And so we ended up in China for the Christmas season. Sight seeing, shopping, pushing and “Nihao” here and there, we had an amazing time!
China is the planet’s most populous country and second largest by land mass. Its civilization is one of the world’s oldest, and it has maintained an advanced economy for two millennia.
Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital and largest city of the province of Guangdong in South China. Located on the Pearl River, it is considered to be the birthplace of dim sum.
I. PEARL RIVER CRUISE – 珠江 Zhu Jiang
We decided to celebrate Christmas Eve by going on the Pearl River cruise. The Pearl River or Zhu Jiang is China’s 3rd longest river, 2,400 kilometres. It is called as such because of all the pearl colored shells that lie at the bottom of the river in the section that flows through the city of Guangzhou.
Just to be safe, we took the metro on December 23 to buy tickets for the December 24, 6:40 – 8:10 pm cruise. We paid 70 rmb per person, which is about 11$.
After the cruise, we headed to McCawleys near the Wuyangcun metro station.
We headed back to the hotel, and snuggled in waiting for Christmas. Husband passed out around 11:40. I gave him a big jolt when the clock struck 12.
We woke up late on Christmas Day. We left the hotel at 10 am and headed to the Museum where the Nanyue King was buried.
II. MUSEUM OF THE WESTERN HAN DYNASTY OF THE NANYUE KING
– 南越王墓博物馆 Nan Yue Wang Mu Bo Wu Guan
The mausoleum of the Nanyue King is located at 867 Jiefang North Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou 510030. They are open from 9 am until 5:30 pm. Entrance fee is 12 rmb.
This museum, built along the steep slope of Xianggang hill, is centered on the underground tomb of Zhao Mei, known as the Nanyue King. Zhao Mei was the second ruler of the short-lived southern Yue Kingdom (c. 2nd century BC) and was the grandson of the general Zhao Tuo from the Qin Dynasty who temporarily unified the region. Zhao Mei titled himself Emperor Wen and had his capital at Panyu, now a southern district of modern Guangzhou.
Before leaving the museum, we passed by the gift shop and Marco bought us a hand painted little crystal jar. The painting is done from the inside and requires so much precision and patience, the artist has been doing this for 30 years.
We finished touring the museum at around 12 noon and because we only ate fruits for breakfast, our stomachs were already growling. We did not want to waste time by searching for a place for lunch so we just went in the 1st restaurant we found. It was nothing special from the outside but Marco said that the soup he had was delicious.
III. TEMPLE OF THE SIX BANYAN TREES – 六榕寺 Liù róng sì
From the restaurant, we took a cab to the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. It wasn’t very far from the museum, we paid about 15 rmb. If you are up for a little exercise, it is a walkable distance.
The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is a Chinese Buddhist temple in Guangzhou originally built in 537 AD during the Liang dynasty. Entrance fee is 5 rmb.
The name of the temple has been changed several times from Changshou Temple (meaning Longevity Temple) to Jinghui Temple and finally the current name. It is a name given by the great liiterateur Su Dongpo in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). It is said that he visited there while returning to the north. During the visit, he found six banyan trees there particularly striking. The vitality of the trees put him in a good mood and cheered him up. When the abbot of the monastery invited him to suggest a name, Su Dongpo wrote down its present name. Finally, its former name (Jinghui Temple) was changed to the present one, Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.
We were very excited to see the Flowery Pagoda inside. It is a pagoda where Buddhist relics are placed. Its roofs curve upwards and look like dark red flower petals. The tip of the pagoda is like stamens, while the whole construction looks like a huge stigma high in the air.
From the temple we decided to just walk and find our way to the Guangxiao temple. Good thing my husband has awesome sense of direction and knows some Mandarin that we were able to find our way without getting lost.
IV. GUANGXIAO TEMPLE – 光孝寺 Guāngxiào sì
Guangxiao Temple on Guangxiao Road is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Guangzhou. As the special geographical position, Guangxiao Temple often acted as a stopover point for Asian missionary monks in the past.
V. THE CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS – 圣心大教堂 Shèng xìn dá jiāo táng
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also known as Stone House by locals, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Guangzhou. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Guangzhou.
We arrived at the church at 3 pm, just in time for the 3:30 pm Christmas Day mass.
After the mass, we headed to Taikoo Hui mall for our Christmas dinner at “The Famous Chef from Jiangnan China” restaurant.
We had the most amazing choices of Chinese food. We waited for more than an hour for a table, but it was worth it! If I died that night because of MSG overdose, I would have died happy 😀
That was the end of our Christmas day adventure. We headed home and snored ourselves to sleep with all that walking we did.
Of course, a trip anywhere is not complete without “some” shopping. We went to a couple of shopping spots in Guangzhou while on vacation.
And we also saw other tourist spots in Guangzhou during our Christmas vacation.
VI. THE GUANGZHOU METRO – 广州地铁 Guangzhou Di Tie
We took the subway a lot and the Guangzhou Metro was an easy and cheap way to navigate the city. We paid 70 rmb for the metro card, which had 50 rmb cash inside.
VII. ZHAN XI ROAD – 站西路
Zhan Xi Clothing Wholesale Market is near to the Guangzhou Railway Station and the provincial bus station. It is the clothing distribution center in Guangzhou and South China.
VIII. SHANGXIAJIU STREET – 上下九街
Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, or simply as Shangxiajiu, is a commercial pedestrian street in Liwan District, Guangzhou. It is the first business street in Guangzhou and it opened in September 1995.
IX. HAI XIN SHA – 海心沙
Haixinsha Island is an island in Guangzhou located to the south of Zhujiang New Town, the newly developed CBD of the city, to the north of Canton Tower, an iconic architectural landmark, and to the east of Er Sha Island.
X. GUANGZHOU OPERA HOUSE – 广州歌剧院 Guǎngzhōu gē jùyuàn
XI. THE GUANGZHOU LIBRARY – 广州图书馆 Guǎngzhōu túshū guǎn
XII. BEIJING ROAD PEDESTRIAN STREET – 北京路步行街
Beijing Road Pedestrian Street is a typically crowded place to shop and eat, especially during weekends. There are about 140 stores in this 440-meter street.
XIII. BAI MA – 白马
Bai Ma, the land of the brave shoppers. If you don’t mind being pushed and bumped, and hear nonstop shouting, then hail a taxi and head to Bai Ma. It is the most famous clothing wholesale market in Guangzhou.
We took a taxi to Bai Ma, but it is actually close to the Guangzhou railway station at Zhan Nan Lu. Oh, yea, Lu means Road.
We loved Guangzhou! It was better than what we expected, and the pollution was not horrible compared to Beijing or Shanghai. The city is upbeat and modern, good food- amazing dim sum, and crazy cheap shopping!
We met a lot of people and made so many new friends that we will definitely consider coming back to Guangzhou again. ❤
Zàijiàn Guangzhou! Zhídào wǒmen zài jiànmiàn.
Good bye Guangzhou! Til we meet again.