STAYING IN TIANJIN
Tianjin may not spring to mind as the first place to see when visiting China, but northern China's largest port city is a real and relatively undiscovered jewel. Only 30-minutes by high-speed rail from Beijing, Tianjin benefits from its proximity to China's capital in cosmopolitan culture, historical sights, astonishing architectural wonders and contemporary style.
In some ways, Tianjin is like a blend of Beijing and Shanghai, without the crowds. Here, you can see beautiful examples of European-style architecture leftover from the days of the Qing dynasty, dine on the best cuisine from all across China and the region, and visit a wonderfully preserved section of the Great Wall of China without having to fight the crowds. There are temples, mosques and churches aplenty, galleries, museums and entire streets given over to shopping and of course, there are the beautiful banks of the Hai River, that saw significant rejuvenation as part of Tianjin's involvement in the 2008 Summer Olympics.