Known as the "land of rice and fish," Jiangsu is home to some of China's most arable and fertile land. This natural competitive advantage—along with over 1,000 km of coastline, the Yangzi River estuary and some of China's largest lakes—has long made Jiangsu one of the country's most prosperous provinces, its heritage of power and influence manifest in its architecture, whether classical or contemporary, civic, religious or industrial.
Classic Grand Canal water towns like Suzhou, Tongli and Zhouzhuang are popular with both Chinese and international tourists eager to experience quintessential Chinese landsapes defined by ancient waterways and artful gardens, while Nanjing, the provincial seat of government and one of China's four ancient capitals, is home to some of the country's most important and famous attractions, including Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum (Zhongshan Ling), the Confucius Temple, Ming Tombs and some of China's finest remaining city walls—as well as a host of recently built skyscrapers. Further north, the pleasant canal town of Yangzhou, famous for its lacquer and jade, is a perfect base for exploring the side of Jiangsu less traveled by the masses.
Travel throughout Jiangsu is convenient and reasonable, whether by train, bus or privately rented vehicle; its flat landscape makes for pleasant cycling; and the network of waterways comprising the old Grand Canal system is, in places, traversable by boat. And given its proximity to Shanghai and its maglev-linked hypermodern airport, Jiangsu is one of the most quickly accessible parts of China for international travelers.
The real trick to getting the most out of the region is timing. Summers can be beastly and winters dank, making the temperate and relatively clear days of spring and fall the ideal time to explore one of China's most fascinating regions.
Facing a branch of the Qinhuai River (Qínhuái Hé, 秦淮河), Nanjing's eponymous Confucius Temple (Fūzǐ Miào, 夫子庙) sits amid the restaurants, shops and..
Mochou Lake Park (Mòchóu Hú Gōngyuán, 莫愁湖公园) is a green break from the city, consisting of pathways and gardens surrounding Mochou Lake. This is a..
Once running 35 km (22 mi) around central Nanjing, the ancient Nanjing City Wall (Nánjīng Chéngqiáng, 南京城墙) was one of the longest and oldest city walls in..
The Presidential Palace (Zǒngtǒng Fǔ, 总统府) has a very long, rather complex history of changing hands and providing the stage for some landmark events. Once the site of the Ming..