Kaifeng Travel Guide
Backing on to the Yellow River to the north and facing Huanghuai Plain to the south, Kaifeng is located to the east of Henan Province, being 72 kilometers (45 miles) from Zhengzhou and 500 kilometers (311 miles) from Lianyungang. It is among the 24 historical cultural cities in China, and it's home to over 800,000 people. Kaifeng is famous in the world for its profound historical and cultural heritages.
Highlights of Kaifeng
With an area of 6,444 square kilometers (2,488 square miles), traveling in Kaifeng highlights the characteristics of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), during which you can appreciate the colorful folk customs such as lion dancing and stilt walking performances, and you can explore the ancient attractions below.
- Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden, a large park themed on the history and culture of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), situated in the west bank of the Dragon Pavilion Lake.
- Kaifeng Iron Tower, a 13-storied octagonal tower of 55.88 meters (183 feet) in height, which is praised as the first iron tower in the world.
- Greater Xiangguo Temple, a magnificent Buddhist temple built in the North Qi Dynasty (550-577) and rebuilt in 1992.
- Memorial Hall of Bao Zheng, a memorial hall to commemorate Bao Zheng for his clear and upright acts during his tenure as Kaifeng's governor.
In addition, you can also treat yourselves to a gourmet meal on Imperial Street. Chrysanthemum Flower Fair has been famous since the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), where over 1,000 kinds of chrysanthemums are exhibited. It became a tradition for the scholars to grow chrysanthemums in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the Chrysanthemum Flower Fair has been inherited by the later generations in Kaifeng.
Kaifeng is the cradle of Chinese calligraphy and the Henan Opera, where the four famous calligraphic schools (Sushi Calligraphy School, Huang Tingjian Calligraphy School, Mi Fu Calligraphy School and Cai Xiang Calligraphy School) were produced, and the Henan Opera and Henan Zhuizi (ballad singing to the accompaniment of a bowed musical instrument) also originated in Kaifeng.
Kaifeng is conveniently located with good transportation facilities, and the direct (trains) buses to and from Beijing, Zhengzhou and Luoyang are available at Kaifeng (Railway) Bus Station. It takes about an hour from Kaifeng to Xinzheng International Airport.
The starting price of a ticket in the downtown area of Kaifeng is 5 yuan for the first three kilometers (1.9 miles), and you'll be charged 1 yuan per kilometer later. The bus fare is just 1 yuan within Kaifeng city center.
The hotels of Kaifeng are mainly concentrated in the Drum Tower area (the traditional city center) and Jinmin Square area (the new city center), of which the famous ones are listed as follows:
- New Century Grand Hotel Kaifeng
Location: 1 Zhengkai Avenue East, Kaifeng New District, Kaifeng
- Kaifeng Tianfu International Youth Hostel
Location: 30 Yingbin Road, Gulou District, Kaifeng
- Kaiyuanmingdu Hotel
Location: 1, Zhengkai Avenue, Kaifeng New District, Kaifeng
Food and Restaurants
Kaifeng cuisine has a long history and also a profundity for its variety; it's also the cradle of Henan dishes, featuring wheaten food which is widely eaten by the locals. The highlighted Henan dishes include Carp with Noodles in Sweet and Sour Sauce, Spring Chicken in Salt, Small Steamed Buns, Chinese Rice Puddings, Mutton Broth, Almond Tea and Scrambled Agar-Agar Jellies. Here's a list of famous restaurants in Kaifeng.
Founded in the third year (1864) of Emperor Tongzhi's reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Mayuxing Restaurant specializes in making grilled chicken and Spring Chicken in Salt.
Location: south of Drum Tower Square, Kaifeng
Established in the eighth year (1882) of Emperor Guangxu's reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Daoxiangju Restaurant specializes in making fried dumplings and wontons with shredded chicken.
Location: west Songdu Imperial Street, Kaifeng
The Sha's Sauced Beef Restaurant
Opened in the 23rd year (1897) of Emperor Guangxu's reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Sha's Sauced Beef Restaurant specializes in making spiced and sauced beef.
Location: near Dongda Temple, Kaifeng
Best Time to Visit Kaifeng
Kaifeng has a temperate and monsoonal climate with four clearly distinct seasons, featuring a cold winter, a warm spring, a hot summer and a cool autumn, where the annual mean temperature is 14.5°C and the annual mean precipitation is 622 millimeters. The ideal time to visit the city is from November to October, when the weather is neither too cold nor too hot, and you can also attend the Chrysanthemum Flower Fair.
With a history of over 2,700 years, Kaifeng served as the capital intermittently for seven dynasties in history, including the state of Wei of the Warring States Period, the later Liang Dynasty (907-923), the Later Jin Dynasty (936-947), the Later Han Dynasty (947-951), the Later Zhou Dynasty (951-960), the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). Kaifeng was the political, economic and cultural center in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), boasting of being the most prosperous metropolis in the world, where a host of renowned historical figures emerged, including the upright Bao Zheng, loyal generals of the Yang Family and the national hero, Yue Fei. The prosperous scene of Kaifeng is fully displayed in the Riverside Scene at the Pure Moon Festival drawn by Zhang Zheduan from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Kaifeng Museum is a good place to learn the history of the city.