Archive for the ‘Guangdong Travel’ Category

Top 10 Attractions in Guangdong

Monday, July 21st, 2014
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Plan your Guangdong tour? With Guangzhou ( Canton ) as its capital city, Guangdong  Province is often considered as the southern gate to the mainland China, adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau. Guangdong is historically known as the  starting point of Maritime Silk Road and the birthplace of China’s revolutionary past.

The northern Guangdong is home to the magnificent landscapes featuring the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage crowned Danxia Mountain and the forested Mount Lufoshan; the eastern Gaungdong is blessed with beautiful beaches. Besides its wondrous natural beauty,  Guangdong boasts unique culture represented by the flamboyant watchtowers at Kaiping, also a UNESCO Cultural Heritage and Hakka’s coiled dragon houses in Meizhou.

With much to be discovered in Guangdong, here is our Top 10 list for the attractions in Guangdong.

1.   Kaiping Diaolou (Kaiping Watchtowers ) 开平碉楼
Kaiping is world famous for its Diaolou (fortified village houses or known as watchtowers), pristine villages and old townships. Kaiping Diaolous and villages were listed as World Cultural Heritage in 2007 for their harmonious fusion between Chinese and Western structures.

Kaiping Diaolous were originally built in the early Qing Dynasty and fully developed in 1920s and 1930s. There are mainly three kinds of fortified village towers:  Watch Towers, Communal Towers and Dwelling Towers.

Watch towers were built to guide against any possible forays by bandits; communal towers were built collectively with the fund raised by all the villagers. They would hide themselves in case of bandits’ attack.

These kinds of communal towers were often built behind villages while watch towers were built at the entrance of a village. Dwelling Towers were built as a combination of a residential house and a watch tower. Today, approximately 1,833 diaolou towers remain standing in Kaiping County.

All the diaolou towers are now scattered around the villages in Kaiping County.  Some villages have been chosen by the local tourism bureau to be open to the public. These selected villages have been turned into a large “Diaolou Tourist Site” with tourism administration.

A combo ticket allows you to visit three villages where the most representitive diaolou towers stand. The three villages are Zili Village (自立村) in Tangkou Township, Majianglong Village (马降龙村) in Baihe Township and Jinjiangli (锦江里) in Jiangang Township.

Most of the tall and impressive diaolou towers were funded and built by oversea Chinese returning home from South Asia, Australasia, and North America.  The Kaiping diaolou towers were built in a variety of architectural styles featuring a perfect combination of traditional Chinese watchtowers and classical European architecture.

The combo ticket also allows you to visit Li Garden ( 立园) in Beiyi Xiang,which was built in 1936 by Mr. Xie Weili, a Chinese emigrant to the United States.  On your village trip in Kaiping, you can visit Chikan (赤坎), the charming old town with the featuring Qilou structures.

How to go to the selected villages in Kaiping from Guangzhou

1) Take buses: you may take buses to Kaiping Yici Bus Station from Guangzhou Bus Station ( by the Guangzhou Railway Station) : 145-149 Huanshi West Road, Guangzhou Tel: (020)86661297.  When you reach Yici Bus Station in Kaiping, you may connect local buses to your selected villages.

2) Hire a private vehicle with a driver or self-drive. It is highly advised to hire a private car or van to tour freely around these villages.         Check out how to visit Diaolou from Guangzhou for more information.

Kaiping Diaolou (Kaiping Watchtowers )

Kaiping Diaolou (Kaiping Watchtowers )

2. Shaoguan Danxia Mountain Geopark 韶关丹霞山
Danxia Mountain Geopark is situated about 15 km north of Shaoguan’ city center in the northern Guangdong. It is a UNESCO World Culture site. Danxia is the name of a landform translated from Chinese, a unique landform originated in China,  mostly found in the Guangdong, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.

Basically there are three walking trails up to the mountain. Or you may take a cable up to the mountain. The three hiking trails are a little apart, you need to take the free shuttle buses going to each starting points of the hiking paths.

Most people would like to visit Yangyuan Stone  ( Penis Hill ), Yingyuan Stone ( Female Stone), Double Breasts Stone and sleeping beauty stone, hence the nickname of Natural Sex Museum.

It is feeling great to hike to the hilltop as if you are floating over clouds with lakes and rivers down, and with the majestic views of the Danxia range!

