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Zhaoqing at Night - Seen from 7-Stars Lake and Crags

The Fred Astaire audition by 'yours truly' in heavy yet warm rain - 7 Stars Crags

Little Gems - 7 Stars Crags

Path to the Crags - 7 Stars Crags

A small Temple - 7 Stars Crags

Water Lily's - 7 Stars Crags

Gate and Left, Time for a Break Then

A commercial sight-seeing boat

Roo and Steve + local Boat-people - She actually spoke very good English!

Dynasty Hotel, Bedroom

Dynasty Hotel, ensuite lounge

Dynasty Hotel, ensuite lounge, the other view

Dynasty Hotel, Pool area. Cool!

Zhaoqing Musical Fountain

Ding Hu San, The Waterfall Area

Ding Hu San, personal picture of a 'Monkey' on a rock!

Ding Hu San, personal picture - This is a very BIG cooking pot!

Zhaoqing Gate, complete with Liverpool fan looking for the next game...

The Dynasty Hotel - Bad picture of front visage

SongTao Hotel = Official Photo

Zhaoqing University - As seen from the main road

Zhaoqing University Campus shop

Zhaoqing University Cash-point

Zhaoqing University Gymnasium

Zhaoqing University - Number One Lake

Zhaoqing University - Cyber Cafe Number One

Zhaoqing University - All-weather track and Football (Other) Pitch

Zhaoqing University - Foreign Student Accommodation Block

Zhaoqing University - Foreign Student Accommodation - Living Room

Zhaoqing University - Foreign Student Accommodation - Bedroom

Zhaoqing University - Foreign Student Accommodation - Kitchen

Zhaoqing University - Foreign Student Accommodation - Dinette

Zhaoqing University - Outside View

Zhaoqing University - Number 2 Lake

Zhaoqing University - Exchange students on holiday in Hainan Island
Tourist Guides for China
Zhaoqing Tourist Guide (October 2008)

Modern Zhaoqing City (Seiu Heng in rough Cantonese) lies in central Guangdong Province on The Pearl River, about 60 Miles (110Km) due West of Guangzhou, and is the highest navigable point for deep water river vessels. It connects to all major cities: Has a Sea Cat high speed ferry connection direct to Hong Kong (4 hours), Mainline Railway station (Guangzhou, Foshan, and Hong Kong), and benefits from new Expressways

Zhaoqing is the Administrative Regional Capital, which comprises of 8-Districts containing a population of about 4 million people. Zhaoqing City itself has about 400, 000 inhabitants, making it a very pleasant yet urbanised place. Zhaoqing borders Foshan to the East.

Zhaoqing is an old city and has been a District Capital since favoured by an early Qin Emperor over 2, 000 years ago. Imperial administration can be dated to 111 BC, and it is known as 'Gateway to the Three Bridges. It is often referred to as 'The Golden City' because of it's great natural mineral resources, Gold, Jade, and the finest of the four Inkstone's mined in China

Prior to the Qin Empire (From which China gets it's name by the way), The Pearl River here marked the Southern limit of Imperial power. States Southwest of this natural demarcation were independent, and known as the 'BaiYue Tribes'

Zhaoqing City

Zhaoqing is one of the most appealing destinations in Guangdong and the prosperous Pearl River Delta. The city centre is flanked by green mountain ranges and sandwiched between the magnificent 7 Stars Lake and Pearl River, making it one of the most scenic cities in the province. It is also one of the friendliest with residents enjoying a relaxed and unhurried pace of life. There is a good selection of modern shops and an excellent range of restaurants, offering dishes from across China. Other amenities include a bowling alley, ice-rink and a host of other sporting facilities. As a relatively small city, Zhaoqing is easy to navigate.

Dinghu Mountain, the most beautiful of Guangdong’s four famous peaks, is a short bus ride away (20 minutes on Number 10 bus), and offers a retreat from city life. There are plenty of mountain and forest walks among temples and pools. Star Lake’s seven limestone crags, reminiscent of the more famous formations at Guilin and Hangzhou West Lake, are also a major tourist draw and easily accessible by taxi, foot or boat from the city centre.

What to Do

Chill, relax, and take your time...

Main Attractions 1- Lake and Crags

7 Stars Lake and Crags - Like most Chinese towns and cities, Zhaoqing has a central square. Unlike any other, Zhaoqing Square lies on the banks of 7 Stars Lake. Entrance is via a Traditional Gate, which gives way to a very large public area. Tourists should consider this gate, and adjacent roundabout, as their personal centre and point of reference in Zhaoqing.

