'''Shijiazhuang''' (石家庄; Shíjiāzhuāng) is the capital of [[Hebei]] Province.
According to the latest census figures, Shijiazhuang has a population of 2.19 million in the city proper, with a further 7.4 million people living in its 20 affiliated counties.
It's a modern city that's in the process of building many new apartment buildings, shopping malls and
just renewing it's image.
People are very friendly, it's easy to get around and it's a good place to teach English or study Chinese.
Flights to different destinations have become more convenient since local low-cost airline Spring Airlines [http://www.springairlines.com] established a base at Shijiazhuang airport in early 2011. Daily flights on Spring Airlines depart for [[Xiamen]], [[Chengdu]], [[Dalian]], [[Shanghai]], [[Shenyang]], [[Hohhot]], [[Nanjing]] and [[Guangzhou]], with flights to [[Hong Kong]] three times weekly. Spring Airlines provides a free airport shuttle bus from Shijiazhuang (as well as the surrounding cities of [[Baoding]], [[Hengshui]], [[Xingtai]], and [[Cangzhou]]) for all Spring passengers as the airport is located about an hour outside of downtown Shijiazhuang. Lots of travellers also elect to take the train to Beijing and fly from there due to extra flight options, connecting by the express trains (2 hrs to and from Beijing).
Shijiazhuang is one of the largest railway hubs in China, and so there are many trains to and from Shijiazhuang. The
express train to Beijing is two hours.
D trains leave regularly from the train station and from the smaller Shijiazhuang North train station. Second Class is 86¥ and First Class is 103¥ to Beijing West Train Station if you purchase at the train station. If you use one of the many train ticket offices, expect to pay a 5¥ surcharge per ticket, but it is faster and the prices for all cities are posted on the walls (including all style of seat). The sign is in Chinese though.
Buses in Shijiazhuang, as in any large city in China, are frequent and cheap: just ¥1 for a journey, whatever the distance.
Taxis are plentiful and, again, will seem to Western travelers almost laughably inexpensive, with the flag-drop often just ¥5 or so and a delay rate of ¥1.60 per five minutes. Between 1600 and 1900, don't bother looking for a taxi.
There are a number of sightseeing places in the area, both natural and historic. Most are not located within the city proper.
Within the city proper=== * <see name="Hebei Provincial Museum" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">This is a must see and contains expositions from two major discoveries of the recent decades: the tomb of King of Zhongshan (中山王) from the late 4th century BCE, and the royal tombs of prince and princess of the Han principality of Zhongshan (Mancheng 满城 Han tombs) from the late 2nd century BCE.</see>
* <see name="Pilu Monastery" alt="毗庐寺; Pílúsì; also known as Vairocana Monastery" address="" directions="Shanjing Village in the northwestern suburbs of Shijiazhuang, bus 115 or 204 from the Railway Station will take you there" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="¥20">Built in the Tang dynasty and underwent major restorations under the Yuan and Ming dynasties. The main hall (Vairocana Hall; 毗庐殿; Pílúdiàn) contains a stone pedestal with excellent Tang carvings as well as murals from the Yuan-Ming period, some of which are truly magnificent (if you have the luck to visit when the sunlight is good enough to observe the details).</see>
* <see name="Martyrs' Memorial" alt="Lieshi Lingyuan" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax" " url="" hours="" price="">Dedicated to Norman Bethune, Eric Liddell and Dwarkanath Kotnis.</see>
* A great park to walk around in is the Chang'an Park （长安公园）. It's a great people-watching park. Chinese men get together and play games, woman dance, and there are lots of babies toddling around. The park is actually four parks in one with an underground mall near the entrance (where the giant white statue of Mao Zedong is located).
* There are quite a few parks in the city. It's nice to walk around different ones in a day or afternoon. Locals are quite friendly and very interested to know where you're from (if you look approachable). Chang'an, Century and Zhongshan Parks are the biggest and most widely used.
