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Dongguan (东莞 Dōngguān) is a city of 8 million people in Guangdong Province in China, about 55 kilometres (35 mi) Southeast of China's third-largest city, Guangzhou. It is of great historical significance in China for its role in the Opium Wars.

Dongguan montage.jpg



Evidence of human habitation in the Dongguan area goes back 5000 years.

Humen in what is now Dongguan is of greatest importance historically as being at the centre of the Opium Wars. The destruction of opium at Humen that began on 3 June 1839 involved destroying 1,000 long tons (1,016 t) of opium seized from British traders done under the instigation of Lin Zexu, an Imperial Commissioner of Qing China. Great Britain retaliated by declaring war on Qing China starting what is now known as the First Opium War (1839–1842). In the Second Battle of Chuenpi on 7 January 1841, British amphibious forces attacked at the Humen strait capturing Chinese forts on Chuenpi and Taikoktow islands. The subsequent negotiations led to the Convention of Chuenpi on 20 January. One term of the agreement was cession of Hong Kong Island to the British Empire. The British formally took possession of Hong Kong Island on 26 January.

During World War II Dongguan was a base for guerrilla actions against occupying Japanese forces.


In the 1980s Dongguan changed from being an agricultural hub to a major manufacturing centre. Dongguan is the fourth largest export region in China, behind Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Suzhou. Dongguan has a huge electronics sector with 1 in 6 mobile phones in the world said to be manufactured here. Dongguan is also a major player in the garment industry.

Demographics and language[edit]

Dongguan's reinvention as a major manufacturing centre has brought in huge amounts of migrant workers to fill the jobs in the electronics factories. This now means around 3/4s of Dongguan's 8 million people speak Mandarin rather than the Cantonese indigenous in Guangdong Province.


There are 32 Townships within Dongguan.

  • Dongcheng district is a green, residential area, popular with expats and affluent Chinese. There are many international restaurants, 5-star hotels and public parks here.
  • Nancheng district is the CBD for Dongguan and many of the banks and office buildings are located here.
  • Houjie is an industrial town of 400,000 people, mostly temporary residents, 30 minutes southwest of Dongguan.
  • Gaobu is an industrial town 30 minutes north of Dongcheng district.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The Pearl River Delta has one of the largest concentrations of international airports in the world, including:

The Guangzhou-Baiyuan airport is just over an hour from the Dongguan city center. There is a shuttle bus to the Dongguan airport check-in station at the South China Mall in Wanjiang. If hiring a car, the fare should be about ¥300. Also, there is Intercity Bus[15] at GZ-Baiyun Airport. Pick-up port: Gate A9 of the Arrival Hall and South China International Auto Parts City of Dalang Town. The Shenzhen Boa'an Airport is also about an hour from the center city but much closer to some Dongguan towns, especially Chang'an and Humen, expect to pay ¥100-300 by car. Hong Kong airport can be reached by buses that depart on regular schedules from hotels across Dongguan. It is also accessible by a special ferry from nearby Humen that connects directly to the international flights area of the airport (check with your airline, as not all allow this).

By boat[edit]

Humen Ferry Terminal serves ferries operating to/from Hong Kong International Airport.

By train[edit]

Dongguan has multiple major rail stations on different lines.

Changping Railway Station.
  • Changping raliway station is on the Guangshen railway (also known as the Guangzhou–Shenzhen railway (Chinese: 广深铁路 or 广深线), also known as the Chinese section of the Kowloon–Canton railway (廣九鐵路華段) in 1911–1949. It is the only intermediate stop between Hung Hom Station in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. As of December 2019, the one-way fare is HK$155 for adult and HK$78 for child. The fare is payable in either yuan or HKD. The schedule is at [16]. There is a Customs checkpoint at Changping. Changping and Dongguan Stations are connected by train.
Dongguan Railway Station.
  • Dongguan Station is a stop on the shuttle train service that runs between Shenzhen Station (30 Min) to the Southeast of Dongguan and Guangzhou East Train Station (45 Min) and Guangzhou Station (60 Min) to the Northwest of Dongguan. Dongguan and Changping stations are connected by train.
  • Dongguan East station is 6.4 kilometres East of Changping station. Trains run to/from Shenzhen station via Dongguan East to/from Huizhou station and beyond. These trains do not run via Changping station.
  • Humen railway station (Chinese: 虎门站), formerly Dongguan South railway station (Chinese: 东莞南站), in Baisha Village (Chinese: 白沙村), is on the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link. Major stations on the line include:
  1. Guangzhou South
  2. Shenzhen North
  3. Futian railway station in downtown Shenzhen
  4. West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong

By bus[edit]

Buses from Hong Kong include services from Hong Kong Airport. Tickets are usually HK$80-100 one-way or HK$150 for two-way. Travel times usually are 1.5-2.5 hours depending on traffic conditions.

