Tangshan (唐山; Tángshān) is a city in Hebei.
Tangshan was known for the 1976 earthquake that measured 7.8 on the richter scale that killed 255,000 residents. The city has since been rebuilt and is now the richest in Hebei province.
There is a small airport with domestic fights only. There are two train stations: the main train station which is located in the city center (Tangshan Station; 唐山火车站 Tángshān huǒchē zhàn) and the other train station (Tangshan North; 唐山北 Tángshān běi) in Fengrun, located roughly 24 kilometers from the city center. Take bus K3 to travel between train stations, which costs 5RMB. The journey is roughly 40 minutes.
To go to Tangshan North Station from the main road (Jianshe Road), you can take bus 114 to Fengrun's bus station stop (汽车站 qìchē zhàn) for 3-5RMB (price fluctuates depending on the season and if you take the express bus), and from there take a motocab for no more than 5 RMB to the train station, or cross the street and take bus 111 for 1-2RMB.
Directions to bus station from train station:
From Tangshan Station - upon exiting the train station, turn left and walk a few minutes. The name of the bus station is 唐山长途汽车西站 (Tángshān chángtú qìchē xī zhàn).
From Tangshan North Station - upon exiting the train station, take bus 111 on the same side of the road as the train station. Get off at 丰润汽车站 (Fēngrùn qìchē zhàn). Walking down the long road opposite the train station is also an option, as the bus station is at the very end of it on the right.
The city buses' fares are usually 1 or 2 RMB. Public bus transportation stops running after 21:30.
With most of the beauty and cultural sites far from the Tangshan city center, the cheapest way to travel around Tangshan's counties and districts would be to make use of its public buses. For example, to see any of the remote sections of the Great Wall, you would save hundreds of yuan taking a bus from the long distance bus station to Zunhua, Qianxi or Qian'an and then transferring to another bus or hiring a taxi when you arrive there, as opposed to taking a taxi straight from the city center. The distance from the city center to any sections of Tangshan's Great Wall are easily around 100 kilometers, if not more.
In Qianxi and Qian'an, most sections of the Great Wall are anywhere from 35 to 45 kilometers away from the bus station. 80RMB is a fair price for a one-way ride. In Zunhua, sections of the Great Wall can be anywhere from 10 to 45 kilometers away from the bus station, so haggle accordingly.
Within the greater Tangshan area are a total of 13 cities, counties, and districts. The city center is made up of two districts, Lubei (路北) and Lunan (路南).
Tangshan City Center (唐山市中心)
- Earthquake Memorial (抗震纪念馆 Kàngzhèn jìniànguǎn) - located at the epicenter of the earthquake and adjacent to Wanda Plaza is a memorial monument (complete with Communist jingoism inscription in English) and a museum that focuses on the larger Tangshan area (unfortunately, not in English). Hidden within the park next to the memorial is a large bust statue of Li Dazhao. Entrance to the museum is free but you need to provide a form of ID for a ticket.
- Earthquake Ruins Park (唐山地震遗址公园 Tángshān dìzhèn yízhǐ gōngyuán） - a memorial with huge monoliths of the names of all the 255,000 people who died during the earthquake. A museum with detailed information in Chinese and English concerning the earthquake, its effects on daily life for the Tangshan people and the recovery of the city as a whole is also in the vicinity, as well as ruins of an old steel mill left standing from the earthquake.
- South Lake (南湖 Nánhú) - Tangshan's largest park is massive and contains a small amusement park within it as well as the eponymous South Lake, which is hailed as being twice as large as the famous West Lake in Hangzhou. In 2016, South Lake Park is the site for the 2016 International Horticulture Expo, which will run from April to October.
- Phoenix Hill and Big City Hill (凤凰山 Fènghuáng shān 大城山 Dacheng shan) - two parks which are close to each other and bustling with the elderly in the morning. Nice views of the city can be seen from the hills' peaks. A large Buddhist monastery is very close to the entrance of Big City Hill. Tangshan Zoo is also located within Big City Hill.
