Hao River Scenic Area

Located at the center of Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, Hao River is the best preserved ancient moat in China. Formed in 958, the river boasts a history of more than one thousand years. With a total length of around 6 miles (10 kilometers), it looks like an upside-down gourd that encircles the old downtown area. The tortuous watercourse makes Hao River honored as an Emerald Necklace of Nantong City.

On both banks of Hao River are natural and historical attractions, which form the Hao River Scenic Area. The most famous ones are Nantong Museum, Tianning Temple, Wenfeng Tower and North Pole Pavilion.

Visitors can take a boat to appreciate the views on both banks of Hao River. The night piece on boat is really breathtaking.

Nantong Museum

It is said that if Hao River is a necklace, Nantong Museum should be a precious stone of the necklace. Nantong Museum was first built in 1905, sponsored by Zhang Jian, a patriotic industrialist as well as a Zhuanyuan in the late Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). Zhuangyuan is a title given to the top student who achieves the highest score during a Chinese Imperial Examination.

Nantong Museum is the earliest public museum in China. The main buildings in the museum include South, Middle and North Exhibition Halls, shaded by luxuriant trees and flowers. They naturally form a central axis of the museum. Pavilions, gardens, windmills, water towers, and waterfalls are scatted near the axis. The collections are basically divided into four categories, Nature, History, Arts and Education. According to historical records, there were only 3605 articles in 1933.

In 2005, the museum celebrated its 100th anniversary. In the same year, the State Bureau for Cultural Relics Preservation approved the museum’s expansion plan. Then a new exhibition hall was built. The total area of the museum adds up to 17 acres (7 hectares). It has become a comprehensive museum with more than 50,000 collections.
Admission Fee South Exhibition Hall and Former Residence of Zhang Jian (called Hao Nan Bie Ye in Chinese):
CNY 15 for adults
Free for children below 6 or 3.9 feet (1.2 meters);

Other exhibition halls are open for free.
Opening Hours April 1 to October 31: 05:30 – 18:00 (tourists are not allowed to enter after  17:30)
November 1 to next March 31: 05:30 – 17:00 (tourists are not allowed to enter after 16:30)

The exhibition halls are open between 09:00 and 17:00 (last entry at 16:30) from Tuesday to Sunday, except public holidays.

Tianning Temple

Tianning Temple is at the west beginning of Xuetang Street in the city. Originally, it was built during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907). The extant buildings in the temple include Guangxiao Pagoda, Mountain Gate, Vajra Hall, Great Buddha’s Hall, Medicine Buddha’s Hall and four other halls.

Built in 864, Guangxiao Pagoda, in the northwest of Tianning Temple, is a five-story octagonal brick-wood structured pagoda with a height of around 100 feet (30 meters). It’s the oldest one among the ‘Three Pagodas in Nantong’. The other two are Wenfeng Pagoda and Zhiyun Pagoda.

Wenfeng Pagoda

Originally built in 1618, Wenfeng Pagoda is a 128 feet (39 meters) high brick-wood structured pagoda. After the completion of Wenfeng pagoda, a temple called Wufu Temple was built around. Legend has it that five giant bats appeared when the temple was constructed. Another saying is that five red bats once made their home on Wenfeng Pagoda. In ancient China, bats are a symbol of good fortune.

Wufu Temple is called Wenfeng Monastery today. It is the home to Nantong Association of Literature and Art, Nantong Institute of Calligraphy and Chinese Paintings and Wang Geyi’s Art Gallery.

North Pole Pavilion

Tongzhou ancient city (Today’s Nantong) was built in 958. During the Period of Zhenghe (1111-1117) of the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127), its north gate was blocked. The tower over the north gate was transformed into Xuanwu Temple, later renamed as North Pole Pavilion.

The North Pole Pavilion is the only left-over site of Nantong city wall. Today, one can only see the North Pole Pavilion as a rectangular mound surrounded by stones and bricks. It is about 121 feet (37 meters) long from east to west, 66 feet (20 meters) wide from north to south and 26 feet (8 meters) high.

Apart from the above-mentioned scenic spots, some other attractions along Hao River are also worth a visit, including China Abacuses Museum, China Audit Museum, City God Temple, Yiyuan Peninsular Resort, West Temple (Buddhist Cultural Exhibition Hall), South Park, Huanxi Culture Square, Bosai Park and Haoxi Academy.


1. Take bus no. 5, 8, 12 or 51, and get off at Nantong Museum Station.
2. Take bus no. 15, 33, 37 or 77, and get off at China Abacuses Museum Station. After visiting China Abacuses Museum, visitors can continue to visit neighboring China Audit Museum.
3. Take bus no. 33, 55 or 101, and get off at City God Temple (Chenghuangmiao) Station.
4. Take bus no. 33, and get off at City God Temple North (Chenghuangmiao Bei) Station.
5. Take bus no. 5, 30, 33, 45, 53, 58 or 81, and get off at Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University Station. Then walk toward west along West Temple (Xisi) Road for around 300 yards (274 meters) to get to West Temple.
6. Take bus no. 15, 16, 17, 33, 36, 41, 51, 53, 69, 81, 88, 603, 605 or 609, and get off at Haoxi Academy (Haoxi Shuyuan) Station or Bosai Garden (Penjingyuan) Station.
7. Take bus no. 22, 26, 30, 33, 45, 301 or B22, and get off at Huanxi Culture Square Station.

How to Visit the Scenic Spots along Hao River

1. Take a sightseeing bus, also called Tourism Bus Line 1. It departs from the Tourist Center located near Haoxi Academy. Bus stops are: Tourist Center, City God Temple, Blue Calico Museum, Yiyuan Garden, Nantong Museum, West Temple & South Park, Bosai Park, Haoxi Academy, China Abacuses Museum and Tourist Center.
2. Take a sightseeing water bus. It departs from Haoxi Academy and passes by Bosai Park, Huanxi Culture Square, South Park, West Temple, Nantong Museum, Yiyuan Peninsula Resort, City God Temple, China Abacuses Museum and China Audit Museum.
Admission Fee Free, but some scenic spots inside may charge admission fees.
Sightseeing Bus CNY 1 per person
It departs every 30 minutes from 08:00 to 19:00.
Sightseeing Water Bus April 1 to October 31: CNY 60
November 1 to next March 31: CNY 40

It departs every 30 minutes from 09:00 to 17:00.
Children no taller than 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) enjoy half price.
Opening Hours All day
- Last modified on Jun. 10, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Hao River Scenic Area
Asked by Timothy Wang from UNITED STATES | Jun. 09, 2019 11:08Reply
Can I get Nantong Hao River Scenic Area by subway?
Answers (1)
Answered by Maire from FRANCE | Jun. 10, 2019 00:28

No subway is available since they are all under construction.
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