Tianjin, China

The first six months of the year in China are full of wonderful short holidays. Earlier this year, I shared images from Lijiang during the Tomb Sweeping Festival, and in May, I took you to Qingdao during the Labour Day holiday. Now, I’m going to take you on a short trip to Tianjin for the Dragon Boat Festival. For anyone living near water, you’ll already know what Dragon Boats are, and as you can image, they are a huge deal here in China. 

Haihe River architecture in Tianjin, China
Architecture along the Haihe River; GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/240sec f/8
Ritz Carlton Tianjin, China
The stunning flagship Ritz Carlton Tianjin; GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/450sec f/8
Flagship Ritz Carlton in Tianjin, China
The meticulously designed Ritz Carlton Tianjin lobby; GFX100S 32.6mm ISO-2500 1/25sec f/8
Dragon Boat race in Tianjin, China
Dragon Boat Racing on the Haihe; GFX100S 200mm ISO-500 1/250sec f/5.6

Rather than sit on a plane for a few hours, I decided to head southeast to Tianjin via high-speed rail. This extremely short 35 minutes ride transports you into another world, a world filled with beautiful European architecture. Just like Qingdao, Tianjin was once at the mercy of foreign powers. This time, concessions were given to the British, French, Japan, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Belgium. This culminated in the full occupation of Tianjin by the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese war from 1937-1945. The city was recaptured by the Chinese Communists in 1949 and has stayed under the party’s rule ever since. 

Stunning interior of the Ritz Carlton Tianjin, China
Ritz Carlton Tianjin; GFX100S 32mm ISO-1600 1/18sec f/5.6
Interior lobby of the Ritz Carlton Tianjin, China
Ritz Carlton Tianjin; GFX100S 32.6mm ISO-1600 1/20sec f/4
Historic architecture in Tianjin, China
View from the Victoria Suite at Ritz Carlton, Tianjin; GFX100S 43.3mm ISO-100 1/220sec f/5.6
Living room Victoria suite at the Ritz Carlton Tianjin
Victoria Suite at Ritz Carlton; GFX100S 32mm ISO-1000 1/25sec f/8
Bedroom Victoria suite at the Ritz Carlton Tianjin
Victoria Suite at Ritz Carlton; GFX100S 32mm ISO-1000 1/25sec f/8

Despite being so close to Beijing, all of these foreign influences have shaped the character of Tianjin in a way that is very distinct from its huge, powerful and important neighbour. It’s this distinction that makes Tianjin a compelling weekend getaway for many Beijing city slickers. This is not to say that Tianjin is a quaint town; indeed, the population of this bustling city would put most western cities to shame, at 12.9 Million people as of the last census in 2016.

Outdoor running track in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/400sec f/8
Historic architecture in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/400sec f/8
Historic architecture in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/210sec f/8
European architecture in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 140.2mm ISO-500 1/105sec f/8
Porcelain house in Tianjin, China
Porcelain House in Tianjin; GFX100S 42.5mm ISO-200 1/34sec f/8

Tianjin is famous for its unique architecture, seafood, and proximity to Beijing. While this was a short trip, I hope you enjoy a peek into the daily life of this cool city. Furthermore, I hope you enjoy staying at the Ritz Carlton Tianjin as much as I did; it is by far, my favourite Ritz Carlton in China and is considered by the company to be its Mainland China flagship. The building resides in a perfect location on the banks of the Haihe River. While the building is not a restoration, the design is in keeping with the British concession history; the original building, as per the hotel, was destroyed in an earthquake and was torn down for safety reasons in the 1970’s.    

Crazy cotton candy drink in Tianjin, China
A horrible concoction of cotton candy with alcohol; GFX100S 50mm ISO-2500 1/40sec f/3.5
Older man walking his bicycle along the river in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 80mm ISO-200 1/1600sec f/1.7
Man fishing at the river in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 80mm ISO-100 1/800sec f/1.7
Riding bicycles in the rain in Tianjin, China
Squint and this could be a European city; GFX100S 200mm ISO-320 1/160sec f/5.6
Alley market in Tianjin, China
Alley market; GFX100S 45.7mm ISO-200 1/40sec f/8
Cute Lifetime Coffee bar in Tianjin, China
Super cool coffee shop; GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/250sec f/4
Lit bridge at night in Tianjin, China
Lit bridge at night crossing the Haihe River; GFX100S 50.8mm ISO-320 1/40sec f/4
European architecture lit up at night in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 32mm ISO-1600 1/6sec f/4
Haihe River architecture in Tianjin, China
GFX100S 32mm ISO-100 1/42sec f/8

Please enjoy the images from this short trip and let me know what you think in the comments section below. Please also consider subscribing so that you’re notified of new content. 

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Comments (2)

Thank you for posting these great shots, and your interesting comments!

The last time I travelled to mainland China was in 1990. There was not a single private car in the country and I needed to rent an official car with a chauffeur and be with a translator and chaperone at all times. I managed to slip out of my hotels late at night and walk around unsupervised. I met interesting people who came and spoke to me in English and German and Italian. I even got invited into some flats. China was still a developing country, but I could see the first signs of awakening. It is amazing to see what it evolved into over those 30 years.

I have been a regular visitor to Hongkong and have seen it grow for well over 30 years; fascinating as well. Your photos make me want to visit the mainland again.

Hi Chris, thanks for writing in. Your description of China is so far removed from what we experience today, it’s remarkable how much has changed in a relatively short period of time. Even in the eight years I’ve been here, the country has changed so much, and mostly for the better. If you do visit Mainland China in the future, please let me know and I’ll be happy to take you out for some Baijiu 🙂

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