Many major cities in China have bus routes to the Dongguan Main Bus Station in Nancheng. Buses run to several bus stations in Dongguan from the main Luohu border crossing bus terminal in Shenzhen. Hence be careful to choose the correct bus.

Get around[edit]

Humen station is a line 2 terminus.

Dongguan Rail Transit is the metro system of the city of Dongguan. It is operated by the state-owned Dongguan Rail Transit Corporation, Limited. Operations began on 27 May 2016 with the first section (15 stations and 37.743 km long) of Line 2 from Dongguan railway station in Shilong Town to Humen railway station in Humen Town opened on 27 May 2016. There are plans for this to be expanded to 4 lines with some lines of the Dongguan Rail Transit to connect with the neighbouring Guangzhou Metro and Shenzhen Metro.

Buses cost ¥2 per ride. A 30-minute taxi ride should not cost more than ¥80 (price out of date?). Be sure to only use the green, licensed Dongguan taxis.

See[edit][add listing]

Guan Yin Shan.
Jin'aozhou Pagoda.

Guan Yin Shan is the holy mountain in front of Danshuei train station. It has a statue in a seated position of Guan Yin (Kwanyin), the Buddha of Compassion. The mountain has a very small village and a hiking trail taking a leisurely 2 hours from bottom to top. Views at the top include of the open sea.

Dongguan exhibition centre houses many exhibitions and conferences.

Dongguan Yulan Theatre is one of China’s newest multipurpose venues for performing arts. The distinctive multi layer design resembling an unfolding lotus is a major landmark in Dongguan city. Performances vary from Romeo and Juliet to the Chinese classic, Butterfly Lovers.

Dongguan is the 1st prefecture level city in China to have 3 professional basketball teams. Guangdong Southern Tigers was the first professional basketball club in China, formed in 1993. Win 9 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) championships to their name as at November 2019, they are China's most successful basketball club. They play at the 16,000 capacity Dongguan Basketball Center.

If you only have a day and want to stay in one area, you might start at Jin'aozhou Pagoda, go east and see Keyuan Garden, and then walk along Dongcheng Ave (東城大道) for shopping and food.

  • Opium War Museum (海战博物馆:Hǎizhàn bówùguǎn), +86 769 550-0355,769 550-7115, Humen (广东省东莞市虎门镇海口东岸的威远炮台旧址附近:Guǎngdōng shěng dōngguǎn shì hǔmén zhèn hǎikǒu dōngàn de wēiyuǎn pàotái jiùzhǐ fùjìn) , 08:30-16:30
  • New South China Mall (新华南MALL) Wanjiang Road, 万江路 +86 769 2278-2222 Adjacent to Dongguan Bus Station (东莞汽车总站) on Wanjiang Rd. This is one of the largest malls in the world and was also almost completely empty. Since 2014, the New South China Mall has been under new management, and the go cart track is gone with many new stores opened in the once abandoned mall. A short walk from the bus station, it can be spotted by the replica of the Campanile di San Marco in Venice.

Do[edit][add listing]


The following take place each year in Dongguan:

  • Dongguan Lingnan Arts Festival (January)
  • Dongkeng Workers Festival (Second day of the second lunar month)
  • Machong Guanyin Festival (Nineteenth day of the second lunar month)
  • Qingxi Flower Festival (April)
  • Tea Tea Garden Festival (April)
  • Qiaotou Lotus Art Festival (June)
  • Qishi Qiufeng Culture Festival (August)
  • Machong "Scent of Four Seasons" Cultural Art Festival (September)
  • Zhangmutou Hong Kong Tourism Festival (September)
  • Fenggang Hakka Art Festival (During the Lunar Mid-autumn Festival)
  • Xiegang Mountain Climbing Festival (Third week in September)
  • (Tangxia) Band Festival (October);
  • Shatian Water Culture Festival (October to November)
  • Hengli Niuxu Folk Festival (November)
  • Liaobu Tourism and Cultural Festival (December)


Most four star hotels will have various "foot" massages and sauna services for upwards of ¥150. Before 2014, nearly all saunas were brothels, with a few foot massage parlors as well. After an expose on cctv, Dongguan cracked down on the vice, and the remaining establishments are legitimate.

