November 22, 2005

Shamian Dao, my little hiding place in Guangzhou

Everyone has a hiding place. Mine is the little island of Shamian (沙面) in Guangzhou. Ever since I discovered it in 2002, I keep returning this place whenever I can. The people who run the little shops and restaurants here remember me and this makes me happy.

Some pictures from Shamian Dao.

Shamian dao statues

The changing stature and appearance of the woman in China. They added these statues sometimes in 2003. Over the years they have been making this island more and more pretty.

Shamian dao musicians

The musicians enjoy while the men shoot an advert for a shop. The canal behind them separates the island from the rest of Guangzhou. Some shops here are gift shops targeted at the tourists. One of the most famous and expensive hotels in Guangzhou — the White Swan hotel as well one of the better budget hotel — the Guangzhou youth hostel are on this island. If you want to eat cheap local food you will have to cross the canal. Shamian has more expensive restaurants — again for the tourists — though there is a small hidden away canteen that serves the people working here. You got to just make friends with someone working here and they will be happy to show you the place.

Shamian dao

The pearl river is one of the largest rivers in southern China. It will travel further south 80 KM or so, meeting the South China sea near Hongkong and Macau.

Shamian dao Western buildings

Shamian was a European settlement so it has some nice old buildings.

Shamian dao waltz

One can always find people practising dance in public gardens all over China. Students come here to paint. I first met Lynn, one of my Guangzhou friends here. She was also here painting.

To come here take the subway to Huangsha metro station. Once you come out of the metro just ask someone for Shamian Dao”. They will point you to the bridge on Liu Er San Lu (the 632 street). For a budget stay, turn left when you cross the bridge. Keep walking for a couple of minutes until you reach Shamian Sijie. You can see the Guangzhou Youth Hostel. Room rates vary according to the season but range around 200–280 RMB for a room and 40–50 RMB for a dorm.

East meets the West. Shamian hosted many foreign consulates. The US consulate was also here. That helped make this place a centre for adoption. Many Americans, after adopting a kid from provinces up North, came here to get their paperwork done.

Shamian dao

The electromechanical Santa actually dances Shamian dao

Men kick shuttle. Shamian dao

Shamian at night. There are a couple of eating places by the river, though they slightly overpriced — You should try the hot coke with the ginger drink.

Shamian dao

China Guangzhou

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