Proceeding straight through this Gate is the area set aside for evening Musical Fountain: complete with coloured light show, geyser show, and all accompanied by British Marching Band Music = quite bizarre! Shows start at 8pm for 30-minutes; usually Thursday through Sunday, but check if out of season for times.

Gate and left: There is an area for boat trips and a few small refreshments and nick-knack stalls. We recommend you take a boat trip = great value, and they probably speak English! Further to the left are a few reasonable restaurants, some on board larger boats. Continue following the lake here and find 'Bar Street'; an ensemble of bars, disco's and clubs of all varieties

The Railway Station is located near the end of this long road, and a couple of miles from the city gate. It is rather out of the way and difficult to find. Visitors are usually dropped off at the main station. If you are going to Hong Kong, then you are probably in the wrong place! The entrance you want is further along the road and up some steps. The only train each day currently departs at 4.56pm, but do check first as times do alter without notice. You will arrive in Hong Kong 4 hours later

Gate and Right is an area set aside for street-bars, built on stilts out over the lake. If you make it passed these during working hours, you can follow your nose and find the path to The Crags. There are some charges along this path, making it far cheaper by taxi. However, it is a lovely walk if that is your thing. The Crags take a leisurely hour to reach this way

Otherwise you will have doubtless got stuck in one of the nearby  and very scenic restaurants. There are several of these, all together, so take your pick and enjoy one of life's most relaxing experiences. I know they are still open passed 3am, even in late October!

The Main Bus Station is 400 yards further along and across the main road in this direction.

The Crags: are so named because there are seven of them, and they form the shape of Ursa Major, The Big Dipper in the night sky. This area needs about 5-hours to see properly, and one day to do all. Most of the crags have pagoda's on the top = very steep steps to climb up! There are three caves with water features, two of them with boat rides under the hills. There are also assorted dry caves, one featuring ancient cave-wall inscriptions and poems.

Scattered around are quasi-official refreshment booths and souvenir shops. One central area has Chinese restaurants and proper Western toilets. Otherwise there are a plethora of Chinese bridges, Pagoda's, and water lily colonies. There are weird looking open-sided minibus things - a bit like an oversized MiniMokes, which are normally a very small charge for complete tour (¥ 10), inclusive of stops and pick-up by the next one along.

Main Attractions 2 - Ding Hu Mountain

Ding Hu is a nearby mountainous area renowned for it's magnificent air quality. It has won various major International accolades, and is regarded as having the best air quality in any part of China! Given the local industry and a very minor pollution problems ten miles distant, I find this difficult to believe - but apparently it has the right 'Geo-whatsits', high proportion oxygen, and several other academic factors that make it very special. I don't know about all the scientific stuff, but I do know it is very, very special

It is also home to a Buddhist complex, not so much a traditional temple - as I am sure you have seen enough of these already? It does have magnificent valley views over a mountain lake, which also is home to a Butterfly Farm for rare and endangered species. The central attraction is a traditional Chinese 3-legged cooking pot. Ok, this one is big enough for me (6' 1") to easily walk underneath, and it is actually still used for cooking at certain festivals. It boasts feeding 2, 000 people - and I reckon the person on 'Stirring Duty' needs a great big hand!

There is a fantastic waterfall and subsequent small lake full of stepping stones - somewhere on the back way down. You can't miss it actually, as here you are following the road. A general visit takes about 3 hours on-site + allow another hour for getting there and getting home. You can detour to a temple or similar for another hour - near the waterfall area.

Inkstone 1: Near the exit are a series of small approved stalls selling refreshments, souvenirs, and an area selling inkstones. Whilst you may pass the others by, have a serious look hereabouts. Some of these will offer an hours' instruction in Chinese Calligraphy, and are excellent! The hills here produce the highest quality Inkstone in China, and hence, in the whole world.

