Zhengzhou (郑州; Zhèngzhōu) is a city on the south bank of Yellow River (Huang He) in China. It is the capital of Henan Province. Sometimes it is called the Green City, for the number of trees it has, or rather had.
The name Zhengzhou comes from a city in the Sui Dynasty, but its actual location was in modern day Chenggao. During the Tang Dynasty, the name switched here. The area remained unimportant until it was selected for development by the Chinese Government after 1949. Strategically located in the center of the country, Zhengzhou is now a major transportation hub and rapidly growing city. To travelers, Zhengzhou is a convenient start point to explore a series of Chinese cultural sites, like Kaifeng, Luoyang and Shaolin temple.
The airport is about 30 km outside of town.
An airport shuttle bus leaves from Zhengzhou Hotel opposite the train station, centrally located and costs 22 rmb. Be careful of a scam that is currently operating at the bus ticket office. You will be told the bus is full or not leaving and then offered a taxi instead for 150 rmb. Make sure you go into the office and don't listen to the scammers on the street outside (June 2014).
A public bus runs from the airport to the Aviation Hotel (民航酒店 mín háng jiǔ diàn) on Jin Shui Road （金水路 jīn shuǐ lù). It costs 20 rmb.
Taxis to the airport will cost around 120-140 Yuan. While the distance implies it should only be 60 yuan, you're charged for the round trip driving. Unfortunately, bartering seldom helps as locals pay this price as well.
Zhengzhou is China's biggest train hub; you can get here from nearly every major metropolitian area in China. There are several arrivals each day from Beijing (about 8 hours, or 3.5 hours by high-speed rail), Guangzhou (about 17 hours, or 6 hours by high-speed rail), Xi'an (about 6 hours, or 2 hours by high-speed rail) and Shanghai (many train types ranging from 7 to 15 hours). Trains arrive from other places less often. The Hanoi to Beijing train also stops here.
Across from the train station, you will find a long-distance bus station. Buses arrive regularly from almost anywhere in Henan province. Buses may be less comfortable than the trains, but are cheaper and you do not have to push and shove your way in and out of the train. You are guaranteed a seat but sometimes buses wait to fill up, rather than leaving at a set time, and be aware that long-distance buses may be sleepers rather than seated if the trip is very long.
The city's focal point is Erqi (February 7) Square (二七广场). This large public square comes alive at night, when an entire market fills the space with vendors and locals hanging out. Beneath the square are several levels of shopping extending about a kilometre. Here you can buy a huge variety of items, from budget clothing to arts and crafts to many different kinds of Chinese and foreign cuisines. From the square, several main streets fan out to different areas of the city.
Since Zhengzhou was handpicked to serve as a transportation hub - and does not have a very long history as a large city - the urban planning is more noticeable here than in other places of China. This means there is plenty of green space, tree-lined streets and logical arrangement to the city.
Zhengzhou is relatively spread out, but most sites are accessible by public bus, which costs generally ¥1 per ride.
A recent addition to the public transport network is a modern, clean subway line, travelling across the city from east to west in both directions. More lines are currently under construction.
Taxi fares begin at ¥8 in the day, and ¥10 late at night (after 10 pm), with each kilometer after the second costing ¥1.5. All taxis are metered but sometimes the drivers will try to cheat foreigners.
- Erqi (February 7) Memorial Tower. Museum inside a rather garish double pagoda that looms over February 7 Square. Inside there are exhibits explaining the city's development. edit
- Shang Dynasty Ruins (商城遗址/shāngchéng yízhǐ), Shangcheng Road (Half a kilometer northeast of Dongdajie Metro Station.). 8 am to 5 pm. You can see remants of the wall in the east side of town. This city wall, which is now a tall-dirt wall, dates back to the second millenium BCE. From that point of view, this part of the wall is definitely worth a while to scrutinize. A hundred meters east of the front gate of the ruins is more remnants of the Shang-era-city wall. Enter through the gate to the Shangcheng Bonsai Garden (商城盆景园/shāngchéngpénjǐngyuán); the gate is open 24-7. The path will split in two: left is up some steps to the top the city wall, where you can walk for a bit, and straight ahead is the path to the quaint bonsai gardens. If the care taker is around you can talk a walk through the gardens. 3 yuan for admission to the Shang Dynasty Ruins. edit
- Shaolin Temple (少林寺; Shàolínsì), (In Song Mountains, about two hours from Zhengzhou, buses leave opposite the train station every 20-30 minutes all morning. Many of the bus tickets are actually tours, that may spend most of the day at auxilary sites or eating lunch instead of the Shaolin complex, these tours do not include entrance fees, try to make sure you are going on a direct bus, or hire a van, if you want to see it on your own). Famous for its connection to Shaolin Kung Fu. edit
- Northern Song Dynasty imperial tombs(北宋皇陵) Northern Song Dynasty imperial mausoleum is located in Gongyi City, West Village, Zhida, downtown, Huiguo town area, the Nine Emperor, except the emblem, chin two emperor Jin Binglu to die of five outside the city, the remaining seven emperor and Zhao Hongyin ( Zhao Kuangyin's father ) were buried in Gongyi, known as the" seven emperor of eight hills", plus the empresses and the prince, Wang Sun and wilder, Cai Qi, Kou Zhun, Bao Zheng, Zhao Pu, Yangliulang hero 's total nearly1000mausoleum.