Visiting Time: suggested 2-Days
Entrance Fee:  RMB 100; RMB120 (holidays)  Valid for 2 days
Location: about 15 km north of Shaoguan’s city center
Opening Hours: all day
Best Time to Visit: Spring and Autumn
How to Get There
Take the high-speed train from Guangzhou South Railway Station to the city of Shaoguan, then connect the local tourist bus going to the geopark. You stay overnight in Shaoguan or hotels near the park.

Shaoguan Danxia Mountain Geopark

Shaoguan Danxia Mountain Geopark

3. Guangji Bridge at Chaozhou  潮州广济桥
Guangji Bridge is located in the east of Chaozhou. It is the bridge is reputed as one of China’s four famous ancient bridges with the other three being the Zhaozhou Bridge, the Lugou Bridge and Luoyang Bridge.

Guangji Bridge was originally built in 1171 in Song Dynasty,  a pontoon bridge spanning Han River supported by 86 giant boats, named Kangji Bridge. Gangji Bridge went through repeated destruction and reconstructions in the centuries.  Later 24  piers were built to straddle the Han River with the middle part still supported by boats.

So a part of Guangji Bridge is still supported by boats as a pontoon bridge. When it is open, there is a space for boats to pass through. It can also be close.   It is the first open and close style pontoon bridge in China,maybe in the world.

Visiting Time: suggested 2 hours
Entrance Fee:  RMB 60
Location: East of Chaozhou City
How to Get There
Take Bus 3

Guangji Bridge at Chaozhou

Guangji Bridge at Chaozhou

4. Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses ( Weilongwu) 梅州客家围龙屋
Coiled Dragon Houses are one of the five vernacular residential buildings in China. The Coiled Dragon Houses were originated in Meizhou area inhabited by Hakka people.

The city of Meizhou ( where most of the Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses are located.) is about 500 km northeast of Guangzhou City.
How to Get There
Take buses to Meizhou from Guangzhou (4 hours) or Shenzhen (3 hours).

Hakka people are one of the major eight groups of the Han nationality. Meizhou is known as the epicenter of the Typical Hakka Culture.

Hakka people settled down in Fujian,Guangdong and Jiangxi Province starting from Song Dynasty through Ming and Qing dynasties originally aimed at avoiding wars and natural disasters that occurred at their home place in the central China.

A typical coiled dragon house is  enclosed, walled structure which is mainly composed of two semicircles. The front half is a crescent fish pond and the other half cirl is the main residential building constructed resembling one, or two,or even more coiled dragon with  halls that serve as spaces for ritual and other lineage activities, with the top hall housing the ancestral shrine of the lineage.

In comparison with the earth round house which is set  vertically, coiled walled dragon houses are extended  outward in a series of concentric half-circle rings, with open-air flagged stone pathways separating the circles.

Visiting Time: suggested 1-2 day
Location: Meizhou is over 500 km northeast of Guangzhou City
How to Get There
Take buses to Meizhou from Guangzhou (4 hours) and Shenzhen (3 hours)

Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses ( Weilongwu)

Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses ( Weilongwu)

5. Beaches in Yangjiang 阳江滨海沙滩
The city of Yangjiang is located on the southeast coast of Guangdong, about 230 km to the southwest of Guangzhou. Yangjiang has a coastline of 458.6 km with over 20 fine beaches totaling 35.4 km. The beaches are different in size and shape all blessed with the blue water and finest sand. Dajiaowan (大角湾) and ShiliYintan (十里银滩) are considered the best of the beaches.

Dajiaowan Beach and Shili Yintan Beach are connected by pedicabs or 40-minute walk. A 50 yuan ticket allows you the unlimited entry into the two beaches in two day coupled with free admission into Maritime Silk Road Museum of Guangdong.

The Maritime Silk Road Museum is just near the Shilin Yintan Beach. The museum houses the remains of the 30-meter long Song Dynasty shipwreck that was sunk near the island.  The ship is said to be headed for Middle East or Africa. Over 7000 pieces of merchants on board kept in a sealed glass tank. But only 200 pieces of porcelain, copper and gold are on show. The research work is still process to have more excavation.

Visiting Time: suggested one day
Entrance Fee:  RMB 50 ( Dajiaowan, Shili Yintan and the Musuem)
Location: 50 km from the city center of Yangjaing,  230 km southwest of Guangzhou
How to Get There
Take buses from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other major cities in China

Beaches in Yangjiang

Beaches in Yangjiang

6. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 孙中山纪念馆
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was built in honor of the great Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Completed in 1976 and designed by the famous architect Wang Da-wei, it is one of Taipei City’s most well known landmarks.

