Tianjin is best known as the main port of entry for China’s northeastern manufacturing corridor. It’s the largest coastal city in the north and is just a stone’s throw from the capital – going to Beijing is a 30-minute ride by high-speed rail.
Ex-pats find Tianjin to be a very livable city – it has all the amenities from home including shopping malls, western restaurants and coffee shops. In fact, there are four Starbucks locations on one city block! Tianjin has a modern and efficient subway system that includes four lines (several more are under construction) and getting around by taxi or bicycle is very easy. Bikes are the preferred mode of transport for most locals and expats usually pick up a good, sturdy Flying Pigeon at the local supermarket for about $40-50.
In spite of rapid modernization – there is still very much a sense of community here – the locals are often seen mingling in front of their apartments and they’re not shy to chat up a foreigner if they spot one! Tianjin has a reputation throughout China for being extremely friendly, safe, and for its delicious food! Street vendors can be seen day and night selling savory dumplings and exotic looking snacks – there are hundreds of great restaurants all over the city that feature foods from various regions of China. Sometimes a delicious and generously portioned dinner for two will cost less than a value meal at McDonald’s!
Tianjin has a rich history and has many examples of old British and Italian architecture. The famous Italian Concession Area has the largest cluster of Old Italian architecture outside of Italy. Other local attractions are the Huanyaguang section of the Great Wall, the Tianjin Eye and Tianjin’s Ancient Culture Street. Outside the city centre is Binhai, which includes Tanggu and TEDA (Tianjin Economic Development Zone). These areas are home to much of Tianjin’s commercial activity and is one of the engines driving the smoking hot Tianjin economy.
While rapidly becoming one of the most developed cities in north China, Tianjin still has maintained its charm. You can soak in the culture by meandering about on a bicycle through one of the small alleyways, dropping into a “mom and pop” store or just by sitting in a quiet park and watching the locals play a friendly game of majiang (mahjong). There are many gorgeous Asian parks in Tianjin including the Tianjin Water Park, Central Park and Renmin Park (People’s Park). Walk through one of these in the morning and you’re bound to see old-folks doing calligraphy, practicing martial arts and playing traditional music.
While living in Tianjin, you will definitely get the full Chinese experience!
For more information about finding teaching jobs in Tianjin, contact ESL Suite today! (http://www.eslsuite.com/)
- City Profile: Beijing (eslsuite.wordpress.com)
- 3-D Museum Opens in Tianjin, Tomfoolery Ensues (eslsuite.wordpress.com)
- Tianjin likely to report highest GDP growth for 2013 (wantchinatimes.com)