- Henan Provincial Museum (河南省博物馆/hénán shěng bówùguǎn), Nongye Road (农业路; Nóngyèlù) (In the north part of the city). This monolithic pyramid-shaped museum is worth a visit. Learn about ancient civilizations in the area (most of which were not based in Zhengzhou, but nearby cities such as Kaifeng and Luoyang), and even see a dinosaur bone or two in the area. If you are into modern art, this is not the place for you. It generally has acceptable squat toilets on the first floor. There is an English audio tour you can rent, and there are cheap lockers to store your stuff. Come to see old pottery from the Song dynasty, old bells, bronzes, things like that, but anything more recent does not have English captions. Note: As of 2016, the museum is under renovation. Enter through the west gate, as the front gate is closed. The main building is closed, but an annex with the highlights of the museum's collection is open. Admission is free, but you may be asked to show your passport in order to get a free ticket. edit
- Henan Museum of Science and Technology (河南科技博物馆). Fascinating insight into Chinese children's education. Play on crumbling science exhibits, gawk at the garish space tributes and meet local families. ¥5. edit
- Yellow River Museum(黄河博物馆)Located in the City Road No. 4, built in 1955, is based in the Yellow River as the theme of the natural science museum. To build a house for more than forty years, by domestic and foreign audience praise.You can take 101,9,26,27,66,86,87,208 bus to there directly, and the ticket is free.
Parks and nature
- Yellow River Scenic Area (黄河风景区), (Take a bus #16 from Zhengzhou Railway Station, the trip takes 1h20min, 5 RMB). 8AM-6PM. Scenic area consisting of five scenic spots, Five Dragons Peak, Camel Mountain Range, Yueshan Temple, Stone Figures, and the Ancient City of Liubang and Xiangyu. Entrance fee is 60 RMB or 96 RMB including cable car. ¥30. edit
- Zhengzhou Zoo, 郑州动物园. More depressing than it is impressive in any way. Some of their imported animals include kangaroos and emus from Australia, as well as turkeys and coyotes which might be interesting for a local but hardly for a foreigner. The park is nicely landscaped, and directions to the various displays are clearly displayed in both Chinese and English. There is also a sizeable amusement park with many different rides, including a modest roller coaster. There is also a cable car ride across the zoo, at a cost of 20 yuan return, providing a more birds-eye view of some of the animal enclosures. If you generally enjoy zoos, however, you may very well walk away sad at how the animals are cared for, or not in this case. Nevertheless, some construction work currently underway holds promise of perhaps better habitats for some of the animals. edit
- Renmin Park (人民公园; Rénmíngōngyuán), Erqi Road. Has a theme park inside with a quaint Ferris Wheel that is worth riding. edit
- Century Park (Shirchiquanleyuan), (20-30 minutes away from the Erqi square). Another park worth going to. It is quite a huge amusement park. Be aware most rides have a 90kg limit for anyone using them, sometimes staff can be strict and refuse to let you ride even after you have paid to get in. edit
- Emperor Palace Aka Yunyan temple, located37 kilometers southwest of Zhengzhou City, the eastern city of Xinmi on the northern shore of Lake Wuding, was Xuanyuan Huang Di, a palace Zhudian training military, a study of eight maps place, known as the" human ancestor of the Chinese Shrine"," the best in all the land sector".
You can spend an enjoyable day in Zhengzhou exploring one of its parks, visiting a museum, or going shopping. A possible evening might involve eating at a Sichuan or Henanese restaurant, buying a bottle of Dynasty wine, socializing with the local clientele, and then rounding off the evening at a KTV bar.
