Tianjin is the country’s third largest city on the mainland in terms of population, with approximately 10.9 million people in 2014.
There are several good international schools for expat families to choose from in Tianjin, and as the city grows, so does the selection of schools. The Tianjin International School is a popular choice with foreigners living in Tianjin, with both teachers and pupils originating from a wide range of countries.
The Wellington College International Tianjin opened in 2011 and is an associate school of the renowned UK based Wellington College. Other international schools in Tianjin include the Rego International School and the Maple Leaf International High School.
Opting for an international school in China has the added benefit of facilitating integration into the expat community through school events and opportunities to get involved with the PTA.
Driving in Tianjin, and elsewhere in China, can be hazardous. Road conditions can be poor, many local cars have inadequate safety standards and reckless driving is common. Expats new to the country are advised to use other means of transport, at least to begin with. Some companies do not even permit their foreign national employees to drive in China.
Taxis are a popular means of transport in Tianjin. You should only use licensed taxis, which in Tianjin, can easily be identified by the letter E that is on the taxi’s number plate. Licensed taxis should also have a taxi sign on the roof and you should be able to view the driver’s ID. Avoid any taxis that have no evidence of being licensed.
Buses are the most widely used form of transport in Tianjin. There is also a subway that currently operates on four lines across the city, with further lines planned and in construction. A City Card can be purchased, which allows travel on both the subway and buses.
There are many railway stations in the city, with the largest being Tianjin Railway Station. Services operating from this station include a bullet train to Beijing. A shuttle bus service runs between Tianjin Railway Station and Tianjin Airport. The airport has regular flights to other major cities in China as well as international flights to destinations all over the world.
The Tianjin Eye, built in 2007 on a bridge, affords the best views of the city. On a clear day, you can see the surrounding area up to 40 km away. Expats living in Tianjin can also step back in time by visiting the Dule Temple, the oldest wooden pavilion in China. There are several museums in Tianjin too, including a museum of old Chinese artifacts at the Astor Hotel and the folk museum in Tianhou Palace.
Teahouses are an important part of the Chinese culture, where entertainment is laid on while you drink tea. Tianjin teahouses are particularly known for their crosstalk entertainment, a form of comic monologue or dialogue.
In Tianjin’s Ji county you can visit the Huangyaguan Great Wall, originally built in the 6th century AD and subsequently extended and renovated. Major restoration undertaken in 1987 means it is now the longest renovated part of China’s Great Wall.
Further outside the city, you can also get close to nature in the Baxian Mountain National Nature Reserve, with paths through the mountains and gullies and the chance to see many species of animals and plants.