This Seaside Fort in Dongguan Is a Cool Historical Excursion

By Bryan Grogan, January 10, 2019

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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.

On one of the coldest days of the year, we made our way to Shajiao Fort in Dongguan to hike around the seaside historical site and to brush up on our knowledge of the Opium Wars. Set on scenic Shajiao, across a narrow channel of water from Dajiao, Shajiao Fort was a key outpost in the First Opium War to impede the transportation of opium by British traders into Guangdong. 

Image by Bryan Grogan/That's

After showing our ID at the door we walked through the stone gates and were immediately greeted by a strange and seemingly long-out-of-use wooden ship that seemed better suited to an amusement park than a place of historical merit like Shajiao Fort. We began to worry that we were in for a day of off-taste tourist slop. 

We continued around a looping stone path past the Tomb for Devoted Soldiers, a memorial for seven fallen soldiers set atop a small hill accessible by steep stone steps. The tomb offers a nice view of some interesting architecture located nearby and is marked by a smattering of cigarette butts.

Image by Bryan Grogan/That's

We rounded the corner and the road opened out onto a view of the bay. Directly before us we saw Humen Port, while further in the distance Humen Bridge was visible through the afternoon fog. On the edge of the water were a row of large artillery guns, covered up with cloth. While we are unsure whether these guns are still operational, we must note they were in much better shape than some of the other relics that we came across later in our visit. They were also the first sign that Shajiao Fort is what it says on the tin: a fort.

Image by Bryan Grogan/That's

Further on, we were greeted by one of the locals, who was offering boat rides around the area in his small fishing boat (for a price of course). Since we were already frozen to the bone and uninterested in adding to the pain, we politely declined his offer. On a sunnier day, though, this might be a fun way to experience the area.

From there, we mosied on over to Bohai Fort. Inside the structure, visitors are able to wander through the small fortification’s well-preserved stone hallways. We poked our heads into a few of the side passages that deviate from the main thoroughfare and tried to imagine how the building would have looked almost 200 years earlier.

Image by Bryan Grogan/That's

Next we clambered up a set of stairs and found a few food stalls offering malatang and other edibles suitable for a cold day. We sat and chowed on some spicy tofu whilst chatting with one of the shopkeepers. 

It took us no more than two hours to eat and wander around this site, and we highly recommend a visit. 

For the historically inclined, Shajiao Fort may whet your appetite for more knowledge about the Opium Wars. Luckily, a number of other historic sites are located in Humen to indulge your curiousity, such as the Lin Zexu Memorial Museum and The Sea Battle Museum.

How to get there:

From Guangzhou: 

Take the high speed train from Guangzhou South Station to Humen Station. From there, hop on the No.841 bus and ride for 31 stations to Shajiao Hospital, then walk for 2 kilometers.

From Shenzhen:

Take the high speed train from Shenzhen North Station to Humen Station and then follow the same directions as above.

For more Daytripper click here.

[Cover image by Bryan Grogan/That's]

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