Ningbo is now a major port and has 3 satellite cities and a couple of rural counties that include certain Hangzhou Bay islands as also the East China Sea. It has Shanghai to its north; Zhoushan to its east and Taizhou and Shaoxing to its west and south, respectively.
Here's the list of places to visit and 15 best things to do in Ningbo:
1. Tianyi Pavilion: The Scholar’s Haven
China’s oldest private library with about 300,000 books on its shelves including some very rare ones. This was started during the golden era of the Ming dynasty by Fan Qin and the word “tianyi” means water in Chinese. Its architecture is such so that it is fire proof and has ready access to water because the Moon River flows by it. Great for scholars of Chinese history with its stupendous collection of rare and ancient manuscripts and books. Visit its Zunjing Hall, beautifully manicured gardens, Qin Family Drama Stage and the Mahjong Museum.
2. Go bargain hunting at Zhongshan Road
Ningbo’s principal shopping street and a treat for bargain hunters. This street was built originally for the funeral procession of modern China’s founding father, Sun Yat-Sen. Bustles with activity during evenings and is also famous for its grand street food. The street is also studded with some authentic Chinese cuisine serving restaurants and their highlights include seafood delicacies, a large shopping centre for a variety of local souvenirs and its interesting night-life. Bargain as much as you can to get the best deals. Accessible by bus to the Zhongyiyuan station from downtown Ningbo.
3. Enjoy Ningbo Harbor Land Park
A 30-minute drive from Ningbo City, Ningbo Harbor Land Park is a huge theme park stretching over 800,000 square metres of space. Simply great for family This entertainment and some exotic fun rides. The park’s entrance has a colorful plaza and its buildings are marked by some very interesting architectural styles seen the world over. Adventure lovers and children are bound to enjoy this grand facility and its major attractions are : The enchanting countryside called Magic Land where the evil wizard rules; the Egypt-themed Voyage of Adventure; various drama and dance performances; the Beilun Eye; attractive light and sound shows; and the famous Ningbo Roller Coaster. You can even carry your own food and drink and have a most enjoyable picnic. Ideal for a day’s outing.
4. Visit Chenghuang Temple
One of China’s largest temples in Ningbo’s downtown area and a grand remnant of the Ming Dynasty. Its arches are peculiarly Ming in design and it houses a market as well. You will be mesmerized by its Flower Arch, stage, Powder Painting and variety of some sumptuous street food available. However, tourists are warned to be careful about branded products that are often fake and bargaining is always advisable to close some lucrative deals.
5. Marvel at Wulong Pond
A most picturesque artificial park with some scenic natural ponds, Wulong Pond has concrete pathways that allow you to walk up to the mountaintop. You will be simply enchanted by the view as you get there as you see five waterfalls flowing simultaneously into a single pool, known as the Five Dragon Pool. Each waterfall comes with a dragon theme with a separate color and that’s how it gets its name. Additional attractions include the Dragon Pillar Monument, ancient altar and caves and some very scenic picnic and barbeque spots. You can swim also in the pond and Autumn is the ideal season for visiting. Reachable by bus.
6. Study history at the Ningbo Museum
A must visit for culture and history lovers, Ningbo Museum concentrates more on the Ningbo area and preserves its traditional customs within its premises. Oceans and mountains form this museum because the East China Sea played a pivotal role in the development of Ningbo’s culture and history. The building is interestingly shaped like a boat and mountain with the second floor being tilted. The structure has been constructed with bamboo and old tiles predominantly. Check out Ningbo’s entire history from the Hemudu period to the formation of modern China; the Custom Exhibit, which is a mock building housing wax models with facilities to also electronically exhibit old Ningbo customs; and a very interesting display of bamboo art.
7. Take in the breathtaking view from the Tiantong Temple
Placed on a mountain top, the Tiantong Temple is located 25 km to Ningbo’s east. The mountain incidentally is the second mountain among the 5 Chinese Zen Mountains. Spread over 58000 square meters, it houses twenty ancient buildings and a whopping 760 rooms! Thick woods surround the temple as it is within the National Forest Park premises. Enjoy its Hall of the Heavenly King or Tianwang Dian; library of ancient Buddhist texts called Fatang; the House of Foresight or Xianjue Tang; Arahat House called Luohan Tang in Chinese; the Tower House; House of Imperial Inscriptions or the Yushu Lou and Emperor Shunzhi’s Steles. However, it’s a steep climb and carrying water bottles and waering warm clothes is advisable as the weather is somewhat nippy.
