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Kaifeng may be one of China’s lesser-known cities, but it has a remarkable history with many important relics and historic sites. This has led to it becoming increasingly popular with tourists, and to begin to develop a more visitor-friendly outlook. Kaifeng is known as the ‘Northern Water Town’ and is home to colorful folk arts and opera, painting and calligraphy.

Tours and activities in Kaifeng

Kaifeng is a city steeped in history, with many important historical sites to take in while you’re there. It’s a good idea to arrange an organized tour of these sites to be sure you don’t miss anything! Our local guides will be able to help you maximize your experience in Kaifeng with organized, well-informed visits to all the best attractions.

They will be able to show you the local artisans where you can purchase souvenirs, help you to book the best places for dining and give you some all-important historical background on the many places you can visit while in the city. Whether you need a tour for two hours or two days, check out our offers below for more information.

Best time to visit

Kaifeng has a temperate continental monsoon climate, with warm, wet summers and pleasant autumn. It’s best to visit in September and October when the weather is best, and you have the opportunity to visit the Chrysanthemum Festival.

Top Attractions in Kaifeng

Though the city is not much popular still, it offers a lot of amazing attractions and visitors can spend a great time here. People will surely love to pay a visit to natural beauty, architectural amazes and historical spots which the city of Kaifeng offers

The Iron Pagoda
1. The Iron Pagoda
Landmarks and icons

The Iron Pagoda is probably the most well-known landmark in the city. Standing over 55 meters tall, the Pagoda is not, in fact, made of iron, but from glazed brick. The name derives from the colors of the bricks, which look like iron from a distance. The Pagoda uses a unique construction – brickwork that is constructed in a similar way to wooden pagodas, but with an intricate series of apertures, tendons and slots on the bricks that enable them to fit together securely.

Daxiangguo Temple
2. Daxiangguo Temple
Landmarks and icons

Also important to the city is the Daxiangguo Temple, a complex of 64 temples dating back to the Qi Dynasty. Three main halls mark the main tourist area, including the Tathagata Hall where monks chant each in front of three gigantic Buddhas. The octagonal Arhat Hall houses a huge golden Avalokitesavara who it is said was carved from one single tree over a period of 50 years.

Dragon Pavilion (Long Ting)
3. Dragon Pavilion (Long Ting)
Museums, galleries and exhibitions

Dragon Pavilion (Long Ting) is the main attraction in the center of Dragon Pavilion Park. An imperial pavilion constructed in the Qing Dynasty and built on the site of a series of previous palaces, this is a must-see.

It contains cultural and historical relics and displays intricate carvings of dragons inlaid with pearls. There is also a nearby Waxwork Hall exhibiting important events and costumes through history.

Millennium City Park
4. Millennium City Park
Nature, parks and outdoors

Also in Dragon Pavilion Park, you’ll find the Millennium City Park or the Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden. This spectacular garden allows you to walk back through history, with a replica of an ancient bridge known as the Rainbow Bridge and a series of pavilions to walk through.

You’ll also find performances with traditional costume, acrobats, puppet shows and plays. You can also see folk customs exhibited and can purchase souvenirs.

Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden
5. Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden
Nature, parks and outdoors

This spectacular garden allows you to walk back through history, with a replica of an ancient bridge known as the Rainbow Bridge and a series of pavilions to walk through.

You’ll also find performances with traditional costume, acrobats, puppet shows and plays. You can also see folk customs exhibited and can purchase souvenirs.

Dragon Pavilion Park
6. Dragon Pavilion Park
Things to do with kids

It’s also worth visiting the waxwork museum in Dragon Pavilion Park – likenesses of prominent historical figures are on display in sumptuous period dress.

Sports, leisure and Shopping
7. Sports, leisure and Shopping
Leisure and shopping

What Kaifeng lacks in the modern shopping experience, it more than makes up for in local arts and crafts. There are many areas in the city where you can see artisans at work and purchases local products, including paintings and calligraphy.

The city also has a thriving opera scene, where you can watch shows based on important historical events.

Chrysanthemum Festival
8. Chrysanthemum Festival
Regular festivals and celebrations

A unique festival in Kaifeng is its annual Chrysanthemum Festival. The Chrysanthemum is the city flower of Kaifeng and cultivation of the flower dates back 1600 years. Hundreds of different types of the flower are displayed at a variety of sites across the city, with beautiful colors to behold. The festival takes place between October and November every year.

Getting here and getting around

Kaifeng has no airport, but the nearest airport, Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, is only 70km away. From here, travel is convenient for destinations all over China, as well as some key international locations including Thailand, Japan, UAE, and Canada.

The City Railway Station provides daily services to cities such as Zhengzhou, Luoyang, and Xian, with a long-distance bus service also providing easy travel.

Local buses are plentiful and travel across the city. Be aware that these are usually self-service, so make sure to carry change when you’re planning to take the bus.

Taxis are also easy to flag down in Kaifeng. For travel across the city, fares start at ¥5 with an extra ¥1 for each kilometer after the first 2kms. Taxis usually charge a flat rate of ¥7 for journeys to many of the attractions in the downtown of the city.

For a more fun way to get around, you can take a rickshaw, or as the locals call it a ‘bengbeng.’ It’s a great way to see the sights and can be very inexpensive, but do agree with a price first.

Eating and drinking

Kaifeng has a number of local delicacies that are worth sampling during your visit. Locally produced foods like Bianliang Watermelon, Peanut Cake, Spiced Dried Bean Curd, and Pickled Radish are all popular and well worth trying.

The most well-known restaurant is Di Yi Lou which sells Xiao Long Bao (steamed small meat dumpling in basket). However, it’s very popular with tourists, meaning there’s often a long wait for a table.

You can also sample local snack at the night fairs that run in the city, starting at 5 pm every evening. The best of these is Gu Lou Night Fair (Drum Tower Night Fair), where you can sample local snacks and delicacies from around the Henan region. In the south of the fair, you can also sample Islamic style cooking.

Getting a good night's sleep

One of the best accommodations in Kaifeng is the Pullman Kaifeng Jianye, which has rooms overlooking the lake or gardens, an on-site bar, and sports and bike hire. Rooms are air-conditioned and well-appointed, with flat-screen TVs.

A tremendous mid-priced hotel is Sunshine Nali Boutique Inn which is rated the excellent value for money. Rooms come equipped with everything you need for your stay, and the décor is in a charming traditional style. There are a sun terrace and garden that visitors can relax in.