Guangzhou, China – A ubiquitous tourist attraction in the city of Guangzhou, in China’s Guangdong province, is a street called Beijing Road or Beijing Lu in Mandarin and no, it does not lead to Beijing.
Beijing Road is a commercial street and is packed with shops, malls, stalls and restaurants. Though it appears to be a little cosmopolitan, it is pedestrian friendly with no cars, filled with noise and shouts from vendors reaching out to customers, security presence to make tourists and locals alike feel safe and secure, even at midnight when most shops are still open and has its fair share of touts.
Along with boutique shops and brand name retail outlets, there are also several large malls, including Grandbuy, Xindaxin and Mayflower.
There are a few well preserved ancient stone roads of Song and Yuan Dynasties from the 11th to 14th centuries, each with a story to tell.
There are also ancient city gates and walls from the old China dynasty being showcased to pedestrians. At the centre of the street, there are some historical sites protected by plexi-glass. These underground archeological sites show that this road has existed here for nearly a thousand years.
If one feels that the street is crowded during the day and on weekdays, it is crazily crowded on weekends with dazzling and blinding colourful and vibrant lights which transform the street into something extraordinary at night.
There are dozens of shops to explore, including designer boutiques, jewellers, bookstores, supermarkets and stores that sell locally produced goods such as embroidery, sculptures and herbal teas. Haggle hard in the independent stores, as there are plenty of bargains to be found, along with numerous touts trying to sell knock off copy products.
Our guide, Ms Zhang says: “Beijing Road is a start of the foundation of the original Guangzhou and the most prosperous commercial centre in history from past to present. Not only has it created a rare wonder in the world, but also witnessed the culture and historical civilisation of Guangzhou.”
“It is located in the city centre of Guangzhou, with a history of more than 1,000 years. It is a good place to experience Chinese culture and enjoy the old city’s charm and a must see for travellers and visitors to Guanhzhou,” she adds.