- Museum Area. One thing worth knowing about is that the museum area is also the area of the two branches of government - federal and communist - so the area is much nicer. We are talking trees and some flowers along with a more neighborhood feel that might remind you of Shanghai. Do not expect wild nightclubs, but it is a more pleasant place to be if you are looking for a walk. Erqilou is fine, but a bit dirty, so see this other side of Zhengzhou if you get a chance. Also, some nice places to eat are in this area. edit
- In the north western part of the city, south of the Donggengqu River, there are still streets completely shaded by impressive trees. The entire city was this way until the 90s, when road widening projects removed many of the trees. On a warm day, a shaded stroll can be quite comfortable, especially if your hotel has no air conditioning. Hongqi Road is a nice play to walk and stop for lunch and a beer. Go with the local Red-Star Beer. It's pretty good. The locals are very friendly, but don't let them sell you a Budweiser.
- If you have the opportunity, try to find some Yu Opera. It is the famous local music Henan Provence is famous for. Even if you do not speak the language, the melodies are pleasant.
Large department stores and international brands tend to be concentrated around Erqi (February 7) Square. Two of the major department stores are Kingbird (金博大) and Beijing Hualien (北京华联), which are next to each other. Both stores have supermarkets in their basements. A short walk away are two new, modern shopping plazas, Mixc and David Plaza. There is an ice-skating rink on the 5th floor of David Plaza, with a western-style hamburger store alongside it. The burgers here are to die for!
Some of the most interesting gifts can be purchased at the city's antique market. Most of the shop owners will have a calculator handy so you can bargain by typing in prices. Consider that you got a good deal if you pay half of what they originally quoted. The people are friendly but many of the shops sell fake antiques made to look old. Nevertheless there are interesting items that will decorate your walls or look great on a stand back at home. You can even impress your friends by telling them you bought them an antique from China.
Some of the small shops sell real antiquities. You'll know when you're buying one because the prices will rise dramatically from about ¥100 or less for fake goods to well over ¥5,000 for the real deal.
If you are a collector, China will not let foreigners take antiques out of the country that are over 200 years old or possibly even more recent items depending on their cultural value.
Western goods are available at Walmart near the centre of the city. There is also a Carrefour supermarket, also near the city centre. If things cannot be found in either of these supermarkets, if you can get access (you may need a business account), there is a large METRO Cash & Carry in the Zhengdong International Logistics Park (a map may be found here  ). This has many western goods. There are also supermarkets in the New Shanghai Mall and Mixc Plaza in the city centre (Erqi) which have many western goods such as cereal, baked beans, butter and cheese - however, these are very expensive.
There is nowhere you can buy fresh milk in Zhengzhou, but most supermarkets stock various brands of UHT long-life milk. Some imported brands can be purchased from Carrefour and Walmart supermarkets.
There is a technology market on the south west corner of Dongfeng and Wenhua Roads. Most of the items being sold are a little older, but the visit is a great deal of fun, like out of a Gibson novel.
As of 2015, the technology market became more of a market with hundreds of small shops selling computers, mobile phones, tablets and other electronics. Only one or two people on all of the floors actually repair anything.
Make sure you know where your wallet is at all times. There are some unsavory characters in the markets. This is, in fact, true of Zhengzhou in general, which has a reputation for pickpockets. Buses are especially risky. Keep your wallet in your front pocket.
Zhengzhou has a diverse array of fine Chinese cuisine. Its location at China's center means you can find almost any type of Chinese food here. The city is big enough to have a scattering of cosmopolitan restaurants, and while there are a number of Korean, Japanese, Indian, and Western options about, you will do best to stick with Chinese food.
There is the usual assortment of dumpling shops and noodle joints on every street and back alley.
There is a good number of Sichuan restaurants, which makes sense considering the proximity to the Province of Spice.
You should not miss a special breakfast in Zhengzhou (hulatang), it is a special soup, a little spicy. You better go to Shunhelu where you will find the best hulatang in town.
