How to Visit Guangzhou in One Day

September 20th, 2020
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Plan your Guangzhou tour? If you are pressed for time and would like to visit Guangzhou in one day or just a few hours’ layover tour, my proposed highlight Guangzhou day tour will bring both the modern and ancient Guangzhou to you, which you can customized per your own request.

It will spread to you the vivid and true picture of Guangzhou – museum, temple,  vernacular buildings, modern architecture, walking streets, river banks, parks, church  and Zhujiang River night cruising.

Guangzhou’s public bus is daunting for first-time visitors and you are hard  to get a taxi in rush hours, so I suggest a combined use of subway and walking on this Guangzhou one day tour.

Subway lines can allow you to have the right directions for your destinations and they are fast and punctual. Walking makes you get closer to the inside of Guangzhou.

Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue king
Address: 867 Jiefang North Rd, Yuexiu, Guangzhou

Leave your hotel around 8:00am and try o find your nearest metro station.  Take subway Line 2 ( or interchange from other subway lines ) and get off at the station of Yuexiu Park (越秀公园) and use Exit E.

Walking along the sideway to the north direction for about 5 minutes, you will see a vermilion building – Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue King.

The selection of the museum as your first destination is not because how much it is fascinating, but because the tomb shows you the building of Guangzhou as a city started over 2200 years ago.

 Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue king.

Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue king.

You may skip the exhibition halls for the dull and dazzling statistics and pictures, go directly to the upper floor under the main exhibition building and go to see the burial site of the Nanyue King.

Buried 20 meters underground, the tomb is composed of over 700 huge stones and slabs carved with colorful murals.

A huge number of ancient artifacts , bronze ware and terra-cotta ware were discovered. The King was in the jade shroud with typical jade burial rite. In addition, 15 human sacrifices found in the tomb reflects the unique burial customs.

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
87 Liurong Rd, Yuexiu, Guangzhou

Then walk along the sideway of Jiafang North Road (解放北路) to the south direction for about 15 minutes, then right  at the road of Bailing Road (百灵路).

Again turn left at the first T-junction and walk for about 5 minutes along Liurong Road (六榕路), you will see the entrance to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees ( Liurong Temple ).  The temple is well known for its lotus flower pagoda, the main structure of the temple built in 1097.

The entrance to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees with the two words “Six Banyan” above the gate.

The entracnce to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

The entrance to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

The Lotus Pagoda inside the Temple

The Lotus Pagoda in the Temple

The Lotus Pagoda in the Temple

Guangxiao Temple
109 Guangxiao Rd, Yuexiu, Guangzhou

After finishing your visit to the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, you walk along Liurong Road (六榕路) to the north direction and turn right at the T-junction and walk on Cangqian Road (仓前路) to the west direction.

Again come across a T-junction and turn left and walk on Haizhu North Road. Again come across a T-junction and you turn right and walk on Jinhui Road (净慧路), soon you will see the Guangxiao Temple on your right side.

The entrance to Guangxiao Temple

The entrance to Guangxiao Temple

The entrance to Guangxiao Temple

The Guangxiao Temple is the largest monastery in Guangdong Province with the longest history and greatest influence.

It was originally the former palace of Prince Zhao Jiande, the grandson of King Zhao Tuo, the first king of Nanyue Kingdom in the Western Han Dynasty.

The monastery has an important position in Buddhist history as Huineng of the Zen Buddhist sect was a  monk here in the 7th century.

The grand Hall of Mahavira

The grand Hall of Mahavira

The grand Hall of Mahavira

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall
By the Chenjiaci Station of Subway Line 1

At the end of your glimpse of Guangxiao Temple,  you exit and walk to the south along Guangxiao Road ( 光孝路). Then come across Zhongshan Road (中山路), one of the main avenues in Guangzhou and take subway line 1 from the station of Ximenkou (西门口) to the west direction and get off at the next station of Chenjiaci ( 陈家祠) and use the Exit C.

The magnificent entrance or exterior of Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The magnificent entrance or exterior of Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The magnificent entrance or exterior of Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall was originally  built by the 72 Chen clans for the accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations from Chen families in 1894 in Qing Dynasty.

