Beijing’s Best Staycation Activities for Couples
In the mood for a romantic staycation in China? Wondering what are the best Chinese cities to visit with your partner?
Here are five romantic cities in China that we believe will appeal to both locals and expatriates:
- Beijing: Embrace History and Architecture
- Suzhou: Seal Your Love in a Classical Garden
- Ningbo: Discover the Pleasures of the Countryside
- Xiamen: Unwind with a Beach Staycation
- Tianjin: Bond over Cultural Experiences
Below, we highlight each Chinese city’s must-visit attractions, along with recommendations on the best staycation hotels for your China local vacation.
This guide is brought to you by the Pan Pacific Hotels Group. We hope you find it useful, and look forward to hosting you soon!
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Beijing’s Best Staycation Activities for Couples
When in Beijing, history and architecture buffs will leap at any opportunity to visit—or revisit—the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. But is there room for romance too? We certainly think so!
Lay out a Picnic at the Great Wall
Book a private hike with luxury tour operator Scott Dunn to explore the less-visited Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China. Possibly the most evocative section of the Great Wall, most of the watchtowers and ramparts here were left undisturbed. The hike should take about five hours, after which you can settle down with your beloved to a well-deserved picnic of wine and cheese before being driven back to Beijing.
Go on a Cool Lunch Date at the Forbidden City
Why is the Forbidden City “forbidden?” You might be aware that commoners were once prohibited from entering this palace complex—during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911), only imperial families and senior officials could gain entry to the emperor’s abode.
Of course, this is no longer the case, and if you are first-time visitors, book a six-hour guided tour, so as not to miss out on gems like the Imperial Library and the Treasure Rooms. The tour also includes lunch at the Royal Icehouse, formerly a palace storehouse for ice blocks cut from the lake at Beihai Park.
Get your Intellectual Fix
For couples who live for stimulating discussions, look up Newman Tours, which hires guides with degrees in everything from Chinese studies and English literature to history and biology. In particular, you can consider their “History of China in 50 Objects” tour, which reconstructs China’s past through the most celebrated objects in Beijing’s National Museum of China.
Eat Right in China’s Capital City
To feast on Peking duck that is fit for royalty, visit Liqun Roast Duck, which has been named one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Alternatively, book a private tour with food specialists like Lost Plate and UnTour to discover the local foods that Beijing’s hutongs (alleyways) have to offer. Also try Pan Pacific Beijing’s Hai Tien Lo, which serves authentic Cantonese cuisine paired with premium teas.
Get directions to Liqun Roast Duck (11-minute drive from Pan Pacific Beijing)
After a hectic day of explorations, retreat to the soothing interiors of Pan Pacific Beijing, a five-star hotel that combines luxurious furnishings and modern facilities with traditional Chinese elegance.
Let Suzhou’s Beauty Take Your Breath Away
Suzhou is the ideal setting for a lovers’ retreat, with its famed gardens and idyllic pace of life. Here are our recommendations for lovebirds on a Suzhou staycation.
Experience the Healing Power of Suzhou’s Gardens
To many Chinese, Suzhou is paradise on Earth, thanks to its Edenic gardens.
If you plan to explore Suzhou on your own, begin by visiting the city’s Classical Gardens, which were built by ancient Chinese intellectuals as a way to express their disenchantment with societal ills. These gardens embraced Taoist and Buddhist tenets such as maintaining harmony with nature, and avoiding artificiality.
Start with Suzhou’s best-known attractions, the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Lingering Garden, which are also considered China’s top classical gardens. For more suggestions, read our Suzhou gardens guide.
Get directions to Humble Administrator’s Garden (16-minute drive from Pan Pacific Suzhou)
Get directions to Lingering Garden (13-minute drive from Pan Pacific Suzhou)
Get an Overview of Suzhou’s Best Attractions
Prefer to visit a spread of attractions, and not just gardens?
Book a Classic Suzhou Tour, which includes stops at Tiger Hill (site of the Tiger Hill pagoda, otherwise known as “China’s Leaning Tower of Pisa”), Shantang Street (a riverside walking street), the Lingering Garden, the Buddhist Hanshan Temple, and the Suzhou Silk Museum.
Take a Day Trip to a Historic Water Town
What could be more romantic than a languid boat ride through a quaint water town?
Delight your date by booking a private Tongli Water Town Day Tour. Located on the outskirts of Suzhou, Tongli Water Town is home to peaceful classical gardens, picturesque canals, and historic buildings—and apart from boat rides, you can easily get around on foot.
Try Suzhou Foods that Locals Love
Seeking a scrumptious meal in Suzhou?
Book the Suzhou Alleyway Food Tour to walk through lush gardens and 800-year-old monasteries as you go in search of Suzhou’s best local foods. From seasonal Suzhou noodles to dumplings and wonton, your tastebuds will be in for a treat! You can also visit Pan Pacific Suzhou’s Hai Tien Lo for gourmet dim sum and authentic Cantonese and Suzhou dishes.
Escape Big-City Crowds in Ningbo
Ningbo is a mid-sized city in China, where one can still enjoy the perks of city life, minus the hectic pace. Follow our activity suggestions to have a fun and fulfilling Ningbo staycation!