  • Fran's Paint Bar, Dongcheng Rd East, Dynatown, Dongcheng District.  edit
  • The Spa at Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Regency Dongguan Hotel, Song Shan Lake Central District, Science and Technology Industrial Park, Qinyuan Rd, +86 769 2289-1234 (), [1].  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Dongguan is well known for its Huanghe Fashion Town located in the Humen District along Renming, Renyi, Jinglong and Yinglong Rds. The district houses one of China's largest clothing and textile wholesale markets, which extends over an area of about one square kilometre. Many of the products sold there are exported to Hong Kong and the rest of the world. Everybody can enjoy low wholesale prices, even when buying in small quantities.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Most 5-star hotels offer buffets, these are around ¥30-60 for breakfast, ¥100-200+ for lunch, and ¥100-300+ for dinner. See 'Drink' section below for bars offering food.

  • Veggie Box, Floor 4, Dina, Xing He Chuan Suo, Dongcheng, Dongguan, Guangdong, China (Sunny Time Leisure Centre (beside the pool) - you need to get inside the residential block, opposite building 10.), +86-769-2332-0189. 11:00 - 20:30. Well-priced vegetarian fare - location is right inside the entrance building for the outdoor pool on the 4th floor of the Dina residential garden. Excellent selection of yummy treats. $$.  edit
  • Pizzeria Maccheroni by Salvatore, on the corner of Yingbin Road and Dongcheng E Rd., Dongcheng, Dongguan, Guangdong, China (莎瓦多纳意大利餐厅, 东城区东城东路星河传说旗峰天下35-37号铺), 23163665, [2]. Italian restaurant with expat clientelle.  edit
  • Hello Salad (你好沙拉), No. 1305, Mahui Furniture, Dongcheng Center (东城区东城中心马会家居1305号铺(世博广场对面)), +86-769-22992900, [3]. 10:00 - 21:00. Salad spot in Dongguan. $$.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

The most popular bars were historically on or around "Bar Street" (Jiuba Jie) in Dongcheng. Nightlife is considerably more respectable in Dongguan following the high profile vice clean up of February 2014.

The biggest issue with Dongguan as at January 2017 is fake booze. Fake booze is industrial alcohol mixed with colouring and flavouring. Methanol in industrial alcohol causes blindness and death. Dongguan (as with most Pearl River Delta cities) is notorious for fake booze as bootleggers are rumoured to be based in and around Dongguan itself. Almost all of the fake booze is packaged in genuine glass bottles from original brands, simply refilled. While experienced people can tell the difference by examining the closures on bottles, the seals, and other tricks of the trade, consumers don't have a chance to check because spirits are poured by the shot by bar staff.

While it is unfair to use this wiki to outline every single detail about the fake alcohol industry in China, it is worth highlighting the following simple fact - the safest rule of thumb - don't drink hard liquor, unless it's from a bar or a restaurant that you know UNQUESTIONABLY stand against fake alcohol. These are bars that accept that there is a problem in Dongguan with fake booze, have taken the time to understand and learn enough to be able to identify fake produce and have invested their own time and efforts in supplier due diligence, to ensure that the entire alcohol supply chain is tamper proof.

  • One For The Road (address="IEO), +86-769-22030001, [4]. 11am-12am. British-themed pub offering food and drinks. Local and expat clientelle. Patio area out front plays host to regular BBQ and other events. $$.  edit
  • Liberty Brewing Co. (曼哈顿餐吧), Dongcheng Rd. East Dynatown IEO Bldg 31 东城东路星河传说新天地31号楼1楼, +86 769 2276-8226, [5]. 11am-12am. American Brewpub - wide selection of burgers & vegetarian options. 'Industrial' style hangout with plenty music. Weekend Brunch has New York Bagel Benedicts and bottomless mimosas. $$.  edit
  • Hollywood Baby Too (address="No.1001). 11am-12am. One of the bar's that operated before the 2014 vice clampdown. $$.  edit
  • The Tree House (address="o.178,), (fax: 0769-2699-5150). 11am-12am. The Tree House has live music as well and food and drinks. $$.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]



  • Oriental Glory Hotel, Humen Ave, Humen, +86 769 8522-0888, [6]. ¥298.  edit


Dongguan has more then 30 government-rated 5-star hotels -- take that for what you will.

