Travel Report: Cool Spots Around Ningbo, China.
August 2017. There’s no doubting what a clean, handsome and highly walkable city Ningbo is. Wherever you find yourself in the centre, it won’t be too long until you catch sight of the soaring Drum Tower poking above the trees and low-rise buildings. Dating back to the Tang Dynasty, this is the only remaining part of what used to be Ningbo’s grand city gate. Gaze up to see the 6-metre romanesque bell tower, added during The Republic era.
August 2017. From the Drum Tower we were perfectly placed for a stroll down the wonderfully pedestrianised Gongyuan Lu, a commercial street in which all the traditional grey-slate buildings have been converted into cafes, restaurants, stores and ice cream shops.
August 2017. If you’ve spent a fair bit of time in China then Gongyuan Lu might seem familiar and indeed lots of Chinese cities have these kinds of shopping streets. This one is famed for its coconut ice cream, which is yummy! Follow the road away from The Drum Tower all the way down to its northern end for access to Zhongshan Square, a spot where Ningbo’s senior citizens congregate to play cards and traditional live music.
August 2017. From Zhongshan Square, our self-guided Ningbo walking route took in the adjoining Zhongshan Park, which was largely deserted thanks to the considerable afternoon sunshine. Expect the usual array of gazebos, benches, sculptures and meticulous array of plants and flowers.
August 2017. Moon Lake Park, also known as Yuehu Park, is the largest green space in Ningbo city centre. Despite my status as a somewhat weathered Chinese park veteran, it was still worth a wander thanks to its spotless stone pathways, pretty rock gardens and wooden-stone mansions once home to prominent Ningbo artists, writers and scholars.
Moon Lake Park also features the amazing Tianyi Pavilion, inside which lies China’s oldest existing library. The entire park is absolutely spotless and lovingly maintained by a team of dedicated workers and volunteers. This guy was carefully applying a new coat of paint on one of the entrance signs.
August 2017. There are some impressive churches dotted around Ningbo, but the one that really caught my eye was the towering Jiaoqu Yaohang Street Catholic Church. Sadly it was closed on the day of my visit, so I had to make do with admiring the exterior. Tie the church in with a visit to Tianyi Square, which is just across the road.
August 2017. Visitors to Ningbo should put an hour aside for a walk alongside The Yong River, if only to marvel at its ominously muddy color. The skyline is impressive in parts and, as we did, you could use it as a walking route to cross one of the bridges into Laowaitan Bar District, Ningbo’s lively nightlife neighbourhood and home to the Museum of Art.
For more on my time in the city, check out my other articles on Ningbo.
For more on the region, have a look at travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
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