Beijing (tours from Tianjin), China

On the western shores of Bohai Bay, Tianjin is a warm welcome to one of China's most exciting regions. To the north is Beijing, the world's fourth-largest port, which invites inquisitive exploration.

Tianjin and Beijing both have seemingly inexhaustible ways to entertain, excite and intrigue, with myriad attractions, pulsating cultural riches and superb cuisines.

The port has had a long and rich history functioning as a critical supply hub to the mainland since 1153. The Boxer Rebellion saw the port area fall into the hands of foreign powers who continued to develop the port. Later, the Japanese began to construct the passenger port as it is known today, building it outside the river estuary.

From the 1980s and 1990s the port experienced an annual throughput growth of nearly 10 million tons per year. The passenger terminal continues to welcome cruise passengers interested in discovering Tianjin, the fourth-largest city in China. Tianjin has a long and significant history, as does the capital, Beijing, with its story dating back three millennia.

Cruises to Tianjin provide the perfect opportunity to explore the nearby cities of Tianjin and Beijing, both among the five most important cities in China. The former Tianjin is an innovative and exciting city, split into areas of old and new. There is a fascinating combination of the China of yesteryear and the China of the future represented in Tianjin.

Strangely enough, it is not all Chinese influence in the city, as proven by the Five Great Avenues. This area of the city draws on architectural themes from several countries, including the UK, Italy and France, and is an attractive yet bizarre location to visit. Other more futuristic landmarks can be found in the form of the Tianjin Eye, similar in design to the London Eye, and Tianjin Tower, a stunning skyscraper with an observation desk sitting at 1,000 feet.

There are a number of beautiful, traditional temples in the city of Tianjin, including the Drum Tower, with an original design from the Ming Dynasty. The Dabei Monastery, Yuhuangge Taoist Temple and Grand Mosque are stunning examples of the city’s diverse ideology. The cuisine in Tianjin is just as diverse, although seafood provides the main basis of the area’s signature dishes.

Beijing is a city that needs no introduction. Visitors will begin at the iconic Tiananmen Square with its incredible surrounding buildings, before moving onto the mysterious and beautiful Forbidden City for a look at one of the country’s most impressive palaces.

While Beijing can seem slightly chaotic in places, it is easy to seek solace in some of the city’s many beautiful parks and temples. The Temple of Heaven is a stunning complex surrounded by a verdant park, while Zhongshan Park is the perfect place to head for a relaxing afternoon. Food lovers will rejoice in the choice on offer around Beijing, though if you only want to try one dish, it has to be the city’s famous specialty Peking roast duck, with several restaurants dedicated to the art of perfecting this dish.