One Day in central square

04_15_TRaVELHave 16 hours of free time? Follow these easy, step-by-step directions for a full day of discovering the better and lesser known neighborhoods of Dongguan.

Breakfast Up
Start the day at Ally’s Café, which opens at 8 a.m., for friendly service, free wi-fi and that all important cup of joe, or keep it mellow with a range of juices, toasties and cakes to kick off the day just right.

The Early Spot
After breaking your fast it’s time to make your way across Hongfu Road over to the Dongguan Exhibition Center. After the free entry, three floors of culture and history will walk you through Dongguan’s rise from its humble beginnings as a producer of cattail grass to the manufacturing powerhouse it is today. Most displays are in English but you might need your Chinese speaking friend along to get the whole story.

Lunch Break
Now off to find a sit down and discuss all of that history over a bite to eat. Lakeview Restaurant is just the place with a table inside, or out on the terrace. Great Western food options in a stylish setting are just what you need to recharge and prepare for the afternoon. Hearty steaks and spicy curries are the order of the day as well as a selection of more traditional dishes. Make plenty of time to settle yourself in as the serving staff can be a little sluggish at times.

The Day’s Event
With a full belly, a choice lies before you. Those of you inclined to relax with a good book can make your way to Dongguan Library. Not just tomes of black and white, the ground floor often showcases area interests, like last month’s installations of local artists, or the soon to come tea culture exhibit. Upstairs on the fourth floor you’ll find a haven of foreign language books; a perfect peaceful getaway with stories for all ages.

If you’re looking for a little more action you can make the trek across the square to the Science and Technology Museum where RMB 25 will secure entry. All manner of displays and interactive games await, and afterwards catch a movie in the fantastic Dome IMAX cinema. For kids, why not join a Saturday science class in one of the museum classrooms?

Dinner Bells
You’ve really done well to pack so much into one day; you’ve earned yourself a treat. And that’s just what you’ll get at the genuine Xinjiang restaurant Yili Zhichun. Walking behind the library parallel to Hongfu Road you’ll cross Shizhu Road and head down Chaoyang Road and Yili Zhichun will be waiting on your right. This restaurant offers delicious northwest Chinese cuisine in a wonderfully authentic atmosphere. Lamb is the meat of choice with a variety of traditional bread and vegetable dishes alongside. Incredibly popular, it might be best to book a table ahead of time to make sure you don’t miss out.

Night Owls
With a full day of exploring behind you it may just be the perfect time to sit back and take in a show. You’ll find the Yulan Theater waiting for you on the corner of Central Square where a selection of some of the best international performances of dance, music and theater can be enjoyed. These concerts are timetabled so you’ll need to plan ahead to catch the show that’s just right for you. Everything you and your Chinese speaking friend need can be found on their website at Tickets can run from RMB 30 to RMB 300 depending on how close to the action you want to be. Then it’s off for a night cap or a bar crawl at the Xiba Street, a European influenced bar area with spots like Castle Bar.