The city of Shijiazhuang is the Provincial capital of Hebei Province and located just 170 miles from Beijing (about two hours by train). Just southwest of the capital city, the population of Shijiazhuang has swelled to just about 10 million people.
Shijiazhuang is in the heart of northern China and just a short distance from Peking, Xi’an and Qingdao. The city center is rapidly growing while the surrounding area offers mountains, Buddhist temples and fabulous scenery. The ancient walled city of Pingyao and the sacred Mount Tai are a short and cheap train journey away. Mount Cangyan is famous for its appearance in the movie “Hidden Tiger Leaping Dragon”.
The more frugal minded should be pleased to know the cost of living in Shijiazhuang is incredibly low compared with other cities in China. Buying fresh produce from street markets is very inexpensive and there are restaurants all over the city which are very reasonably priced.
Party-goers will find Shijiazhuang has several bars and pubs and dance clubs in the city including many 24-hour restaurants. In the summer the main attractions are the street restaurants – people set up barbecue pits along the streets and you can sit and eat and drink late into the evening or relax at one of the several beer gardens throughout the city. Several shopping malls have opened in Shijiazhuang which have modern supermarkets and other western staples such as Wal-Mart, H&M, Starbucks and others.
Shijiazhuang is a modern and vibrant city offering foreigners the real Chinese experience – the city only has but a few “外国人” (or waiguoren, which means literally, “outside country people”). Most of the people here speak Mandarin Chinese, so living in Shijiazhuang provides foreigners with an excellent opportunity to be immersed in the language.
Because of its eclectic mix of modern and classic Chinese features, many expats feel Shijiazhuang is northern China’s best kept secret.
Visit the ESL Suite homepage for ESL teaching jobs in China and in Shijiazhuang city!