Inkstone is a specific type of rock that is impervious to ink. From memory, the one with a faint purple tinge is considered to be the very best. We are talking shades of black here by the way. Now pay attention! Remember that Chinese Calligraphy is made by brush strokes. Some of these brushes are extremely big! Therefore the ink needs to be put somewhere = in an Inkstone, where you dip the brushes into. Simple. Knowing this, you will find all Inkstones finely engraved, many with fantastic scenes, Buddha's, and natural flowers etc. If you are looking for the perfect gift for a Boss or Artistic person; then buy an Inkstone, some brushes, and some ink here. As with all China, the stuff sold inside is genuine and cheap. Outside prices rise for copies

Inkstone 2 - The genuine article is actually mined in nearby hillsides. It is generally face-cutting of rock, and then following a seam inwards. There are only a few people who actually mine, due to remoteness of the seams. The terrain is too difficult even for Asses (Both Donkey and Human versions); so after mining by hand, all Inkstone deposits are carried down the mountainside by people.

Base camp is a hamlet where artists carve the stones for later sale. There is also a nearby village where sculpting displays are performed for tourists, mainly Chinese. This is not Base camp where only the finest Inkstones are produced. If this is your thing, or you have a few hours to kill in artistic fashion, then I highly recommend visiting the sculpting village. Awesome!

Mountain Trails - there are three of these, all marked with colour-coded signposts. They are roughly of: 1-hour, 2-hours, and 5-hours duration. This area is a very heavily protected International Heritage site acclaimed Worldwide for its unusual and extremely beneficial local Biosphere + indigenous Flora and Fauna. I haven't done this myself, but friends who have come back speaking tongues of: 'Ions', 'Natural Geo-thingymagigs', 'Bio diversity', and other things I don't really understand.

I do know this is a very especial area within the whole world at large + the greatest thing is that you do not need to have swallowed a whole load of eco gobbledygook in order to simply enjoy one of Mother Natures rare natural treasures - Go see for yourself...

Main Attractions 3 - Other Places of Interest
Lingyang Gorge is very scenic, and being developed as a tourist attraction to rival Guilin. There is also a water and amusement park due north of the city, and nearby white water rafting is also available

Other places of interest include: Tours of Zhaoqing City walls and Piyun Tower, Ice skating, Bowling, YueJiang Tower, Chonxi Pagoda, Plum Temple (Circa 966 AD), Lion Dance, Yueju Opera and Kung Fu. Zhanshan Hill, Dragon Mother Temple, White Rock and Double Dragon Caves, Ponlong Gorge

9 Dragon Lake is definitely worth visiting. It includes a Hakka ethnic village tour and performance of ethnic dance

City Sights:

Stand at the City Gate, turn around, and look over the traffic roundabout. There is a street in front of you. You can think of this as Zhaoqing Main Street. Go there, left...

For the culturally challenged, there is a MacDonald's here and left a bit. KFC is 100 yards in the opposite direction

Otherwise walk down Main Street 100 yards, and take a left into a hotel offering exceptionally good and cheap food in their restaurant. You can also find this via the 'Back-Ally', which boasts great street foods and a very good hairdressers (Think massage here boys). This is usually an all-day restaurant, but may be closed off-peak during winter months

Nearby are lots of cheap shopping sub-malls. Walk about 500 yards and cross the road. Nearby should be the Ice-Rink, very cool on hot summer days, even if you don't participate personally

Continue down this street, keeping Zhaoqing City Gate to your back. Loads of malls and shops etc. You hit a serious road junction. Go Right>

This road is short of a mile long. Halfway down and across the road, is a most excellent Guitar and music shop owned by a lovely and most genuine guy.

Continue walking and later you find the city walls, and there are a few associated Pagodas atop in places. Stop when you reach the river - there is some nightlife here about's; and you can also cross the river by nearby ferry. Best you head back to Zhaoqing Gate, probably

Where to Stay
Chinese beds are usually very hard!

City Side:
Information is that the Star Lake Hotel, being the tallest building in Zhaoqing, and most obvious International class hotel near the roundabout - is currently closed for refurbishment (October 2008). When open, this hotel features a revolving restaurant on the 28th floor, taking about 1 hour to complete a revolution. In the evenings meals are accompanied by a Grand Piano and singers

Nearby is another excellent hotel called the Dynasty and friends have stayed there. They said it was very good - see some of their pictures on the left

For those on tighter budgets, there are several cheaper hotels near the main bus station. In this area you will also find cheaper restaurants, as well as an American style theme cafe with reasonable Western food

Lake Side:
There are several large and discrete hotels here. I have stayed at the Songtao Hotel and although well out of season, I found it to be very comfortable with excellent amenities. Nestling at the foot of one of the crags, this hotel offers several bars and restaurants, including late night terrace with waiter service. There is also a separate nightclub, an open-plan karaoke hall which is very pleasant, plus sauna and massage centre. The complex is completed by interesting gardens, and also boasts good conference facilities. It lies directly opposite Zhaoqing Main Square across the lake, and you can go there by boat, bus, or taxi

