The Confucian Museum is a pleasant surprise for me. It is located in a shopping district, next to a shopping mall called New World Department Store (where Carrefour is located). It cost RMB 30, which is not cheap for a temple, compared to RMB 5 for Dabei Temple. But it is certainly worth the money for these reasons:
1. You can learn about the teachings of Confucius in the museums. One thing that surprises me is the wide availablility of English explanations in the exhibition halls. Thus it was a pleasant experience learning more about Confucius. Beyond the exhibition halls there are very little English descriptors.
2. There is a section where you can pay RMB 30 to RMB 40 to get a plaque to make your well wishes to Confucius. It is a popular place to ask for good academic results. The lady manning the stall and hall is very friendly. She taught how to pray and volunteered to take many photos of me posing next to the wishing wall. She even advised me on the interesting things I can find in other halls. For a foreigner who knows little about Confucius, this really makes my day.
3. The temple is safe and not crowded (except during the Chinese Exams Gaokao period). There are no beggars or con man around the area. In fact, it is a temple surrounded by so many skyscraper malls that you might even miss it.
4. The toilet is clean but a bit dark. My advice is you visit the toilets at the Friendship Mall next to the temple instead.
5. I was pleasantly surprised that the halls in the temple were very cooling even though there are no air con or fans. This was despite a hot Friday afternoon. The ancient people are really good at building houses with natural cooling designs.
In short, it was a highly pleasant experience. Definitely my favourite temple in Tianjin. It will take around 1 to 1.5 hours to explore the halls.
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