Nanjing is one of our favourite stops in China!

If you are someone who enjoys modern history, you would have been acquainted with the city when you read about the atrocities that happened in the city during World War II. 

Here, we share with you the top 4 must-see places when in Nanjing.  

1. Get your Chinese history fix at the Presidential Palace

One of your first stops to Nanjing would be the Presidential Palace (总统府). Smacked in the middle of downtown Nanjing, the Presidential Palace housed Chiang Kai-Shek, the President of the Kuomintang-led Republic of China between 1927 and 1949, which was after World War II and the Chinese Civil War, before it was subsequently relocated to Taipei.

Today, it is a museum where you can learn more about the modern history of the Republic of China as well as the lives of Chiang Kai-Shek and his wife, Song Mei Ling. You could spend a good 1.5-2h for a tour around the compound..

Crowds inside the Presidential Palace

2. Souvenir shopping and Street Food + Blessing for students at the Fuzimiao Area (Confucius Temple)

The Fuzimiao area, or Confucius Temple, is the place to go to get your taste of local Chinese street food and traditional souvenirs. While there, you could make a quick trip to the Confucius Temple and Nanjing Imperial Examination Museum which showcases the history of ancient imperial examinations, reflecting the Chinese emphasis on scholarship and education.

Snaps of the Fuzimiao – Confucius Temple 

I personally find it best to go in the evening when the lights are up and you can enjoy the night view. If you’d like, you could also take a boat trip down Qinhuai River which passes through the area  to enjoy the lights while escaping the crowded walkways!

The ticket for a boat ride can be bought at a booth there and costs around RMB50-60.

3. London Eye? Nope, that’s the Nanjing Eye!

Built in 2014 when Nanjing hosted the 2nd Youth Olympic Games, the Nanjing Eye is a bicycle and pedestrian bridge crossing over the Yangtze River that connects the Cultural and Sports Park of Youth Olympic Games in Hexi New Town and Jiangxinzhzou Youth Forest Park in the South.

Located in the newer district  of Nanjing, one can also see many skyscrapers and hotels from the bridge that are beautifully illuminated in the evening. Surrounding the bridge is also a park where many local come to take a stroll after dinner at night. For those who are interested in the history of the Olympics, the Olympic Museum is also right by the bridge. What’s cooler is that it crosses the Yangtze River which is the longest river in Asia and often used as the demarcation between North and South China.

A definite must-do for a cool evening in Nanjing!   

The Nanjing Eye with its unique design as seen from the nearby park. Even at night, many people can be seen taking a stroll along an across the bridge.


4. Enjoy nature and history at the Purple Mountain Scenic Area (or Zhongshan Mountain National Park)

Finally, the Purple Mountain Scenic Area is a fantastic way to spend a leisurely day in Nanjing (Zhongshan National Park).

Located on the Eastern side of Nanjing, Purple Mountain is a scenic area that is also home to many historical and cultural monuments that are all in walking distance. Of the many landmarks, the most frequently visited are the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum (which offers a bird’s eye view of the mountain), the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum (the tomb of Hongwu Emperor, the civilian-turned-Emperor and founder of the Chinese Ming Dynasty), and the Meiling Villa (a weekend retreat for Chiang Kai-Shek and his well-loved wife Song Meiling).

A combo ticket for these main attractions can be bought at  RMB100 from the ticket booth at the foot of the mountain. As these monuments are also located several kilometres/miles apart, a tourist bus ticket can also be bought for a fee of ~RMB10.

The view from Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum. The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum and Meiling Villa are all within walking distance of one another on Purple Mountain.


Most of these monuments are located on the Southern and Eastern face of the mountain. For those who more adventurous amongst you, you could also choose to hike up the ~450m tall mountain and enjoy a 30-minute long cable car ride and take a visit the Purple Mountain Observatory. Unlike the monuments, they are located on the western face on the mountain.

Either ways, if you decide to take a visit to the area and skip the tourist bus, wear some comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a ton! Despite all of that, I believe you would thank yourself for making the trip though.

A must-see for a trip to China

Nanjing is definitely one of our favourite stops on a trip to China.

While many of you would have probably heard about the city for being the capital of China during the second world war, it offers so much more to see and do than just that.


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