8. Let your children enjoy Ningbo Zoo
Animal lovers could spend a day at this small zoo located immediately outside city limits. A peaceful place, Ningbo Zoo cuts out the city’s hustle and bustle and houses a variety of reptiles and animals. Its scenic beauty too, is to be admired and its solitude is to be enjoyed. You will be enchanted by its Pandas, tigers, special rides for children, picnic spots, folk performances and also get a chance to feed animals. Light clothing is advised because of the humid weather.
9. Take in the unforgettable Milk Spring of Xuedou Mountain
Situated 800 meters above the sea level, Xuedou Mountain has a white peak with a hole or ‘dou’ with water sprouting out from it. This is also called Milk Spring. The mountain site is home to the 1600-year old Xuedou Temple, which received during the Song and Tang dynasties. It is also famous for its collection of 5,760 Confucian classics, jade Buddhas and jade seals. The beautiful Qianzhang Rock Waterfall is a sight to behold and measures 186 meters in height. As you stand on the Miaogao Platform situated 396 meters above the sea level, you will be simply spellbound by the view which stretches up to the Tainzhu lake. Great for hikers.
10. Get a taste of Buddhism at the Asoka Temple
A pilgrimage located close to twelve 12 miles of Ningbo’s east, the Asoka Temple is China’s only temple named after the Indian King, Asoka a pioneering propagator of Buddhism. The temple is located at the foot of the Taibai Mountains’ Luhua Peak. An ideal place for solitude, peace and meditation, Asoka Temple is also known for its relics on display as also its beautiful gardens. Objects of interest include: the 7-step Hall of Stupa housing Sakyamani Buddha’s real body relic; Buddhist paintings; 7 Buddha Pool; the Fodao Stone Pavilion and five hundred statues of monks in different poses.
11. Enjoy the peace of Ningbo Yue
This large crescent-shaped lake is located in the heart of Ningbo city and surrounded by high-rise buildings and picturesque gardens. A great place to stroll in and rest if you like after touring the city. Lie down on the green grass or simply walk by the lake. Go boating, visit the enchanting rock gardens, enjoy a picnic, fly kites; check out Fang’s Residence or pick up some trinkets and mementoes from its handicrafts & art gallery. Perfectly recommendable for a full day’s outing also.
12. Shop at Ningbo Gu
A prime market area in Ningbo, stretching over 36,000 square meters, Ningbo Gu is for pedestrians only as vehicles aren’t allowed here. Its narrow roads are lined with around 400 shops on either side that sell only indigenous products. You get everything from electronic accessories to garments and exquisite local handicrafts. Take in the Drum Tower Light Show an nibble on some great street food. Hard bargaining is advised.
13. Marvel at the wooden structures of Baoguo Temple
A relic of the Eastern Han Dynasty, it’s one of southern China’s oldest wooden structures. The two strong pillars at its entrance are inscribed with Buddhist scriptures. The interiors are marked by curious artworks and mysterious rooms that invite further exploration. Its attractions include: Kwanyin statues, bronze ware, typical Ningbo Furniture; screens of carved stone; conventional Chinese wedding attire; the Grand and Mahavir Halls and the Scripture Repository.
14. Go Zen at the Ningbo Gu Storey
This Qing dynasty, 7-pagoda entranced temple propagating Zen Buddhism is also known as the Qita Temple. Its tranquil atmosphere is ideal for meditation and spiritual contemplation. The lush greenery on its premises is also an added attraction. Sit quietly by its lake or feed the turtles or walk in its gardens. Avoid photography as it disturbs the monks.
15. Chill out at the Songlan Mountain Seaside Resort
The resort is situated on a grand beach, surrounded by mountains. Its sparkling waters give it the name Golden Beach and it is connected to the Zhao Wuniang Temple and Baisha Bay beach by a coastal road. Go boating or visit the Wildlife National Park; see the Youxian Fort relics or indulge in water sports or gallop away on horseback on the beach. A medical certificate is required for participating in water sports.