Later it was turned to be the Chen Clan’s Industry College, and later middle schools afterward. Now it is home to the Guangdong Folk Art.  The Chen clan ancestral hall is famous for the ornate decoration which is presented inside and outside the halls.

A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving are seen on the walls,beams, columns, ridges and soon, a trove of Chinese folk arts.

A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving

 A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving

A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving

Xiguan Dawu ( Xiguan Old and Big Houses)
After your exploring the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall,  walk back to the subway line 1 and take the subway to the west and south direction and get off at the next stationof Changshou Road (长寿), and  use exit B and walk to the north along Baohua Road (宝华), then turn left and walk along Baoyuan Road (宝源路) to the west direction.

In 20 minutes, you will come across the north-south Longjin West Road (龙津西路). You turn right and walk to the north along Longji West Road and soon you will come across Longjin Birdge (龙津桥).  You stroll along the banks of Lizzhiwan River and start your Xiguan Old Houses tour.

Xiguan is a traditional geographical division of Guangzhou. It is situated in Liwan District, on the west of Guangzhou. Longjin Road (龙津路) is the center of old Guangzhou culture.

The big and old buildings were built in the past  100 years. people still live in their old house. These houses  are combination of eastern & western architecture  The houses all have the traditional Lingnan characteristics blended with western styles.

The old houses lie on the banks of Lizhiwan River.

The old houses lie on the banks of Lizhiwan River.

The old houses lie on the banks of Lizhiwan River.

The big and old houses were originally built in Qing Dynasty and the Republican Era of China with a history of over 100 years.

The big and old houses were originally built in Qing Dynasty and the Republican Era of China

The big and old houses were originally built in Qing Dynasty and the Republican Era of China

Dishifu Street  (第十甫)and Shangxiajiu Street (上下九街)
At the end of your glimpse of Xiguan Old Houses, you take  a taxi or walk to the most well known pedestrian streets Dishifu and Shangxiajiu streets which are flanked by the unique and historical architecture, blending the characteristics of European and Chinese styles. It has a group of old famous stores, some well-known restaurants.

Dishifu Pedestrian Street

Dishifu Pedestrian Street

Dishifu Pedestrian Street

Shamian Island

At the eastern tip of Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street,  you turn right and walk on the south direction along Renmin South Road, and soon you will get to Shamian Island.

Shamian Island, is a sandbank island in the Liwan District of Guangzhou city. The island’s name literally means “sandy surface” in Chinese. The island was sectioned into two concessions offered to France and the United Kingdom by the Qing government in the 19th century.

The island is home to a cluster of the architectures of colonial European period, with quiet pedestrian avenues flanked by trees and gardens. The island houses  several hotels,  restaurants and tourist shops selling curios and souvenirs.

Starbucks housed in an old European styled building

A Church  on the small island

A Church on the small island

A Church on the small island

The Cathedral of Sacred Heart

Out from Shamian Island, you just stroll along the Green Path along the northern bank of Zhujiang River to the east direction, soon you reach Renmin South Road ( 人民南路), then walking along Renmin South Road in the north direction and turn left at Yide Road ( 一德路).

When you see  a big signboard over the street with the two Chinese chinese characters ” 石室”,then you turn left and see the towering Church.

The Cathedral is a magnificent construction with walls and columns made of granite. It is well known both in the main land China,and oversea for its gothic architectural style and characteristic features of high towers, clusters of huge columns, pointed arches and stained glass windows.

It was founded 1863 and completed in 1888, date of the Feast of Sacred Heart which become the name of the Cathedral. It covers an area of some 2754 square meters, 35m west to east,78.69m high.

The Cathedral is a magnificent construction

Inside the Church

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

Zhujiang River Night Cruising at Tianzi Wharf
Walk out of the church and back to Yide Road (一德路) and stroll to the east and soon come across the north-south Jiefang South Road (解放南路).  Walk along Jiefang South Road till its southern tip, then walk to the east along the green path of the northern bank of Zhujiang River.

Soon you will pass by Zhujiang Square and Zhujiang Bridge and you see a waterfront building – Tianzi Wharf.  The first boating will start at 6:40pm.

