24 hours in Nanjing

From Tai Chi to karaoke, here’s how to fill a flying visit


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The capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu province is a treasure trove of vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, colourful markets, serene parks and lakes. 

A day in Nanjing provides a compelling glimpse of this exciting city and all its layers; from the bustling markets surrounding the Confucius Temple to its delicious street food vendors. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours there.

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A good portion of Nanjing’s health-conscious inhabitants descend on Xuanwu Lake Park in the early hours for a scenic jog or a session of Tai Chi on the grass. Follow their lead and start your day with a stroll in the immaculate grounds. The park is the largest imperial lake garden in China’s history, and encompasses a section of the 14th-century Ming City Wall. Enter through the imposing Xuanwu Gate and climb up onto the ramparts. The panoramic views take in the lake as well as Nanjing’s morning skyline.



Refuel with some authentic Jiangsu cuisine. A 15-minute walk from Xuanwu Lake Park, the pedestrianised Shiziqiao Street is peppered with bustling restaurants serving traditional rice dishes, noodles and steamed xiaolongbao dumplings filled with hot, meaty broth. For something sweet, visit one of the tea houses or dessert parlours that spill out along the street, as well as the busy Hunan Road.



With a rich history as the capital of ten Chinese dynasties, Nanjing houses numerous noteworthy sites. The beautiful forested Mount Zijin (Purple Mountain) is home to the Mausoleum of the founding father of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen. Climb up the 392 marble stairs that lead to his burial chamber and you’ll be rewarded with striking panoramas across the city.

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The tomb of Ming Xiaoling, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, is set on the southern foot of the mountain. Navigate its atmospheric Spirit Way, lined with a sculpted menagerie of creatures, both real and imaginary, to reach his final resting place. Those seeking a longer hike should head for the tranquil waters of Zixia Lake. 


Early evening

The Confucius Temple area on the Qinhuai River hosts a lively night market of bright neon lights, crowded souvenir stalls and the aroma of sizzling street food. It’s an atmospheric destination for an evening stroll, picking up a local snack such as sesame pancakes or dumplings as you go. For a more sophisticated dive into Chinese cuisine, head to Lu Chao. Its seasonal menus feature local favourites such as Cantonese roasted duck, served in a sumptuous setting.

Jumeirah Nanjing Lu Chao Dining Experience



Nightlife in the former imperial capital easily competes with Shanghai’s, in particular through the Nanjing 1912 district, which is lined with bars, discos, nightclubs and teahouses. End a good night out as the locals do, in one of the many lively karaoke bars.

Explore Nanjing in 24 hours - or stay for longer - at Jumeirah Nanjing on the south bank of the Yangtze River.