- Not to be confused with Zhanjiang, a city in Guangdong Province, nor with Zhejiang, a province in East China.
Zhenjiang (镇江, Zhènjiāng) is a city in Jiangsu province, located just across the Yangtze River from Yangzhou. Zhenjiang is a historic city and visitors come to see its collection of preserved medieval buildings (including a temple which is the setting for a famous legend) as well as newer English-style houses.
Zhenjiang is a historically important city of Jiangsu province. It was long an important entrepôt at the intersection of the Grand Canal and the Yangtze River near its mouth, and has some medieval historic buildings. One of these is Jinshan Temple, with a spectacular setting on a mountain overlooking the water, which is known to most people in China as the setting of a famous legend, about a snake-spirit that falls in love with a man.
In the 19th century, Zhenjiang became a "treaty port" open to international trade, and a British concession was established here. Some of the English-style houses and public buildings from the British period still survive, including the home of American writer Pearl Buck.
The ferry crossing at Zhenjiang was an important crossing on the lower Yangtze. A range of ancient poets crossed here and wrote poems to record their experiences; Marco Polo also mentions crossing the Yangtze here. Today, it is a preserved quarter with an eclectic mixture of medieval Chinese temples and 19th-century European-style buildings built by the British.
From 1928 to 1949, Zhenjiang served as the capital of Jiangsu province, and there are some elegant houses from this period which are preserved along Boxian Road. Like nearby Yangzhou, Zhenjiang is also famous for its refined cuisine.
Zhenjiang is on the main railway corridor (3 separate, more or less parallel, railways) connecting the major cities of Nanjing and Shanghai. Depending on how you count, it has 2 or 3 railway stations.
1 Zhenjiang Station (镇江站) consists of two separate stations, connected by a tunnel. The old station, on the "conventional" Beijing-Shanghai railway, has service to almost anywhere in the northern or central parts of China, since most long-distance trains running from Shanghai to anywhere from Harbin to Urumqi to Chengdu make a stop here. While conventional trains' short-distance fares are lower than those of high-speed trains, you aren't likely to get any such tickets, as the railway authorities want passengers to travel by more expensive high-speed trains.
The new section of Zhenjiang Station is on the Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity line, a high-speed line with frequent service; it can be used to travel anywhere within the Shanghai-Nanjing corridor. Some trains continue beyond Shanghai (to Hangzhou, etc) or beyond Nanjing (e.g. to Hefei and Wuhan).
2 Zhenjiang Station (镇江南站), some distance south of town, is served by the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line, and is more useful to going to destinations outside of the province, such as Beijing or Xi'an.
Zhenjiang is also easily reached by bus from other nearby cities. Buses are slightly cheaper than the train, but can take up to twice as long to reach their destination.
A passenger and vehicle ferry (镇杨汽渡, Zhen-Yang qi du) operates across the Yangtze River, with the Yangzhou terminal in Guazhou town (20 km south of downtown Yangzhou) and the Zhenjiang terminal a couple of kilomters west of Jinshan Temple. Bus service to the ferry is available at both ends. See Yangzhou#By ferry for more details.
Taxis are the most convenient while buses are the most affordable. The base fare for a taxi is ¥8, and most areas of the city can be reached from the Zhenjiang Railroad Station for less than ¥30. Bus routes are traveled by both normal and air-conditioned buses from 06:00 until 22:00 The bus fare is ¥1-3.
A ferry will take you across the Yangtze river to Yangzhou for ¥10.
Four major parks in Zhenjiang provide the most common destinations to tourists. Entrance to each park is ¥30-50, and the parks with pagodas charge another entrance fee (about ¥10) if you wish to climb the pagoda.
The parks are all nice, but if you are not interested in Chinese history, legends and architecture and view them only as parks, then if you've seen one "park" in the city, you've seen them all. If considered purely as places to relax, Jiaoshan is enjoyable if you want to get away from people (it's nearly empty all the time), and Jinshan is nice if you want to boat around the lake (paddle and electric boats are available).
