GUANGZHOU CHINA - NOVEMBER 14, 2016: Mausoleum of Nanyue King Museum. ; Shutterstock ID 585532841; Your name (First / Last): Megan Eaves; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Destination page POI images

Shutterstock / TK Kurikawa

Mausoleum of the Nanyue King


You'll feel like Indiana Jones/Lara Croft (select as preferred) as you descend the two-millennia-old steps into an actual Han dynasty tomb. This was the final resting place of Zhao Mo, second king of the Nanyue Kingdom, entombed here in 122 BC with over a dozen sacrificial servants. The remains of a concubine lies under glass – a shroud of bone dust.

A formidable bounty of treasures was excavated from the cave, which are on display in the excellent galleries here. Jade discs, bronzes, gold seals, swords and Zhao Mo's jade burial suit – a priceless (and uncomfortable) pair of pyjamas.

The Nanyue Kingdom covered parts of northern Vietnam and southern China, and had its capital at Panyu; now present-day Guangzhou. In Vietnam, Nanyue is known as Nam Việt.

When you enter the museum, skip past the initial galleries and head straight for the tomb. It is only possible to cross busy Jiefang road by the underground metro entrances, not at street level.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Guangzhou attractions

1. Five Rams Statue

0.12 MILES

Erected in 1959 in Socialist realism style, this statue on a knoll in Yuexiu Park depicts the symbol of Guangzhou: five mythical rams who bore five…

2. Guangzhou City Museum

0.29 MILES

First built in 1380 as a military watchtower, the red-walled Zhenhai Tower (镇海楼, Zhènhǎi Lóu) is now home to the Guangzhou City Museum, which ascends…

3. Yuexiu Park

0.29 MILES

A crenellated roadway between attractions in this hilly park is actually a (heavily restored) slab of Guangzhou's long-departed city wall, built during…

4. Grave of Abu Waqas

0.33 MILES

Whether or not this actually is the grave of Abu Waqas, the man who brought Islam to China in the 7th century and an uncle of the Prophet Mohammed, the…

5. Guangzhou Orchid Garden

0.36 MILES

Across from Yuexiu Park is this charming and little-visited garden, with worn stone bridges crossing pools, an orchid display and a quaint little…

6. Guangzhou Art Gallery

0.43 MILES

Not to be confused with the far more impressive Guangdong Museum of Art, this dusty old museum has middling displays of concession-era porcelain, silks…

7. Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

0.68 MILES

This Buddhist temple complex was first built in AD 537 to enshrine Buddhist relics brought over from India and placed in the octagonal Decorated Pagoda …

8. Guangxiao Temple

0.68 MILES

The ‘Bright Filial Piety Temple’ is the oldest temple site in Guangzhou, dating from the 4th century. By the time of the Tang it was well established as a…