A scenic lakeside journey to the past
Sitting equidistant between Shanghai and Beijing, the city of Xuzhou in China’s Jiangsu province is a fascinating blend of profound history, rich culture and dreamy landscape.
Designated a National Famous Historical and Cultural City since 1986, this scenic, thousands-year-old city is the birthplace of Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty, and the area is rich in Han culture. Due to building development, some incredible relics have been unearthed in recent decades, including Han tombs, stone carvings and the terracotta army of the Han Dynasty. Most people know of the famous Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, but this recent discovery makes Xuzhou even more captivating.
Sitting alongside these fascinating relics, Xuzhou boasts gorgeous scenery – picturesque wetlands, waterways with canopies of lilypads, and stunning urban lakes with pretty mountain backdrops. Xuzhou has all the hustle and bustle of a contemporary city, but it manages to blend tranquil nature with modern technology while championing environmental protection to create a truly unique travel destination.
Things to do
Meet the other terracotta warriors
Everyone knows about the terracotta warriors in Xi’an, but Xuzhou didn’t know what surprises were in store for it until 1984, when the terracotta army of the Han Dynasty was unearthed by brick factory workers digging into the Shizi Mountain. There were 4000 of these fascinating and expressive figurines discovered - soldiers, chariots, horses – and they’re more petite than the life-sized ones in Xi’an, measuring about 50cm high.
Live it up on the lake
With a magnificent mountain backdrop, Yunlong Lake is the perfect waterside hotspot. With a 14km road looping around it, you can stroll, cruise or minibus around and take in the photogenic seasonal flowers, or splash around at Lakeside Park, which has a pool and a beach. Lakeside New World is an ecological leisure zone. You can saunter the bridges, including the Sunken Corridor, or take in Asia’s largest freshwater aquarium, Yunlong Lake Water World.
Travel back in time
If you love art, craft and history, the Xuzhou Museum has an artful collection that really showcases Xuzhou's unique historical and cultural heritage. Displays includes pieces of ceramics, pottery, jade, gold and silver, copper and iron, enamel, calligraphy and painting. You’ll also find relics from the Neolithic Age, the Han Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty. A recent rebuild and expansion has given a spacious, gracious and contemporary backdrop to these phenomenal pieces of history.
Get with the greenery
Sprawling over 40 acres, Pengzu Garden is a large-scale park with rolling greenery, theme park rides, cultural spots and lots of water-based attractions. You can spend the day exploring the Pengzu Ancestral Hall, the Worship Plaza and the Stone Garden, or walking deep into the forest and mountain park. Meet some beasties at the on-site zoo, take perfect pictures in the cherry garden or just chill out by the lake.
Explore the underground high life
Burrow deep into Guishan Mountain and you’ll discover the tomb for the sixth King Chu Liu Zhu, and his wife. Liu Zhu reigned between 128 BC-116 BC in the Western Han Dynasty, so you’ll be walking through tombs that were crafted by hand almost 2000 years ago. There are two parallel but connected tombs – one for him, one for her - and they are pretty palatial, sporting multiple rooms including bedrooms, parlours, kitchens, laundries and stables!
Distance to downtown Xuzhou 45km
Bus: The airport offers a ticketed shuttle bus from the airport to Zhonghui International Convention Center, downtown. To get to the airport, pick up the shuttle at Xuhui Zhonghui International Hotel.
Taxi: There are plenty of taxis and auto-rickshaws available in the ground transport area.Back to top
When to go
Weather-wise, Xuzhou has long, hot, humid summers and short, dry and blisteringly cold winters. Aim to visit between May and June, or August and October for the most reasonable and tourist-friendly weather.
As for the festival calendar, the Yunlong Mountain Temple Fair happens every February 19, the gorgeous Flowering Cherry Art Festival is in March to coincide with the cherry blossom season, and the International Han Dynasty Culture Festival happens every October and showcases ancient Han Dynasty music, dance and handicrafts.Back to top
There are two train stations in Xuzhou - Xuzhou Railway Station and East Railway Station. Xuzhou operates regular trains, while East is more for inter-city bullet trains. There is a four-line metro system currently under construction to service the urban and suburban areas, and it’s scheduled to open by the end of 2020.
You can travel around on a city bus – it’ll cost roughly CNY1 to ride a regular one, or CNY2 for an airconditioned one. There’s also a tourist bus that goes from East Station to a lot of the bigger tourist sites. Xuzhou also has thousands of taxis, so just flag one down. Fares start at around CNY7 and you’re required to pay all tolls.Back to top