- Kailuan National Mine Park (开滦国家矿山公园 Kāiluán guójiā kuàngshān gōngyuán) - Originally opened as a mine in 1878, it has since been converted into a museum (with English) and includes a lackluster underground tour. Ticket price for the museum and underground tour together is an undeservedly steep 120RMB. Address: 路南区新华东道54号 (Lùnán qū xīnhuá dōngdào 54 hào) Hours of Operation: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 11:30 in the morning and 2:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon, closed Mondays.
- Jidong Martyrs' Cemetery (冀东烈士陵园 Jìdōng lièshì língyuán) - opened in 1958, this cemetery is dedicated to the fallen soldiers from the War of Resistance Against Japan. Aside from the obelisk centerpiece, there are also gravestones made in the shape of books, busts of martyrs, and the memorial hall is open from April 5th (a ceremony is held here every year on that date) throughout the summer. Opening times are unstable; if the gate is closed ask for the guardsman to open it. Address: 路南区陵园路12号 (Lùnán qū língyuán lù 12 hào).
Fengrun District (丰润区)
- Cao Xueqin Park ( 曹雪芹公园 Cáo Xuěqín gōngyuán) - Fengrun claims to be the birthplace of the famous writer Cao Xueqin, most well-known for his work 'Dream of the Red Chamber'. Within the park is a statue of Cao Xueqin, a large mansion recreated from the details of Cao's novel, a river where you can rent a paddleboat, and a square for dancing. For residents of Fengrun, this is the place to go at night - activities range from dancing, whipping, jump rope, laser tag and rollerblading (in summer). In winter, you can skate on the ice or ride a vehicle on the frozen river.
- Temple Pagoda (天宫寺塔 Tiāngōng sìtǎ) - originally built in 1055 and restored a number of times over the years, this sleek, 24 meter tall Buddhist pagoda is now at the center of a park. During the summer nights, the area is particularly lively with lots of outdoor KTVs and street food vendors. Located near the long distance bus station.
- Yandong Ecology Sightseeing Park (燕东生态观光园 Yàndōng shēngtài guānguāng yuán) - opened in 2002, this large park has a Buddhist temple on top of a hill, a small zoo called Monkey Mountain, and rowboating on a small river, among others. Best time to visit would be spring or summer to stroll through the strawberry fields. On the lunar calendar's 28th day of the eighth month every year there is a fruit picking festival. Directions: Take bus 119 to get there.
- Thousand Buddhas Mountain (千佛山 Qian fo shan) - a surprisingly scenic Buddhist monastery covered over a large area. The main attractions of the monastery are four Thousand Handed Buddha statues as well as a reclining Buddha, which is rare in China. Arrive early and enjoy a free, vegetarian lunch in silence with the monks at 11AM everyday.
- Qingming River Scene Recreation (麻龙湾清明上河图泥塑园 Má lóngwān qīngmíng shànghétú nísù yuán) - a real life recreation of the famous painting 'Riverside Scene During Qingming Festival' with over 200 life-sized clay sculptures.
- Panjiayu (潘家峪 Pānjiāyù) - truly a diamond in the rough, this village has a memorial hall to the massacre that happened here on Chinese New Year's Eve in 1941 inflicted by Japanese soldiers, but is now more popular among Fengrun locals for every road being lined up with grapes hanging overhead (in every season except winter).
- Juxian Valley (聚仙谷 Jùxiān gǔ) - a gorge that has a small waterfall in summer and was also the location of Japanese soldiers killing villagers, the most famous being a cave where soldiers poison gassed a mother and child. Hours: 8AM to 5PM. Ticket price is 30RMB. Located roughly 40 kilometers from Fengrun's urban area.
- Wu Liang Pavilion on Chezhoushan (车轴山无梁阁 Chēzhóu shān wú liáng gé) - located 10 kilometers south of Fengrun's urban area, it was originally built in the Liao dynasty roughly 1000 years ago. A unique three-tiered Buddhist temple and pagoda, now they are within the premises of a middle school (the school itself dates back a little over 100 years).
Yutian County (玉田县)
- Jingjue Temple (净觉寺 Jìngjué sì) - perhaps the most ancient Buddhist temple still in use in the greater Tangshan area, it was built over 1,000 years ago in the Tang Dynasty. In 1723, the temple was expanded and renovated as it is seen today. Although it received some damage during the Cultural Revolution and 1976 earthquake, repair began in 1979 and so it stands to this day. Something unique about the temple is a hall depicting gruesome punishments in the afterlife for sinners. Ticket price: 20RMB.