The cruise tickets include a buffet on the ship.  If it is too early, you may take stroll along the waterfront green path to appreciate the views of the river banks.Lightened Bridge

Lightened Bridge

Lightened Bridge

The colored Canton Tower

The colored Canton Tower

The colored Canton Tower

After enjoying the night view,  you may use the subway station of Line 1 by Jiiefang Road.

Tip : Hassle-free Guangzhou Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Guangzhou:

Guangzhou Half Day Tour  from US$75 p/p
Guangzhou Highlight Day Tour    from US$80  p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Guangzhou
How to Visit Guangzhou in One Day
Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruises
How to Visit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall Guangzhou
How to Visit Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
How to Visit Kaiping Diaolou from Guangzhou

Any questions, just drop a line.

Grandma’s Hanging Basket

September 19th, 2020
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“Mellow Dragon Well Tea” is my memoir which draws on  the selected anecdotes from my life – looking at my Family and the World through my eyes. I have pushed with passion beyond the limit of my family, trying to grasp the social and economic background as a whole. Thanks for your reading! Daniel Li.

Grandma’s Hanging Basket

“Grandma, Grandma, let me have a look at the hanging basket! Let me have a look at the basket”, I almost cried out to my grandma when I raised my head, looking at the basket high well above my head attached to a rope hanging from a roof beam.

Me and my Grandma

“Little Grandson ( I’m the youngest of her three grandsons), nothing in the basket!” said my grandma.

I was born in 1962, following the aftermath of the widespread famine between the years 1959 and 1961 in China (known as “three years of great famine”). As a little kid, I often felt hungry looking for something to eat. 

My parents couldn’t feed our three children during these difficult years, all of us the boys resembling three tigers with our stomachs like bottomless pits, always wiping out their monthly food ration coupons well in advance. My parents often asked for or borrowed various monthly coupons from friends, relatives or colleagues.

“Lao Er” literally means “old two” which refers to my elder brother and “Lao San”, literally “old three”, and it’s me. And “Lao Da” means “old big”, referring to my eldest brother.

One day I overheard my grandma said to my father, “Laojia is better. I take Lao Er and Lao San to Laojia where people have more opportunities to get food than here in the urban areas”. Laojia in Chinese literally means “old home”, here in particular the countryside village where my father was born and our ancestors had settled.

After a few hours’ slow train and then the transfer for the local bus, Lao Er and me, escorted by my grandma, finally got to Zhou Village in Shuyang, Jiangsu Province. The village is located north of Yangtze River. Historically the Subei Area ( namely the area north of Yangtze River in Jiangsu Province) is regarded as poor and backward.

Though the village living conditions at that time were much worse than Jiaxing where we lived with our parents, a city only one hour’s train ride down south from Shanghai, we did find something to feed us in the shabby village. The most popular food was sweet potatoes.

Potatoes were one of the local staple food both for villagers and pigs. The villagers had plenty of ways to eat them. My favorite was dried potatoes. Peeled, sliced and dried, the dried potato slices were sweet, soft and stoking a kind of nice feeling for chewing.

But dehydrated potato slices were not just snacks, they were the source for main food in the daily two meals. Dried potato slices were often cooked with beans. So daily two meals? Yes, in Subei Area, still now, we only have two meals a day, a heritage handed down from the hungry and difficult years.

The traditional way of making dried potato slices is known as “Feng Gan”, literally dehydrated by wind. Put sliced potatoes in a basket and hang it up, letting natural wind to dry them. It is said that potatoes dried this way are sweet and flavorful.

But in the hard years, potatoes in our Lao Jia (the village home) were not plentiful, often in short supply. The villagers had to carefully plan their daily two meals.

Raising my head and looking at the baskets hanging high up was my daily joyful expectation. My grandma, pointing at the baskets, and often said to me, “Nothing inside now, wait until tomorrow.”

Grew up, I understood that my grandma made the white lie to balance daily food and live by expectation.

My grandma died of stomach cancer at the age 76. Her doctor said my grandma had damaged her stomach by eating dirt to beat hungry when she was a kid.

