the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge. There is also much to see just outside Nanjing. The nearby Purple Mountain (Zijin Mountain) contains the tomb of a Ming Dynasty emperor and the mausoleum of Dr Sun Yat-sen and also comes with good hiking.

Also in this region is the Sun Palace, a hotel resort with water park. The nearby Xuanwu Hu Lake is connected by causeways and comes with an amusement park and access to Purple Mountain.

Along with the excellent hotel and shopping options of Nanjing is good eating and nightlife. Nanjing’s 1912 District is the best bet for having a drink and eating. Prices are a little on the steep side, but not as bad as Shanghai and Beijing, plus it is safer.

Getting There & Away

Lukou International Airport in Nanjing is 35kms out and receives flights from all over Asia and every major city in China, apart from neighboring Shanghai. Hong Kong and Guangzhou are just shy of 2 hours away. It is a 30-minute taxi ride to downtown Nanjing.

If arriving in Shanghai, trains run to Nanjing throughout the day (4 hours), via Suzhou and Wuxi. A major highway also directly links Nanjing with Shanghai (3 to 4 hours or 250kms away). Scheduled passenger ships sail the Yangtze River between Shanghai and Wuhan, taking in Nanjing.

Things to Do

Nanjing Attractions

Presidential Palace

You can see the headquarters and palaces of former emperors and top governmental officials.

Nanjing Museum

Featuring many exhibition halls with innumerable chinese artifacts; located inside zhongshan gate.

Gate of China

Zhonghuamen is the impressive southern gate of the ancient city wall and its best preserved.

Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

Spanning several kilometers across the yangtze, this huge bridge was the first main, large-scale engineering job solely taken on by the chinese. it features numerous sculptures across its flanks.

Side trips from Nanjing


The main town in the so-called water town region of jiangsu province sits on the grand canal and is a three-hour drive along the main nanjing- shanghai highway. it features the precious belt bridge and dantai lake as its star attractions.

Purple Mountain

Just outside nanjing, zijin mountain features the tomb of a ming emperor and has many fine areas to explore.


JinLing Lantern Show

Beginning in chinese new year and lasting for a month, this festival is lots of fun and is held around the confucius temple.