Shamian Island

Shamian Island, previous known as Zhongliusha or Shicuizhou, is an elliptic sandbar in the Liwan District of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province. The island's name literally means "sandy surface" in Chinese. Surrounded by water, it is just like a giant ship mooring alongside the wharf. Get further and one will find that Shamian Island is carefully planned. Three east-west avenues, Shamian Avenue, Shamian North Avenue and the South Avenue, and five north-south streets, Shamian Street 1 to the Street 5 divide the whole area into 12 parts, with various buildings, namely White Swan Hotel, Shamian Hotel, and Poland Consulate in Guangzhou, scattered around.

Shamian Island, Guangzhou
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Building of Western Style, Shamian
Building of Western Style

What to Do on Shamian Island

Visiting Historical Buildings

Shamian Island has great historic significance. From the Song (960 - 1279) and the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), it served as an important port for Guangzhou's foreign trade. Then, it became a strategic point for city defense during the second Opium Wars (1856-1860). In 1859, the territory was divided into two concessions, given to France and United Kingdom (of which 4/5 went to the British and 1/5 to the French). It was then embanked and provided with streets, drainage, and imposing buildings and became home to a prosperous foreign enclave. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, most of the public facilities were finished, including political buildings like consulates, cultural buildings like churches and schools, as well as commercial buildings like banks and firms. After 1949, the mansions there became government offices or apartment houses and the churches were turned into factories. But later they were restored, in many cases to their former splendor. Each building has a label telling its former purpose. One may start to imagine what stories these building held while viewing the plaque writing about its previous function. One example is "No.7 North Shamian Avenue" which was built during the Republican period and was formerly the Administration Bureau of Broadcasting of the Nationalist Government. The mansions there form the best preserved Western Europe style building complex in China. Forty-two out of 150 buildings are counted as the most exotic ones, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical, in Guangzhou.
Christ Church Shamian, Guangzhou
Catholic Church Our Lady of Lourdes

Visiting the Place for Adoption

Since the early 2000s, the Shamian Island has become well known for many Western couples who reside there, seeking to adopt Chinese babies and young children, most of whom are orphaned and female. In particular, the White Swan Hotel, adjacent to the Consulate of United States in Guangzhou and convenient to file paperwork and handle bureaucratic matters, has become a hotel of choice.

Strolling on Walking Streets

Shamian Island is a good place for a stroll. As it is just 900m (980 yards) long from east to west and 300m (330 yards) from south to north, one will not feel tired even after walking around the island twice. Due to traffic control on the Shamian Island, it showcases a different atmosphere and pace of living. Problems such as traffic jams and exhaust gas pollution don't exist here. Now partly reserved for pedestrians, its broad boulevards are like long gardens topiaries. A line of bars and cafes on the southwest side with views over the Pearl River serves modern expats.

How to get to Shamian Island

By Bus:
1. Take Sightseeing Bus Xiguan Style to Shamian.
2. Take bus 1, 9, 25, 57, 64, 75, 105, 181, 208, 209, 217, 251, 270, 297, 538, 552, 556, Guang 81, Guang 123, or Guang 281 to Shizhong Yiyuan.

By Metro:
Take metro Line 1 or Line 6 to Huangsha station. Get out from Exit F and walk through an overpass to the bridge to reach the Island.

By taxi:
Take taxi from the Guangzhou Railway Station to reach directly. Estimated fare: CNY 28 (excludes bridge toll).
 Guangzhou Bus / Metro Search
Entrance Fee Free
Opening Hours All day

Further Reading: 12 Best Places to Visit in Guangzhou
- Last updated on Mar. 23, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Shamian Island
Asked by Mahbub from BANGLADESH | Jan. 03, 2020 04:45Reply
What is the fastest way to go window of world from 256 Sanyuanli Ave, Guangzhou?
Answers (1)
Answered by JUSTIN from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 05, 2020 22:27

Well, you have to go to Shenzhen City first. Take metro line 2 from Sanyuanli metro station to Guangzhou South Railway Station, then take bullet train to Shenzhen North Railway Station. And you can take metro line 4 to Convention and Exhibition Center station, and transfer to metro line 1 to Window of World station.
Asked by Dennis Leong from MALAYSIA | Oct. 15, 2018 06:14Reply
How to get to shamian island from paco hotel tianpingjia ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Christopher from USA | Oct. 15, 2018 23:14

It is advised to take metro line 6 from Taipingjia Station to Huangsha Station, Exit E. After arriving, walk southeast around 750 meters to arrive at the destination.
Asked by Irene Prasetyo from INDONESIA | Oct. 03, 2017 00:54Reply
shamaian island
hello there, best time to vist this island?
Answers (1)
Answered by Stephen from FRANCE | Oct. 11, 2017 04:40

As I know, Oct. Nov. and Dec. are all good times with cool weather.
Asked by Lili from MALAYSIA | Sep. 16, 2017 10:06Reply
How long would visitors usually spend visiting Shamian Island ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Gloria from USA | Sep. 19, 2017 22:33

As I know, 2-3 hours is enough to pay a full visit.
Asked by Delfiana Primashinta Iskandar from INDONESIA | Dec. 22, 2016 04:05Reply
How to get to Guangzhou Shamian Island from Beijing Road?
Can i just walk? Or is it better i take subway? Which line?
thank you
Answers (3)
Answered by Elaine from FINLAND | Dec. 22, 2016 20:09

No, you cannot just walk. The distance is about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers). Take subway line 6 from Beijing Road Station to Huangsha Station, Exit E. It only takes around 10 mins. And the fare is CNY 2 per person. Then walk southeast around 700 yards to find the destination.
Answered by Delfiana Primashinta Iskandar from INDONESIA | Dec. 23, 2016 01:33

thank you, it really helpfull
Answered by Abekicks from SOMALIA | Aug. 11, 2019 18:52

Subway is more convenient
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