Yangzhou (扬州; Yángzhōu) is a city in Jiangsu province
The city has a history of over 2,500 years and developed as a major trading center for salt, rice and silk. Marco Polo served as the city's governor (or possibly a Salt Official for the government, or he just stayed there for that period of time) for three years in the late 13th century. Yangzhou has a population exceeding 1,000,000.
There is a domestic airport in Nanjing, 37 miles southwest of the city, and buses go to either the east or west bus stations in Yangzhou. A train station, newly built in 2003, stands remote from the town's center, roughly two kilometers further out than RT-Mart. It's located on the newly completed Nanjing-Nantong branch line - there's about 5 hard-class only local trains between Nanjing and Yangzhou (about 1.5hours and around ¥10) as well as a handful of K-series fast(ish) trains that continue to Shanghai as well as daily services to Beijing (10hr night train) and Guangzhou. These trains also have hard sleepers available, air conditioning and make fewer stops. Departures are on the upper level of the station, tickets and arrivals are on the lower level.
There's a small convenience store inside the station. Buses and taxis depart from outside - 'black' illegal taxis are rare in Yangzhou, but regular drivers may 'forget' to use the meter.
To travel to Shanghai, or elsewhere in the Yangtze Delta regions, passengers cross the Yangtze over the new Zhenjiang-Yangzhou bridge (frequent commuter bus service is available) and take a train from the Zhenjiang station, which is located on the main Nanjing-Shanghai rail line. The quickest way to get to Nanjing or Shanghai is on the bullet train from Zhenjiang Station.
Buses are reliable and cheap, but many of them close around 6PM, the rest around 10PM. Fortunately, taxis are everywhere. Flat rate starts at ¥9, and all are metered (it is illegal to drive an unmetered taxi). If your feet get tired and you want an exhilarating ride, pedicabs are also abound in the city center.
For goods and necessities, there are 2 RT-Mart(s) (大润发, da run fa) one on Hanjiang Road and the other on Wenchang Middle Road; several bus lines run there from downtown and from the local colleges. As far as Western products go, RT-Mart or Auchan, near the bus station, are good.
One major local industry is ceramics and teaware; a few big ceramics factories and showcases can be visited here.
Not a shopping mecca, however, there are a number of department stores in the city centre. Here you can find the Golden Eagle Shopping Centre, Wenhe Mall and the Times Square Mall. If you feel the need for a more Western-style shopping experience, the Living Mall, located in the new development zone was completed in 2008 and is easily reached by taxi. Big name foreign and domestic designer brands, western style restaurants, K-TV bars and a cinema can be found here.
There is a Wal-Mart and the shops there are reasonably priced compared to the ones mentioned above.
Its always good to pay cash as the credit cards are no good provided it has a Union Pay logo on the bottom of your credit card. Alternatively, you can get cash only from any Bank of China ATM. The ATM has English. Using your bank card rather than your credit card will save you unnecessary fees from your credit card provider. You can withdraw up to the maximum of 2500 Yuan. There is no limit to the number of times you can withdraw cash from the ATM.
The big-name local dish is Yangzhou fried rice 扬州炒饭, filled with fried egg, muer mushroom 木耳, ham, shrimp, scallions, peas, and carrots. It's representative of the Huaiyang cuisine. Other famous dishes include the Lion's Head 狮子头, which is a giant meatball made with pork and crab. Also suggested is; semisweet Thousand-layer cake 千层糕, steamed dumpling 蒸饺, amazing tofu noodles often like chicken soup 大煮干丝, delicious soup fill dumplings 小笼汤包, and stinky tofu 臭豆腐。 For breakfast you'll be sure to find steamed filled buns(baozi)包子， steamed buns(mantou)馒头，rice porridge(zhou)粥，boiled eggs(zhujidan)煮鸡蛋。
If these choices look unappealing to you -- or if they look appealing, but you just don't eat that stuff -- try Damingsi Vegetarian Restaurant 大明寺素菜馆, 1802 Wenhui Road East. It's affiliated with the temple, and serves vegetable-matter simulacra of the local favorites for very reasonable prices.
Like other cities in and around Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou has a relatively new and modern nightlife district referred to simply as 1912 一九一二. All taxi drivers are familiar with the area so simply using a calculator app to display the 1912 should be sufficient. Here you will find a few upscale restaurants along with several newer bars and clubs. These establishments tend to cater to mostly Chinese clientele or the odd business traveler in town for a few nights. The clubs play mostly heavy dance music and offer free shows which typically consist of dancers and singers performing on stage at different times throughout the night. Drinks are quite expensive in comparison to local shops or some of the the other more expat oriented bars so expect to pay around 50rmb for a cocktail or small beer. If dancing is what you are after you can't skip Paramount 百乐门 or Venus 威纳斯酒吧 which are conveniently located beside one another. If you would like to try a more low key place head across the street to Design Garden 设计花园 or The Old Brewery 老啤酒成(note, contrary to the name they do not brew beer here). They offer a good selection of beer and also serve a large menu of mainly Asian cuisine interspersed with some western offerings. Both have some outdoor seating beside the tranquil canal. Beware however, both places have Chinese singers and/or Karaoke nights depending on the evening you happen to attend.
The most popular places among local expats are Li's Bar and Ronnie's.
Li's Bar is a newer bar that has recently become quite popular with expats and young local Chinese as well. Located at Yue Jin Bridge 跃进桥的老土灶. The taxi will drop you off in front of a Sichuan restaurant, the bar can be accessed by crossing the street and going down the stairs beside the bridge, look for the lit "Li's" sign in the small pavilion as you descend the stairs. Li's is owned by a Chinese gentleman who spent some years in America studying abroad. His English is quite good and the atmosphere in general is decidedly quite friendly. Drinks are cheap, a shot of any liquor is 10rmb and beer runs from 20rmb for a Corona to about 35-40rmb for Belgian or German imports. Some small bar snacks as well as a free pool table and ample seating. Music is usually selected by customers, so it can vary depending on the make up of the crowd.
Ronnie's is an original local expat favorite, tucked into a quiet ally behind the row of shops and bakeries on the main road. Tell the taxi either 丽都国际KTV or 泰州路的扬州饭店. Owned and operated by an Australian gentleman aptly named Ronnie. It has a decidedly "pub" feel to it with a free pool table and the only decent Foosball table in town. Offering a full bar along with a variety of local and imported beers in bottle and on draft for reasonable prices. Expect to pay 20rmb for a Budweiser. Ronnie also smokes meats from time to time and offers great burgers and other western oriented fare. The music is western and customers are often welcome to recommend or play their own favorites.
Hotels are mostly concentrated in two areas: around downtown, and within a few blocks of the main bus station. As of early 2011, it was not that difficult to find a decent room for under Y100 in both areas.