Ding Hu
One of my good friends owns a modern family sized, holiday apartment close to the entrance. Please contact for details

Teaching and Education
Image: Zhaoqing University - Click for website
Zhaoqing University main campus is set on nearby hills overlooking the city. It is a state run institution featuring excellent study facilities and modern buildings, including an Olympic standard Gymnasium completed during summer 2004. There is also a new satellite campus near 7 Stars Lake

Foreign Teachers are welcome, and usually contract for 11 months + usual benefits such as free flights, apartment, and Chinese school food. The language taught is normally English, assisted by Chinese teaching assistants. You will be encouraged to learn Chinese during your time here. Normally a vocational teaching qualification is adequate (TEFL, TOEFL etc), although you should already have been educated to at least Degree, and normally Masters level. Some posts require a proper English teaching qualification. Please contact my good friend Hugh (Xu Zhen Hui), Head of the International Office for further details

Foreign Students are also most welcome, and a variety of courses are available. Normally there is greater emphasis on learning a Chinese language, although other studies are available. The situation is very conducive for studies, the campus being set below rolling hillsides, whilst featuring two generous lakes and landscaped gardens. Foreign students usually pay a little extra for a private apartment, as the standard Chinese 6 people to a small dormitory is rather a culture shock!

Facilities are what you would expect from a modern, progressive, and outward looking establishment: sports and recreation facilities, library, cash points, cyber-lounge, and reasonably priced shop stocked with all daily requirements. Minibuses run between the campus gate and Zhaoqing every 10 minutes until very late (Number 6 bus from memory?) and charge 1.5 RMB each way = 2 return trips for around One US Dollar

Exchange Students and Staff Exchange Programmes are well developed. Although run as separate programmes, exchange schemes tend to be built upon co-operation over a period of several years. Please refer to their website for more information

Summer Camps are not currently offered. However I have personally developed Summer Camp projects with Zhaoqing University, and they are in essence 'boxed ready to go'! Please contact me if your School, College or University; or Group are interested. The programmes are excellent, and great value for money

What makes Zhaoqing so appealing both for prospective Teachers and Students; is that this area is a lot cheaper to live in than most modern cities, (Important if you are on a tight budget). It also has a far more relaxed feel to it than more hectic places such as Foshan, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. I also believe it gives a far gentler introduction to Chinese Culture than any other major city within the mighty Pearl River Delta.

The Future

Zhaoqing government has recently approved 5 and 10 year plans for future growth in many areas. Their unstated aim is to raise the profile of the City and it's Districts to match those of neighbouring International centres such as Guangzhou, Foshan, Shenzhen, Dongguan etc.

In addition to some plans already mentioned above, Zhaoqing is also developing infrastructure: New major expressways, complete overhaul of sewerage systems, a damn project, plus developing and increasing depth of the deep water port.

Regarding Industry: the new Eastern Economic Development Zone has received approval from Beijing, and in 10 years should consolidate industry along the Zhaoqing - San Shui - Foshan - Guangzhou industrial corridor. A new Digital Park has also begun development, putting Zhaoqing at the forefront of Digital and Computing Technologies

The above is also coupled with a very strong development and integration with Educational resources, again being promoted as a special zone within the city

Finally, Tourism and green resources are forefront in planning for future growth. Some things are: An area for leisure boating is to be created on the Pearl River. Gorges, temples, and other traditional scenic spots will develop as part of an integrated tourism package. I will not list all the proposals, as unless you know the area the names will mean nothing to you. Instead, believe me when I say this is a spectacular undertaking, and will put Zhaoqing to the top of both Local and International tourist destinations in a few short years time.

This page represents my personal Zhaoqing - a city and area I greatly love. It is one of my Top 3 destinations in the whole of China!

It is the ordinary people that make this City such a vibrant and great place to visit, coupled by natural resources and a few very special places, such as Ding Hu San...

You are welcome

For further information please see:

Zhaoqing Official Government website:
Not all the links work, but what is there is most informative. Click around a bit and you will find what you are looking for

Zhaoqing University:
Excellent English website, complete with gallery and video's

Visit Guangdong:
Excellent general resource for those wishing to know more about any city in Guangdong
This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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