A Well-Kept Secret

Get away from the busy commercial areas in Dongguan and explore the lowkey space of Xi She Cultural and Creative Park. This oasis is located between two apartment blocks in Guancheng and is only a short 10-minute walk from People’s Park. If you blink you might miss it, but will recognize the right area by the giant “8” painted on the wall, before seeing an outdoor patio extend about 75 meters back, connecting a row of five cafes, one dessert shop, two restaurants and, on the upper floors, two barbershops. This area is notable due to the silence, as construction and traffic fade away. Sip a cup of coffee with a slice of cheesecake at CaféTea—the first café as you enter on your right— and take in the early afternoon serenity.

Listen to the calm music that drifts from the cafes setting the right atmosphere. As part of the surge in traditional barbershops opening in Dongguan, this area offers two: Boss Barbershop and Dragons Barbershop, one across from the other. The recommended time to visit the area is after 11 am when the shops are starting to open, or in the evening when the meaty cook-at-the-table restaurant 食肉獸 (Shi Rou Shou) or better translated as Meat Monster, opens (6 pm to 10 pm). Those looking for a more local style, try the traditional Chinese restaurant at the end of the patio. This is not a place to spend the whole afternoon but works as a break from the mainstream areas.