Day trip to Kāipíng!

And here I’m back on writting! So I wanted to share with you guys the Kāipíng day trip I’ve been on last Sunday!

Kāipíng (开平) is a city in Guangdong, situated 2 hours (in bus) from Guangzhou, so it’s pretty easy to go there for a day trip.

I’ve been there with 5 other friends, Esmée, Pia, Loreleï, Melanie and Samy, and we left in the morning around 9:30 from Hai Zhu bus station, and arrived there around 11:30. There was a very little traffic at the begining but we ending up finishing our nights while driving. When we arriving in Kāipíng bus station a guy came to us with one of these flyers for a tour, and we were not so sure about trusting him or not, so we talked about the tour, bargained the price, and agree to go with him for the day.

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Kāipíng is a quite big city of almost 700,000 habitants, but there is not much to see there, however the villages around are stunning, and parts of the UNESCO World’s Heritage List since 2007. This place is also ranked 9 out of 30 by Lonely Planet, so we kinda had to go, knowing the proximity of Guangzhou. The city is famous for the Diaolou, there are kind of “towers” of around 5 floors (depends on the building of course, can be higher), built by rich families to protect their wealths from thiefs around the 1920’s. Several families were living per building, as each floor is composed of the same features (2 or 3 bedrooms, 1 kitchen/bathroom and 1 living/dining room).

Our tour started by Zili Village, around 20 km from Kāipíng, this village is composed of various Diaolou, which you can go in, visit, and go on he rooftop terrasse to enjoy the view. It’s very impressive and you feel like you’re in the “real” China, nothing comparable to Guangzhou. Everything is quite and calm, there aren’t tourists (well not a lot), and everything seems like stuck in time.

Zili Village
Zili Village
Zili Village from rooftop diaolou
Zili Village from rooftop diaolou
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Zili Village

Then we had lunch there (some kind of rice with peanuts, steam-cooked, it was kinda weird but pretty good), and then we moved to Li Garden, where there is an exhibition of the World heritage list, and a “fantasy garden” which recreate various spot places in the world, it doesn’t have that much interest. However, the other garden, look like a French-designed one, surrounding the Diaolou and the buildings are very nice.

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Li Garden’s Diaolou
Wish Tree @ Li Garden
Wish Tree @ Li Garden

And we moved again, as the amount of available time was short and we wanted to see a lot, we could not stay for a super long time in each place, however, I didn’t feel like we were rushing or in a hurry. So the next stop was Jinjiangli Village, there are fewer towers compared to the other places but the architecture is very different, the building was design in a Byzantine style, and by European architect, so you can somehow find similarities with European typical building features.

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The 4th stop was Chikan village, build on the river, the architecture is very typical from this place, and you can visit some “Western” places like the ‘Hotel Paris’, and enjoy a walk along the river. The market is very nice, you can grab food for very cheap, but you can find some weird things, like on the pic above!

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"Street food"
“Street food”

Last stop of the day: Majianglong cluster! Unfortunatly we arrived a bit late so we couldn’t enter the diaolous, but we had a nice walk around there, checking starfruit plantation and walking in a bamboo forest! Of course walking in fields at night isn’t the best idea when you don’t bring your anti-mosquito bites, but we survived!

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And here we are!

Then we took the 19:10 bus from Kāipíng to Guangzhou and arrived there around 22:10. It was an exausting trip, but we had so much fun, so….!

I really enjoyed this trip, it’s a great experience, you can learn a lot from the overseas-Chinese coming back home, and the culture at the time. I’d recommend this day trip 100%, but I think that doing that in 2 days might be nicer as you can stay as long as you want in each place, and not hurry to go from one to another. Also, I’d recommend to rent a taxi/van for the day because the villages are spread aroung the city, and it’s easier to directly go to the place, plus, at the end, it’s not a lot more expensive, because of sharing the bill, and the gain of time! Your driver can bring you whereever you want, however, make sure to have a good Chinese-English translator as their English is kinda limited if not non-existant.

If you’re interested here are the prices of the various activities:

  • Bus ticket: 62¥ each (tot. 124¥)
  • Combo ticket for the sites: 180¥ (student discount of 50%, tot. 90¥)
  • Lunch: 12¥
  • Guide/Van for the day: 60¥ (per person, after bargaining)

The total amount is ¥286, which is €39,67. So if you’re coming over, don’t hesitate to go there, it worth it! Talking about the combined ticket, i think it’s a good deal because you can access all sites with 1 ticket and you don’t need to queue (in case of queue).

Combined ticket (90¥ with student discount)
Combined ticket (90¥ with student discount)

I hope you enjoyed the post, see you on the next one! xx

Héloïse

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