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Guangzhou - Shenzhen
Guangzhou My album
Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province. Also known as Canton, it is one of the most prosperous cities in China. Honest to be, except a few exceptions, there is not much too see. Also Guangzhou is one of the less clean cities in China often hidden in clouds, dust and air pollutions. Strolling the streets of Guangzhou might be very interesting, you can see the big gap between the rich and the poor. Over the last decade, Guanzhou has experienced this transformation. As said above, there are a few interesting temples, parks and museums.
Tips and suggestions: Want a child? We donīt know why, but from whatever reason there is a large adoption business developed in Guangzhou. Once we entered a shop, the boring girl immediately asked us: "Are you here for adoption?" We stared at her with opened mouth. We understood a few minutes later when we started runing into more and more American couples with Chinese children. There was a coffeshop on the way, where we saw maybe 6 such couples. This probably half-legal business seemed to be developing pretty fast. After our arrival back to Beijing, we asked about this matter and were told, that it is possible to "buy" a kid in China - but sure - a boy is always more expensive than a girl.
Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurongsi Huata)
Despite the name, you cannot expect to see the six banyan trees any more, but the temple remains a popular attraction. The most interesting is Flower Pagoda (Hua Ta), which is with its 55 m the tallest pagoda in the city. From the outside, you would say it has only nine storeys, but climbing up, you will get very surprised, since to reach the top, you have to defeat 17 floors. Constructed in 1097, it is still a masterpiece of its kind. It is definitely worth clibmbing up, but watch your head.
The temple itself, which may date as far back as AS 537, was originally associated with Hui Neng, the sixth patriarch of the Zen Buddhist sect. Today it serves as the headquarters of the Guangzhou Buddhist Association. Inside the Guanying Temple is a huge golden effigy of Guanyin (teh goddess of compassion), to whom women burn incense and pray.
Tips and Suggestions: The pagoda is really worth seeing and climbing, but as said before, watch your head, otherwise you will end up with a nice collection of bruises as the doorways on the way up are very low. Also be aware of the fact, that the temple is very active, monks can be sensitive about taking their photographs.
Five Genies Temple (Wuxian Guan)
Five Genies Temple is a Taoist Temple which is held to be the site of the appearance of the five rams and celestial beings in the myth of Guangzhouīs foundations. The large hollow in the rock in the temple courtyard is said to be the impressions of a celestial beingīs foot, the Chinese refer to it as Rice-Ear Rock of Unique Beauty. The 5-tonne bell was cast during the Ming dynasty - it is 3 m high, 2 m in diameter and about 10 cm thick, and is probably the largest in Guangdong. It is known as the "calamity bell", since the sound of the bell, which has no clapper, is a portent of calamity for the city.
At the rear of the main tower stand lifesize statues whith archaic Greek smiles, these appear to represent four of the five genies. In the temple forecourt are four statues of rams, and embedded in the temple walls are inscribed steles.
Tips and Suggestions: Definitely worth seeing, very nice place to relax and rest for a while.
Southern Yue Tomb Museum (Nanyuewang Hanmu)
This is also known as the Museum of the Western Han Dynasty of the Sourthern Yue Kignīs Tomb. It stands on the site of teh tomb of EEmperor Wen, the second ruler of the Southern Yue kingdom dating back to 100 BC. The Southern Yue kingdom is what the area around Guangzhou was called during the Han dynasty.
The tomb was originally 20m under Xianggang Shan (Elephant Hill) and was discovered in 1983, inside ware 15 funerary bodies and more than 1000 sacrificial objects made of jade. It is an excellent museum, with a great layout and interesting English explanations. More than 500 rare artefacts are on display.
Tips and Suggestions: This was one of the best Museums we have ever seen. The first part of the museum consist of an exhibition of some artefact and pillows, the second part is the Tomb and the third part contains objects excavated from the Tomb. Donīt forget to take you student card with you, since you can get a discount (50%), but the money is really worth it.
Gungzhou Trasportation My album
Here you can find some pictures from Guangzhou subway and its map.
Shenzhen My album
Shenzhen is so called SEZ, that means "Special Economic Zone", which is full of five star hotels, beggars, shoping malls and hookers that has to be seen to believed, is not a true reflection of China either. This is a place where almost four million Chinese people, the vast majority from elsewhere in the country, have paid their toll and see themselves as finally having arrived on the road to riches.
Shenzhen was no more than a tiny village on Pearl River estuary when it won the equivalent of a national lottery and became a SEZ in 1980 along with three others: Zhuhai, Shantou and Xiamen. Developers added a stock market, a stand of glittering hotels, office blocks and a population of two million, which has since almost doubled. The pulsating boomtown of Shenzhen is where Chinese go to get rich which, according to the late Premier Deng Xiaoping, is a "glorious" endeavour. On the other side, Shenzhen has attracted a lot of undesirables over the past couple of decades up to two third of its residents have no permit to live there, beggars and touts throng the streets, and its moral have gove flaccid, whit prostitution, drugs and sleaze endemic. Otherwise there is not much to see in Shenzhen, except of a few expensive Theme parks, concrete parks and thousands of buildings. Among the Theme parks belong Splendid China, which offers miniatures of Chinese scenic spots, Window of the World, which provide models of world sights - you can admire miniature versions of the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, MtFuji, teh Kremlin and even a Maori village. There is a China Folk Culture Village, which is a part of Splendid China, or Happy Valley, which is supposed to be something like Universal Studios in the US. Among other things you can admire is The Sea World or Safari park, but donīt expect any historical sights.
Tips and Suggestions: There is really not much to see in Shenzhen, unless you are a fan of Theme parks or things like Universal Studios. You can stroll the streets, or go shopping, but the price level is much higher than in other parts of China (even if it is said, that Hong Kong citizens go to Shezhen for cheap shopping, you will understand this as soon as you walk in the first shop in Hong Kong). Be really careful about your things. It happened to me, that we were walking in the street, and suddenly I had a feeling, that somebody is touching my bag. I turn around very fast and found a hand of a maybe 10 years old boy in my bag. The most sad thing was the fact, that he - probably knowing I cannot do anything with him (should I started yeling, calling police? - there were hundreds of people around who saw the incident, and nobody did anything, they were just laughing) - he was not even scared, staring at me and smiling. Then he just walked away. I was so shocked.
From Shenzhen there is a very easy way to go to Hong Kong. It is actually the cheapest way, how to get there from Beijing, since the air ticket from Beijing to HK is considered as an international flight (even if HK is now a part of China) and is more than double the price of the ticket to Shenzhen. If you fly to Shenzhen, just take the shuttle bus to the nearest subway station, then take the subway to Lo Wu and cross the border on foot. On HK side you can take the direct train to the Hong Kong downtown. This way is really the cheapest way, and will save you 50% of you transportation costs.
Shenzhen Transportation My album
Transportation system is very good developed, subway is new and a really a piece of modern art, however very similar to that ones in Guangzhou or Hong Kong, just not so "time-worn". The Theme parks are connected by Skyline. There are also many modern buses or minibuses.
Source: This page uses some information from Lonely Planet