The exterior of the hall contains some gardens, and decorative historical walls. It has many wide open spaces where the people of Taipei often go to spend some time relaxing. The interior of the hall includes a main hall entrance with a statue of Sun Yat-sen and many exits to other parts of the hall, containing historical artifacts.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours:08:00-18:00
How to get there: take Subway Line 2 to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall; or take Buses No.2, 27, 42, 56, 62, 74, 80, 83, 133, 185, 204, 209, 224, 229, 261, 276, 284, 293, 297, 305, 518 or 543, Guangzhou

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

7. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall  陈家祠
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.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:30
How to get there: take subway Line 1 to Chenjiaci Station; or take Buses No. 85, 88, 104, 107, 109, 114, 128, 193, 204 ,233, 250, 260 or 268 and get off at Chenjiaci Station; or take Trolley Bus No. 104, 105, 107 or 109

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

8. Mount Luofo ( Luofoshan ) 罗佛山
Luofoshan is situated in Boluo County of Huizhou city in the north of Guangdong Province, about 70 km from Huizhou’s city center and 110 km from Guangzhou city. Luofaoshan is renown as one of the 10 famous Taoist mountains in China.

Luofoshan, also named “Dongjiaoshan”, is an AAAA National Level Scenic Area. It is the 7th cave of  the 10 major Taoist caves. It is reputed as the No.01 Mountain in Lingnan area. It is also famous for its herbal medicine.

Luofoshan features 432 peaks, high or low, 980 waterfalls and springs, 18 caves and 72 stone chambers. The main peak is Feiyun Summit 1296 at altitude. Luofoshan is massive  and mesmerizing with comfortable weather.

Visiting Time: suggested 3-4 hour
Entrance Fee:  RMB 60
Location: 70 km from the city center of Huizhou,  110 km from Guangzhou
How to Get There
Luofoshan has convenient transportation with buses coming from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Huizhou and other major cities in Guangzhou

 Mount Luofo ( Luofoshan )

Mount Luofo ( Luofoshan )

9. Xunliao Bay Beach Resort  巽寮湾滨海旅游度假区
Xunliao Bay is located in the south of Pingshan Township of Huizhou city,  on the east cost of Guangdong Province. It is about 240  to the east of Guangzhou and 136 km to the east of Shenzhen and 98 km to the south of Huizhou’s city center.

Xunliao Bay is one of the purest bays in the east coast of Guangdong Province. Strolling on the finest beaches, bathing in sunshine, breathing fresh air, immersing yourself into the blue sky, white clouds, sand beaches and tidal waves, a poetic and romantic feeling.

The bay is jammed with hotels, restaurants. Water activities are plentiful, canoes, yachts, speedboats, motorbikes,  diving and the list is on and on, a perfect summer resort.

Visiting Time: suggested 6-8 hour
Location:  the south of Pingshan Township of Huizhou city
How to Get There
Busing to Xunliao Bay from Huizhou, Gangzhou, Shenzhen and major cities in Guangdong Province.

Xunliao Bay Beach Resort

Xunliao Bay Beach Resort

10. Seven Star Crags Park 七星岩公园
The park is located about 2 km north Zhaoqing’s city center, about 100 km west of Guangzhou. Seven Star Crags Park is reputed as “Immortal Fairyland” and “No.01 Woner in Lingnan”.

The park is composed of 5 lakes, 7 crags and 8 caves,  crags above lakes,  caves in the crags and rivers inside crags,  like a fairyland in a city rarely seen in other cities. The park features karst crags and lakes.  The seven crags line in the shape of the Great Dipper, hence the name of Seven Star Crags Park.  The Great Dipper shaped seven crags cut the lake into 5 parts,  creating a magnificent view!

Visiting Time: suggested half day
Entrance Fee:  RMB 60 ( excluding some pay caves )
Opening Hours: 7:30 – 17:30
Location:   2 km north Zhaoqing’s city center, about 100 km west of Guangzhou
How to Get There
Busing to the park from Gangzhou, Shenzhen and major cities in Guangdong Province.