- Zhongyu of the Ancients (古人种玉处 Gǔrén zhǒng yù chù) - located on top of a hill with a temple at the base (Máshānsì 麻山寺), legend has it this stone tablet is from the Spring and Autumn period roughly 2,500 years ago. It is also the origin of Yutian's name.
- Caiting Stone Bridge (彩亭石桥 Cǎitíng shíqiáo) - a small bridge built during the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) with some similarity to the famous Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing. According to legend, the bridge's architect was named Yang Caiting which is where the surrounding village and town's name comes from. Located roughly 6 kilometers from the bus station.
- Yutian Clay Figurines (玉田泥人 Yùtián nírén) - although it is not well-known, Yutian has a 200+ year tradition of making clay figurines in the villages of Daijiatun (戴家屯) and Xigaoqiu (西高丘). These figurines are based on historical and mythical characters. It is possible to visit these villages and purchase these unique Tangshan souvenirs.
Zunhua City (遵化市)
- Eastern Qing Tombs (清东陵 Qīngdōnglíng) - this is the biggest attraction in the greater Tangshan area. One of China's UNESCO World Heritage sites, contained within are well-preserved mausoleums of Qing dynasty rulers. Expect to spend an entire day here because it's absolutely massive; the distance between all the mausoleums is so great you have to ride in what is basically a large golf cart to get around. Open from 8AM to 5:30PM. Ticket price: 160RMB.
- Ten Thousand Buddhas Park (万佛园 Wàn fo yuán) - built in 1997 and located near the Eastern Qing Tombs, this temple complex combines the cultures of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism all in one, as well as boasting 'modern garden art'. Phone number: 4000-899-888.
- Shangguan Great Wall (上关长城 Shàngguān chángchéng) - constructed in 1509, part of this Great Wall is located near the Shangguan Lake. A Beijing leader's large residence is also here.
- Great Wall Hunting Grounds (长城狩猎场 Chángchéng shòuliè chǎng) - a shooting range next to Hongshankou Great Wall (洪山口长城), however the government has taken away the guns so all there is left to do now is climb the Great Wall. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Ming dynasty theatre pavilion (戏台) in the village as well. Located 40 kilometers from the bus station.
- Jiufeng Mountain (鹫峰山 Jiùfēngshān) - reaching 880 meters above sea level, this is one of the highest mountains in the greater Tangshan area. Aside from the temples, the Duanyu Great Wall (断欲长城) is also located here. Ticket price: 50RMB.
- Luowenyu Great Wall (罗文裕长城 Luōwényù chángchéng) - only nine kilometers from the bus station, you can simply hail down bus 1 and take it to the terminal station to arrive there.
- Chanlin Temple (禅林寺 Chánlínsì) - located in the mountains of Zunhua, the original temple was built roughly 1,600 years ago, although now it's long gone. Japanese soldiers burnt it down in 1942 but it was rebuilt in 2000. The temple is near Dashiyu (大石峪) Great Wall. Ticket price: 50RMB.
- Shashiyu Village (沙石峪村 Shāshíyù cūn) - a village situated in a rocky place, but due to the diligence of the farmers in the 1960s their harvest was amazing. Later, Premier Zhou Enlai and dignitaries from other countries came here to honor the farmers' industrial spirit. Now, the village has a memorial hall for those farmers, as well as a statue of Zhou Enlai, a mountain embedded with sandstone, friendship trees from Canada and Albania, a tunnel dug through the mountain, and a variety of fruits to pick during summer. Best time to come is during summer to see all the fruit.
Qianxi County (迁西县)
- Jingzhong Mountain (景中山 Jǐngzhōngshān) - a holy mountain and provincial level forest park, it reaches a height of 610 meters above sea level. Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist temples are on the mountain, some of which can be traced back to the Song dynasty. There are temple fairs every year on the lunar calendar dates of April 18th and October 15th. Ticket is 50 kuai.