Noodles, especially the mutton noodle (羊肉烩面; yangrouhuimian) and beef noodle (牛肉拉面; niuroulamian) are must-eat in Zhengzhou. There are three good yangrouhuimian restaurants with many locations, ask a taxi driver to take you the nearest one, and you will tast the best delicilous huimian in zhengzhou:
Other cheap eating places include:
- Night market in Erqi (Feburary 7) Square. A good place for a snack and scenery. edit
Some of the finest Chinese restaurants are located on Jingsan Road (经三路). To find these restaurants, ask a taxi driver to take you to Xiaonanguo Restaurant and just look around. You will find a number of options about:
- Xiaonanguo (小南国), 经三路北16号. Excellent restaurant featuring regional dishes from all over China. edit
- Tudali, (Near the corner of Wenhua Road and Huanghe Road). Korean-style eating and drinking establishment. If you have an affinity for soju, this is the place for you. edit
- Korean Barbeque, (Corner of JingBa Lu and RenZhaiBeiJie). Korean Barbeque. Laidback atmosphere enables soju drinking to be taken to another level Good Food, decent prices. edit
Muslim: Halal food is available all throughout Zhengzhou, with the banner on the entrance board saying Mata'am al muslimeen(Restaurant of the muslims) in Arabic. The food tastes delicious. Once you go and eat at these restaurants you just feel like coming back again, especially those yangrou chuars (lamb kababs) taste yummy:
- Muslim Restaurant, Erqi Square (Near the mosque and Beijing Hualian Mall). edit
- Crowne Plaza. A good place for Western cuisine with an Italian restaurant and a Western-style pub. It offers a buffet during dinner including Brazillian Rodizio and a desert bar. There is also a smattering of pizza and pasta joints called Cappuccino around the city. edit
- New Island Coffee. Serves a plethora of dishes including Waffles and fajita style meat plate alongside a smattering of coffee and deserts and has several locations throughout Zhengzhou. edit
- Cibo Coffee, Jinsan Road. Among the best Western restaurants in the city. You can order Chinese food by the plate or Western food like steak in set meals with many courses. Each plate is a small portion but overall the set meals are a great deal, for ¥75-200 you get many plates of very good food. Make sure to ask for the dishes to come one at a time for the best dining experience. edit
- Toscana Cafe, Weilai Road at Wei Wu Road, Jin Jiang Garden, ☎ 0371 - 65628899. 11:00 am - 11:00 pm. A very good Italian style restaurant in North-eastern Zhengzhou. Considering the owner and staff have never been outside of Zhengzhou or China, it is pretty decent food, and not badly priced. Lasagna noodles are made in house and they have recently hired an American Chef to try to help them become "more authentic". He recently updated the Caesar Salad dressing, and it is well worth a try! ¥40 - ¥200 RMB. edit
- ZAX BBQ, Dongfeng Lu (东风路) and Wenbo Dong (East) Lu (文博东路) at Lanbaowan Pedestrian Street (蓝堡湾贵人街), ☎ 0371 - 55631914. Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm, Dinner: 6:00pm - 10:00pm, Bar: 11:30am-Late. Open since October 2013, ZAX BBQ was inspired by a local girl's trip to her American husband's hometown in Atlanta, GA, USA. Bringing back his family's recipes and his barbecue pit skills, ZAX BBQ offers a selection of Southern American classics, like slow-smoked ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, grilled burgers, chicken wings, authentic salads, fries, and a full bar. They've recently renovated and expanded, adding pizza to the menu as well. The full menu is available at http://www.dianping.com/shop/15880311 ¥35 - ¥200 RMB. edit
.Skyfruit Coffee and Restaurant. A mexican is working in this place, and some authentic mexican dishes are offered here(Papa Asada, Corn Mexican Salad, Brocheta of Shrimp, Rajas de Chile, etc) Address 河南省郑州市郑东新区正光北街与民生东街交汇处 * 向天果西餐咖啡 *，450018，0371-65953666
There are bars around the city, but the best area for drinking is around the tree-lined Weiyi Road:
- Target Pub, On the southernmost block of Jingliu Road (经六路) near the corner of Weiyi Road (伟一路). Old ex-pat favorite. Lao Wang, who speaks great English, is the proprietor of this staple Zhengzhou dive bar. Tsingtao 15kuai, Foreign beers from 20kuai and mixed drinks from around 35 edit
- Tao Bar, Near the corner of Jin Shui Lu and Jing Qi Lu. Tao Bar - Lively new bar opened near the corner Jin Shui Lu and Jing Qi Lu. Hosts pub quiz on Tuesday nights starting at 20:30. edit
- Bird Bar, On Jing Qi Lu, a ways off Jin Shui Lu, the main road. Bird Bar - Small bar on Jing qi Lu. Laid-back mood, fooseball, etc. edit
