Get happy in Tianjin (2)

08:52, April 28, 2010      

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Where to shop

It's cheaper to shop in Tianjin, especially for clothes, and Beijingers know it. Here's where to find your bargains.

Balitai Culture Shopping Mall

Located in the university district, this four-story mall of nicely decorated shops run by young owners appeals to their peers, selling socks to hats, most in Korean or Japanese styles. With bargaining, you can nail down a very nice outfit for less than 200 yuan.

Address: No. 109, Weijin South Road, Nankai District

Ji'anbing guozi.

New Shuguangli Market

Shuguangli Market might be Tianjin's most famous, with hundreds of vendors selling clothing, bags, and shoes, all piled in towers, so it takes time and patience to find the treasures. Keep your eyes sharp, and you can fill a bag for only 100 yuan.

Address: Intersection of Jianshan Road and Heiniucheng Road, Hexi District

Tianjin Ancient Culture Street

This 22,000 square-meter area of two- story buildings was designed in Ming and Qing dynasty styles. Tourists can pick up antiques and traditional folk products like clay sculptures, New Year paintings, kites and chinaware, all in Tianjin style. It's worth visiting for a taste of local culture, but don't forget to bargain hard.

Address: Ancient Culture Street, North of the Drum Tower, Nankai Street

Architecture and entertainment

Tianjin is the cradle of cross talk, spawning performers like Guo Degang. Locals enjoy visiting teahouses to sit on long benches, sip tea and eat melon seeds for two hour stretches of laughter at 20 to 30 yuan a pop. You may not get the jokes, but it's still a good chance to enjoy some of Tianjin's infectious happiness.

Mingliu Teahouse

Address: F2, Heping Culture Palace, Heping District

Tel: 022-27116382

Colonial architecture is a unique feature of Tianjin - check the "wudadao" or five main streets, for an eyeful.

Machangdao is lined by about 300 Italian and Japanese-style houses, many of which have semi-underground Western-style bars and restaurants with good music. The food is not exquisite, but nor is any of it expensive, so feel free to walk right in. More architecture awaits on 300 meters of Munan Road, as well as Dali and Chang De Roads (about 1,500 meters long each), home to the former dwellings of celebrities like the last emperor of Qing Dynasty. For higher-end Cantonese-style restaurants, check out Chongqing Dao.

Guobacai. Photos: IC

May holiday highlights On the waterfront

Binhai District is a major economic development zone with a 153-kilometer coastline. From April 30, the "Kai Hai" Tourism Festival will open with the "2010 Sino- American Ski-Star Competition" in Haihe Bund Park, featuring a two-hour performance by 40 water-skiers on May l.

Beitang area, in northern Binhai, has 600 years of fisheries and aquaculture history. This is the place to find fresh fat crabs and shrimp and sand-free shellfish. The Seafood-Tasting Festival is also held during the May holiday weekend in the 300-meter long Beitang Seafood Street, 60,000 square meters of 31 restaurants made from decorated cargo containers (it's a port, after all). Sea fish, crabs and shrimp fresh from Bohai will be cooked and served according to local style.

Bird enthusiasts should visit the first duck-breeding base on the seashore: Wild Duck Valley. Located in Dashentang Village, Binhai District, 4,000 shelducks from Guangxi Province have adapted to living on the Binhai seashore. Nothing says "vacation" like a flock of thousands of ducks rushing into the sea. The ducks stay off the menu, but tourists can go out and collect their eggs.

Meet the animals

Four 2-year-old red-necked wallabies from New Zealand are in residence at the Tianjin Zoo, as well as one South African giraffe and his neighbors, four 80-centimeter tall mini horses from Australia. Two 3-year-old female alpacas from Chile, currently popularized by Chinese online games as a "mythical beast" have also joined the international community, ready to greet the public on May 1.

Address: Tianjin Zoo, Water Park West Road, Nankai District

By Wei Na

Source: Global Times/Agencies

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