===Southern direction=== * <see name="Zhaozhou Bridge" alt="" address="Zhao County (赵县; Zhàoxiàn)" directions="Bus from the southern Nanjiao Station (南焦客运站; Nánjiāo Kèyùnzhàn; which can be riched by bus 35 from the Central Railway Station) to Zhao County or, better, to Ningjin County (宁晋县; Níngjìnxiàn), get off the bus at the junction from which it is 1km walk" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="¥30 including the museum"><A great masterpiece of Chinese civil engineering. Created around 600 CE under the Sui dynasty, it survived numerous floods and earthquakes, and is considered nowadays as the oldest stone single arch bridge in the world. Adjacent small museum with a collection of stone carvings, steles and statues from the vicinity of Zhou County.</see> * <see name="Bolin Monastery" alt="柏林寺; Bólínsì" address="Zhao County (赵县; Zhàoxiàn)" directions="In Zhao County proper, 3km from Zhaozhou Bridge and can be reached by the same buses" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Large monastery, dating back to the Tang dynasty.</see> ===Western direction===* <see name="Cangyan Mountain" alt="苍岩山; Cāngyánshān" address="" directions="90 minutes drive from Shijiazhuang, bus from the western Xiwang Station (西王客运站; Xīwáng Kèyùnzhàn; reached by bus 9 from the Central Bus Station)" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Really beautiful, picture postcard temples built on the steep hillsides. There is a pavilion built on a bridge over a gorge that was filed in the final scenes of the Oscar winning film ''Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon''. Looking down at the Cangyan Mountains, two mountains stand facing each other from east to west, and one chain of mountains lie across their back from north to south, with the Fuqing temple built in the valley formed by the precipices and cliffs. The mountains are more than one thousand steep high, so that it is cold in the valley with the wind blowing; There are jagged rocks of grotesque shape at the bottom of ravines and the stream is gurgling; In the valley the trees are verdant and the green grass is luxuriant; The old sandalwoods depend on the cliff , twisting and curling like dragons; The plank road is winding, and the temple is hung up in the air; The cloud and mist are surging under the bridge hall, and the red wall shines through the green clumps.</see>
* <see name="Shitou Village" alt="石头村; Shítoucūn; lit. Stone Village; also known as Yujia Village (于家村; Yújiācūn)" address="" directions="20km from Jingxing
County and can be visited en route to the Cangyan Mountain" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">A perfect example of Chinese stone architecture, with an excellent local temple (Qingliang pavillion; 清凉阁; Qīngliánggé) built in the late Ming-Early Qing period (16th-18th centuries). It may serve as an introduction to popular beliefs of the Chinese peasants.</see>
* <see name="Niangzi Guan" alt="娘子关; Niángziguān" address="" directions="20km east of Shitou Village, a taxi will be ¥80-100 from Shitou Village or Jingxing County (井陉县; Jǐngxíngxiàn), or you can take the train from Shijiazhuang (6414, leaves at 6:38AM, back at 5:59PM)" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">For those who really love old towns. The dusty coalminers' town has two major attractions: a small but impressive section of the internal Great Wall, separating Shanxi from Hebei, a site of major battles from the sixth century on; and a beautiful village built on a stream, with private watermills run by many villagers (ask for Shuishangrenjia; 水上人家; Shuǐshàngrénjiā).</see>
* <see name="Ancient town of Zhengding" alt="正定; Zhèngdìng" address="" directions="15km north of Shijiazhuang, bus 201 or 31 from the Railway Station" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Features numerous beautiful sites, most specifically the Longxing Temple (隆兴寺), built in the Tang dynasty, which features a huge 22m high bronze Buddha statue donated by the Song emperor in the 11th century. It is also home to four unique ancient pagodas. </see>
There are some well-equipped leisure centers, especially the luxury bathing centers.