All parks have legendary history, which is the main reason they attract visitors. Jinshan Park is famous for being a "mountain encompassed by monasteries (寺裹山)". It is the setting of the ancient legend and novel "Tale of the White Snake (白蛇传)", in which it is flooded by the heroine, a white snake spirit, because the abbot of the Buddhist monastery had imprisoned her husband. Beigushan Park, near the Yangtze river, was a legendary stronghold in ancient times. During the Three Kingdoms period, the rulers of two of the kingdoms, Liu Bei and Sun Quan, took a horse ride here together to discuss forming an alliance - which ultimately changed China history forever. Jiaoshan Park, on an island, is famous for having "monasteries encompassed by mountains (山裹寺)" and is connected to the history of local resistance to a British invasion in the 19th century. Some iron cannons from the historical fortifications can still be found here.
- 1 Jiaoshan Park (焦山风景区). A park on a small island in the Yangtze River, it includes a large pagoda, peacock farm, and many winding paths through dense foliage. Bamboo forests partially cover the island.
- 2 Jinshan Park (金山公园). It's on the northwest side of Zhenjiang and includes a Buddhist monastery and another large pagoda. The Buddhist temple complex and a large lake (complete with paddle boats available for rent) form the majority of the park.
- 3 Beigushan Park (北固山公园) (on the north side of Zhenjiang). It has paths lit with lanterns after sundown. The park is surrounded by great landscaping and the Yangtze River.
- 4 Nanshan Park (南山风景区) (on the south side of Zhenjiang). It includes a hill with various paths snaking up and down it. A large pagoda at the top of the hill offers great views of the city, the river, and the surrounding countryside. The climb is very easy and takes less than an hour. Many people barbecue at small pits next to a lake to the east of the park entrance.
- 5 Xijindu Ancient Street (西津渡), foothills of Yuntai Mountain, Jingkou District (Bus #2 from DaShiKou (downtown, in front of Pizza Hut)). An ancient ferry crossing - heavily modified by contemporary restoration to create a more "ancient" feel. There are some interesting preserved medieval buildings and various shops and restaurants targeting tourists.
- 6 Zhulin Temple (竹林寺, 竹林禅寺). The "Bamboo Forest Temple" is in a valley between two mountains. The valley is located near Zhaoyin Mountain, which due to the profusion of mountain bamboo is also known as Bamboo Hill. The temple is so-named because it is surrounded by bamboo forest, and from afar it cannot be seen amongst the bamboo.
- 7 Zhenjiang Museum (镇江博物馆), 85 Boxian Road (伯先路85号) (Take bus no. 2, 12, or 102), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Free.
Zhenjiang is known for producing the best vinegar in China. Most major cities situated nearby provide Zhenjiang vinegar whenever dumplings are served. Steamed dumplings with the famous vinegar can be found on almost every block in town.
Zhenjiang and nearby Yangzhou are the centres of "Zhen-Yang cuisine", one of the major traditions of Chinese cuisine which is prized across China and known for its subtle and light flavours, refined techniques and the emphasis of fresh vegetable and freshwater fish, crustaceans and shellfish, including in particular freshwater crabs, prawns and fish.
Like most Chinese cities, Zhenjiang also houses a variety of restaurants serving dishes from each of the four main culinary traditions in China. More exotic food includes Japanese, Korean, and Russian cuisine. A Brazilian barbecue can even be found near the city center.
Western fast food restaurants in Zhenjiang include McDonalds, KFC, and a Pizza Hut.
- 1880 (Yao Ba Ba Ling Jiu Ba) (On the same street as the Night Market). 09:00-15:00. A typical Chinese bar, with entertainers and live music. ¥50 for cocktails, bottle service starts at ¥400.
- 1 Donghan Hotel Jingkou (东瀚宾馆京口店), 39 Xianhe Alleyway (Xianhe Xiang), Jingkou (between the Dashikou commercial area and Zhongshanqiao business district). A tranquil ambience, budget prices and tasty dishes are among this Zhenjiang hotel's top selling points.
- 2 XiaoShanLou Youth Hostel (镇江小山楼国际青年旅舍), 西津渡利群巷11号 (from the train/bus station take bus number 2 to Boxian Park Stop then walk right towards Zhenjiang Museum right towards Xijindu Ancient Ferry Street; the hostel is on a lane veering to the right), ☏ . A cute little hostel with a wooden structure. It provides food and drink in a nice little patio to the side. Comfortable beds, the staff is friendly and although not much English is spoken they do try. ¥50 for a dorm, ¥100 for a private.