Tianjin is a port city 30 minutes on the high speed train from Beijing. It’s a great break from Beijing and, honestly, I would rather live there. With a modest population of 13 million, compared to a staggering 21 million in Beijing, it not only differs in terms of people but in architecture and way of life. The atmosphere of Tianjin is far more laid-back. The people are calmer and much friendlier. From 1860 to 1945 Tianjin was controlled by 9 different countries concessions leaving a legacy of European influence in many buildings and schools. As you take a stroll to the river you will pass by beautiful buildings that make you feel like you are in London and then see a Chinese restaurant right beside it. Along the river they have a beautiful walkway with a breathtaking view of the city and it makes me realize how much having a body of water around really gives off a different, calmer atmosphere.