The port city of Shantou, formerly known as Swatou, is the second largest city in Guangdong Province. Located on the mouth of the Rong River, shantou has been rescued from obscurity by being earmarked for accelerated development as a SEZ. There are two municipalities: Chaozhou and Shantou, the region often being curled Chaoshan.
The Shantou region is populated by people who have distinct cultural differences, and who speak the Hakka and Chaozhou dialects, al- though Cantonese and Mandarin are also spoken. An estimated four million people from the region live abroad, with over a million living in Hone Kong alone, the others being distributed mainly throughout Southeast Asia. Shantou existed simply as a fishing village, until 1855, when Britain gained cohesions there. Consequently, there are very few historic or cultural sights of interest to the visitor. Apart from Mayu Island at the entrance of Shantou Harbor, winch is being developed as a beach resort, there is only the Jiaoshi scenic spot on the south bank of the Rong River, and Zhangshan Park,
There are many ways to reach shantou. Apart from the bus journey from Shenzhen, there are buses from Guangzhou, Hone Kong, and Xiamen. There are also flights from Hone Kong and Xiamen, and ferries from Guangzhou and Hone Kong.
The town of Chaozhou borders on shantou to the north and, unlike its neighbor, has a history that spans more than 2,000 years. Under the Tang, disgraced or “relegated” officials were exiled to Chaozhou. It is one of the so-called four famous ancient town of China.
The Kaiyuan Temple was built in A.D. 738 under the Tang; it has some fine statues. Of particular internet are the Buddhist texts given to the temple by Qing Emperor, Qianlong. Other attractions are the Phoenix Pagoda overlooking the river, West Lake Park, the Xiangzi Bridge, and the Wengong Temple built under the Han.
Chaozhou is well known in Chinese cuisine for a style of cooking that, while similar in many ways to Cantonese, is characterized by the use of sauce-dips of many flavors.