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City Guides / Guides

Top things to do in Ningbo

By Minjun Xu

August 10

As one of Zhejiang’s most important cities both today and historically, Ningbo combines modern energy with a historic past.

As one of Zhejiang’s most important cities both today and historically, Ningbo combines modern energy with a historic past.

As one of the earliest official foreign trading ports, Ningbo is perfect for those who want to explore China’s past.

1. Tian Yi Ge 天一阁

Tian Yi Ge [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Li Junsheng]
Tian Yi Ge [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Li Junsheng]
Built as a family library and garden by Fan Qin, a retired politician during the Ming Dynasty, Tian Yi Ge is the oldest existing library in China. Tian Yi is related to the water element in the I Ching, or the Book  of  Changes (周易). It was believed a watery name could prevent the library from being ruined by fire. In its heyday, the library possessed roughly 70,000 volumes of antique books.

Entry: 30 yuan/person

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. (April 21- Oct. 21); 8:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. (Oct. 22 – April 20)

2. Old Bund 宁波老外滩

Old Bund [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
Old Bund [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
Along the north bank of the Yong River, the Old Bund sits on the site of the Port of Ningbo, which opened as a foreign trading port in 1844. Old European-style buildings evince the prosperity of old Ningbo. Having been rebuilt, the Old Bund is now lined with modern bars and restaurants. If you are planning a pub-crawl, the Old Bund is definitely the best choice.

Entry: free

3. Former residence of Chiang Kai-shek 溪口蒋氏故里

Former residence of Chiang Kai-shek [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
Former residence of Chiang Kai-shek [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
The former residence of Chiang Kai-shek is located in Xikou in northeastern Zhejiang, just west of Ningbo. As the birthplace and ancestral home of the former president of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek, it consists of a museum and other old buildings full of historic artifacts. Remember to visit if you are interested in modern Chinese history.

Entry: 120 yuan/person

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

4. Dongqian Lake Scenic Area 东钱湖风景区

Dongqian Lake Scenic Area [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Hu Xuejun]
Dongqian Lake Scenic Area [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Hu Xuejun]
In the southeast of Yinzhou District, Dongqian Lake is the largest natural fresh water lake in Zhejiang. Dongqian Lake is surrounded by trees and hills, making it a fantastic place to relax. You can also take a ferry to explore the area by water.

Entry: 30 yuan/person

Opening hours: 8:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m.

5. Cicheng Ancient Town 慈城古镇

Cicheng Ancient Town [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
Cicheng Ancient Town [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
Cicheng Town, located in Jiangbei District in Ningbo, is an ancient walled city dating from the 8th century. As one of the very few well-preserved ancient towns in southern China, Cicheng consists of traditional stone residences with tile roofs and public buildings like the Temple of Confucius, Memorial Arch, and Assembly Hall.

Entry: free

6. Nantang Old Street 南塘老街

Nantang Old Street [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
Nantang Old Street [Image Credit: zjol.com.cn]
Nangtang Old Street is a fascinating old street lined with shops and restaurants running along a waterway.  You can try a variety of foods from stinky tofu to Ningbo Niangao (年糕), and buy some traditional Chinese handicrafts.

Entry: free

7. Gangyagou Restaurant 缸鸭狗

Gangyagou Restaurant [Image Credit: weibo.com/gyg1926]
Gangyagou Restaurant [Image Credit: weibo.com/gyg1926]
Dating back to 1926, this renowned local restaurant has all the must-try traditional Ningbo dishes.

Tips: Try the famous Ningbo dumpling balls and Steamed Bun with crab meat.

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