  • Crown Prince Hotel, Huangjiang, [7]. An excellent 5-star hotel. Certainly worth a visit with excellent facilities, and even its own 'opera' house presenting superb show extravaganzas (do not be mislead by the 'opera' title).  edit
  • Dongcheng International, (Centrally located and is within walking distance of the Walking St), [8]. Quite old and does not have the best buffet in town.  edit
  • Grand Noble, Humen, [9]. The first 5-star business hotel to open in Dongguan. It is centrally located and convenient to shopping and dining options. In-house restaurants feature Cantonese, Japanese, American, and Italian foods.  edit
  • Hyatt Regency, Song Shan Lake Central District, Science and Technology Industrial Park, Qinyuan Rd, +86 769 2289-1234 (), [10]. Hotel with 350 rooms and suites, a 2,500 m² Convention and Exhibition Centre, a 1,800 m² freeform swimming pool and a spa.  edit
  • Pullman Forum, 32 Dongchengzhong Rd, +86 769 2336-8888, [11]. This new hotel is a charming low rise Chinese style hotel adjoining a museum and art gallery and offers private access to the famous Qifeng Mountain. Guests enjoy a choice of restaurants, private rooms, meeting rooms for over 400 delegates, spa, gymnasium.  edit
  • Richwood Garden Hotel, Humen Town, [12]. While a bit out of the way, is spectacular in design and construction. The restaurants, particularly the Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants, are also some of the best in the area.  edit
  • Sofitel Royal Lagoon Hotel, (Near Qifeng Park), [13]. Secluded and set back away from the main road. It has a resort type feel and even has its own water park. A 36 hole golf course is adjacent to the property. Quite expensive.  edit
  • Citadines Songshan Lake Dongguan, No. 268 Changfu West Road, Dalang Town, Dongguan 523770, +86 769 8223 0666 (), [14]. With 304 units of serviced residences ranging from studio executive to three-bedroom executive, the apartments are complete with an en-suite bathroom, fully-equipped kitchen and a home entertainment system.  edit


Pick up a copy of HERE! Dongguan, an English-language magazine guide.

Stay safe[edit]

Those being sensible are very unlikely to have issues. Anyone who gets involved with certain people significantly increases the probability of getting into trouble. If you ignore the info in this section, you have been warned.



Dongguan previously developed an infamous reputation as China's vice capital. Prostitution initially boomed in parallel with the massive influx of migrant labour as Dongguan boomed as a manufacturing centre. Businessmen boosted the vice industry with significant patronage from them often as part of their business dealings. Such was Dongguan's sordid ill-repute it became a magnet in China for sex tourists. An estimated 250,000[17] - 300,000 people[18] were estimated to be sex workers in Dongguan, around 1 in 10[19] of the female adult population. The vice industry became worth an estimated US$8 billion per year in business brought not just to the sex industry but to hotels, taxis, restaurants etc by visitors. Wives were reported as becoming anxious when being told their husbands would be visiting Dongguan on business.[20] Anti-vice police activities were ineffective due to direct and indirect vested business interests of Dongguan city officials and administrators benefiting from tourism of the thriving vice sector.

That changed very publicly and dramatically on Sunday 9 February 2014. China Central Television (the official mouthpiece of the central government in Beijing), televised a special programme on Dongguan's vice industry. The broadcast set the stage for 6,000 Guangdong Provincial Police to then that evening raid and close 3,000 saunas, bars, foot massages, karaokes, and other businesses with sex industry connections. 200 gangs were busted. 36 city police officials, including former deputy mayor and head of the local public security bureau, Yan Xiaokang, were dismissed or suspended from duty with 17 of them charged with criminal offences. Hotelier, Liang Yaohui, among China's 500 wealthiest people and given a coveted seat in the National People’s Congress (the legislature that meets annually in Beijing), was among those arrested. He was sentenced to life in prison with organising prostitution among the charges. Shop assistant Zhou Xiaoli said in an interview with The Straits Times, "In the past, whenever I tell people I'm from Dongguan, they'd give a knowing look and smile, and say, 'Yes, lovely place'. I don't want my hometown to have this kind of reputation."[21]

Prostitution is illegal in mainland China, except in Foshan in Guangdong where erotic massages known colloquially as Happy Endings were deemed different from prostitution and legal there by a local court in 2013. China's opaque court system has a 99% conviction rate. Consequences for anyone arrested by police can be dire. Look up yourself online the 2003 Zhuhai prostitution case resulting in 14 jail sentences (including 2 life sentences) with Chinese authorities requesting assistance from their Japanese counterparts in detaining a group of businessmen from Osaka. Like almost everywhere else, prostitution is largely ran by organised crime entities exploiting those working there. Many of the prostitutes are trafficked and/or forced into this work. Police assert that possession of condoms constitutes incriminating evidence when charging people with prostitution. This unsurprisingly discourages sex workers from carrying condoms making prostitution the primary vector for the increasing spread of HIV in China.


Watch your bag, electronic devices and pockets against theft / pick pocketing.

Unlicensed taxis[edit]

Unlicensed taxis are illegal and all too often have unscrupulous drivers. Taking an unlicensed taxi risks bringing trouble upon yourself of potentially infinite magnitude and variety.

Corrupt officialdom[edit]

If a policeman tries to get money from you, calmly ask to see his superior.

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