Danxia landforms in Cangshizhai.
Visitors are attracted by the yellow ginkgo trees in Nanxiong. File photos
Ginkgo trees in Maozifeng Forest in Nanxiong.
As Christmas and New Year get closer, it is time to plan another fun trip with families and friends. This holiday season, why not get in a car and tour around the province to experience the beautiful winter scenes in South China. This week, let’s set off to Nanxiong, the “hometown of ginkgo trees in South China.”
Maozifeng Forest and Pingtian, Nanxiong
Nanxiong is well-known for its ginkgo forest.
The leaves of ginkgo trees turn from chartreuse to golden yellow during the middle of November and December. Covering nearly 67 square kilometers, Nanxiong is the lowest altitude natural ginkgo forest in China.
The trees are mainly spread throughout Pingtian Township and Maozifeng Forest. As the “hometown of ginkgo trees,” there are more than 5,000 ginkgo trees there. Among them, more than 1,000 trees are over 100 years old, and the oldest one is more than 1,600 years old.
When autumn comes, the leaves gradually change to yellow. The fallen leaves make the area a golden sea. This may be why the two places are hot spots for photographers in autumn and winter.
Dishes made with ginkgo are must-try when visiting Maozifeng Forest and Pingtian Township.
Cangshizhai is known for its red earth and Danxia landforms. Located about 13 kilometers away from downtown Nanxiong, the area is an ideal place for photographers and hiking lovers.
The whole scenic area covers an area of 4.5 square kilometers, with nine peaks in different styles and shapes. There are many strange and dangerous hills, rocks and cliffs in the area that are connected by various small twisting lanes.
In the past, the area was an important spot for those who wanted to escape from the outside world as the hills and rocks make the area a natural fortress. However, these hills, rocks and small lanes are now an exciting adventure destination for those who enjoy hiking and exploring.
Inside Cangshizhai, there are also many rivers and waterfalls. Recommended spots include Zhuangyuan Bridge, Lovers Valley, Lovers Bridge and Wulong Lake.
Spas are also a must-try when visiting Cangshizhai.
Recommended delicacies include duck with sour bamboo shoots, fresh fish and dried mushrooms.
Located about 10 kilometers away from downtown Nanxiong, Zhujixiang is an ancient alley with a history of more than 1,100 years.
Also known as Jingzongxiang, it is a major hometown for most of the families in the Pearl River Delta and a major hub for ancient Han people who migrated to Guangdong Province from the northern part of China. At its peak, there were 797 migrant family branches living in the area.
Zhuji Ancient Alley is the most famous spot in the area. The alley is the only alley in Guangdong Province that was built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It is more than 1,500 meters long with ancient houses, temples and stores along the sides. At present, more than 1,800 people are still living in the alley. Most of the existing houses in the alley were built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Another important spot is a memorial area for ancestors. Inside the area, there are more than 20 family temples, including the oldest temples for the top eight largest families in Guangdong Province. Temple styles have changed dramatically over time. It is a great place to learn Cantonese history and culture.
Other recommended cultural spots include Hufei Tower, Gate Tower, Sima Bridge, Shuanglong Bridge and North Gate Tower.
Recommended delicacies include pork stew, dried mushrooms, fresh vegetables and vegetable buns.
Route: Drive to Shaoguan from Shenzhen via Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway, Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway, and drive to Nanxiong via Qiming Road South, 323 Road, Dacheng Road and Aiming Road.