- Master Gao's Microbrewery, Dong Feng lu and Feng Qing Road 500 meter's north, behind Big Bear BBQ (东风路丰庆路岔口往北500米，建业老房子D区3号 (东风路丰庆路岔口往北）, ☎ 0371-86012300. 6 pm onwards. The only microbrewery that makes decent micro-brewered beers in Henan. Have more than 50 international bottled beers and three to five beers brewed on the brewery. Expect IPA,porter and beers using Tibetan grains. Prices for beers brewed in the brewery are from RMB 38 to RMB 58. Happy hour (two for the price of one) is from 6 pm to 8 pm, Monday through Sunday (only those on tap). RMB 35 Onwards. edit
- Western Pub, Nongye Road (To the right of the Henan Provincial Museum). For an unusual drinking experience, consider this pub, located in a bunker-like concrete building. This place features a cabaret-style show with a mix of song, dance, and jokes. Unless you understand Chinese, it will be mostly incomprehensible, yet the experience will give you insight into Chinese drinking culture. The place is noisy, smoky, crowded, and occasionally bizarre. You can order half-a-dozen or so bottles of beer by the bucket. Try to get there early, around 7PM, as the show ends around 10 or 11PM. This building also houses one of Zhengzhou's movie theaters. edit
- Beer Factory, Weiyi Road. Next to Target Pub, there is a fairly new bar called Beer Factory. It has a large selection of different beers from around the world. It also has a very friendly staff, who can speak English particularly well. The bartenders here are able to mix many different drinks for you, including a really good whiskey sour. Definitely worth a visit!! edit
Zhengzhou is not a major backpacker stop, so there are few cheap lodgings in the city. That said, there are some hotels that offer real value for money if you are more than two people. As with most Chinese cities, there are several a bit run down hotels to be found near the train station. These might be your cheapest options. Most likely English is not spoken but you can get a room for ¥50 or even cheaper if there are two people splitting a bill for a double room. Bargain, especially if you are staying more than one night.
- Erqi Hotel, (Right in the main square). This hotel might be a little loud at night. Full service rooms are about ¥250, budget rooms with shared bathroom for ¥150 (can be hard to get). edit
- Guangzhou Hotel, Erqi Road (Near the corner of Jinshui Road). Caters toward business travelers. Doubles start at around ¥240 with a discount. edit
- Home Hotel. Chain of business hotels scattered about the city. Their rooms are clean and have a style that invokes a SoHo loft more than a Chinese hotel. edit
- Home Inn, Jiefang Road (解放路) (short walk from Erqi Square). This is your best bet on a budget hotel. It is a relatively new chain with several locations around town. This listing is the most centrally located. Another good location is on Zhengyi Steet (政一街) near Jinshui Road (金水路). The rooms are super-clean with tile and laminate floors and a fresh coat of paint. Complimentary high-speed Internet hookups are installed in all the rooms. A standard going for around ¥180, breakfast buffet for ¥10. edit
- Jinjiang Inn (锦江之星/jǐnjiāngzhīxīng), 92 Hongqi Road (红旗路92号/hóngqílù jiǔshí'èr hào), ☎ 037165819999. Double rooms have one large and one standard bed. There is another branch on 46 Zhonghanghailu. ¥159-220. edit
- Londoo Hotel, Erqi Street (Close to Erqi Sq). Massive Chinese-style business hotel with well-worn carpets and paper-thin walls, but otherwise functional. A discounted standard room goes for ¥190. edit
- Holiday Inn, 115 Jinshui Rd, ☎ +86 371 65950055, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 14:00. edit
- Crowne Plaza, 115a Jinshui Rd, ☎ +86 371 65950055, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 14:00. edit
- Kaifeng is a laid-back town about 90 minutes to the east of Zhengzhou. Enjoy ancient temples and an escape from Chinese skyscrapers. Kaifeng was the capital of several dynasties before it slid into irrelevance the last 200 years.
- Another great city nearby by is Luoyang, home to the Longmen Grottoes. The city itself is worth a look, with an interesting old section and easy walking downtown. It's about three hours by bus, which leave Zhengzhou every hour or so. An express - the "elephant bus" or kuai che - costs ¥40.
- Yuzhou is a small and relatively undeveloped city, off the main rail network, but well worth a visit to see the Jun Royal Kiln Museum and to get an insight into life in Henan off the tourist trail. One and a half hours by bus, and very walkable once you get there.
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