Experiencing Southern China's stunning landscapes

By Bruce Connolly | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-01-12 11:30
Bamboo rafts alongside Li River 1993. [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

I first visited Shaoguan in December 1992, having spent several days discovering its fascination as a northern Guangdong hub for water, rail and road transport. The city sits where the low-lying lands of the province effectively give way to the Nanling Mountains bordering Hunan. At Shaoguan, the Wujiang and Zhenjiang rivers merge into the Beijiang River flowing toward Sanshui near Guangzhou, 221 kilometers to the south. The downtown area, where I stayed on both visits, lies on a peninsula formed between both streams.

The waterways in 1992 were busy with freighters, barges and sampan-style covered fishing boats. A prominent central landmark, the renovated Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Fengcai Tower, presently rises above a vibrant commercial, entertainment and dining area. Through the early '90s it bustled with passing foot and bicycle traffic, a gateway where the surrounding countryside also literally entered the city!

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