8 places to visit in Guangzhou
Zhujiang New Town is the modern Central Business District of Guangzhou organized around Huacheng Square - one of the best skyscraper-connected urban spaces in the world, that serves as economic heartland of the city.
All the major buildings, including administrative, residential, financial, cultural and shopping, mean to impress and are designed by world-class architects known for their bold, forward-looking and state-of-the-art creations. Symbolic landmarks of Zhujiang New Town are the 2 city’s tallest skyscrapers: the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre (530 meters high) and the Guangzhou International Finance Center (439 meters high), the Guangzhou Opera House, the Guangdong Museum and the Guangzhou Library.
The Opera House is perhaps the most striking example of Guangzhou’s confidence and competitiveness. The building is Zaha Hadid’s first Opera House. The construction posed formidable engineering challenges for completing such an incredible building.
The Guangdong Museum, with its unique structure looks like a treasure box. There are five permanent exhibitions in the museum: Guangdong History and Culture, Chaozhou Gilded Woodcarvings, Natural Resources, Ceramics, and Duan Inkstones.
The Guangzhou Library is considered the "cultural window" of the city's "living room". It was created for the benefit of the public's welfare and to serve as a cultural and educational institution; covering a gross area of 100 thousand square meters, it holds 3.82 million books.
A 610 meters high TV tower, is the tallest building and the symbol of Guangzhou, second tallest building in China, and the fourth tallest free-standing structure in the world.
Built from steel and cement, it has three observation decks and a number of incredible attractions: the Bubble Tram, a panoramic Ferris Wheel rising up to a height of 455 meters; the Sky Drop, a 30-metre freefall drop, from a height of 485 meters; the Spider Walk, an external staircase between the 32nd and the 64th floors, whose 1,028 steps, some of which are transparent, make it one of the longest in the world. An unforgettable experience, particularly at night time.
This is the main shopping thoroughfare, a pedestrian street where most stores are open from 9 am to 10 pm. There is a wide range of shops available, from a large modern-style department store to shops selling the latest fashions for young people, to the ultra-cheap shacks hawking t-shirts, jewelry and knick-knacks. In the centre of the street there is a display of the original road from the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
The “Big Buddha Temple” is one of the five renowned Buddhist temples in Guangzhou with a history of more than one thousand years: it was built by Emperor Liu Yan in the Southern Han dynasty (917–971). Later it was destroyed and rebuilt many times.
Liwan District has lots of attractions and historical sites. You can see the traditional Cantonese architecture from the Qing Dynasty and an interesting blend of Eastern and Western cultures.
This Island has a great historic significance since it served as an important port for Guangzhou's foreign trade during Song and the Qing Dynasty. It was an English and French enclave from the middle of the 19th century, and still maintains the appearance of a European town, offering enjoyable strolls among old European buildings and gardens in a more relaxed and quite atmosphere where streets are partly pedestrian only.
Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family
With a history of more than 100 years, it’s also called Chen Clan Academy and was a place in both for offering up sacrifices to ancestors and for study. Now it serves as Guangdong Folk Arts Museum to show the most characteristic Guangdong architecture.
ShangXiaJiu Pedestrian Street
The street is notable for its unique Lingnan architectural style, Xiguan folk customs, commercial and cultural ambience, featuring the characteristics of European and Chinese styles. As one of the most famous commercial centres in Guangzhou, it has 250 shops and is a showcase of traditional Cantonese architecture, especially pretty at night when lit up.
China’s biggest park covers an expanse of 90 hectares; it is made up of three artificial lakes and seven hills of Yuexiu Mountain. It is a perfect combination of cultural relics and ecological tourism, reputed for its pretty water and hills. The main places of interest include the stone sculpture of the Five Rams, that has become the emblem of the city (Guangzhou got the name of the City of Rams).
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Located at the southern foot of Yuexiu Mountain, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is the biggest hall in memory of him all over the world, with an area of 6.6 hectares. It’s also one of the landmark buildings in Guangzhou. Paying a visit, you can enjoy not only the exhibitions about Sun Yat-sen but also the beauty of the building plus the famous ancient trees. As the forerunner of Chinese democratic revolution, Sun Yat-sen has been respected by all Chinese home and overseas.
Temple of the Six Banyan Trees & Flower Pagoda
First constructed in 537, this Buddhist temples in Guangzhou is one of the most silent places in this frenetic city; it has been rebuilt a number of times and has also been given different names through the ages: the most recent of these is “Temple of the Six Banyan Trees”. The pagoda containing the Buddhist vestiges is truly charming; the curved roofs resemble flower petals, hence the name “Flower Pagoda”.
It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a day among lush and rolling hills, to see people enjoying nature, playing games and doing sport. There are many places to rest and refreshments are available along the way. From long time ago, Baiyun Mountain has been one of the most famous spots of natural beauty, and it’s still known as the First Spectacular Scene of Guangzhou.
