Top 10 Things to Do in Ningbo
Ningbo, as an important trading port along China’s east coast, holds not only the beautiful natural landscapes of the rough sea, green hills, and vast lakes, but also the historical sites of ancient architecture and towns. Here are the top 10 things to do in Ningbo, by which you can explore the city to the fullest. Let’s have a look one by one.
When you get to Ningbo, do not forget to see Tianyi Pavilion, which is among the top Ningbo things to do. It was initially constructed in 1560s for collected books of a retired military minister. Now, as the oldest private library in China and one of the three oldest family libraries in the world, it is a museum displaying not only the ancient books, but also the old buildings with splendid wood carvings, brick carvings, stone carvings, gilding and so on. The building is an epitome of traditional local dwellings in Ningbo. Besides, the attached garden and the family houses by Yuehu Lake are also interesting to see.
Nantang Old Street
What to do in Ningbo for food lovers? Nantang Old Street is unmissable. It is a more than 500 meters (547 yards) long pedestrian street full of ancient architecture and food stalls. Walk through the wooden archway, you will see the repaired old shops selling local food, souvenirs and other local specialties. Deep-fried Hairy Tofu, Ningbo Dough Twists, Deep-fried Squid, Baked Oysters, and various pastries, etc. are waiting for you to taste. If you like alcohol, Chinese Yellow Wine there is also great.
As the largest freshwater lake in Zhejiang Province, Dongqian Lake should be listed among the things to do in Ningbo China. It is very popular to cycle around the lake to see the landscapes. You may follow the trend and it is easy to rent a bicycle there. Apart from cycling, boating on the lake is interesting, too. Xiaoputuo, a long causeway connecting mid-lake Taogong Islet and the bank, is the best site to enjoy the scenery of Dongqian Lake. You may also climb up the Fuquan Mountain on sides, to overlook the entire lake on the top. At Southern Song Park, stone inscriptions and carvings of Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279 AD) are visit-worthy as well.
Old Bund of Ningbo
Talking about what to do in Ningbo China, Old Bund must be included. Since Ningbo became one of China’s first five open ports in 1844, the Old Bund, at the place where three rivers meet, has been filled with European buildings. Nowadays, it is one of a few over hundred-year-old bunds that have been preserved all over China. Jiangbei Catholic Church, an old Gothic architecture with high tower, is a landmark of the Bund and the city. If you go there, you will find most of the old western buildings have been transformed into bars and restaurants, thus the Old Bund is also a famous bar street especially busy at night.
Side Trip to Yushan Islands
Yushan Islands are groups of islands in the most southeastern of Ningbo, far away from the downtown and the land, so it’s quite original and not touristy. Reputed as “No.1 Fishing Site in Asia”, it is rich in marine fishes, shellfishes and algae, so take the chance to savor the freshest of them. To reach Yushan Islands, you need to take the ship from Shipu Wharf in Shipu Town in Ningbo and tourists are only allowed to stay there for up to 24 hours. Even though, going there is still one of sought-after Ningbo activities. The old lighthouse, natural bridge over rough sea water, cliffs by sea, the incredible night sky with stars, the sunset and sunrise on sea, etc. all make the trip worthy. In particular, if you travel there in April and May, you would have a chance to see the Blue Tears – the natural wonder as if the sea is tearing result from large amount of bio-luminescent ostracoda in sea.
Yuehu Park is centered on Yuehu Lake. On the lake, dotted a few islets. Around the lake, stand some historical sites and diverse sculptures. So it is a great place to appreciate both natural scenery and cultural relics, hence recommended as one of the top things to do in Ningbo. A bridge divides the lake into different parts. Most of the attractions and historical sites lie on the northern and eastern banks, including the ancient stele used as tape gage, the site of former Korean embassy with relics on display, ancient residences and the Tianyi Pavilion mentioned above. It’s very pleasant to go boating on Yuehu Lake, to see the lush woods and glittering water.
Xiangshan Global Studios
Xiangshan Global Studios is noted because many Chinese TV series were and are being shot there, especially those themed on ancient stories. So for Chinese videophile traveling to Ningbo, their “what to do” list must have Xiangshan Global Studios. To shoot the TV series, many ancient architecture have been built, so you may feel like traveling back to the ancient times of China. Among them, the palace of ancient Dali Kingdom is exotic, as it’s quite different from other architecture. Except for the old-timey cityscapes, you can also enjoy the natural landscapes with hills, caves, rivers, woods and artificial scenes in “Journey to the West”, one of the four most famous ancient novels in China.
Qiantong Ancient Town
Qiantong Ancient Town is full of traditional houses built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911 AD), which are preserved completely. The labyrinthine layout with narrow cobble alleys and Eight-Trigrams Water System make the town like a maze. The residence with fine carvings, the ancestral temple, and shops will show you the charms of Chinese ancient architecture. You may not miss visiting the folk museum there, to learn about the agricultural implements, handicrafts, handmade tools, and more items used in the daily life of former residences. Among the things to do in Ningbo, Qiantong Ancient Town is the best site to get to know the local folks, so reputed as “a living folk museum”.
To learn the Ningbo history, Ningbo Museum is the top place to go, which is an artwork itself. The outer walls of the museum are built with old bricks and tiles, and some of them don’t stand straight, which would catch your eyes at the first glance. Although the exhibitions inside are not so precious compared with those in other famous museums, it shows the history of Ningbo clearly from primitive Hemudu Culture to the modern time. You would learn local ancient civilization, the city expansion lasting for centuries, and development into the regional center and an international sea port successively, through the recovery scenes of immemorial Hemudu people, the collections of old potteries, bronzes, stone carvings, and the man-made streetscapes in modern times.
Hemudu Site, dated back to around 7,000-5,000 years ago, is one of the oldest sites in Neolithic Period. It is located at Hemudu Town, Yuyao, about 20km (12 miles) northwest from Ningbo downtown. It’s a must thing to do in Ningbo for history and culture enthusiasts. Unearthed since 1973, large amounts of pottery pieces, bone needles, spinning tools, old grains, old stilted houses, etc. have been discovered there. You will see the old vestiges as well as the rebuilt houses and recovery scenes of the prehistoric life. You would how they created such an excellent civilization thousands years ago. In the Hemudu Site Museum, the unearthed relics are on display, which help you understand the prehistoric culture more easily.
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- Last updated on Dec. 23, 2020 -