The island's name literally means "sandy surface" in Chinese. Surrounded by water, it is just like a giant ship mooring alongside the wharf. Get further and one will find that Shamian Island is carefully planned.
Shamian Island, previous known as Zhongliusha or Shicuizhou, is an elliptic sandbar in the Liwan District of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province. The island's name literally means "sandy surface" in Chinese. Surrounded by water, it is just like a giant ship mooring alongside the wharf. Get further and one will find that the island is carefully planned. Three east-west avenues, Shamian Avenue, Shamian North Avenue and the South Avenue, and five north-south streets, Shamian Street 1 to the Street 5 divide the whole area into 12 parts, with various buildings, namely White Swan Hotel, Shamian Hotel, and Poland Consulate in Guangzhou, scattered around.
The Island has great historic significance. From the Song and the Qing Dynasty, it served as an important port for Guangzhou's foreign trade. The it became a strategic point for city defense during the second Opium Wars (1856-1860). In 1859, the territory was divided into two concessions, given to France and United Kingdom (of which 4/5 went to the British and 1/5 to the French). It was then embanked and provided with streets, drainage, and imposing buildings and became home to a prosperous foreign enclave. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, most of the public facilities were finished, including political buildings like consulates, cultural buildings like churches and schools, as well as commercial buildings like banks and firms. After 1949, the mansions there became government offices or apartment houses and the churches were turned into factories. But later they were restored, in many cases to their former splendor. Each building has a label telling its former purpose. One may start to imagine what stories these building held while viewing the plaque writing about its previous function. One example is "No.7 North Shamian Avenue" which was built during the Republican period and was formerly the Administration Bureau of Broadcasting of the Nationalist Government. The mansions there form the best preserved Western Europe style building complex in China. Forty-two out of 150 buildings are counted as the most exotic ones, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical, in Guangzhou.
Since the early 2000s, the Island has become well known for many Western couples who reside there, seeking to adopt Chinese babies and young children, most of whom are orphaned and female. In particular, the White Swan Hotel, adjacent to the Consulate of United States in Guangzhou and convenient to file paperwork and handle bureaucratic matters, has become a hotel of choice.
Shameen is a good place for a stroll. As it is just 900m long from east to west and 300m from south to north, one will not feel tired even after walking around the island twice. Due to traffic control on the island, it showcases a different atmosphere and pace of living. Problems such as traffic jams and exhaust gas pollution don't exist here. Now partly reserved for pedestrians, its broad boulevards are like long gardens topiaries. A line of bars and cafes on the southwest side with views over the Pearl River serves modern expats.
5 Days Guangzhou Zhangjiajie Discovery China Tour
In the tour, you take in some of Guangzhou's best historical, cultural and scenic highlights. Check out wonderful carvings and traditional architecture at the Chen Family Temple, admire churches and colonial-era buildings at Shamian Island, feast your eyes on the ancient Indian relics housed in the Liurong Temple and show respect to the great Chinese revolutionist at Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Besides, hiking in Zhangjiajie and enjoying jaw-dropping landscape adds more fun to your outdoor activities.
2 Days Guangzhou Tour
Take 2 days to leisurely explore Guangzhou city, also called sheep city. Explore historic sites and learn local history and culture, enjoy incredible buildings combined with Chinese and European, even Gothic church. Take a night cruise on Pearl River to enjoy the charming city view and colorful Canton Tower.
4 Days Hong Kong and Guangzhou Highlight Tour by High-speed Train
Join this tour to get a full introduction of Hong Kong and Guangzhou top highlights that shouldn't be missed, discover rich diversity in cultural heritage, scenic charm even the typical delicious food. Get the chance to enjoy the incredible night view of A Symphony of Lights, take the high-speed train ticket from Hong Kong to Guangzhou and experience modern development of mainland China.
5-day Private Classic China Tour of Shanghai and Guangzhou
This is a great chance to see all the aspects of life in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Immerse in all the must-see sites including the Bund, Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and Xitang Ancient Water Town. In Guangzhou, experience Chen Family Temple, Shameen Island, cruise on the Pearl River, visit the Canton Tower, Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. After the 5-days private tour, you’ll have a profound understanding of not just the history but also the culture and life in Guangzhou and Shanghai.
Classic 5-day Private Tour for Beijing and Guangzhou
Join an expert guide for a private tour of Beijing’s most fascinating destinations and UNESCO Sites, from the Forbidden City to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. You can focus on exploring Beijing history, culture, wildlife, and cuisine. However, in Guangzhou, you visit Canton Tower and Chen Family Temple, stop by the Wanling Market, cruise along the Pearl River by boat, soak in the atmosphere of Lizhiwan, admire Shameen Island, enjoy nature at Yuexiu Park and visit Liurong Temple. The 5 days private tour feasts your eyes on different landmarks in Beijing and Guangzhou.
5-day Private Tour of Guangzhou and Shanghai in High-speed Train
This is a 5 days tour and you will visit some major attractions in Shanghai, such as Bund, Yu Garden, Shanghai Museum, Oriental Pearl Tower. Then you take the high-speed train to Guangzhou and have a chance of appreciating the wonderful scenery en route. In Guangzhou, you admire Dr. Sun Yatsen's Memorial Hall, Yuexiu Park, Liurong Temple, Shamian Island, Canton Tower, Chen Family Temple, Wanling Market and cruise along the Pearl River. This tour includes meals, attractions entrance fees and vehicle transfer.
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Shamian Island Photos