It was first built during the reigns of Xian Feng and Tong Zhi, emperors of the Qing Dynasty. The temple contains a number of historic sites, including the "Tiger" inscription, the Sweet Spring Water, the Jade Rainbow Pond, the "Floating Clouds over the Moon" sight and the ancient bridge.
Yuan Xuan Temple
This Taoist temple is modelled after the Temple of Heaven. This dignified architecture with a symbolic layout and design enjoys peaceful and quiet surroundings.
This district of abandoned industrial factories, traditionally built from red bricks, has been completely redeveloped and is now a cultural zone, a veritable artists district. Here it is pleasant to stroll around and have lunch in one of the small restaurants lining the streets, browse through the quirky shops and visit the art galleries.
Guangdong Science Center
Located in Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center, is a state-level key project with 120,000 square meters of interior construction area. With the slogan of "Get close to Science, Embrace the Future", the science centre sets the goal of becoming the largest and most advanced science and technology museum in Asia.
8 things to do in Guangzhou
Taste the flavour of Cantonese food
Regarded as the culinary capital of China and the cradle of Cantonese cuisine, Guangzhou houses more restaurants per person than in any other part of China. There are only a few other cities in the world where you can savour such unusual and sophisticated taste sensations. The Cantonese cuisine uses a wide range of ingredients from the sky, the earth, and the water; the top dishes in Guangzhou include: Dim Sum, White Cut Chicken, Shao Wei Seafood, Hot Pots and Cantonese Desserts.
Enjoy the nightlife
Guangzhou really comes to life at night: this ever-vibrant city has myriad of pubs, clubs, and karaoke bars scattered around downtown. Bai-e-Tan bar Street is perhaps the most popular street where a mix of people from around the world gather to party the night. Other bar clusters include those around Binjiang Lu and Huanshi Lu. The bank of Pearl river is also a good place to have a relaxing time: the Party Pier Beer Zone has become a symbolic spot for travellers to enjoy the most beautiful Pearl River and Canton Tower view while having a beer.
Go on the Pearl River cruise
Cruising the China’s third-longest river through downtown Guangzhou on colourful riverboats is an enjoyable experience. Different durations and routes cruises depart throughout the day and night; best are the sunset ones from Tianzi Wharf, taking in the blend of heritage and futuristic riverside architecture as it lights up in its neon evening glow.
Guangdong Province is China's centre for commodities manufacturing. In Guangzhou, inexpensive electronics, clothing, computers, and thousands of other products are on sale in the huge markets and thousands of shops. You'll see a myriad of shoppers and business people in the major clothes wholesale markets, like Baima Market, Xindadi, Zhanxi, Liu Hua, Hongmian Bubugao; electronics and components can be found in numerous shops and stores along Jiefang Zhong Lu, Zhongshan Liu Lu and nearby Huifu Xi Lu and Haiyin Square; Beijing Road and Shangxiajiu are the most popular retail streets. Tee Mall, TaiKoo Hui, Grandview Mall, OneLink Walk, Wanda Plaza, China Plaza and GT Land Plaza are among the best new luxury malls.
Guangzhou boasts a vast array of comprehensive museums; among them the Guangdong Museum of Art hosts modern and contemporary arts; the collection of Guangdong Museum comprises over 160,000 pieces and explores Guangdong culture and handicrafts, from Duan inkstones and Chaozhou woodcarving to locally produced porcelain and calligraphic works. The Zhenhai Tower, an iconic five-story building, houses the Guangzhou Museum, largely dedicated to recent political events and a smattering of examples of prime exports from the last 200 years. In the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King Museum, one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in China, the 2,000-year-old mausoleum of King Zhao Mo, showcases a great trove of artefacts.
Visit contemporary art spaces and galleries
Thanks to its affluence of people from all over the world and relative liberalism, the contemporary art scene in Guangzhou is as vibrant as any other international capital. Great contemporary art spaces, galleries and museums, like Redtory Art & Design Factory, YouYou Contemporary Art Centre, Fei Gallery, 53 Art Museum, Vitamin Creative Space, Libreria Borges, Observation Society and Loft 345, are worth a visit
See Cantonese Opera
If you really want a taste of Chinese culture, you should see Cantonese Opera, originating in southern China’s Cantonese culture. It is popular in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia. Like all versions of Chinese opera, it is a traditional Chinese art form, involving music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, and acting. Many well-known operas performed today originated in the Yuan Dynasty, with the lyrics and scripts in Cantonese. Jiangnan Theatre is one of the most important Cantonese Opera theatre of Guangzhou
Visit the surroundings
In couple of hours by train or by car you can visit beautiful natural and architectural contexts, to get an idea of the most authentic Chinese landscapes and cultural environments. Guilin is famous for its karst landscapes, idyllic countryside, and rural life. In Kaiping you can discover the Diaolou, multi-storeyed defensive village houses which display a complex and flamboyant fusion of Chinese and Western structural and decorative forms.