The capital of China’s Jiangsu province, Nanjing is all immaculately preserved imperial sites, leafy boulevards and traditional gardens. With a compelling cultural heritage, this is a city that begs to be explored and our essential Nanjing guide outlines everything you need to know before you go.
Population: 8.3 million
Land Area: 2,543 square miles
Famous for: Being the capital of 10 historic Chinese dynasties and kingdoms, including the legendary Ming dynasty, Nanjing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China alongside Beijing, Xi’an and Luoyang. The city is a major centre of culture and education and is home to national treasures that include the Presidential Palace and Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum.
Stay at Jumeirah Nanjing and you'll enjoy the city's subtropical climate, with its hot summers and mild-to-chilly winters, make it a great destination to visit all year round. In spring, temperatures average at 17°C before peaking at 34°C in summer. Autumn is the best time to go as temperatures dip and the fragrant Osmanthus comes into bloom. Winter averages at 2°C and you can expect a glorious dusting of snow in January.
What to See
What Nanjing lacks in the sky-piercing skyscrapers of Shanghai and Beijing, it makes up for in verdant green spaces and historical heritage. A good Nanjing guide will direct you to the east of the city first, to start your tour at the stunning Zhongshan Mountain National Park (Purple Mountain). This verdant expanse houses the city’s most important sights. Pay your respects at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, the majestic resting place of the father of modern China. Another important resting place is Xiaoling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty, housing the founder of the Ming dynasty’s remains.
Explore Old Nanjing with a tour beginning at Zhonghua Gate. Here, you’ll find the site of the oldest and best-preserved city wall in China, the Ming City Wall. Alternatively, allow the Yangtze River to be your guide to Nanjing and trace its journey through the centre of the city.
For a spot of retail therapy, Xinjiekou is lined with row upon row of chic, designer boutiques such as Coach, Louis Vuitton and Dior. Shop the new season’s looks at the glossy shopping malls clustered around the intersection of Zhongshan Road and Hanzhong Road.
What to Eat
While staying at Jumeirah Nanjing you'll discover the local cuisine which is known as Jinling and originated during the Qin dynasty. Nanjing is also the place where southern and northern Chinese cuisines meet, presenting a distinctly diverse offering of tasty dishes. While visiting, you’re spoilt for choice from hole-in-the-wall stalls to elegant eateries. Seek out classic Jinling dishes like squirrel fish – de-boned Mandarin fish, deliciously deep-fried and flavoured with sweet and sour sauce, or Nanjing salted duck, boiled and seasoned with aromatic spices.
When greeting others in Nanjing, do so with a handshake or nod. Age and status are honoured in China so acknowledge the eldest in the group first. In terms of dining, Chinese tend to stick to strict times; lunch at midday, dinner at 6pm, so when eating out, observe these times as best you can. If you’re being hosted, eat what you’re offered but don’t finish it as it’ll indicate your host hasn’t provided enough food.
What to Pack
In Nanjing, what you should pack depends entirely on when you’re travelling. If you’re visiting in summer, you’ll want a good supply of short-sleeve tops and shorts, with a throw-on that you can layer up for cooler evenings and a mac for occasional showers. Comfy footwear is essential for sightseeing walks through the city’s many parks. In winter, ensure you’ve got a snug, comfy coat (a fleece and water-resistant combination is ideal) along with hat, scarf and gloves.
Discover Jumeirah Nanjing located on the banks of the Yangtze River.