4 Ways To See The Old And The New Of Ningbo

Located in the Zhejiang province, this beautiful and modern city has been built up from ancient roots. The evidence of the long and rich history of this city is still very visible today.

However, the fact that Ningbo is moving steadily forward towards the future is also evident. Your experience in Ningbo is incomplete until you see both the ancient and modern sides of this beautiful city.

Ningbo University girls

So where can you experience ancient history alongside the modern development in Ningbo? Here are our top four places to visit that bring the history of this city into a modern light.

Asoka (Ayuwang) Temple

Get a taste of fascinating Buddhist religion and culture in this lovely temple. This ancient building houses interesting artifacts from Buddhist culture, including the alleged bone fragment of the man attributed with founding Buddhism, Sakyamuni.

Also, you’ll enjoy viewing ancient calligraphy, carefully preserved for hundreds of years. As one of the five temples in China that have attained the highest status, the Asoka Temple is not to be missed.

Ningbo at dusk

The temple is about 20 kilometers from the center of Ningbo, but it is accessible by public transportation. Take the metro to the last stop heading east, and then catch the 790 bus to the temple. Entrance to the temple is free.

Ningbo Historic Museum

This incredible building is a must-see, even just to admire its architectural design! Winning its architect Wang Shu a Pritzker Prize, this fantastic creation is an ancient building constructed in modern times.

Using rubble and debris from disasters that had struck the area, a group of local craftsmen built this with traditional construction in mind. The historical value of what has been done here is amazing.

Ningbo at night

Once you enter (for free!), you will find the entire second floor devoted to the Hindu culture which had its beginnings in Ningbo.

You will learn about the ancient roots of Ningbo and its development as an important trade and commerce center. On the third floor, you’ll learn more about the traditional culture of Ningbo, and see examples of typical bamboo art.

The Ningbo Historic Museum is located in the district of Yinzhou and is sometimes called the Yinzhou Museum. Entrance is free.

Traditional and Modern Shopping

Wandering the streets of Ningbo, you’ll find traditional Chinese markets with deals and bargains to satisfy the thriftiest of travelers. These stand alongside modern shopping streets like Tianyi Square where you’ll find western stores like Zara, Marks and Spencer, and more.


Of course, the designer shopper is no stranger in Ningbo, and you’ll find plenty of the high-class shops you know and love here in this thriving city. Head towards the Fenghua River and find yourself on Heyi Avenue.

Hang out here and go window shopping at Gucci, Tiffany, Armani, and more. International restaurants and cafes surround this area. You’ll be able to start your shopping day at Starbucks and end it at O’Reilly’s Irish Pub while hitting a few of the great Italian or Mexican restaurants in between.

Tianyi Pavilion

This grand building is famed for being the oldest private library in China and is a fantastic site for book-lovers as well as lovers of ancient Chinese architecture.

The pavilion is wonderfully situated at the side of Ming Lake and has a history that dates back to the middle of the Ming Dynasty.

The collection of books here was started by an official named Fan Qin. Until now it has been amassed to over 300,000 books spread out over an area of more than 25,000 square meters.


Though the property remains in the hands of the Fan family, it is possible to visit the buildings and surrounding gardens for 30 yuan.

The city of Ningbo has risen from small beginnings to intriguing historical significance. In our time is becoming a center for modern commerce as well as the site of ancient trade. Ningbo has made its mark on history and is beginning to make its mark on the modern world alongside famous Chinese cities like Shanghai or Hong Kong.

If you enjoy modern marvels along with ancient beauty, then you will thoroughly enjoy your visit to Ningbo.

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Cez Krol

Travel blogger at eTramping
Cez lives in China like a local for the past 4 years. Apart from speaking the language, he loves to discover more about this unique country of extreme contrasts. He shares his China experiences here at Sublime China and on his blog eTramping, so go and check out what's out there for you in China.
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