The history of Chashan, unlike many Dongguan towns, is very simple. While its history traces back 1,500 years to the times of the Northern and Southern Dynasties, it has known a very peaceful existence, which helped it escape the changing and modernizing China.
The Chashan Railway Station dates back to 1911, the year of the Wuchang uprising that led to the fall of the last Chinese dynasty. The life in Chashan was a rather quiet life, and its name resonates that. Chashan, or Tea Mountain, does not come from any particular mountain in the town, but was given because it is a relatively hilly region, and in the old days monks would grow their tea on the hillsides, and thus the name Chashan stuck.
The town enjoyed a slow growth until the modern era when Chashan started to develop into a tourist town. It has been awarded numerous titles from regional governments and was voted as one of Guangdong’s most beautiful countrysides.
Chashan has kept much of its historical charm, giving it a different feel to the other towns of Dongguan. Whereas many other villages in Dongguan have progressed rapidly with abandon to most of the historical architecture, just behind Chashan’s new main street, ancient culture remains with the ancient village of Nanshe in walking distance.
Only now is Chashan stepping up to modern times, as it will play host to a stop on the upcoming R2 subway line. If you’re dealing in fabric you might want to check out the Chashan International Cloth Wholesale Market.
What Can I Do?
This is a town for the kids, and well, also for adults if they are fans of cake. Chashan is home to China’s first pastry museum, but don’t worry they’re not exhibiting 200 year old pastries. Instead it presents the tradition of Chinese cake culture through graphics, artifacts and live demonstrations. The exhibition hall of the museum covers over 3,000 sq. meters and has been open for more than seven years, in that time they have managed to build a collection of more than 1,000 pictures and items, such as tools, machines and packages from around the country, the best part is visitors are allowed to try their hands at baking some cakes.
If eating cake isn’t appetizing to anyone for some strange and unnatural reason, there are other things to enjoy in Chashan, including
picking your own lychee, for which the town is famous; however one of the most favored would have to be the Nanshe Ming and Qing ancient village. Steeped in history, the only thing preventing a total immersion in the feeling that time has reversed 300 years is the numerous tourists flocking the site o
The village is not only a show piece. People do still live in the 200 plus local-style dwellings. Walking around the village is very peaceful
and the tranquility is tactile when strolling among the small waterways and surrounded by banyan trees. The buildings were constructed during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties and have survived all these years through careful care and attention.
There is also an ancient wall surrounding the village. It has been granted special status by the Guangdong government, and is listed under state protection as a key cultural relic.
Chashan is relatively close to Dongcheng and the number 74 bus can be taken directly to Nanshe Ancient Village. It’s the last stop so you can’t get lost. If you are looking for the Pastry museum, then taking the number 4 bus from downtown Chashan (74 passes through downtown) will stop a short walking distance from the museum. It is well posted with signs, even from Dongcheng.
Location: Northeast of Dongguan bordering Dongcheng.
Area: 58.6 square km.
Population: 40,000 + 100,000 floating.
Journey time: under 30 minutes.
Local Attractions: Nanshe Ancient Village, Shengxin Pastry Museum, Lychee picking, Dongyue Temple, Chayuan Market (One of the oldest department stores in Dongguan, est. 1983)
Photos by Adam Crase