Shaoguan (韶关; Sháoguān) is a small city in Guangdong Province in China. It is famous for its surrounding nature and the hot springs, and for being home to a large number of people from the Yao ethnic minority.
The main language in Shaoguan is Hakka, though most people speak Cantonese and Mandarin as well. Some residents also speak a distinct dialect called Shaozhou Tuhua, which does not fall into any Chinese dialect family, and is mutually unintelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese or Hakka. The Yao ethnic minority speak their own language.
A train ride from Guangzhou on the slow train takes more than two hours and should cost ¥39 on the hard seater.
The bullet train from Guangzhou takes about 50 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes and costs between ¥70-105 depending on speed for a second class seat.
Shaoguan's two main train stations are 1 Shaoguan Station (韶关站) and 2 Shaoguan East Station (韶关东站). High-speed trains serve Shaoguan Station; slow trains serve Shaoguan East Station, which is more centrally located and slightly closer to Danxiashan.
Shaoguan Station is way to the southwest of the city center, not close to much of anything. There is a little village next to it, though, with a handful of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and cheap guesthouses—exit the station and turn right to find them.
When you get off from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, the intercity bus is convenient. The price of a ticket is about ¥100. Please note that you check the bus with certificate. When get off the bus, you can travel around by yourself with the map, that is so fun.
The main bus terminal is just next to the train station. Buses leave from here to the major sights. Locally operating buses start here, but the town center is within walking distance. Just cross the river opposite the train station and you are almost there.
Tourist guides will occasionally offer their services to newly arrived travellers. Prices are subject to negotiation.
- 1 Nanhua Temple (南华寺 Nánhuá Sì; 南华禅寺 Nánhuá Chánsì), Qujiang District (曲江区) (Special express buses to the temple are available from the Shaoguan East Railway Station. If arriving at Shaoguan Railway Station, take bus no. 23. You can also get there via bus no. 309, which departs from the Shaoguan South Bus Station), ☏ . 8AM-5PM. The former temple of Huineng (the sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism) and the location of his mummified remains. As such, the temple is an important pilgrimage site for practitioners of Zen Buddhism. ¥20.
- 2 Danxiashan (丹霞山, Dān xiá shān; Danxia Mountains), Renhua County (仁化县) (Special express buses are available from both the Shaoguan Railway Station and the Shaoguan East Railway Station. Buses take about an hour to get to the park), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Open 24 hours a day. Canyon-like valleys and striking red and brown mountains.
- Nanling National Forest Park (南岭森林公园). Located in Ruyuan Yao Nationality Autonomous County, 8 kilometers from the bridge exit of Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway. The park covers area of 27300 hectares. It is the core zone of Nanling Mountain, the only preserved virgin forest in Guangdong and the oasis with the largest area in the areas with the same latitude in the world. The park has developed scenic spots including No.1 Peak in Guangdong (Shikengkong with altitude of 1902 meters), Water Loving Valley, Waterfall Groups and Small Yellow Mountain.
- Guangdong Grand Canyon (广东大峡谷). The Grand Canyon is located in Guangdong Ruyuan Yao Autonomous Dabu Town, from the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway in Ruyuan export 70kilometers. Canyon of up to 15 kilometers, more than 300 meters deep, belong to quartz sandstone. The original site of the Grand Canyon is a ravine in small basin, due to the Yanshan movement effects, makes the crust with block uplift of the expansion, and make partial massif rifting subsidence of the formation of rift valley. Be aware that the place is not really taken care of and that despite the various maps you will see here and there, you will only be able to access a very small part of the canyon, the rest being closed and under guard. The site is not really worth the trip unless you want to see a 100m high but very narrow waterfall.
- 3 Shaoguan Museum (韶关市博物馆), 90 Gongye West Road, Wujiang District (武江区工业西路90号) (Bus routes 3a, 9, 10, 15, 19, 22, 25, 29, 31, 40 and the Tangliao Special Bus Line (糖寮专线)), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 09:00-16:30, closed on Mondays. Free.
Restaurants in Shaoguan are not set as densely as in Guangzhou. A good place to find many restaurants is Heping Road (和平路) at the northern end of the main shopping and pedestrian area. The choices include a McDonalds and various Chinese cuisines.
- 1 Kuàicān Miànshí (快餐面食), 赤水村 (exit Shaoguan Station, turn right, and walk through the parking lot that says "停车场"). Not really a restaurant so much as a couple of tables by the side of the street, but in any case it's the closest place to get a decent bite to eat outside Shaoguan Station, the high-speed rail station. A mom-and-pop noodle shop with a small convenience store next door. It doesn't even seem to have a name—the sign (in Chinese only of course) just says something like "short-order pasta". ¥10 for a bowl of noodle soup.
- Dongyuan Hotel (东园招待所; Dōngyuán Zhāodàisuǒ) (Next to the river at the junction of Jianguolu (健国路) and Dongdinanlu (东堤南路)). Rooms can be bargained down to ¥50 per bed and night.
- Hot Spring Hotel (泉景酒店; Quánjǐngjiǔdiàn), 1 Huanyuan West Street (环园西路1号; Huányuánxīlù), ☏ .
- 1 Shaoguan Pengyue Guesthouse (韶关鹏玥民宿 Sháoguān Péngyuè Mínsù), 西联镇赤水新村46座4号 (just southwest of Shaoguan Station; go out of the station and turn right), ☏ . No-frills mom-and-pop budget establishment near the high-speed rail station. Clean, good wifi, squat toilets. ¥100.