We’ve led life in Nanjing for more than three years.  Let us give you a brief orientation to this interesting city in China from the perspective of a young married couple with two little kids.

First of all, where is Nanjing?  We are basically neighbors with Shanghai, on the east coast of China.

This is not your remote, rickshaw cart pulling corner of China. Nanjing has access to many of the cosmopolitan resources of its sister mega-cities, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Nanjing was the “southern capital” of China for a few centuries. One thing we love about the city now is its remnants of Chinese culture, like some temples, a city wall, and imperial offices. Other Chinese cities were not so lucky, practically razed to the ground during the 20th century.

We have lived at the same basic intersection in town for two years, so we mainly know our own neighborhood.  Keep in mind, Nanjing has over 6 million people, packed tight, so there’s a wide variance in the different locales around the city.  Our neighborhood is dominated by the world’s 7th tallest building, called the Zifeng.

This corner of the city houses another one of Nanjing’s hallmarks: universities.  Nanjing is a college town, like few other in China.  There are almost twenty separately listed universities in town. We live right next to Nanjing University, the oldest and most prestigious in town.  It’s a top five school in China, so the students that attend are extremely bright and motivated.

This means our neighborhood is extremely student friendly, with lots of resources for even a pair of young American parents.  Diapers, bottles, kids clothes- no problem.  Also plenty of cheap noodles and fried rice.

Safety in Nanjing is never a problem. China has no guns, unlike back home, so late at night you still feel completely safe walking the streets. And Chinese people are always out and about, so you never feel dangerously isolated.

So our life here is fairly similar to that in any major developed metropolis, minus being able to drink the water and a few other conveniences.  But it’s definitely worth visiting if you’ve got time on your China travel itinerary.  Let us know if you’re also looking to make a stay here and we’ll be happy to give you more feedback.

7 Responses to “Nanjing”


  1. 1 Greg Patt March 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    So is the haze in all your pictures of the cities pollution or fingerprints on your lens?

  2. 2 jmliz March 5, 2008 at 11:46 am

    We have trouble ourselves trying to figure out which part of the haze is from the natural humidity (it’s going to be a hot summer), and which part comes from various pollutants. The air doesn’t smell too bad, but you tend to cough more on a daily basis here. One thing we see often is a street-side vendor burning garbage to cook their food. While this does recycle all the cardboard and paper we toss out, it can’t be all that good for the air quality.

  3. 3 Uncle Alan March 31, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    How did it come to known as Nanjing from when I learned geography and it was Nanking?

  4. 4 jim March 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    My son will be attending university in Nanjing for Fall 2010 semester. Any advice/information for a 20 year old?
    Thanks.

    Jim Reynolds

  5. 5 mjfalk March 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Compliments on a very nice addition to your interesting blog—the photos are very nice to see—-it gives a picture for me of a much more modern city than I had supposed. Coming from the Midwest of the US, I find urban landscapes without the church spires I grew up seeing so unique—-very eye-opening images of Augustine’s City of Man. And, the Top O’ the Morning on this St. Patrick’s Day 2010!

  6. 6 susie February 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    hi would you be able to recommend any tour groups that i can use to go to cities like Nanjing and Wuxi?

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