WANDERLUSTOn the waterfront: Nanjing from the Qinhuai River

History, markets and boat life line the beautiful Qinhuai River

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Affectionately known as Nanjing’s ‘mother river’, the Qinhuai curves through the heart of the ancient Chinese city. A 110km branch of the mighty Yangtze, the Qinhuai River offers the best vantage point from which to soak up Nanjing’s historical landmarks. From here, you’ll get the best views of its traditional painted houses, grand homes once occupied by nobility, and the many colourful barges as they float past. 

On the north bank, the Confucius Temple is an imposing edifice dedicated to the celebrated Chinese philosopher. Built in a typical pagoda style, with tiered, curved roofs and elegant statues, it is one of Nanjing’s most visited attractions. Today, the temple has been expanded into a larger area that includes restaurants and shops.

After dark, the Qinhuai River Bazaar sees vendors selling wares from their colourful boats along the banks near the Confucius Temple. It’s a stunning scene, with the river illuminated by red lanterns and twinkling lights. Stop for street food delights such as steamed buns and salted duck, and shop for handicrafts and souvenirs including rabbit lanterns, yuhuashi necklaces and Yunjin brocade.

Located slightly further from the Qinhuai River, the Zhonghua Gate (Gate of China) is the largest city entrance in China, and one of the best-preserved city gateways in the world. An imposing fortress that took 26 years to construct during the 14th-century Ming dynasty, Zhonghua Gate is a marvelous feat of ancient Chinese engineering, reminiscent of the Great Wall. 

At 600 years old, the Zhanyuan Garden, an exquisitely preserved Ming Dynasty oasis, is Nanjing’s oldest garden. The botanical retreat spans approximately five acres and includes ornate rockeries, limestone caves, meandering pathways, tranquil pools and quintessentially Chinese pavilions. You can explore Nanjing’s compelling past via artefacts, weapons and maps at the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Museum, located within the grounds. 

Close to the mouth of the Qinhuai, where the Yangtze feeds into it, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is a vast modern construction. Built in 1968, the double-decked latticed bridge was a pioneering feat at its unveiling, and is particularly impressive at night when lit with over 1,000 floodlights.

Discover Jumeirah Nanjing on the Yangtze River.