Explore This Historical Island on the Pearl River

By Ryan Gandolfo, December 16, 2018

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Daytripper is a regular column that aims to help people get the most out of their PRD experience by proposing fun excursions that can be made in a single day to explore the local culture and nature of the region.

Set on a beautiful strip of land within the meandering Pearl River, Changzhou Island offers city dwellers the chance to unwind and relax while exploring a fascinating piece of South China’s rich history. 

Formerly the location of the Huangpu Military Academy, which was founded by the iconic Sun Yat-sen, the island is just a short 10-minute ferry ride away from Guangzhou’s Yuzhu Wharf. Originally known to English speakers as Dane’s Island, Changzhou is easy to traverse by bicycle or on foot and boasts a number of interesting spots that are worth a visit, including Zhongshan Park, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Museum and several temples and shrines.

Image by Ryan Gandolfo/That's

When we arrive on a hot Saturday morning, we opt to rent a four-wheel cart to cover more ground. A cruise down one of the island’s main thoroughfares, Jinzhou Bei Lu, introduces the architecturally-inclined visitor to some unique buildings and, for us, rekindles memories of Haikou’s famous Qilou Arcades. 

From there, we make our way over to Zhongshan Park, which is easily identified by the large statue of Sun Yat-sen situated at the park’s entrance. A large pond takes up a majority of the park’s real estate, and small children and elderly folks amble around its edge, pointing out fish and other aquatic creatures. Just outside the park, a group of fisherman enjoy afternoon tea beside a canal; nearby a fleet of fishing rods wait for a bite. 

We set off from Zhongshan Park to explore the other side of Changzhou Island, which features an old burial ground for Western pioneers and traders. The graveyard is unquestionably unique in Guangzhou, with exquisite tombstones featuring the details of deceased Spanish, English, Irish, American and Dutch visitors to Old Canton, among other nationalities. 

Image by Ryan Gandolfo/That's

Image by Ryan Gandolfo/That's

When leaving the merchant cemetery, we ask an elderly man resting near our four-wheeler if the graveyard is authentic. “There aren’t any bodies in those tombs,” he replies. (We can neither confirm nor refute the man’s claim). Next, we turn our cart back towards the island’s main town and spend the remainder of our time on Changzhou wandering the main settlement’s quaint neighborhoods. The area is full of friendly faces and worthy of exploration.

As the sun begins to set on the island, we make our way to the port to catch a ferry back to urban Guangzhou, which is visible off in the distance. Changzhou is packed with unique scenery and historic sites, so much so, in fact, that it’s hard to see it all in just one day. As such, we recommend arriving at the island as early as possible to get a head start on your adventure.

Image by Ryan Gandolfo/That's

How to get there:

From Guangzhou: 
North of the Pearl River: take Metro Line 5 to Yuzhu Station, hop on a taxi cart (RMB5, several carts will be parked outside the station) to Yuzhu Wharf and cross the river via ferry (RMB1, payable by cash or metro card). 

South of the river: take Metro Line 4 to Higher Education Mega Center North, leave through exit D and take bus No.383 to the center of Changzhou.

From Shenzhen:
Catch the train to Guangzhou South Railway Station and then take Metro Line 7 to Higher Education Mega Center South Station. From there, transfer to Metro Line 4 Higher Education Mega Center North Station, leave through exit D and take bus No.383 to the center of Changzhou.

For more Daytripper click here.

[Image by Ryan Gandolfo/That's]

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