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Description: Open source travel guide to Kaiping, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.
Kaiping (开平: Kāipíng ; Cantonese Yale "Hoi1 Ping4") is a county-level city of about 700,000 under the administration of Jiangmen prefecture in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Province in China. It is the ancestral home of many overseas Chinese and is famous for its castle-like watchtowers and dwellings built by overseas Chinese in a mixure of western and eastern style.
From Guangzhou it is easiest to take a bus form Fengcun bus station (芳村汽车站) at Kengkou Metro Station. The ride takes about 2 hours and should cost ¥57.
From Hong Kong. you can take a 'limousine' bus from Portland street (on your left when you exit Prince Edward metro station on exit C2). As of January 2010, these comfy buses leave at 8:30, 14:00, 15:30 and 19:00. You will pass through Shenzhen boarder station, where you need to get off the bus and walk across customs with you luggage (save time by asking the bus attendant for the silly health form you have to submit there, so you can fill it out in advance). Total journey to Yicizhan should take about 4 hours and cost ¥130.
From Shenzhen bus terminal (next to the train station), take the direct bus to/from Kaiping. Very frequent and it costs RMB100 each way as at 2014. The trip takes 3 hours if the traffic is light.
From Macau. take the border crossing to Zhuhai and then find a bus station around 100m to the right along the main road after you exit the border control building. The ride to Kaiping should take a little more than 2 hours and cost ¥70.
Kaiping has two long distance bus stations, Yicizhan (义祠站) and Lechongzongzhan (勒冲总站). Former one is more modern and is most likely the starting point for your journey into the surrounding villages of Kaiping town. Kaiping itself has bus lines numbered from 1 to 8. Number 1 connects the to major bus stations and passes the city center.
When you arrive at the bus station, you may be greeted by a crush of men vying to drive you to see the diaolous surrounding Kaiping. An alternative is to bicycle. Bicycling is a great way to see the countryside and diaolous surrounding Kaiping. The area is flat and there are many small roads criss-crossing the farms. Unfortunately, there aren't many bike rental shops in Kaiping, but you can rent bikes near People's Park (they typically rent by the hour, but can probably quote you a price by the day if you ask), or you can take a bus to Chikan village and rent a bike there. There's a bike rental shop a few doors down from the Tribe or Diaomin hostel on Henan Road in Chikan.
If you're navigating by a map app, be warned: a small road on the map can mean anything from a wide, two lane paved road to a single dirt track between fields. The maps don't seem to differentiate, and mountain bikes are probably best to rent so you can go everywhere and not get stuck.
It's hot and muggy in the summer, so spring and fall are probably the best times for biking, though not all the summer tourism infrastructure and services will be in place.
The language of Kaiping is a variant of Cantonese known as Kaipingnese (99% similar to the local language of Taishan so the outside world categorizes it as Taishanese), which is only marginally mutually intelligible with standard Cantonese. However, as Cantonese is the lingua franca of Guangdong province, most locals will be able to speak and understand standard Cantonese. Mandarin is the primary language of instruction in all schools so most younger individuals would also be reasonably fluent in it.
For those interested in diaolou architecture, it may be a good idea to look for accomodations in one of the small townships surrounding Kaiping. (Kaiping itself is a fairly standard modern Chinese town.) Xiangang (蚬冈镇), for example, has entire small streets fitted with baroque-like facades cast in concrete.