Shamian Island

Admission:

Free

Hours:

24 hours daily

How to get there:

The Metro Line 1 Huangsha Station is a short walk from the island via an overpass crossing Huanshi West Road.

A ferry runs every 5-10 minutes from Huangsha Pier (Huángshā Mǎtóu, 黄沙码头) to Fangcun Pier (Fāngcūn Mǎtóu, 芳村码头) which runs RMB 0.50 for pedestrians and RMB 1 for cyclists.

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 WarsShamian 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 and sightseeing, with its gardens and tree-lined streets, restaurants, cafes and tea houses. You can stay on Shamian Island, if you wish; there is a youth hostel for backpackers and several hotels provide a higher degree of accommodations, with the five-star White Swan Hotel being particularly popular among travelers, a number of whom are visiting to adopt in China (the US Consulate is right next door, making legwork and paperwork easier).

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