China

Hebei province, China: Something unique in your China journey

Hebei province, China: Something unique in your China journey

I have once visited Hebei. I didn’t expect much on that journey since Hebei’s strength is not tourism. However, visiting Hebei is more spectacular and fascinating than ever. Hebei is not just Beijing’s backyard. This province is where the historical treasures shine amongst pollution. And since it doesn’t have the tourism industry developed (in comparison to other provinces), tourist spots are well-preserved. As a result, I want to share some useful information about Hebei travel as a way to promote this amazing region and bring them closer to everyone.

shijiazhuang capital

Hebei Overview

Area 188.800 km2
Population Approximately 72.875.100 million
Neighbors Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Liaoning, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan, Bo Hai Sea, Tianjin, Beijing
Capital city Shijiazhuang
Other cities Baoding, Cangzhou, Chengde, Handan, Hengshui, Langfang, Qinhuangdao, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Xingtai, Zhangjiakou
Nationalities Han, Hui, Mongol, Manchu
Time Zone GMT +8
Area code Shijiazhuang 311
Tangshan 315
Qinhuangdao 335
Handan 310
Xingtai 319
Baoding 312
Zhangjiakou 313
Chengde 314
Cangzhou 317
Langfang 316
Hengshui 318

Hebei used to be known as “The Land of Yan and Zhao”. Back to history, this region was dominated by the Kingdom of Yan in the north and the Kingdom of Zhao in the south. Hebei has proudly rich history. Traced back to 476 BC, here born various historical heroes. Hebei is not a well-known province in China since it is overshadowed by its two prosperous neighbors, Tianjin and Beijing. Besides, Hebei is the biggest production center of grain in China, since it has a part of the Yellow River to the north.

From my perspective, Hebei is not a hot tourist destination that has so many bustle locations or extremely touristy areas. Hebei itself is a peaceful province, plays a historically and culturally important role in Chinese development. As a result, Hebei is suitable for a light journey as to acknowledge Chinese history, culture, and customs; it would not and never be an adventurous trip.

Best Time For A Hebei Trip  

Hebei has 4 seasons, including windy spring, hot summer, cool autumn, and cold dry winter. The annual average temperature is 0 C – 13 C. It is also frosty and freezing in the winter. Therefore, winter is not the suggested time for traveling.

It is suggested that visitors should arrive at Hebei in February, April-May, and September-October. In February, the weather may be freezing, but Tet Festival will warm you up. From April to May, the freezing cold is decreasing, the temperature is getting more and more enjoyable. Between September and October is the autumn, which means the weather is so pleasing with a slightly cool atmosphere for the Autumn Festival.

hebei map

From Beijing To Hebei

As mentioned before, Beijing is a neighbor of Hebei. As a result, transferring between these 2 regions are super easy and usual. In case you may get tired of flying, I suggest you choose high-speed trains as the vehicle. And since they are next to each other, there are special trains carry passengers from Beijing to Qinhuangdao, Chengdu and some other tourist spots in Hebei.

You can easily book the train ticket on chinatour.net. Let’s depart at Beijing Railway Station or Beijing West Railway Station since other stations would have a longer duration. It only takes you 1 hour and 30 minutes going by high-speed train to reach Hebei’s capital city. If you wish to arrive at other cities in Hebei, feel free to check the timetable online.

Hebei Transportation

The most famous and crowded airport in Hebei is Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport. If you go to Hebei by plane, you would definitely arrive at this airport.

The railway network in Hebei is extremely developed. You can get in and get around it by train without difficulty. However, buses are way more convenient for tourists to get around one city. It helps you to save money too. There are bus stops in many famous tourist destinations, so if you visit Hebei without any travel agency service needed, it is totally easy and safe.

Highway network here is also very prosperous since it is the connection of many national highways. The center of this network is located in Shijiazhuang the capital city, extending to its neighbors. Therefore, don’t worry much about transportation. Always remember to book ahead the transportation before arriving at Hebei. The routes can be found online too.

Destinations Not To Be Missed

I have visited some destinations on my last journey to Hebei, and I want to share them with you. It is a wonderful peaceful province. You can admire the marvelous stunning landscapes, enjoy beautiful beaches, magnificent grassland, unique reeds and snows that you could only dream of. As I said, here doesn’t have many heavy activities to join. Chinese culture and history would embrace you fully in this land, not just natural beauty like other provinces and cities in China.

I would like to share some information about tourist spots in Hebei. It was an interesting yet so spiritual and cultural journey to me. If you love Chinese history and culture, you would find Hebei magnificent and unbelievable.  Some places that I have been to are:

– Shijiazhuang (capital city):

– Chengde Summer Palace: It used to be the royal summer resort (where the royal family would go to relax in the hot summer) in the Qing Dynasty. You will be amazed by how large and splendid this place is. It has 4 parts: the Mountain Area, the Lake Area, the Plain Area, and the Palace Area.

Chengde Summer Palace

– Beidaihe Scenic Area: Located in Qinhuangdao city, this is a famous summer destination. The biodiversity here is extremely prosperous, especially the birds. The coastline is 22.5 kilometers long, which is abundant for tourists to enjoy.

Beidaihe hebei

– Jinshanling Great Wall and Shanhaiguan Great Wall: They are parts of the Great Wall of China, located in Luanping. Jinshanling starts from the Wangjinglou Tower and ends with Longyukou. Shanhaiguan Great Wall is known as the “First Pass under Heaven” as it is the first pass to the east of the Great Wall.

– Zhaozhou Bridge (Anji Bridge): It is the world’s oldest segmental arch stone bridge.

Local specialties

Hebei doesn’t have many minority groups. But still, the local people have done great work on art and handcraft. Some specialties you may see (and buy) are Guan willow knit, Tangshan pottery, Chengde wooden carving, and Teng Family cloth painting.

Special dishes

Hebei cuisine is quite interesting. It has 3 branches name Chengde Summer Resort Royal Cuisine, South Hebei Cuisine, and East Beijing Seafood Cuisine. The preferable ingredients in these cuisines are fresh seafood with different natural and raw materials. The flavor is intense and full of savory so you may not get used to it immediately.

Some special dishes you should try in Hebei are Tangshan (honey twist), Paji (braised chicken), Duixia (prawns) and Haixie (sea crabs), Lvrou Houshao (donkey meat pie), Songhua dan (Songhua duck eggs), almond juice.

That’s all the experience and knowledge that I gain from my Hebei journey. It may not very detailed since I want to give you an overall idea and you can create your own itinerary. Hebei may not an interesting place to visit, but it is definitely a place to learn, admire, and appreciate Chinese culture and history through tourist historical destinations.

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