For adventurous types that like their nights out to have a firmly prehistoric vibe, the city now has the perfect answer…
Ok, so, catching the new Star Wars movie might make for an entertaining evening, and yes, a night out at the bowling could be fun, but there’s nothing quite like pulling on the string of a taut bow, and firing an arrow 100 yards for it to pierce deep in a man’s heart, as he slumps to the ground in a pool of blood, and you scream to the heavens, victorious in battle. Fortunately, all this can be done right here in the heart of Dongguan (albeit minus the murderous death in battle stuff) at one of the city’s archery ranges.
Archery, it seems, is becoming all the rage these days. Well, I say ‘becoming’, but it is actually a sport of most spectacular provenance; China likes to boast of its 5,000 years of history, but it’s got nothing on archery. People have been going at it with the bow and arrows for the best part of 12,000 years. That’s really old, much older than, say, more sedate activities such as surfing the internet, or smoking, or reading books. Hell, archery is even older than farming and that’s not even a real hobby. We should count ourselves lucky it still continues, and in our fair city too.
Those that bring their own bow only have to pay 60 RMB an hour, which begs the question, who on earth owns their own bow, and are they as annoying as those dudes that bring their own pool cues to pubs?
So, those of you that are oh-so-desperate to unleash your bloodthirsty inner warrior could do worse than shooting across to Batou’s trendy bar area, home to Yi Jian Zhong Qing archery. For those that like to mix their sports, the 600 square meter archery range is set at the back of some badminton courts, and even has its own bar for those whose hobbies pull to a very different nature (archery is a cousin of darts, after all). Beginners would do well to start off on their 18 meter lanes, as the 30 meter lanes feel, well, like even Robin Hood himself would be hard pushed to get a decent score. Archery is a reasonable day-out price-wise and costs 80 RMB per hour for members, or 20 RMB for 12 arrows for non-members. Those that bring their own bow only have to pay 60 RMB an hour, which begs the question, who on earth owns their own bow and are they as annoying as those dudes that bring their own pool cues to pubs? Oh and if you beat resident club pro, your round is completely free. Rumor has it that a certain Dongguan barfly has already achieved this tricky feat. The range is open until 2am too, which is perfect for anyone that think themselves as a bit of a late night bowman.
For people that don’t quite fancy a cab ride out to Batou (and let’s be honest, that’s all of you), you can always shoot some arrows at Shang Yi Archery club directly opposite Dongcheng’s Wanda Plaza. It’s cheaper than the Batou range, though the atmosphere is not as fun, and you either pay 50 RMB per hour, or 38 RMB for four rounds of 12 arrows. Our particular band of merry men (and women) only got through three rounds of arrows after an hour, so for novices the 38 kuai deal seems a no brainer. Shang Yi is a much smaller range and doesn’t offer 30 meter lanes, but this should not be a problem for anyone but the most ardent of bowmen.
Beware: bow and arrows is one of those sports that looks like it will be pretty easy, like you can just stand there, pull the arrow back, let go and hit the target. “I’m pretty handy with the darts,” I thought, “this will be a doddle.” I was fooled–it’s bloody difficult . If you have weak arms, dodgy eyes, or suffer from heavy breathing it will doubly tough. One of our team was a crack shot with the rifle in the army, but this meant little when it came to the arrows. This reviewer found it difficult to even hit the outer paper on which the target was placed, still less get an actual score. Some people do pick up fast though and our diminutive office assistant, who looks like you could blow her over like a feather, was rocking up stellar scores as early as the second round, proving size and strength have little to do with it. The trick, we are told, is all in the technique. We asked He Li, owner of Yi Jian Zhong Qing for his archery tips: “First, make sure you have a correct stance; second, keep practicing at least twice a week; third, meditate, train your mind.” So, now you know. Get yourself down to one of the city’s archery ranges and shoot off some arrows.
Yi Jian Zhong Qing: 16 Badminton Court, Qiwufang, Wanjiang 万江上坝祁屋坊16羽毛球馆
Shang Yi Archery Club: A508, 5/F, Tiaojiaowan Hotel, Dongcheng (opposite No.1 Gate of Dongcheng Wanda Plaza)