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Chikan Town | Courtesy of Make-Do Studios
Chikan Town | Courtesy of Make-Do Studios

A Guide To Exploring The Ancient Towns Of The Pearl River Delta

Picture of Ian Mote
Updated: 9 February 2017
If you have read the earlier article on The Pearl River Delta: Historical Sites In Hong Kong’s Backyard but were wondering how to find these sites, have no fear, for we have listed out just what you need to do. These locations are full of history, easy to explore and provide a wonderfully fresh perspective on an otherwise understated area of China.

Culheng Village

Can be reached from Zhongshan

Culheng is a pleasant village that is renowned for being the birthplace of the Chinese revolutionary, Sun Yat-Sen. It’s a scenic location that houses Sun Yat-Sen’s home, which is now a memorial museum.

The best way to get to Cuiheng is to take the train to Zhongshan, and then grab a bus. The number 12 goes from Zhongshan City Center in about 40 minutes, and the 212 goes from Zhongshan Passenger Ferry Dock in about 50 minutes.

Also, if you take the Guangzhou–Zhuhai train, you can stop at Nanlang Town, which is only around ten minutes by taxi from Cuiheng.

Shawan Town

Can be reached from Guangzhou

Though an unusually small town, Shawan Town is rich in cultural heritage and history and is the infamous birthplace of the Guangdong Opera.

Shawan lies within Guangzhou city limits; therefore, you can get most of the way there on the local metro. Take line 1 to Shiqiao Station, and then get a bus to Shawan Culture Center. You can get the 67 from Shiqiao Exit E, or the 12, 7, or 7B all go from Exit C.

If this is all a bit of hard work, the simpler way is just to take a taxi from the center of town.

Shawan Town © Photo courtesy of Make-Do Studios

Shawan Town | Courtesy of Make-Do Studios

Dapeng Fortress

Can be reached from Shenzhen

Dapeng Fortress played a significant role in the coastal defense of China for centuries and boasts huge gate towers, watch towers and a moat of immense proportions – all of which are still intact and well preserved.

To view the Fortress at Dapeng, you need to reach Shenzhen’s Longgang District, which is around 55 kilometers from the center of town. Bus E11 goes from Shenzhen North Station via Yinghu Bus Station to Dapeng Town, which should be just over an hour on a good day, and from there, you can switch to the B756 for Dapeng Fortress.

Alternatively, you can reach Dapeng from the Futian Bus Station (number H92) or from Longgang itself (833 or 818). Once in Dapeng, switch as above. Some Shenzhen taxi drivers may even take you the whole way – expect a bill of close to RMB200.

Chikan Town

Can be reached from Guangzhou or Zhuhai

Having attracted many Chinese film directors in the past, Chikan Town is an exotic place that holds an elegant setting through its European-inspired architecture.

The main task in seeing Chikan is first to go to the town of Kaiping. Kaiping can be reached from Guangzhou; you can take a bus from Guangzhou Provincial Bus Station, which is next to Guangzhou Railway Station. Buses run every half an hour.

Once you are in Chikan, you are reliant on local shuttle buses, such as public bus number 6 which runs from Yici in Kaiping to Chikan, or you can take a taxi for the 12-kilometer journey. Chikan is located between Majianglong Diaolou cluster (马降龙雕楼群) and The Li Garden (立园).

Chikan Town © Make-Do Studios

Chikan Town | Courtesy of Make-Do Studios

Nantou Ancient Town | Courtesy of Make-Do Studios

Nantou Ancient Town | Courtesy of Make-Do Studios

Nantou Ancient City

Can be reached from Shenzhen or Hong Kong

Nantou is home to the intriguing remains of the ancient city of Xin’an, where excavations have revealed evidence of a civilization that dated back to the Shang dynasty.

Nantou is located in the Jiujietou Village, which is in Shenzhen’s western Nanshan District, close to the east bank of the mouth of the Pearl River.

The best way to enter the city is through the South Gate, which is on Shennan Boulevard, at the far western end of Shennan Road, close to where it meets Nanxin Road. The 201 and 210 buses run from the center of Shenzhen, and the 301, 305, 310, and 355 will also take you there. To use the metro, go to Shenzhen University, and then it is five minutes by taxi. Alternatively, you can also enter the city from Zhongshan Park’s south side.

To travel to Nantou from Hong Kong, you can take a cross-border bus from Kowloon Tong or Wan Chai to Shenzhen Bay. Then you need to grab a taxi to Nan tou gu cheng (南投古城), which should take no more than 15 minutes.