September 18, 2020

Jiayuguan Trip, Trip to Jiayuguan

September 17th, 2020
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After dinner, we went to Lanzhou Railaway Station for a 11-hour train trip from Lanzhou to Jiayuguan. Lanazhou Railway Station is the only passenger railway station in Lanzhou. It is located below the Gaolan Mountain in the south of Chengguan District of Lanzhou, Gansu Province.

We were arranged to take the overnight Train K9661 starting at 08:38pm and arriving at Jiayuguan at 7:46 the next morning covering the total railway length of 770km. Now it was the tourism peak season here in Gansu Province, there were over a dozen of through or passing by trains linking the two important cities on the ancient Silk Road.

The orange coloured train looked much safer and more reliable.

The orange coloured train looked much safer and more reliable

I was waked up by the early morning sunlight creeping into our cabin. What caught my eyes were the passing by Qilian Mountain with snow capped peaks. 
 
Yes, the famous mountain would accompany us throughout the trip paralleling the the whole Hexi Corridor.
 
Qilian Mountain with snow capped peaks

Qilian Mountain with snow capped peaks

 

We arrived at Jiayuguan on time. Jiayuguan Railway Station was located 5km south of the city center.
 
Jiayuguan Railway Station

Jiayuguan Railway Station

After disembarking at Jiayuguan Railway Station, going through the city center, we went directly to Jiayuguan Hotel (嘉峪关宾馆) for a familiarization trip. It is a 4 star hotel with 177 rooms modernly equipped and elegantly furnished.

Add: No.01 Xinhua Road, Jiayuguan Tel: 0937 – 6201588 Fax: 0937 – 6227174. We were transferred to Jiayuguan Hotel (嘉峪关宾馆) for a fam trip.

 

A huge painted Jiayuguan Tourism Map hanging on the wall in the lobby of the hotel aroused my interest. The map clearly showed the layout of Jiayuguan City with the mapping of its rich tourist attractions.

Jiayuguan Downtown – Jiayuguan Airport ( 13km )

                     Jiayuguan Railway Station ( 5km )
                     Long Distance Bus Station ( 1.5km )
                     Jiayuguan Pass ( 4km )
                     Overhanging Great Wall (Suspension Great Wall ) 12km
                     The First Beacon Tower of the Great Wall ( 15km )
                     Wei Jin Underground Brisk Murals ( 18km )

                     July First Glacier ( 120km )

The Tourist Map of Jiayuguan City

The Tourist Map of Jiayuguan City

 

The next activity was the highlight of our fam trip in Jiayuguan, visiting the Jiayuguan Pass. Jiayu Pass ( Jiayuguan Fort ) was the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall of China. Built 1372,  Jiayuguan Fort was was christened as the first and greatest Pass under the Heaven. The pass consisted of three defense lines – an inner city, an outer city and a moat.

The fort was located at the narrowest point of the western section in Hexi Corridor ( 15km wide ) bound by Qilian Mountains and Hei Shan ( Black Mountains ). The fort had a perimeter of 733 meters with an area of more than 33,500 square meters. The total length of the city wall was 733 meters and 11 meters high.

Jiayuguan pass had two gates – East side ( Gate of Enlightenment ) and West side ( Gate of Conciliation ). On each gate there was a building with an inscription of “Jiayuguan” in Chinese written. Each gate had 17 m-high towers with double gates that had been used to trapping invading  armies. The south and north sides of the pass were linked to the Great Wall. There was a turret on each corner of the fort.

The West Gate of Conciliation

The West Gate of Conciliation

 
The unrepaired turret of the fort.

The unrepaired turret of the fort

 
The city wall of the pass.

The city wall of the pass.

 
The horse course way up to the pass

The horse course way up to the pass

 

Outside the wall of the pass.

Outside the wall of the pass

 
After finishing the tour of Jianyuguan, we moved on to the south of the pass and got to the first beacon tower of Great Wall of China. The first beacon tower was built 1539 by an local military officer stationed in Hexi Corridor.
 

 

People were taking photos of the First Beacon.

 
Now we were driving along the highway from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang at the driving distance of 385km.

Any questions, just drop a line.