Lijiaguguan Great Wall near Broadsword Garden
- Xifengxiong Pass Broadsword Garden (喜峰雄关大刀园 Xǐfēng xióngguān dàdāo yuán) - dedicated to the Battle of Xifengkou during the War of Resistance Against Japan, this self-described 'national patriotism education base' also has a section of the Great Wall. Located nearby also is the Xifengkou Great Wall, one of the sections which is underwater. Ticket price is 40 kuai.
- Panjiakou Great Wall (潘家口长城 Pānjiākǒu chángchéng) - go on a boat ride to look at the remains of the Great Wall along the mountains as well as trek up the Xifengkou section of the wall. Located roughly 40 kilometers from the Qianxi bus station. Ticket for the boat ride depends on how many people are on the boat.
- Qingshanguan Great Wall (青山关长城 Qīngshānguān chángchéng) - located a little over 40 kilometers from Qian Xi's bus station. Completed in 1584, it's renowned for its well-preserved water gate and, as alluded to in its name, overflowing greenery in summer. Ticket is 40 kuai.
- Yumuling Great Wall (榆木岭长城 Yúmùlǐng chángchéng) - many of the guard towers are close together and there are no steps which makes it an easy trek, although further on there are towers on the peaks of mountains which offer beautiful views.
- Dalingzhai Great Wall (达岭寨长城 Dálǐngzhài chángchéng) - about 45 kilometers from Qianxi's bus station, this section stretches on for a long time while retaining a path and guard towers. If you want to hike and stay overnight on the Great Wall, this is the one to go to. Dalingzhai village also has a Chairman Mao statue.
- Chengziling Great Wall (城子领长城 Chéngzilǐng chángchéng) - located about 45 kilometers from Qianxi's bus station. At one point a large rock formation appears, making it seemingly impassable from a distance - however, upon closer inspection there's a path you can walk on so you can continue your trek on the Great Wall.
- Xizhai Ruins (西寨遗址 Xī zhài yízhǐ) - starting in 1985, more than 200 pieces of unbroken pottery and 3,500 pieces of stoneware have since been discovered that date back 7,000 years ago. From what can be interpreted by the items, the ancient people that lived here engaged in fishing, hunting and religious activities. Address: Xizhai village, Luoxi Town.
Qian'an City (迁安市)
- Baiyangyu Great Wall (白羊峪长城 Báiyángyù chángchéng) - located in Qian'an city in Dacuizhuang town about 35 kilometers from the Qian'an long distance bus station. Beautiful section of the Great Wall with little maintenance and a charming village. Ticket price is 40 yuan.
- Red Hill Valley (红峪山庄 Hóngyù shānzhuāng) - roughly 35 kilometers from Qian'an bus station, true to its name the area is made up of red hills. A large Buddha head is also built in the middle of it. Behind the hills is the Hongyukou Great Wall. Ticket price is 50 yuan.
- Xuliukou Jiulongquan Scenic Spot (徐流口九龙泉风景区 Xúliúkǒu jiǔlóngquán fēngjǐng qū) - includes a section of Xuliukou Great Wall. Heliukou Great Wall is also not far away.
- Lengkou Great Wall (冷口长城 Lěngkǒu chángchéng) - located 25 kilometers away from the bus station, this section of the Great Wall is unique in that it has a ruined garrison fort and words carved into stone from 1561 about the soldiers here repelling enemies.
- Shanyekou (山叶口 Shānyèkǒu) - a total area of 14 squared kilometers, this area has canyon streams, hills, and lakes to hike across. Geology unique to this area gives it a 'colorful undersea amber' reputation.
- Lingshan (灵山 Língshān) - a sacred mountain with its own legends, there's also a white stupa that was built in the Tang dynasty, reconstructed during the Ming dynasty, and renovated in the Qing dynasty. A path leads to the top of the mountain. Roughly 20 kilometers from the city center.
- Qian'an Museum (迁安博物馆 Qiān'ān bówùguǎn) - located in Qian'an city. The star attraction is a 12,000 year old elephant skeleton, the largest of its kind in China. Includes English captions for some exhibits. Free, but a passport or ID number is necessary for admittance.
