Heard of Wuzhou? No neither had we.
During our stay in China, after we gave Guangzhou another chance we travelled to Wuzhou, some 7 hours north west of Guangzhou.
I’ll try and paint an accurate picture of Wuzhou. It’s a ‘small town’ by China standards with a population of about 3 million. It used to be a major transport hub during the British colonial rule due to it strategic location between Hong Kong and Guangzhou and its position on the Xi river.
Located in the Guangxi Province, most Chinese people haven’t heard of the place, so why would you?!
We visited Eloise’s brother as he teaches Engrish in main Wuzhou university, so we were staying right on the campus grounds in the thick of the weird action.
Here’s a few fun facts and some things to do Wuzhou!
Wuzhou has some amazing colonial architecture
The European settlers built a grand quarter in the ‘Old Town’ of Wuzhou. It’s pretty impressive and well worth an afternoon of your time. People still live there now in the buildings that survived bombings from the Japanese during war time.
Check out Wuzhou’s Main Square at night
Night-time equals communal exercises in the main square, with dancing, stretching and repetitive movements going down!
With the large majority of ladies turning out in a nice party-red colour, it’s an interesting and weird sight seeing everyone dance at the same time!
Explore the Night Markets
Want to see a few things you’re unlikely to see in Hong Kong? Check out some of Wuzhou’s nightmarkets! People look at your like you’re from out of space and you’ll get your picture taken several million times!
People will literally stop in the middle of the road to look at you.
It’s not quite as bad as some of the staring in India, (see Annoying People You’ll Probably Meet When You Travel in Asia ) but it gets a bit irritating after a while when people point and laugh at you!
Eat at Wuzhou’s famous Soya Milk restaurant
Apparently people come from far and wide to sample the delights of the Soya Milk restaurant. Going by the reaction of several hundred people in there when we walked in, they don’t get that many foreign visitors!
Climb the Dragon Mother Temple mountain!
Head out early and hit the Dragon Mother mountain. See the petite Chinese ladies scramble over rocks and slopes with 6 inch heels on, and see elderly men and woman power past you on the way up the hill as you mop your brow in the insane humidity!
The view is pretty amazing at the top, just bring a towel.
You’re likely to be tricked into becoming a judge/VIP at several public events
My advice, don’t agree to go along to any concerts, auditions, or performances unless you’re prepared to be pumped full of Chinese strength Red Bull, then pushed on stage to deliver a congratulatory speech to the winner in front of a hysterical crowd!
No one speaks English!
The only English we saw during our entire time in Wuzhou was this menu at a restaurant near the University! We’re lying. We saw some English in the new Wal-Mart shopping centre. About the skinned frogs on sale…
Your Chinese will improve dramatically!
We’ve been to very few places on our travels that speak zero English, which is good for forcing you to Learn Mandarin! It isn’t actually that hard once you get the tones right… honest!
So if you want a real off the beaten track adventure to a Chinese city that probably won’t feature in the China Lonely Planet for a while, check out Wuzhou!
It’s a days bus journey from Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong – Just make sure you get your destination written down before you hop on the bus or you’ll end up somewhere even stranger!
Awesome. I had never heard of Wuzhou, but some place that it seems would be interesting to visit. One of these days I’ll make it to mainland china. I would love to learn some mandarin too. That is too cool that you were a random judge, at least it makes an interesting story!
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Hi Anwar! You should definitely travel China at some point – It’s an incredible country! You should have seen our faces when we were the judges, we had no idea what was happening! Very funny, and weird! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I am traveling to Wuzhou in Feb 15 for two months and found your write up on the city. I read with great interest as I had not heard of Wuzhou either. I am going there to get married and your site contribution has helped Thank you Stuart
That’s great Carey – I’m glad it helped you out! I hope you have fun there – We really enjoyed it. If you need any tips get in touch! 🙂