Guangzhou - Shamian Island

The British and French built housing, worship, and storage buildings on this little island on the Pearl River, next to Canton in the time of the Opium Wars. The city grew up and around this outpost, and despite WWII, the Cultural Revolution, and modern redevelopment, this area remained preserved; a quiet oasis from the bustle of today's Guangzhou.

Families who adopt kids from China traditionally stay here while waiting for their Western consulate to complete paperwork - all foreign adoptions route through Guangzhou - and the US Consulate used to be located here. While those offices are now in the modern downtown, the family-travel tourism infrastructure remains here. As such, this is a "must-see" destination in Guangzhou regardless of the reason for your family's visit.

Click on the graphic for a printable PDF; guidebooks to Guangzhou and the Pearl River Delta don't give a lot of space to Shamian but it is a real gem...