China in the New Year (14): Guangzhou

We have now flown from Xiamen to Guangzhou for the final leg of our two-week trip to China. Guangzhou – which used to be called Canton – is a city the size of London, with a population of 7.4 million, located opposite Hong Kong. I spent a little time in Guangzhou on my first visit to China in 2000.

On this holiday, so far we’ve had lots of family, lots of food, some politics, some culture. So, what’s been missing? Right – animals. So today we went to the Chimelong Safari Park which, as well as a large selection of wild animals in natural outdoor settings, contains loads of amusements (including a fun 4D show), shops, and eateries. Since it was still the week of the Chinese New Year, it was heaving with families with young children. Once again, I was the only foreigner in the place.

The park contains the only twin koalas in the world, but its main claim to fame is that it hosts the only panda triplets in the world. How cool is that? I know that you want to be be advised of their names. They are called Mengmeng, Shuaishuai, and Kuku – and they were born on 2 July 2014 in case you want to send them birthday greetings.

As well as spending all day at the park (after all, we’re travelling with a young boy of almost 11), in the evening we attended the Chimelong International Circus which is a permanent feature of the park. The venue is the largest circus arena I have ever seen and the show was the most spectacular that I have ever experienced – an incredible variety of talented acts with great sound and lighting. Controversially to non-Chinese, the performances involved a wide array of animals from white tigers to pink flamingoes.


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