- Foshan Park (佛山公园 Fóshān gōngyuán) - amidst all the recently built temples in the area is a 3.3 meters tall rock carving of Buddha dating from the Northern Wei dynasty, roughly 1,500 years ago. Unfortunately, the carving itself is now inside a locked temple (which can be unlocked, just ask one of the monks) built in 2009 and is a bit obscured by typical temple furnishings. Still worth a look if you're in the area. Only five kilometers from the bus station.
- Huang Taishan Park (黄台山公园 Huáng táishān gōngyuán) - just across the bridge from Foshan Park is Huang Taishan Park, which has a large, recently built pagoda (with a small museum inside - no English) and a tall statue of a local warlord from the Han Dynasty, Gong Sunzan.
- Jianchangying Mosque (建昌营清真寺 Jiànchāngyíng qīngzhēnsì) - a modest mosque in Jianchangying town originally built in the late Ming dynasty. Take a bus from Qian'an Bus Station to arrive there.
- Guantoushan Wine Plant (贯头山 Guàntóushān) - a National Industrial Tourism Site, you can take a tour of a baijiu factory in Dawoli town, Guantoushan village. Also includes a wine museum. 0315-7082445/13803328177
Laoting County (乐亭县)
- Li Dazhao Memorial Hall and Former Residence - One of the founders of the Chinese Communisty party, Li Dazhao, was born in Laoting. There are two places to visit - the Memorial Hall (Jìniànguǎn 纪念馆) is not too far from the bus station, maybe 10 kuai for a taxi ride. Li Dazhao's former residence (Gùjū 故居) is located roughly 18 kilometers from the bus station, in Daiheituo Village.
- Moon Island (月坨岛 Yuètuódǎo) - The Moon Island is located in the Bohai Sea. A boat ride to the island is 135 kuai, and a night on the island itself is between 180 to 240 yuan. An exciting alternative to the beaches of Qinhuangdao, at least.
- Repulse Bay (浅水湾 Qiǎnshuǐwān) - if for some reason there are no boats going to the Moon Island, then there's always the beach at Repulse Bay. Roughly 25 kilometers from the center of Laoting, take the bus to Jingtang Port (京唐港) and from there a taxi to the beach should cost 20 kuai.
Tanghai County (唐海县)
- Caofeidian Wetland Park (曹妃甸湿地公园 Cáofēidiān shīdì gōngyuán) - located on the northern shore of the Bohai Sea, Caofeidian is lauded as the only wetland and natural reserve for birds in Hebei province. In the vast tracts of the park, a wide variety of animals and plants thrive in some distinct ecological zones. Open from 9AM to 6PM.
Fengnan District (丰南区)
- Fengnan Canal Chinatown (丰南运河唐人街 Fēngnán yùnhé tángrénjiē) - best visited at night when the Chinatown is lit up, it's situated around Huifeng Lake. Tourist shops and Qing-style architecture abound, with the main attraction taking a pleasure boat on the canal.
Luan County (滦县)
- Luanzhou Ancient City (滦州古城 Luánzhōu gǔchéng) - a recreation of the ancient city of Luanzhou, don't expect anything real here nor any information in English. Within the ancient city are many shops in ancient-styled buildings, a canal that mimics the canals of Suzhou which you can take a boat ride on, and a very tall pagoda which offers breathtaking views at the top. The city is most impressive at night when it's lit up.
- Qinglong Mountain (青龙山 Qīnglóng shān) - with a peak of 440 meters, this Taoist mountain has inspired poets and has a rich history of legends and myths. Declared a state-owned forest in 1959, it now boasts a forest area of more than 80%.
Escape Alive from Room 51 (51真人密室逃脱) - you're placed in a room and must escape it within an hour! Great idea for a date. Has three different themed escapes. 40 kuai per person. Address：万达广场A座704房间 , Wanda Square, Building A, Room 704. Phone Number: 15081912062 QQ: 1329595524
CS Outdoor Laser Tag (弯道山真人CS) - good fun for a big group of people looking to kill an afternoon. You're given two hours split among a variety of large, outside locales decked out in military uniforms and big laser tag guns. Mosquito repellent is a must during summertime. Recommended to book a day in advance, and be aware that none of the employees speak English. Telephone: 0315-8373339,18731567117 Address: 路北区缸窑路92号弯道山公园 Hours: 08:00-17:00
Tangshan Chinese Ceramic Fair (唐山中国陶瓷博览会) - since 1997, Tangshan has hosted an annual ceramic fair which welcomes companies and artists from around the country to showcase their works (as well as sell them). Although it's not very exciting, it can be worth wasting an hour visiting considering it's only open for one week a year in mid-September (and perhaps able to buy some high quality porcelain at a decent price). Address: Located one bus stop ahead of Yuanyangcheng Mall on Jianshe Road.
