Haizhu District: Guangzhou’s New Gem (Part 1)

Haizhu District: Guangzhou’s New Gem (Part 1)
By Beth Green , eChinacities.com

Of Guangzhou's ten districts, Haizhu District remains one of the least explored by expats—despite hosting the Canton Fair.

Haizhu District is the island south of the Pearl River from Tianhe District. Confusingly for newcomers, the famous Haizhu Square and Metro station is not in Haizhu District, but connects to Haizhu District (via the—what else?—Haizhu Bridge) across the river. Haizhu means "Sea Pearl," and variants of it are not uncommon in coastal China.

Once a collection of fishing villages and harbours that were only nominally part of Guangzhou itself, Haizhu is now one of the most sought-after real estate locations and hosts one of the city's claims to fame – the Canton Fair.

Because Haizhu District is so large – it used to be the biggest district before some of the others melded together – we have divided this area guide into two parts. Following are some of the highlights of the eastern part of Haizhu District, as bisected by Metro Line 3.

1) Villages
Though it's now part of Guangzhou proper, Haizhu is still home to some villages that retain their small-town feel. Visiting these suburbs is like a trip out of town, only accessible by city transport. Lijiao Village (沥滘村) still has some of its rural charm. You can immediately feel the difference when you step out of the metro entrance – you'll be swooped on by three-wheeled bicycle taxi drivers hoping to take you where you want to go. The riverfront here also offers a whole new view of the south branch of the Pearl River. 

Getting there: Lijiao Station, Metro Line 3.

2) Towers and pagodas
Everyone's seen Guangzhou's iconic Canton Tower, the twisting signature of the city's skyline. The Canton Tower was built only a few years ago, but Haizhu District also boasts two ancient pagodas that, when they were built, dominated the low-rise skyline.

The Pazhou Pagoda, a short walk from the Pazhou convention complexes where the Canton Fair is held, is a white-and-black pagoda about 60 metres tall. It's on a hill in a small park.

The Chigang Pagoda, near the Canton Tower, is a little bit shorter. Both pagodas were built about 500 years ago as part of Buddhist temple sites. They were also useful for navigation for the ships plying the Pearl River. Nowadays, they are reminders of traditional architecture surrounded by gleaming skyscrapers. Neither pagoda was open to the public for climbing at the time of writing, but they are both set in picturesque, well-maintained parks.

Pazhou Pagoda
Getting there: Pazhou Station, Metro Line 8.

Chichang Pagoda
Getting there: Chigang Pagoda Station, Metro Line 3 or APM Line.

3) Beer  View In Map
Zhujiang Beer, Guangzhou's domestic tipple, has opened the Zhujiang In-Bev International Beer Museum by its brewery in Haizhu District. On the riverfront beside the museum is the Party Pier, a strip of bars, cafes and restaurants in a repurposed factory. Its location makes it a good go-to place for Canton Fair visitors and Canton Tower sightseers.

Add: 118 Modiesha Avenue, Xingang Donglu, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市海珠区新港东路磨碟沙大街118号
Tel: 020 8420 2521
Opening hours: 8:30-12:00, 13:00-16:45
Price: 50 RMB
Website: www.zhujiangbeer.ca
Getting there: Metro Line 8 to Chigang Station, exit C1, transfer to Bus No. B7 to Yuejiang Middle Road, walk 200m west. Or, Buses No. 779, 765 to Zhujiang-Inbev International Beer Museum Station.

4) Biking and Hiking
Eastern Haizhu District has quite a bit of green area on the map – not including the rather bland pocket parks on both sides of the Guangzhou International Conference and Exhibition Center at Pazhou and at the Canton Tower. The city's Greenway runs all along the riverfront and loops down through the district.  

The website www.gdgreenway.net (in Chinese) has more information and photos about the extensive network of bike paths and urban walking trails that have been built all over the Pearl River Delta.

5) Ecological ParkView In Map
The far southeast corner of Haizhu District hosts the city's "lungs." The Yingzhou Ecology Park and the Wanmu Orchard have enough fruit trees and other plants to offset the carbon dioxide of at least 3 million of the city's inhabitants, according to the Guangzhou government website. Spend a day snapping photos and revitalizing your own lungs at the park.

Add: 138 East Xiaozhou Street, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 34267733; 020 34267685; 020 34267682
Opening hours: 8:30-17:30 weekdays, till 18:00 on weekends.
Prices: Adults 10 RMB, Children 8 RMB, Senior citizens 5 RMB
Website: http://www.gzyingzhou.com/ (in Chinese)
Email: gzyingzhou@163.com

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Keywords: Haizhu District Guangzhou Zhujiang-InBev International Beer Museum Pagodas in Guangzhou Lijiao village Guangzhou Guangzhou parks


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