Seven Star Crags Park

Seven Star Crags Park

Top 10 Attractions in Guangzhou

Top 10 Attractions in Shenzhen

Top 10 Attractions in Zhuhai

 

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Mausoleum of the Nanyue King

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
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Mausoleum of the Nanyue King is officially known as the Western Han Museum of the Nanyue King Mausoleum (西汉南越王博物馆). If you are interested in history or archiology,  Mausoleum of the Nanyue King is a nice place to go on your short Guangzhou tour.

The museum is built on the burial site of Zhao Mo, the second king of Nanyue Kindom that existed for 93 years (203 BC – 111 BC) with 5 successive kings. Nanyue Kingdom was a dependent state of Western Han Dynasty in China (202BC- 9AD).  The first king of Nanyue was Zhao Tuo who was sent here as one of local officials to quell the unrest at the end of Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC) preceding Western Han Dynasty.

In the chaotic course of transition from Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC) to Western Han Dynasty  (202BC- 9AD), Zhao Tuo established his own kingdom in Lingnan Region with Guangzhou as his capital. His and other  four later kings of Nanyue Kingdom had a hard time with Western Han Dynasty going through ups and turns, interwoven between wars and harmony.

Finally the kingdom was wiped off in the year 111BC  by the Western Han Dynasty, hence the name for the museum –  the Western Han Museum of the Nanyue King Mausoleum.

The tomb was discovered incidentally in June, 1983 when people were digging and measuring to build new apartments here. So  the construction had to stop to make way for the building of the magnificent museum. In 1988 then museum was open to the public with a construction area of 17400 square meters.

The museum is mainly composed of three structures – the three-storey comprehensive exhibition hall by the Jiefang North Road,  the burial site of the Nanyue King and another two-storey exhibition hall. The burial site is on Xianggang Hill just behind the three-storey comprehensive building.  North  of the burial site is the two-storey exhibition hall.

The three-storey Comprehensive Exhibition Hall displays a ceramic pillow exhibition and other special exhibition events  like the Guangzhou exhibitions that are often changed. The two-storey Principal Exhibition Hall mainly accommodates the relics discovered for the tomb of the Zhao Mo in Nanyue Kingdom period.

How to get to the Nanyue Kingdom Museum
While you are in Guangzhou,  try o find your nearest subway station.  Take metro Line 2 ( or interchange from other metro lines ) and get off at the station of Yuexiu Park (越秀公园) using 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.

Add: No. 867, Jiefang North Road, Guangzhou Zip Code: 510040
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:30
It is open all year round except Feb 28 and August 31  – the two days are closed for restoration.
Entrance fee:  free of Charge
Tel: 36182920、36182865

Now follow me to have a glimpse of the great museum in Guangzhou.  All the items on show have their English captions.  The museum also have audio English speaking tour guide service.

The vermilion facade of the museum. Add: No. 867, Jiefang North Road, Guangzhou

The vermilion facade of the Musuem

The vermilion facade of the Musuem

The Comprehensive Exhibition Hall
When you enter the museum,  you are inside the Comprehensive exhibition Hall, a 3-storey building.  You may walk up to the second or third floor to visit Pottery Pillow Show or other special exhibitions.

up to the second or third floor

up to the second or third floor

 

The exhibition hall is quite flexible in displaying different themed exhibitions except one fixed show – Ceramic Pillows Show.

Ceramic Pillows Show.

Ceramic Pillows Show.

Over 200 porcelain  pillows housed in a permanent exhibitioon gallery – Ceramic Pillows Exhibition Gallery on the second floor in the 3-storey exhibiton hall.  All the pottery pillows are donated by the Hong Kong famous collector and industralist Yeung Wing Tak and his wife.

The pillow with paintings

The pillow with paintings

The Yeungs  are ardent collectors and lovers of pottery and porcelain. Their main interest is focused on the collection of ceramic pillows.  Through years of collection, they have built up a collection of over 200 pottery pillows.

They think all the works of arts are the common cultural heritage of mankind.  They decided to donate all their collection to the public aimed at letting more people appreciate the ceratic pillow culture.

Beside the pillow show, the comprehensive exhibition hall also display the artifacts unearthed within Guangdong Province.

More artifacts on show from within Guangdong Province

More artifacts on show from within Guangdong Province

The Tomb of Zhao Mo, the Second King of Nanyue Kingdom
The highlight for the museum is the tomb of Zhao Mo.  The tomb was buried 20 meters underground on Xianggang Hill. The tomb is composed of the Tomb passage, an antechamber, the East Side Chamber, the West Side Chamber,  the Main Coffin Room, East Side Room, West Side Room and  the Rear Store Room.

