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Guangdong Cross-Boundary Trip - Kaiping 'Diaolou' (defensive watch towers), Cangdong, Plum Blossom and Jiangmen

The trip comes with two options:

Option 1: Sat. 7 January – Sun. 8 January 2017 (2 days/ 1 night) to Kaiping diaolou villages and the Cangdong Project for those who can afford only a weekend.

Option 2: Sat. 7 January – Tuesday 10 January 2017 (4 days/ 3 nights), as Option 1 but completing the full itinerary including a visit to see plum blossom and the Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum.

Kaiping is about a four hour drive from Hong Kong. It is one of the “Four Counties” (Sze Yap) from which many Chinese, now living in Hong Kong and overseas, emigrated. Many prospered overseas, and when times were hard back in their hometowns, they sent funds home and helped to build distinctive “diaolou” or defensive watchtowers. There was a surge in constructing these buildings from the turn of the 20th century till the 1930’s. With improving law and order the construction turned more to fine mansions, as at Li Gardens adjacent to Cangdong village, and for example, the two ancestral halls at Cangdong. The architecture and decoration reflect the combination of western and Chinese influences. Some of the diaolou and mansions have been adopted as UNESCO World Heritage sites and we shall visit some.

Cangdong is a typical southern Chinese village in Kaiping with a diaolou, two ancestral halls, some mansions and a temple. It is home to the Cangdong Project founded by our Member Mr Rocky Dang who will accompany the tour and Dr Selia Tan. The Project has conservation and heritage education roles. At the nearby village of Tangkou, beside five granaries constructed at the time of the Great Leap Forward, an old Post Office has been revitalized under the Project into a vibrant centre with accommodation and meeting spaces, all set among attractive paddy fields and villages to which we can easily walk or cycle (optional). We shall learn about the circumstances that led to so much Chinese emigration, the local culture, rice growing and the local natural history, including the local bamboo and pines growing in the fung shui woods behind the villages.

Those who need to return on the Sunday evening can do so while those who can afford more time will be able to visit a Plum tree orchard about 1 1⁄2 hours drive through attractive Guangdong countryside. The plum should be in blossom, and we can complete seeing the third of the classic Chinese “Three Winter Friends” – plum blossom, pine and bamboo.

We continue west to the coastal city of Yang Jiang, and on the fourth day, see the Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum which houses the Nanhai No. 1 boat. This was a wooden merchant ship from the Southern Song dynasty that sank, and was rediscovered and raised in 2007. Together with its cargo it is now conserved and displayed in this unusual museum. We return to Hong Kong by coach.

We are deliberately keeping this trip as flexible as possible to give an opportunity to those who can afford only to spend a weekend to join, while those who are able to join for the full four days can enjoy a fuller and more varied itinerary. We realise some Members will have visited the Kaiping area with the RAS before and we are, therefore, introducing some sites that have not been previously visited by the RAS, getting some doors unlocked that were previously off-limits, and we will ensure that additional sites are visited that will be fresh to Members as well, providing an update to the exciting developments at the Cangdong Project, which was awarded a UNESCO Award of Merit earlier this year.

Estimated cost for Option 1: HK$ 2,180 per pax on a twin share basis. Single supplement HK$ 250.

Estimated cost for Option 2: HK$ 3,580 per pax on a twin share basis. Single supplement HK$ 700.

This trip is also open to Members of the HK Natural History Society.

Participants who are not members of either the RASHKB or the HKNHS will be subject to a non-member surcharge of HK$250. Numbers are limited. First come, first served.

Tour price includes transport, accommodation, all meals, entrance fees, tips and a small donation to the Cangdong Project.

Tour price does not include for visa, travel insurance or beverages.

For bookings and enquiries please contact

Rocky Dang at or tel. 9182 3483

or Peter Stuckey at or tel. 9232 4284.