Tianjin (Beijing), China
Tianjin lies in the northeast of the North China Plain. It is bordered by the Bohai Sea and separated by the Haihe River, which flows through the urban area of the city. Like Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, Tianjin belongs to no province but is a special municipality administered by the central government. Due to its history as a foreign concession, heavy industrial output, large port and European-style architecture, the city is often referred to as the "Shanghai of the North". However, for most of its existence, Tianjin's fortunes have always been linked to those of Beijing, especially where the port is concerned. The distance between Tianjin and Beijing is 95 miles, or a drive of approximately 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
Beijing has been the capital of China for the last 800 years. Before then, it was one of the most important cities in northern China for some 3000 years. Kublai Khan developed Beijing as his winter capital, calling it Dadu, or Great Capital. By the time Marco Polo reached Beijing at the end of the 13th century, he found a great metropolis. Most of the magnificent buildings we see today, such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace were constructed during the Ming Dynasty.
Please Note: For your convenience, shore excursions offered for this port of call are available to reserve in advance at www.silversea.com, unless otherwise noted in the description. The deadline to reserve these tours is seven days prior to sailing, after which they will be available for purchase on board.
Going Ashore in Tianjin
The ship is scheduled to dock at the Tianjin International Cruise Home Port. The port is located a 90-minute drive from Tianjin and a 2.5-hour drive from Beijing. Taxis are available at the pier entrance, about 500 yards from the ship. However, they are not licensed or metered. Bargain is suggested. Most drivers hardly speak English. Payment of fares is in local currency (some drivers may accept U.S. dollars). Taxis are very basic.
The major shopping area is in Tianjin's Cultural Street and the Food Market (90 minutes away by taxi). Shops offer local crafts, clothing, jewelry and cosmetic items. Most shops are open from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. The local currency is the yuan renminbi (RMB).
The closest restaurants are in Tianjin, where major hotels such as the Tianjin Sheraton, Hyatt, Crystal Palace and Astor Hotel offer both Chinese and Western cuisine.
The Porcelain House is a priceless building decorated with about 4,000 pieces of ancient porcelain, 400 pieces of jade stone carving, 20 tons of crystal and agate and million pieces of ancient Chinese ceramic chips. The owner was a businessman named Zhang Lianzhi. He said that it took him US$65 million to decorate the building with his wares collected over the past two decades. The China House is a paradise for porcelain lovers.
Huangyaguan Great Wall
Literally meant the Yellow Cliff Pass, is a small section of the Great Wall located approximately 78 miles north of urban Tianjin city. The site lies on a steep and abrupt mountain ridge. Huangyaguan was originally built over 1400 years ago in the Northern Qi Dynasty <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Qi_Dynasty> and reinforced with brick walls in the Ming Dynasty. In 1984, major repair work has been performed on over 3 kilometres of the wall including on 20 water towers and 1 water pass. The pass is a major tourist attraction within Tianjin and was listed as a site of relics protection in 1986.
Private arrangements are available on request through ShoreConcierge@Silversea.com <mailto:ShoreConcierge@Silversea.com> by requesting a minimum of 14 days prior to your cruise, or through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.