Before the Cultural Revolution, the people of Changping had to overcome a number of challenging events.
Toward the end of the Sino-Japanese War there was a battle fought in Changping. In 1945, the villagers gathering for the market encountered a Japanese army demoralized after a series of defeats. Although the villagers were little more than farmers, they fought the soldiers. The battle lasted several hours before the Japanese retreated.
In 1959, Changping was hit by a devastating flood. The water was over three meters high after days of heavy rain. Of the town’s buildings, 95 percent, many of which were built during the Ming Dynasty, were destroyed.
In the first half of the 20th century Changping may have experienced conflict and disaster, but the town has gone on to enjoy growth and prosperity.
Many of the factories in Changping are foreign owned, and besides Dongcheng, there are few towns that have as many expats as there are in Changping. There are supermarkets such as the British brand Tesco. And Burger King opened up a restaurant in Changping months before doing so in Dongcheng.
One of the main reasons why Changping has been so prosperous in recent years is because of its excellent train system, both long and short distance.
The MTR Intercity through Train travels from Changping Railway Station directly to Hung Hom Station in Hong Kong and arrives in just over an hour. To Guangzhou it only takes forty five minutes and to Shenzhen it only takes thirty five minutes.
The railway station is also great for those travelling further away. Many of the long distance trains that stop at Guangzhou also stop at Changping. Compared to Guangzhou, Changping has fewer queues and is closer for those living in Dongguan.
What Can I Do?
Changping may have gained a notorious reputation over the years, but there is plenty more to do in the town than visit karaoke bars.
Yinxian Resort, in the Licheng Development Zone, is a curious combination of a historical site and amusement park. The resort covers over 1.8 sq. kilometers and was built to commemorate Li Juesi, a renowned local scholar from the Ming Dynasty.
Those interested in the historical sites can explore Li Juesi’s former residence and also see the temple that overlooks the beautiful lake. There are also some stunning Buddhist statues. There is the largest marble statue of Guanyin in all of China and a 17-meter statue of Maitreya.
Those interested in the amusement park can ride the roller coasters. The most popular is simply called Roller Coaster, but has a loop and plenty of twists and drops. There are also other rides and acrobatic and animal performances throughout the day.
The most famous pagoda in Changping is the Yuanshanbei Tower in Yuanshanbei Village. The pagoda was built over a hundred and fifty years ago to worship Confucius and was five stories high. During the flood of 1959, however, the tower was destroyed.
The pagoda was rebuilt in 1997, with the help of businessmen from Hong Kong. The Yuanshanbei Tower that can be visited today may only have been recently built, but it is faithful to the original pagoda’s design and actually is four stories higher.
While in Germany they celebrate Oktoberfest, Changping holds its very own beer festival. The Guangdong Beer Festival, now in its tenth year, takes place in October. It is staged at Changping Railway Park and is only a five minute drive from the railway station.
Last year there were over seventy beers from all over the world to choose from and there are usually plenty of drinking contests. The festival is not only about drinking beer. It is also a chance to try some exotic cuisine such as fried crab, fried beetle, and slightly less daunting, fried ice cream.
By car, take the G9411 highway and come off at the Changping exit. It is just as easy to reach by bus. From Dongcheng East Bus Station, take the No. 8. From Nancheng Bus Station,
take the K10.
Location: East Dongguan
Area: 108 sq. kilometers
Journey Time: Around 35 minutes
Local Attractions: Yinxian Resort, Yuanshanbei Tower, Guangdong Beer Festival