The heart of Guangzhou's former European concession—France and England both set up shop on this sandy river island in 1859 toward the end of the Opium Wars—Shamian Island (Shāmiàn Dǎo, 沙面岛) is home to a number of colonial-era buildings, including a restored French Catholic church, Our Lady of Lourdes; its British Protestant complement, the Christ Church Shamian; and many former hotels, embassies, trading houses and residences. The island (actually a permanent sand bank in the Pearl River) makes for pleasant strolling..
Also known as the "Chen Clan Temple", the Chen Clan Academy (Chén Jiā Cí, 陈家祠) is a unique complex and a fascinating monument to South China's culture...and to anyone from Guangdong Province with the common surname Chen. Built in the late 19th century with funds gathered from Chens throughout Guangdong, the Chen Clan Academy served as a gathering place, hall of ancestral worship and school. The province's many Chens put a lot of money into their namesake academy, and today the complex's series of..
With post-imperial China carved up among different powerful warlords reigning over independent areas of control, Sun Yat-sen and the young Republic of China government needed more than lofty ideas about national unity and a renewed country. With help from the Soviet Union, the Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy (Zhōngguó Guómíndǎng Lùjūn Jūnguān Xuéxiào, 中国国民党陆军军官学校) was built on Changzhou Island (Chángzhōu Dǎo, 长洲岛), downriver from the city of Guangzhou at that time. Known more..
Guangzhou's largest public park, Yuexiu Park (Yuèxiù Gōngyuán, 越秀公园), features the usual green space but also houses a small city museum, remnants of the old city wall, a statue of the city's five founding rams, the 14th-century Zhenhai Tower (Zhènhǎi Tǎ, 镇海塔) and some manmade lakes. The entrance fee is a steal compared to most of China's city parks, so take advantage and while away a few hours in this touted "ecological and cultural wonderland."
Splendid China (Jǐnxiù Zhōnghuá, 锦绣中华) is part of the theme park complex outside Shenzhen that includes the China Folk Culture Villages. All of China's natural and cultural landmarks are on display here, from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City to Suzhou's famous gardens, with the grounds roughly resembling a shrunken China and the landmarks laid out accordingly. There's also cuisine from all over China, traditional performing arts, and buses to shuttle patrons around so you can see it all in a day. It is more or less a..
Window of the World (Shìjiè Zhī Chuāng, 世界之窗) is a theme park directed at Chinese tourists new to world travel. In fact, rather than encourage the inquisitive noveau-riche to go out and actually see the world, Window of the World simply encourages them to go to Shenzhen where they can see all of mankind's major attractions in about two hours. While often described as miniature, the sites are by no means dollhouse-sized; the scale is roughly 1:15, so they're actually quite big. Everything's here—the Eiffel Tower, the Taj..
The Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens (Xianhú Zhíwùyuán, 仙湖植物园) are located at the base of Mt. Wutong (Wútóng Shān, 梧桐山), the highest point in or around Shenzhen. The gardens are a nice, green retreat from the city's concrete towers and are a pleasant change of pace from industry and entertainment heavy Shenzhen. There is active botanical research going on in and around the grounds of the gardens and the collection is still expanding. Southern Chinese flora is well represented, with impressive..
An easy jaunt from Suzhou, Zhuhai's Meixi Royal Archways date from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and stand today as a monument to the wealth and importance of Overseas Chinese like Cheng Fang, who prospered in Hawaii, bringing prestige and wealth back to his native Zhuhai The Royal Archways were erected in the village of Meixi to preserve for posterity the history of the illustrious Guangzhou clan of Cheng and their beloved Zhuhai. The arches' scenes depict the epic scenes from the history of both Zuhhai and the Chengs, bringing..