There is a new mall located on the east side of the city called the Wan Da Mall. It is on Huai An Lu, one block east of century park, on the north side of the street. It has a Starbucks, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and KFC. It also has a movie theatre with an IMAX screen, as well as many clothing stores which are reasonably priced. Shijiazhuang is home to three of China's top 10 wholesale markets, which makes it is a good place great bargains. Be prepared to haggle, either yourself or with a friend! There are also a number of very large modern western-style department stores. They seem to be everywhere, including an Old Navy shop at a mall. Prices are a bit more expensive than US stores, but almost as good. * <buy name="Bei Guo Centre" alt="" address="" directions="In the middle of the city, just down the road from Chang'An Park" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">The biggest western-style department store.</buy> The "You Mall" at Bei Guo Centre is very nice. Lots of little shops with clothing, accessories and various trinkets. Mostly for women. Nice food court on top floor (see "food card" system below). The new "Wonder Mall" opened in summer 2010 and has a theater, large department store and a really nice, clean food court, although the food was mediocre. It also has a Starbucks opening soon (expected October 2011)
Xin Bai Centre offers more shopping, as does Dong Fang Commercial Center.
Behind and near Dong Fang are EGO, Tai He and Nan San Tiao, for wholesale shopping. Beware:
Most merchandise is pirated or rip- offs so make certain they work first.
* <eat name="Hebei House" alt="" address="" directions="" phone=""
email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""> For a fantastic authentic Chinese feast you cannot go past this restaurant.</eat>
* <eat name="Rehehuiguan Restaurant" alt="热河会馆; Rèhéhuìguǎn" address="" directions="Just opposite the railway station (slightly to the south)" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Features excellent Hebei and Manchu cuisine.</eat>
The good citizens of Shijiazhuang enjoy the Chinese alcohol made from rice ''baijiu'', or white spirit. It is a strong drink and you need to develop an acquired taste. You will surely get to try some whenever you eat out with Chinese friends.
* <drink name="Youth Year Beer Bar" alt="also known as McDonald's Bar" address="Zhongshan Road" directions="Next to McDonald's (just tell the taxi driver ''Maidanglau Zhongshanlu'' and you should get there), it is in the far right hand corner of the bottom floor of Changan Guangchang" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">The main bar for expats and foreign teachers.</drink> * <drink name="Seven Club" alt="Qi Jiuba" address="" directions="West of the train station" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">The main night club that all the expats and foreign teachers go to. The beer is not great but it has the best atmosphere compared to any other club.</drink>
*<drink name="mazzo club" alt="" address="zhongshan lu" directions="two km east of train station" phone="" url="" hours="20:00" price="04:00" lat="" long="">newest club/KTV in Shijiazhuang. Located between the train station and Bei Guo Shopping Center on Zhongshan Lu. Sister club is Rolling Stones （滚石酒吧: pinyin: gun shi jiu ba） and its adjoining club Club No.88 (八八酒吧: pinyun - ba ba jiu ba), just down the street toward the train station.
There are two internet bars and a movie theater within a five minute walk, along with three more KTVs and western and Chinese restaurants, as well as a sushi restaurant.</drink>
For some odd reason, all the hotels that are located near the train station do not allow foreigners to stay (probably a bureaucratic reason). Ask the taxi driver to take you to the Home Inn that is not near the train station. Also it might be worth checking out one of the Universities and seeing if they have any accommodation.
There's a Home Inn about 3 blocks from the train station that allows foreigners. It's pretty clean.
In the Cangyan Shan region, there is no places to stay for foreigners. One may be able to register with the police ahead of time but it is a chancy business. This may be in effect for all of Hebei province. *<sleep name= "Hoton Hotel" alt= "" address= "Zhongshan Dong Lu/ Jianshe Da Jie" directions= "two KM east of train station" phone= "" url= "" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">five star hotel that rents to foreigners and is located on at least ten major bus lines. Major shopping centers and a China Post are within falling distance of the hotel. Major park (Chang'an Park) across the street. </sleep>
Across the street from the train station is a hostel for those backpackers looking for a very cheap place to stay . Huo Che Zhan is the middle of the city and most buses pass the train station, or end at the train station.