A pyramid-style glass cover atop the unearthed tomb on Xianggang Hill west of the Comprehensive Exhibition Hall and south of  The Principal Exhibition Hall.

A pyramid-style glass cover atop the unearthed tomb

A pyramid-style glass cover atop the unearthed tomb

the Tomb Passager

the Tomb Passager

the Tomb passage

Enter the antechamber and explore the underground tomb

Enter the antechamber

Enter the antechamber

Visiting the East Side Room

Enter the antechamber

Enter the antechamber

The tomb was built with over 700 huge stones and slabs carved with colorful murals. A great number of ancient artifacts, bronzeware and terra cotta ware were discovered.

The King of Zhao Mo was in the jade shroud with typical jade burial rite. In addition, 15 human sacrifices found in the tomb reflects the unique burial customs.

The Principal Exhibition Hall
The Principal Exhibition Hall displays  the artifacts unearthed from Zhao Mo’s Tomb.  It is estimated that over 1000 artifacts have  been excavated from the tomb, including cultural relics of bronze and pottery of Lingnan style, 3 sets of bronze bells instruments, 39 copper mirrors,  3 golden seals and  240 pieces of unearthed jade, the Zhao Mo’s burial jade suit and the world’s first coated copper printing mold.

The unearthed objects are regarded as the light and national treasures of  Lingnan culture.

Walk up to the Principal Exhibition Hall

Walk up to the Principal Exhibition Hall

Walk up to the Principal Exhibition Hall

Zhao Mo was in jade shroud

Zhao Mo was in jade shroud

Zhao Mo was in jade shroud

The unearthed jade carving

The unearthed jade carving

The unearthed jade carving

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.

How to Visit Guangxiao Temple Guangzhou

Monday, March 31st, 2014
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Plan your Guangzhou tour? Guangxiao Temple is a big draw in Guangzhou. “Guangxiao”literally means “Bright Filial Piety”.    It is an oldest buddhist monastery in Guangdong Province.  It was originally the mansion of  Prince Zhao Jiande, the grandson of Zhao Tuo – the king of the Nanyue Kingdom during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D.24).

In the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) it became the Yu Fan’s teaching academy. Yu Fan came here in exile. Yu Fan was an official as well as a scholar. When he died, his family donated Yu Fan’s house (academy) for the temple, called “Zhi Zhi Temple”.

The Mahavira Hall was built in the temple compound during a well-known Indian monk’s stay at the temple in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317- 420).  In Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD),  the temple was renamed as “Baoen Guangxiao Temple. In Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), it was changed to the present named “Guangxiao Temple”. So the temple has a history of over 17,00 years.

In addition to the famed Mahavira Hall, there are many historical relics and old buildlings. Yifa Pagoda enshrines the hair of the enfluential monk known as Huineng of  Zen Buddhist sect in 7th century.  There are Samgharama Hall, the King of Heaven Hall, and two iron towers, Drum Tower, Bell Tower,  Sixth Ancester Hall, The Zen Hall.

How to get there
It is easily accessed by subway. You may take subway line 1 and get off at Ximenkou Station (西门口), exit  and walk north along Guangxiao Road. At the northern end of Guangziao Road is Guangxiao Temple.  Most probally you will be pestered by beggars and fake monks. Just ignore them otherwise you will be surrounded by them and hard to go away.
Entrance fee: RMB 5
Opening hours: 6:00 – 17:30

Follow me to have a glimpse of Guangxiao Temple.

Guangxiao Temple’s mountain gate

Guangxiao Temple's mountain gate

Guangxiao Temple’s mountain gate

Behind Guangxiao Temple’s mountain gate is the Hall of Heavenly Kings

the Hall of Heavenly Kings

the Hall of Heavenly Kings

Also behind the Hall of Heavenly King is the largest building in the temple – Mahavira Hall.  Between the Heavenly King Hall and Mahavira Hall is a compound people come here for praying and doing religious rituals.

Mahavira Hall

Mahavira Hall

The front gate to Mahavira Hall

The front gate to Mahavira Hall

The front gate to Mahavira Hall

The Drum Tower(Qielan Hall)

The Drum Tower(Qielan Hall)

The Drum Tower(Qielan Hall)

People are doing religious rituals

Ritual

Ritual

 

pious hiddhist followers

pious hiddhist followers

 

Happy hiddhist followers?

Happy hiddhist followers?