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Shantou: the Quality Leisure Time
2005-12-08 10:30:20

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The chill in the air means that it's now winter in Beijing.  This is the time people crave sunshine, golden beaches and incredible oceans.  So we've decided to head for Shantou, a port city in south China's Guangdong Province, to enjoy the precious sunshine and appreciate its unique Chaoshan Culture. 

Situated on the Chao-shan Plain in East Guangdong Province, Shantou is one of the key port cities in South China, a place of savvy business people and hometown of millions of overseas Chinese.

Shantou may not hit you with a bam like some exotic hideaways in China; the gentle aftertaste can linger on and on, just like sampling a cup of Chaoshan Kungfu tea.

When in Shantou, the first and last thing you will be asked to do is drinking tea. I mean drinking wherever you go, from dawn to dusk, and it's known as nothing but Chaoshan Kungfu tea.

Locals say you need to be patient while enjoying Chaoshan kungfu tea.

Let's put it this way, don't count on Kungfu tea while you are on the verge of dehydration. The complicated preparing ritual makes it more a way of socializing than thirst-quenching.

Shantou is a great place to seek out some quality leisure time - it's got everything, mountain, ocean, and of course, world-class golf course.

Just 20-minute drive from Shantou downtown, the Citic golf club is a standard 18-hole course and is ranked within the top ten courses in the country.

You can also find plenty low maintenance fun going out and about.  Like most places in china that's got a rich cultural background, Chaoshan area also got its unique local opera here called Chaoju. And watching Chaoju is still a major event for local people.

As one of the major local operas of China, Chaoju has a large classic repertoire passed down over the history of 1000 years.

And for millions of overseas Chaoshanese, the soft melody is the key to their memories of the hometown that they left behind as younglings.

It was by way of the South China Sea that millions of Chaoshanese bid farewell to their hometown and embarked on their life journey.  I really cannot imagine how they felt at the time not knowing where their destinations were and whether they'd ever be able to come back.  Surely not as relaxed as I feel right now, coz I'm going to take some quality time at that big island ahead of me – "Nan'ao Island."

Nan'ao sits on the border of Guangdong and Fujiang Provinces, covers a total area of 109 square kilometers, and is a huge eco-tourist zone of thousands different plants and numerous migration birds.

I highly recommend you get a car and drive around the island since they've got a nicely-built highway circling around the whole island. Basically you can drive your way to all your destinations on the island while enjoying the spectacular sea view.

There is one stuff which is extremely critical when you come to Nan'ao, suntan lotion. The subtropical sunshine is really strong here.

Qing'ao is the place to first see sunrise on Nan'ao island. The beach definitely is on the par with many world-famous beach resorts. It runs for about 2.4 kilometers of extremely fine sands. And for almost 150 meters into the ocean, the water only averages at 1.2 meter deep, perfect for swimming.

Nan'ao island holds a strategic importance in coastal defense, can you imagine that this tiny village used to be governed by two provinces?  One side being Fujiang and the other Guangdong.

Today, the derelict buildings and slow pace of everything seem all so serene, hardly conveying the tumultuous history the tiny village experienced over the years.

What Else in Guangdong Province:
"Pearl Sea" - The City of Zhuhai


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