Dongshan, a neighborhood in the Yuexiu district, has been an iconic destination for its artistic and relaxed ambience. The green community is dotted with small shops, stylish cafés and art venues and offers a splendid place to take a stroll with your lover or friends during weekends.
Here we recommend five things to do without rolling out the money:
Shoot photos of historic buildings
Buildings with red bricks, white porches, and ochre-colored doors and windows are everywhere in the neighborhood, yet are rarely seen in other regions of the city. Fashion models and newly-weds often pose for photos before this background – just leaning on steel fences or standing under the shadow of tall trees.
Most of this historic architecture has been renovated and converted into private residences, studios or clubs. Some are open as cafés, art galleries or restaurants. You can feel free to step into these public buildings for an exploration and gain further understanding of the Dongshan-style architecture that once served as homes for wealthy Guangzhou families.
One building of particular interest is Chun Yuan, which once served as a temporary residence of Mao Zedong. It is now a history museum of the local Chinese Communist Party leadership, and is open to the public and free of charge.
See an exhibition at Kui Garden
Kui Garden is one of the five most famous examples of western-style architecture in Dongshan. It is decorated with green bamboos, palm trees and flowers sprouting in every corner of the garden. Two tall arecas stand by the front door. The exterior of the top floor is constructed in the form of an arch and the year of the building's construction, 1922, is etched into the arch.
The main building facing south has three floors – the first floor is an art gallery, while the second houses a small café. The third floor, once used to sell vintage goods, is now closed. Art exhibitions are held in the first-floor gallery to promote young artists. The house is worthy of observing even if you are not an art lover.
Enjoy a cup of coffee at a café
Stylish cafés are an important feature of the district. The cafés are generally small and hidden in narrow alleyways. Some are restored from old villas with courtyards, such as the café on the second floor of Kui Garden. Some are independent houses, like the newly opened The Owl’s House. Other cafés and restaurant offer not only coffee but afternoon tea for guests. You can spend am entire afternoon idling away time by sitting next to a window or on the balcony of one of these cafés.
Someone unfamiliar with the Dongshan area might might have difficulty finding some of these cafés. No need to worry, though. We will provide a café map in another article.
Visit the Cathedral
There are two churches in the region. The larger one is a Christian church while another is a Catholic church.
Dongshan Christian Church began construction in 1827 but just revived its religious service in 1979. The church can seat 1,300 worshippers in its main hall and over 4,500 people attend mass services every Sunday. The Sunday services are offered in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. The church has annual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day masses, which everyone is welcome to attend.
Eat street snacks
A strip of street snacks and drinks runs through a section of Dongshan that is home to several schools. To keep costs down, you can try the budget-priced bakeries or a number of decent restaurants in the area. The hundred-meter street linking the No. 1 Bus Terminal offers a wide range of choices: sweets, noodles, rice, sushi, dumplings and fast food.
The most famous local snacks – beef offals – are recommended if you dare to have a taste like a local. Unfortunately, the handcart stall that sold the cheap snacks has recently been replaced by a shop that looks cleaner but is costlier.
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