Need an oil painting? Heres the perfect place to find one amongst what is an ‘Oil Painting Village’, artists live and work pumping out all sorts of original pieces and the odd replica. How many artists? No one seems exactly sure but many say there could be a staggering 10,000 artists and nearly 1000 galleries operating within this very special enclave.
If you're looking for accommodation in Guangzhou and you're after somewhere peaceful to stay, I think it would be pretty hard to beat Shamian Island.
Another of Guangzhou’s interesting streets is Beijing Road, it’s also a commercial street and again it’s packed with shops, malls, and restaurants. Beijing Road is a little more cosmopolitan than Shangxiajiu Pedestrian St but some say a little more expensive too. It’s also pedestrian friendly with no cars.
Stretching for over 1 kilometer along Shangjiu Rd, Xia Jui Rd and Dishifu Rd in Liwan District Guangzhou, the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Mall is home to hundreds of shops including several malls and many great restaurants.
Guangzhou, also called Canton, is the capital city of Guangdong Province. It’s a hotbed for entrepreneurs and traders as it has been for much of China’s history, but it’s also very well known for its culinary creations.
The town of Humen holds a special place in Chinas history for it’s role during the first Opium War which ran from 1839-1842. It’s actually quite a famous place in China, where a strong battle was waged against the importing of opium and in that battle a legend was made, namely Lin Zexu.
While in Humen we stayed at the Grand Noble Hotel. It’s a clean, comfortable hotel, the food at the restaurant was more than fine and there was even English speaking staff.
If there’s one thing that keeps me in awe about about China it’s simply the scale of things. As we drive from Shenzhen to Humen we pass factory after factory. I don’t often need much reminding that this is the worlds most populus country but I’m reminded again that it’s also the worlds factory.
So whats so special about Humen? Well, for one it’s probably where the shirt your wearing is made and it’s also where some of the major battles of the Opium Wars were fought.
UPDATE: The Minsk has now closed and is in process of relocating to Nantong, Jiangsu. So where do you go when you want to explore a second generation Soviet aircraft carrier? Shenzhen China of course.
Shenzhen is one of China’s more modern cities and it’s a place where there’s a strong focus on clean energy sources and on reducing pollution. It’s also where one of China’s more well known car makers resides, BYD. So what do you get when a bus company, a car company and some government help come together?
UPDATE: the ferry terminal has moved to a new, nearby building, see here for updated info.
There are multiple ways to get from Shenzhen to Macau including via bus, ferry or even a helicopter. Being in Nanshan District of Shenzhen I chose to go via the ferry at the nearby Shekou Port.
Lots of tasty things, thats what! Theres a little bakery at the bottom of the Maple Leaf Nanshan hotel which I often visit to grab some lunch, the staff are friendly and the food is tasty. Even better is how amazingly cheap it is!
After firing off an email to the organisers of the Canton Fair explaining how much I really enjoyed there entry process (see my previous visit to the Canton Fair), I got a fast response via email and an invite to return.
Kempinski is a European luxury hotel chain and they have a hotel in Nanshan District of Shenzhen, and it’s one of the citys leading 5 star hotels. I haven’t had the pleasure of staying except to say that its in a great spot close to the new Coastal City Shopping Center which features a mix of retail shops, luxury brand retail shopping and many restaurants.
I was actually in Guangzhou to visit the Canton Fair, but ooops, I left my passport at the hotel. For some reason, seemingly unknown to anyone, you actually need to have a passport with a valid visa to gain entry to the Canton Fair, maybe they want to keep the locals out! If so, with red hair, white skin and an Australian accent I should be able to get in, right?
Guangzhou has a modern subway system which services a large part of the city. For me, I wanted to get from Ghuangzhou East Railway Station to Pazhou where the Canton Fair complex is. It turned out to be pretty easy, just buy a ticket at the electronic vending machine which accepts coins, 5 yuan notes and 10 yuan notes.
I was heading to the trade fairs that are held every year in Guangzhou, in particular, the Canton Fair and lucky for me there’s a regular fast train between Shenzhen Railway Station and Guangzhou East (Guangzhoudong).
It had been a hectic schedule from the start of my trip back in Kuala Lumpur then to Chengdu and then around some of Chinas great cities and sights, so it was time to take it easy for a while. Plus I was a little keen to spend some time with a new friend, so Shenzhen was a perfect place to settle for a while.
After leaving the China Sourcing trade fair and I headed back to Mong Kok and picked up my passport with its new visa, then from there to Tsim Sha Tsui to get my bag from the Cosmic Guest House. Then in a taxi over to Hung Hom Station to catch the train to Lo Wu (note its called Lo Wu on the Hong Kong side and Luo hu or Luohu on the Shenzhen side) which is the entry point to China mainland leading into the city of Shenzhen.
Update 2018: there is now a High-Speed Rail service between Shenzhen and Hong Kong which runs between Shenzhen North Station, Futian Station, and to Hong Kong at the new West Kowloon Station. Regardless, the below method is still an option especially if you are travelling to destinations on the East Rail Line such as Sheung Shui or Tai Po areas.
I found and booked this place via the cTrip website and it seemed to be a reasonable compromise between price and comfort at just under 200RMB ($31AUD) and still in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen. I stayed here just before heading over to Hong Kong.
So I’m told if your after electronics or digital products there’s no better place to buy than in Shenzhen, China. This is backed up by the large number of electronics factories in the city, many global brand name products like the Apple iPhone and iPad are copied, I mean made, right here in Shenzhen too.
The Shenzen OCT East is is a combination of two large theme parks, resort hotels, three small scenic towns, golf courses and more covering an area of 9 square kilometers. It’s huge. I guess you could call it destination tourism, a man-made one-stop holiday wonderland.
The Holiday Inn is an American hotel chain, so, it’s guaranteed that the prices are going to be higher than your run of the mill Chinese hotel. But what do you get for the extra cost?
Shenzhen is an interesting city as it is another city that tells a story about the Chinas economic transformation. Shenzhen was not much more than a fishing village until about thirty years ago when a man named Deng Xiaoping had taken the reins as China’s leader from Mao Zedong in 1978.