Take a DIY Ningbo Walking Tour
A note to expatriates: guided walking tours in English are not the norm in Ningbo. To locate popular Ningbo sights such as the Tianyi Pavilion, the oldest surviving private library in China, bookmark a self-guided walking tour.
Go on a Romantic Hike
If you and your partner are outdoorsy types, head to Jiulong Lake for a refreshing adventure. Be awed as you follow the natural trails while taking in the views of the mountains and the stunning lake. Prefer a sit-down activity? Ride a buggy up the mountain, or take a ferry ride on the lake.
Get directions to Jiulong Lake (39-minute drive from Pan Pacific Ningbo)
Visit a Majestic Mountain
Try Ningbo’s Best Foods
Wondering where and what to eat in Ningbo? You can heed the foodie recommendations by UnTour, or head to Pan Pacific Ningbo’s Hai Tien Lo to indulge in authentic Ningbo cuisine. Influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), our culinary team at Hai Tien Lo handpicks rare produce to study their health benefits before incorporating them into recipes
Have a Feel-good Getaway in Xiamen
Put on your flip flops and get ready to chill out in Xiamen—follow our suggestions for keeping things laidback and fun during your Xiamen staycation.
Have a Beach Day
When in Xiamen, relax like a local and hit the beach with your partner! If convenience is your main consideration and you are not intending to swim, head to the accessible Baicheng Beach in downtown Xiamen. But if you crave privacy, make your way to the less-crowded Huangcuo Beach. Do note that there are hardly any beach vendors at Huangcuo Beach, so bring along your own picnic supplies.
Get directions to Baicheng Beach (near Xiamen University, 12-minute drive from Pan Pacific Xiamen)
Get directions to Huangcuo Beach (21-minute drive from Pan Pacific Xiamen)
Canoodle on Cat Street
If you are a pair of cat lovers, you will feel right at home on Ding’aozai Cat Street! There are about 20 cat statues on this street, and practically every wall along the street features a feline-themed mural—the perfect whimsical backdrop for your Instagram-worthy couple shots.
Get directions to Ding'aozai Cat Street (15-minute drive from Pan Pacific Xiamen)
Go on a Rustic Escape
There are many interesting day trip options from Xiamen, which include a hotel pick-up and drop-off. You can visit the lush Anxi region, which has been cultivating Oolong tea since the Tang Dynasty (618–906AD). Or you could experience Hakka culture by visiting a tulou cluster—tulou clusters are ancient circular buildings, which were built by rural Hakka Chinese communities many centuries ago.
Load up on Quality Seafood
Xiamen has a reputation for stellar seafood, and the city’s best-rated seafood restaurants include Xiao Yan Jing Seafood Da Pai Dang and Shuyou Seafood Restaurant. Seafood lovers can also head to Bashi—Xiamen’s largest and most popular seafood market.
Get directions to Yan Jing Seafood Da Pai Dang (9-minute drive from Pan Pacific Xiamen)
Get directions to Shuyou Seafood Restaurant (9-minute drive from Pan Pacific Xiamen)
Get directions to Bashi (7-minute drive from Pan Pacific Xiamen)
Book your Xiamen staycation at Pan Pacific Xiamen, located 100m away from Jianye Road Station (Metro Line 2). From our hotel, you can walk to the International Cruise Terminal to hop on a ferry to Gulangyu Island, or visit popular Xiamen attractions such as the Coffee/Bar Street, Yundang Lake, and Bay Park.
Soak up the Culture of Tianjin
Tianjin is a popular day trip destination from Beijing, but it is worth a slightly longer stay! Here are our suggestions for making your Tianjin staycation extra memorable.
Take a Walking Tour in the City
Get your bearings in Tianjin by exploring the city on foot. Book a Tianjin City Walking Day Tour to visit city-centre attractions like Ancient Culture Street (great for souvenir shopping) and the Tianjin Eye (note that this tour does not include a ride).
Visit a Literary Wonderland
Hailed as one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME magazine, the Tianjin Binhai New Area Library makes a visual statement by pairing minimalism with futurism. White is the dominant colour here, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves line the walls of the spaceship-like auditorium. This is certainly the place to capture some keepsake photos, but do also spend time browsing the extensive book collection—after all, this library was built to hold over 1.35 million books!
Get directions to Tianjin Binhai New Area Library (52-minute drive from Pan Pacific Tianjin)
Go on a Culturally Enriching Day Trip
From Tianjin, you can book a tour to visit the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall, which is one of the most scenic sections of the Wall. After which, the tour will take you to a Qing tomb site, where emperors, empresses, concubines, and other members of the royal household were laid to rest. Alternatively, pick a Huangyaguan tour that includes a visit to the Dijing Hot Spring Resort instead, so that you can relax your mind, body, and soul after your Great Wall hike.
Discover Tianjin’s Food Traditions
Fancy a taste of quintessential Tianjin cuisine? Join a Tianjin Local Food & Tea Tour to have a traditional Chinese breakfast, check out local produce, and sample light bites as you explore the Drum Tower, Tianjin Eye, and Haihe River areas.