The Nanjing Mandarin Garden Hotel is right smack in the middle of a shopping street bustling with people. This luxurious international five-star hotel is strategically located in the city’s most active district, just north of the Confucius Temple and the Qinhuai River.
The hotel boasts 500 guest rooms with all the basic amenities, with recreational facilities as well as Western and Chinese specialty restaurants. A must try is the buffet at the Humprey’s Café and Lounge, which is situated at the hotel lobby. Displaying a Chinese buffet style concept, the main dishes consist mainly of pork; braised pork, roasted pork, sweet-and-sour pork; any flavor the heart desires. The famous Nanjing salted duck and other famous local delicacies are also served on the menu.
Just around the corner from the hotel is the Nanjing Confucius Temple, or Fuzimiao, dedicated to the famous ancient Chinese philosopher. The temple was built in the Song Dynasty in the year 1034, and not only contains the temple itself, but also the Imperial Academy where provincial and national examinations were held once a year. Though the temple was burnt to ashes by the Japanese invaders back during the Nanjing War, it has been restored to its original style in the year 1984.
I did not have the chance to visit inside the temple for it was already closed when our tour group reached the hotel just south of the temple. Nevertheless, the surrounding street from the Confucius Temple was still jam packed with locals and tourists. This shopping district, also known as the Confucius Temple, was a red-light district in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. This is mainly due to the yearly national examinations held here, and the economy around the district flourished with the setting up of teahouses, libraries, accommodations, and whorehouses, providing services to the thousands that came to prove themselves worthy for an administrative position in the Imperial Palace.
We had a fun time walking around the lively street filled with lights, small stalls, and shops selling food, local snacks, clothes, souvenirs, and many more. I even managed to grab some barbecued meat sticks, steamed buns, fried dumplings, and sugar cherries to munch while shopping. Just in front of the Confucius Temple, people gathered around to sit, eat, and talk next to a screen wall with a lighted dragon on it. A small stream runs through the street, an ancient river known as the Qinhuai River.
At approximately 9:30pm, all shops started closing. We then headed off for a supper of pork ribs, noodle soup, and dumplings at a nearby food stall before heading back to the Nanjing Mandarin Garden Hotel just a few steps away.