So you only have 48 hours to navigate Tianjin? From the historic to the modern, here is how you can hit just about every major thing there is do in just two days. You’ll even learn about pre-modern European influence in China while you’re at it.
After a quiet 30-minute morning drive out of Tianjin, you’ve arrived at Shijia Mansion. The acclaimed former residence of the Shi family, one of the most prominent and powerful families in Tianjin during the late Qing Dynasty, is beautiful to behold. Many of the residence’s rooms boast vintage furniture, paintings, Chinese calligraphy, and the courtyard’s meticulous Shifu Garden. Besides enjoying the immaculate monument of China’s late-1800s to early 1900s era, look forward to the shopping area with reasonably priced folk art souvenirs unique to Tianjin.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Your compact trip to Tianjin would not be complete without a formal visit to Ancient Culture Street (Gu Wenhua Jie). Don’t worry about where to eat lunch because you will be bombarded with many outdoor vendor choices, and it’s recommended that you sample from more than one. Ancient Culture Street lives up to its name with a Chinese temple, and ample variations of shops selling cultural merchandise such as classic art, silk, paintings, handmade clothes and crafts, jewelry, and trinkets. Spend your first afternoon in Tianjin walking along its river.
The Xikai Church (St. Joseph’s Cathedral) is Tianjin’s largest Roman Catholic church. Built in 1913 and still very much alive today, it remains in pristine condition at the heart of the downtown area. Large cathedrals like Xikai are a rarity in China, and interestingly enough, the mass is conducted in Chinese and English. Stepping into this sanctuary may feel as if you’re in Europe (with French and Roman architectural styles) but with a Chinese twist. After you’ve toured the cathedral, you’ll already be downtown, so feel free to finish the night exploring the city.
As you may have noticed by now, European influence is highly evident in Tianjin! But how did that manifest? Whether you’re keen on Chinese-European history, or if colossal museums are your thing, the Tianjin Museum is a must to start off day 2.
Here, witness an overview of Tianjin’s history over the past 100 years, and even farther down the timeline if you’re interested. Understand how the European concessions districts were established, the rise of the Boxer Rebellion, and the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression during the World War 2 era. This museum even showcases an entire floor dedicated to the Opium War. One thing is for sure, your perspective on Tianjin and its European influence will change a bit after this visual learning experience. Admission is free.
Continuing the pursuit of European influence in Tianjin, is one of Asia’s top places of fin de siècle, The Five Great Avenues. They are deemed an amazing assemblage of European-style architecture. Pronounced, “wu da dao” in Chinese, at the turn of the 20th century’s concessional era, the Five Great Avenues comprised the commercial and residential area of prominent European colonists. With plenty of historic villas and mansions, it’s easy to envision European and Chinese elites strolling along in their bowler hats and waxed mustaches.
Top off your trip at HaiHe Cultural Square. Known as the “Bund” of Tianjin (think Shanghai), the square is a nice romantic place to walk around and enjoy the fine architectures and bridges along Haihe River. Stroll along the river to where the old and the new world merge. Haihe Square is nice by day, but even better by night. It’s not too commercialized, but there are upscale bars and restaurants with outdoor patios, facing the charming view of high-tech neon lighting shining off the river. The combination of causeway pavement and wooden floors make this square the shining pearl of the river bank. The Square is right by the Tianjin Railway Station, making it the perfect last stop of your 2-day excursion.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.