You will be met in the lobby of your Guangzhou hotel at 0800 by your private tour guide and driver. Relax in your air conditioned car as you leave the city for the 2 hour journey to Kaiping City.
The oldest of the villages still preserved in Kaiping City date back to the 14th century with the fortified diaolou dating back to the 16th century. These unique buildings were originally intended to protect the inhabitants from attacks by bandits, although later in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they became more decorative than defensive. The Kaiping Diaolou and Villages were all UNESCO World Heritage Listed in 2007 and there are still over 1,800 good examples of diaolou still remaining around the Kaiping region.
The diaolous are a mixture of Baroque, Romanesque, Islamic and Rococo styles, with very narrow windows and doors providing a good view of the surrounding countryside, each topped by a watchtower. Most are built of stone but some of concrete and although the buildings are very western looking from the outside, inside they are very traditionally Chinese. You will visit several of the diaolou clusters including one of the largest at Zilicun where there are three types of diaolou, those built by a number of families to provide communal protection, individual ones built by rich families and heavily fortified and tall watchtowers.
After lunch at a local restaurant continue your journey to Chikan Ancient Town located on the Tan River, a tributary of the Pearl River. The town started to develop in the 13th century and originally during the Ming Dynasty it was where merchant ships from many countries would come to access the different cities in the region. Later with the development of roads the town became less important as a trading hub.
The impressive aspect of Chikan is the terraced arcades of buildings known as qilou in Chinese. Along the Tan River there are some fine examples of these still remaining from the early 20th century. The style and age of the Chikan buildings and their location on the waterfront has made it a favoured location set for movie makers.
From Chikan return to your Guangzhou hotel where your tour ends.