Zhangjiagang (张家港; Zhāngjiāgǎng) is a modern industrial city in Jiangsu province.
Zhangjiagang was a small rural town until the economic reforms of the mid 1980's brought industry and business to the area. Since, it has developed into prosperous city famous for its large parks, clean and well maintained streets and friendly inhabitants. The city has a population of over one million. The city centre is very modern with shops selling import goods, and western restaurant chains. The countryside is less developed, and offers a break from the fast pace of downtown.
Zhangjiagang has no airport. The normal means of arriving by air is to fly into Shanghai Pudong Airport, and then take a bus or taxi to Zhangjiagang.
Though it is an industrial river town, the Zhangjiagang town center is approximately 25 minutes from the river.
Most of Zhangjiagang is accessible on foot. The streets are clean and well-maintained by Chinese standards. All major roads are marked with signs in Pinyin.
Taxis are cheap and ubiquitous. Flag drop is ¥10, including distance up to 2.8 km. Most of the city center is within that range, though far-flung areas may be a bit higher. A few cab drivers speak a bit of English, but the vast majority do not.
Its difficult to get taxis during the period of 4.45PM to 5.15 PM since the drivers have a shift change.
There is a city bus service, with ¥1 fare within the city centre. Additional fare (up to ¥3) is required for longer routes. For short distances and if routes known, the bus is a good choice. Paying attention to the bus routes on frequently travelled routes will pay off, as the bus service is efficient and comfortable. Check the signs at your stop for the hours of operation, many buses stop running from the outlying areas in the early evening, and leave the city centre infrequently after 5:00pm.
Zhangjiagang is known for being cleaner than most cities in China, and it certainly lives up to its reputation as a quiet and orderly city. There are several family-friendly parks scattered throughout the city, including Shazhou Park, Zhangjiagang Park, and Jiyang Lake. Zhangjiagang is also home to a large public indoor swimming pool and sports center, both of which are located on Renmin Road. There is not much crime to speak of, and very little visible poverty other than beggars near the city center. The busiest part of town centers around the buxingjie, or "walk street," a shopping area restricted to pedestrian traffic. Those in search of German-speakers can usually count on Malone's, an American-style sports bar frequented by local English teachers, expats, and business travellers alike. DeeGee's bar, located in a pagoda over a river in Sha Zhou Park (沙洲公园), welcomes foreigners and Chinese in the adjoining garden. A recent addition, Night Jasmine Club is a quiet upscale bar with great music and the best local selection of imported drinks. For cheaper drink prices and to experience some local pub culture try some of the smaller Chinese style pubs. Another interesting area for nightlife is Long Tan Road, near the large public swimming pool. Tong Luo Wan, a popular bar on that strip, often features a band playing live music. If you want to try a dance club look for the SOS Nightclub on JiYang Middle Road. Zhangjiagang is notable also for a good variety of restaurants. Although it is a small city it has good French, Italian and German restaurants as well as a number of Korean and Japanese restaurants.
For day trips, the Traditional Street and the Zhangjiagang Museum (http://www.zjgmuseum.com/) are both easily accessed by taxi and provide plenty of entertainment.
The Zhangjiagang Poly Grand Theater puts on shows ranging from classical music to traditional Chinese performances. See their website for more details
Like most cities in China, Zhangjiagang also has its share of coffee shops, karaoke establishments, spas, happy ending barber shops, and dance clubs.
The biggest shopping area is Walking Street (buxingjie 步行街）, in the middle of town. Stretching for half a kilometre, the Walking Street is the premiere shopping area for wealthy residents and visitors. Highlights include 85 Degrees, a good bakery with some Western-style pastries and coffee, Subway Sandwich Shop, Watson's (which carries some European and North American brand name health and beauty products, and a few food items), department stores, a movie theatre, large China Mobile and China Telecom stores, and many restaurants. The department store above the Watson's has imported goods on the bottom floor.
For affordable coffee, try Laikeduo where Chang'an Middle Road meets the Walking Street. The pastries are delicious and the staff do their best to accommodate English speakers.
Within an imposing edifice on the Walking Street, Number One People's Department Store sells imported luxury clothing, jewellery, cosmetics, and accessories, but the prices are several times as much as these items would cost in Europe or North America. A few Chinese luxury brands are available at more appealing prices. Near the Eastern side of the Walking Street, the sign is hard to miss. Jewellers abound, and it is best to shop around before making any large purchases.
You'll miss out on great deals if you stay on the Walking Street, walk one block North to Yagnshe Street West for more shops and better bargains. Stores selling mainly Chinese brands are much more reasonable than those selling only imported goods.
The shopping park (gouwugongyuan 购物公园）is a new shopping area in town. In addition to local luxury brand boutiques and cafes, the shopping park has a large Walmart with groceries and household items, a Pizza Hut and a Starbucks. Across the park from the Walmart you'll find the best selection if imported foods at Olive Supermarket, but be warned - the cost of imported goods generally far exceeds the price in the country of origin. The movie theatre here often plays English language films. Look for the films with red text reading: 原片 (original film). Patrons at the theater, however, will often talk during English movies and use cell phones constantly. Going to unusual film times and during the week is recommended.
The best places to go if you are looking for groceries, household goods, or other necessaries. Suguo and Dao Ren Fa are past the west end of Walking Street.
Outside the hotels, there are two main bars in town which cater to foreigners. They have a decent selection of western drinks, and the prices are among the best in town.
There are many other bars in town, some of which cater to specific tastes, others of which are quite forgettable.
Traders Plaza Hotel is in the Guo Mao complex. Great hotel, clean, courteous staff, decent restaurant, large rooms with all of the amenities at a reasonable price of about $85 USD. The Small Devil restaurant and bar is just outside the hotel lobby. Taxis are plentiful.