Wangniudun, with its literal meaning “a mound for watching the cows” in Chinese, was a mudflat by Baishi Lake about 800 years ago. According to Wangniudun Town Chronicles, in Ming Dynasty, a village was gradually formed and named Baishi village because it was close to Baishi Lake. And at that time, there was a vast mudflat along the lake which made a natural grassland for the cattle. The villagers from Baishi Village were fond of herding their cows here. There happened to be a small mound on which people could rest and watch their cows. So the mound was called Wangniudun. Over time, with more and more people from other villages coming here for herding, the mudflat grew into a cluster of villages, and Baishi has become just one of its villages.
As its origin implies, you may correlate the town and agriculture closely, and it has been the fact in recent history. During the ’60 and ’70s, it was Wangniudun’s prime time for agriculture productivity. It became famous in Guangdong Province because of its high rice production.
Wangniudun is to the northwest of Dongguan city by a 10-kilometer drive, 40 kilometers to the north of Guangzhou and 90 kilometers to the south of Shenzhen. A few main highways and freeways also pass through the town which makes Wangniudun convenient to reach. When you drive past the town on one of the freeways, you won’t see many factories, instead mile after mile of green fields cross the rivers. Today it’s still an agricultural town fertilized by its river’s silt, but somehow it has put something new into its name. It has created its unique Qixi Festival, also known as Qiqiao Festival, or the Chinese Valentine’s Day, celebrating the annual meeting of the cow herder and weaver girl from Chinese mythology. Every year the festival draws national attention on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar, usually falling in August.
WHAT CAN I DO
Wangniudun is not a typical industrial town as most others in Dongguan. In other words, it’s not as affluent. When you take a walk here, you should not expect to be jostled by the crowds. The roads are wide and clean throughout the town, but with not many people walking on them, even on the weekends. It’s quite difficult to find the trace of Nike or Adidas shops, but very easy to step into the quiet, peaceful life of local people.
The Qixi Culture Park, which is located by a river near the Wenge Bridge, is a small, new but interesting park featuring annual meeting of the cow herder and weaver girl in Chinese mythology. The park has built a new tower, a bridge for the cowherd and weaver girl’s meeting, and many other beautiful and mythological stone carvings. The park can be the embodiment of the fondness local people have towards China’s most romantic mythology. When you walk out of the park’s back gate, views even get better. The river goes miles up with a stone bridge across it every few hundred meters. As you take a stroll by the bank, you can quietly step into the real local lives of the villagers. Rows of houses are built along both sides of the river, among them you can find households, barber shops, snack shops, clubs for the elderly with people chatting in or out and kids playing on the grounds. In the afternoon, you can also see dragon boats, rowed heavily by young men from the nearby villages, slice through the water.
Maybe you can’t feel so much the urban life, but it will be much easier if you want to get a bite of the country life. Along Wanghong highway, you will find miles of strawberry farms. People can pick and eat the fresh strawberries for a price even lower than in the fruit stores. It will be much fun if you go in a crowd or with a family. The best season for that is in spring.
If you go by bus, go the Dongguan Bus Station, take NO.62 bus, it can take you through the main parts of the town. If you go by taxi, it takes about 30 minutes.
Location: Northwest Dongguan
Area: 32 sq. kilometers
Journey Time: around 30 minutes from downtown
Local Attractions: Qixi Cuture Park, Qixi Festival, Strawberry Farms.