Travel Destinations: Chaozhou, China
There are so many great places to visit in China that it can be a little hard to choose your destination. If you are travelling the southern province of Guangdong, you should definitely make sure the city of Chaozhou is on your list.
Chaozhou is a much prettier city than the rest in this southern province and is home to 1.24 million. Situated on the Han River and surrounded by the Jin Shan (Golden Hills) and Hulu Shan (Calabash Hills), Chaozhou was an ancient trading and commercial city for more than 1,700 years. As you travel from Shantou to Chaozhou, you will pass through some beautiful fortified Hakka villages. Stop off here to visit some ancient temples before carrying on to Chaozhou.
The best sights to see in Chaozhou are to the north of the city, especially around Zhongshan Lu and Changli Lu. As you wander around these narrow winding streets you will gaze up at architecture that is a wonderful blend of colonial and traditional Chinese designs. Some of these lovely buildings date from the Ming dynasty.
There are so many different cultural attractions and interesting sights to see in Chaozhou. The previous Confucian Academy (Haiyangxian Ruxuegong) is now an interesting museum where you can view some old photos.
The city’s most famous attraction which draws thousands of tourists every year is the Kaiyuan Temple (Kaiyuan Si). This temple was built during the Tang dynasty in 738 CE to house important Buddhist scriptures that the Emperor Qianlong sent. It has recently undergone renovation. Inside the first hall has 18 gilded arhats and there are some lovely gardens and pavilions containing beautiful carvings. Please be aware though that this is an active temple and quite a bit of it is closed to tourists.
Another great place to visit is the old city wall (gu cheng) and from the ramparts you are subjected to the most amazing views of the city. The wall runs for almost 2.5km alongside the river, interspersed with four beautiful fortifications.
From the wall, look to the southeast and you will see the Phoenix Pavilion (Fenghuang Tai) pass the island, and the Phoenix Pagoda (Fenghuang Tai). This is a seven storey tower which was built in 1585.
Look to the east of the Han river, you will see the Guangji Bridge (Guangji Qiao), which was erected during the Song dynasty; next is Hanwen Temple (Hanwen Gongsi) which was built to honour the poet and philosopher Han Yu who lived during the Tang dynasty. He was exiled to Guangdong (which was considered extremely far away) for his forthright views regarding Buddhism.
Other places to visit are West Lake Park (Xihu Gongyuan) where you can relax in calming and peaceful surroundings for a few hours.
Chaozhou is a wonderful place to visit when you are travelling to Guangdong. After the hustle and bustle of much larger and hectic cities, Chaozhou can offer you everything you need at a much calmer pace.