Lee's Bar - local expat hangout owned by a Japanese man who can speak some English. Atmosphere is laid back and a pint of beer can cost 20RMB.
Latte Pub - this is your typical Chinese dance club, playing a lot of techno and pop mixes. Something to note though, Latte Pub provides free drinks to foreigners usually in the form of a few bottles of beer, a bottle of liquor and a fruit platter. Address: Yintai building, seventh floor.
Little London - a restaurant that caters to the foreign teacher populace of Tangshan. The small restaurant has simple burgers and sandwiches along with a limited selection of beer and wine products. Beer prices start at 10RMB for a large bottle.
As in other Chinese cities, teaching English is the most common type of work for foreigners in Tangshan. There are a number of training schools and universities for foreigners to find work at; unfortunately, wages have remained stagnant for years at a low 7000-8000RMB per month for training schools. Never accept an 'internship' job, even if you have no experience teaching, because there's nothing internship about it - you'll work the same hours and have the same schedule as a regular teacher, except with a ridiculously low salary.
As with other cities in Hebei, it can be difficult to find a cheap hotel that allows foreigners - the cheapest rooms will at least be 150RMB. However, it is also possible to haggle the price at some hotels. Especially during winter, ask if there are any special deals going on - for example, posting their deal on your wechat might knock a 300RMB per night room down to 100RMB per night. An alternative to hotels is staying at a farmer's guesthouse (农家院 Nóngjiā yuàn), which can only be found outside urban areas, such as near a section of the Great Wall. Farmers' guesthouse prices can range from 20RMB to 80RMB per night (ask if dinner and breakfast is included).
- InterContinental Hotel, 11 Wenhua Rd (Located next to Wanda Plaza), ☎ +86 315 5783333, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. edit
- Jiujiang Hotel (迁安九江饭店 Qiān'ān jiǔjiāng fàndiàn) - located in Qian'an, this hotel has luxury class rooms at mid-tier pricing. Huge rooms with a big screen TV, a bathtub with a flat screen TV to watch while soaking, and high-class toilet bidets. Expect to pay 300RMB per night, although in other cities rooms of this class could easily go for 1000RMB per night. Address: 迁安市惠昌大街666号 (Qiān ān shì huì chāng dàjiē 666 hào). Phone number: 0315-7576666.
- Yaluanwan Hotel (迁西亚滦湾大酒店 Qiānxī yǎluánwān dàjiǔdiàn) - located in Qianxi, this hotel is possibly the most scenic within Tangshan, with its unique architecture and being situated next to a lake. It's roughly five kilometers away from Qianxi's urban area in the middle of nowhere, so you can be assured you'll have solitude. Watching the sunrise over the mountains and reflect on the lake is a rare delight in China. Expect to pay roughly 300RMB per night. Address: 迁西小黑汀村北 (north of Heiting village). Phone number: 0315-5970888.
- Guotai International Hotel (丰润国泰国际酒店 Fēngrùn guótài guójì jiǔdiàn) - located in Fengrun, this hotel is located conveniently on the main street. Expect to pay 150RMB per night. Address: 丰润区曹雪芹西道2号 (Fēngrùn qū cáoxuěqín xī dào 2 hào). Phone number: 0315-3088300.
- Meidu Business Hotel (美度壹捌伍伍商务酒店 Měi dù yībāwǔwǔ shāngwù jiǔdiàn) - located in Fengnan, this is the cheapest option for foreigners in Fengnan at 250+RMB per night. Address: 丰南区青年路78号 (Fēngnán qū qīngnián lù 78 hào, near the stadium). Phone number: 0315-8181855.