Getting To Know Guangzhou: Tourist Guide to Xiguan Area

Xiguan Map

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Today I want to introduce you to one of the most interesting areas in Guangzhou, the Xiguan district. If you are at all interested in history of Guangzhou and seeing local lifestyle, then continue reading.

Wikipedia article of Xiguan says:

Xiguan is a traditional geographical division of Guangzhou, China. It is situated in Liwan District. The area outside the west gate of Guangzhou is collectively called Xiguan in Ming and Qing Dynasty. It is worth mentioning that the name is still in use nowadays.

After this short introduction we’ll go for a tour and see some interesting spots in Xiguan.

Jin Lun Guild Hall, Guangzhou Silk Industry Museum

Jinlun Guild Hall

The first stop is Jin Lun Guild Hall that includes the Guangzhou Silk Industry Museum. It’s a small museum, but a very excellent one as it’s has a lot of information in English too. It’s free to enter, but you have to sign your name.

Show this to taxi driver: 荔湾区康王南路289号,锦纶会馆,广州丝织行业博物馆

Hualin Jade Street

Hualin Jade Street

Hualin Jade Street is the place in Guangzhou to buy jade. Even if you’re not buying anything, it’s interesting to take a look at the jade jewelry and get the feeling of a buzzing market place from the Qing dynasty.

To taxi driver: 荔湾区,华林玉器街 (上下九附近)

Hualin Temple

Hualin Temple

The history of Hualin Temple dates back to Southern Dynasties, “1654 the temple was expanded and renamed Hualin Temple”. I have visited many temples in China and I believe that the best experience would be to visit with a guide who knows about Buddhism and the history of that certain temple. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to have such a guide and that’s why visiting temples is more for taking pictures.

To taxi driver: 荔湾区,华林寺 (上下九附近)

Yaohua Community (Lingnan style houses)

Yaohua Community

This week was my second time to visit the Yaohua Community, one of my favourite places in Guangzhou. My dream would be to buy a place here, renovate it and live here with my family. But I don’t know even if foreigners are allowed to live here!

Yaohua Community

More information from Life of Guangzhou:

Yaohua community, which is crisscrossed by nearly a hundred flagstone paths, is well-known and respected for its history and architecture. — The commonly seen Xi Guan style (old Guangzhou) residences in the Yaohua community are miniatures of traditional Cantonese architecture. — Feng Yuan Street now has 12 arches, more than any other street in Guangzhou. — The Yaohua Community currently has a population of 5,958 people, 21.8% of which are senior citizens.

To taxi driver: 荔湾区,文昌北路,耀华大街

Litchi Bay (Lizhiwan)

Litchi Bay

Litchi Bay is a must see destination in Guangzhou, no matter if you are a history puff or not. Take a boat ride along the small river, taste traditional small snacks and walk around the beautiful park. From here you can also find the Lingnan Museum.

Liwan Lake Park

Like in any other park, also in Liwan Lake Park (next to Litchi Bay) you can find Chinese people playing, singing and enjoining their lives. I think parks are excellent tourist spots because there you can see how the local people relaxes and uses their free time.

To taxi driver: 荔湾区,荔枝湾

Enning Road

I don’t have any photos from Enning Road because the two times I’ve been there it have been always raining. But here is some information about this road from Life of Guangzhou:

Xiguan people living in Enning Road have retained their way of life. The evolution of the city has seemingly stopped here. Elderly with fans lying next to sliding timber doors, sleepy dogs on the stone-made streets, stalls selling steel pans, coal or repairing shoes, old-style shops for hair dressing and tailoring. Elements of Xiguan culture concentrated in this tiny historic road.

Enning Road has a nice little foot massage place that offers foot bath and massage for 25RMB. Besides foot they also massaged my neck, back and arms for the same price!

To taxi driver: 荔湾区,恩宁路

Shang Xia Jiu Shopping Street

Shang Xia Jiu Shopping Street

Shang Xia Jiu is the place for shopping and eating. I’ve been there many times during my plus two years in Guangzhou. You can find cheap clothing, bags and shoes, food from Western pizza to Chinese snacks.  Here you can also find shopping malls for silver and pearl jewelry. The Jade Street is right behind the Shang Xia Jiu.

To taxi driver: 上下九

  • Ordinary Malaysian

    Thanks for the tour, Sara.  And some great pictures, too. There are still some houses in Malaysia like the Yaohua dwelling you pictured.

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Do you think those were built by ethnic Chinese who moved to Malaysia? A friend of mine also told that these kind of houses can be found in Indonasia, so she didn’t think they are as special as I though :)

    [Reply]

    Ordinary Malaysian Reply:

    I think it was very likely. Many Chinese Malaysians’ ancestors came from the Fujian and Kwantung regions.

    [Reply]

  • Saarin66

    thanks for the post, it was an interesting read!

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Nice to hear you liked it, thank you!

    [Reply]

  • I should explore Guangzhou more. I live here but I know so little about the city.

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Let me know if you need a guide Lasse! :) I’ve heard many saying how there isn’t anything to see in Guangzhou, but I have to disagree. There is a lot, but you just have to know where to go.

    [Reply]

  • The so-called ‘Big Old Houses’ are houses built in the Xiguan district of Guangzhou by wealthy families in the old days.

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Do you know if those families still live in the area or have the ownerships change hands?

    [Reply]

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