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Guangzhou (3 days)

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Key Points:

  1. Guangzhou is not one of the best travel destinations, but is an important part of travelling around the world.

  2. WikiVoyage has the original version of travelling in Guangzhou. But we have rewritten and integrated several articles together to create a better version.

According to Wikipedia, "Guangzhou, also known as Canton and alternatively romanized as Kwongchow or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province in southern China."

Here we quote the best way to travel in Guangzhou provided by wikiVoyage, a multilingual, web-based project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable worldwide travel guide. Wikivoyage is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that also hosts a range of other project such as Wikipedia. Please edit the articles and find author credits at the original wikiVoyage articles on Guangzhou, Guangzhou/Liwan, Guangzhou/Yuexiu, Guangzhou/Haizhu, Guangzhou/Panyu and Nansha, Guangzhou/North and East. Content on wikiVoyage can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Part 1: Understand. As a major entry point for overseas culture for many centuries, foreigners are not the anomaly here that they are in other Chinese cities. Consequently, travellers are afforded more personal space and freedom. In addition, tucked away in the back streets away from the skyscrapers of the central districts, the old Guangzhou of traditional neighbourhoods still moves at an age-old pace, with families and friends often sitting outdoors enjoying tea and banter.

Guangzhou also has the largest urban park in China, an island of refurbished colonial buildings, an internationally recognized skyline, and a number of world class galleries and exhibition spaces. Modern-day Guangzhou is one of China's most prosperous cities and is considered the nation's most liberal, free, and cosmopolitan urban center.

Guangzhou's long history can be experienced in the Liwan and Yuexiu districts. Traditional buildings are slowly disappearing due to the city's rapid growth, but they can still be found near Yide Road, Renmin Nan Road and Zhongshan Road. They make great photo spots. Shamian Island (Liwan) was the European settlement in Guangzhou in the 19th century, and colonial buildings can be seen there. The Chen Clan Academy (Liwan) is a famous example of traditional Cantonese architecture, and Yuexiu contains several temples which are popular destinations. Yuexiu is also home to 20th century historical sites like the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

The Tianhe district has become home to a new business district (Zhujiang New Town), with towering office buildings and some new cultural institutions. Canton Tower (Haizhu district) is the world's second-tallest skyscraper, with an observatory 449 meters above the ground.

Guangzhou is a massive city, but it is also home to beautiful natural sites. Baiyun Mountain, located just north of the city center, is a large mountain park with forests, streams, and long hiking paths, as well as a cable car to the top for the less adventurous. The Chimelong theme parks in the city south (Panyu district) include a popular safari park as well as roller coasters and other attractions.

Part 2: Get Around. Guangzhou has a fairly efficient and rapidly expanding public transportation system. If you intend to stay in Guangzhou for a long time, buy a multi-purpose Lingnan Pass - Yang Cheng Tong stored value card, similar to the Octopus Card in Hong Kong. The card can be used in most metro areas in Guangdong province (but not Shenzhen). It can be used not only for public transportation (bus, subway, parking meters and some taxis), but also for public phones and designated shops, places of interests and certain vending machines. The card costs ¥50, which includes an ¥18 deposit and a starting balance of ¥32. You can purchase and recharge the cards in many places, such as some 7-Elevens, Metro customer service counters, and Tiantian Laundry. Returning your card at the end of the trip can be done at any Yang Cheng Tong service centers. The best locations include centers near metro station Gongyuanqian Exit J, Tiyu Xi Exit G, and East Rail Station exit HJ. It may be worth it to keep the card as a souvenir.

Part 3: Itinerary

Day 1:

1. Guangzhou/Liwan

  • Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, Zhongshan 7th Road (Metro Line 1, Line 8 Chen Clan Academy). 8:30AM–5:30PM daily. This is very well preserved architecture from the 19th century, and one of the finest surviving examples of traditional Cantonese architecture. It used to belong to a wealthy family by the name of Chen and now is a museum that houses many articles including ivory sculptures and artistic statues. Watch for the beautiful rocks in the backyard and the incredibly intricate roof carvings.¥10 for adults; ¥5 for seniors 60-65 and students; free for children under 18 and seniors over 65. Foreigners need to present their passport to buy tickets.

  • Shamian Island (Metro Line 1, Line 6 Huangsha). The buildings and streets of the former British and French concession have been beautifully renovated, and vehicles restricted, creating an oasis of tranquility in an otherwise frenetic metropolis. Inevitably it's touristy, but not crowded. One of the colonial structures is the 19th C Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel at 14 Shamian Street.

2. Guangzhou/Yuexiu

  • Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Dongfeng Middle Road (Metro 2 Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, exit C). 08:00-18:00. Dedicated to the founder of the Republic of China and local hero Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. It was constructed in 1931 and built on the original site of Sun Yat-sen's presidential office on Yuexiu Hill.Admission is free for the park and ¥10 to go inside the hall.

  • Yuexiu Park (Metro 2 Yue Xiu Park Station, exit B1). 06:00-18:00. The largest urban park in China and is a lush green area that flows over acres of hills and includes several lakes. It includes the Ming Dynasty Zhenhai Tower zhèn-hǎi-lóu, now home to the Guangzhou Museum with relics on five floors dating back 5,000 years ago and an up-to-date miniature of modern Guangzhou. ¥10. 09:00 - 11:30, 13:00 - 17:00. Also check out the Stone Statue of the Five Rams (五羊石像), the symbol of Guangzhou. Free.

Day 2:

3. Guangzhou/Haizhu

  • Canton Tower, Yuejiang Road West/Yiyuan Road, Haizhu District (Metro 3, APM Chigang Pagoda), ☏ +82 20-8933 8225. It was the tallest structure in China prior to the topping out of Shanghai Tower. It is 595.7 m high, and it's now the third tallest tower and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. It has indoor public observatory at 449 m and outdoor observation deck at 488 m. In additions to the observation decks, the tower features various restaurants, a 4-D theater and other entertainment venues. There are also sixteen transparent passenger cars travelling on a track round the edge of the tower's roof, taking between 20 and 40 min to circumnavigate the rooftop. ¥150.

4. Guangzhou/Panyu and Nansha

  • Lingnan Impression (Metro 4, Higher Education Mega Center South, exit B.). This is a place to see the city's past before the economic boom. The park is a 15-minute walk from the subway station. Free shuttle is available on the weekend.¥45.

  • Chimelong Paradise. 09:30-18:00 (18:30 weekend). The theme park has many thrill rides and shows. ¥200.

Day 3:

5. Guangzhou/North and East

  • Baiyun Mountain (White Cloud Mountain). Open 24 hours. Is a great place to relax and enjoy a day among lush, rolling hills. It also offers great views over the city. The road to the top in most of the daytime is restricted to park trams and pedestrians. To get to the top lookout point, you can use the main roads or trails. There are many places to rest and refreshments are available along the way. It is a great place to see people enjoying nature and playing games, such as shuttlecock, badminton, football and even bungee jumping. There are many bus routes to and from different parts of the city, as well as taxis usually available near the park gate. Park entrance ¥5; Cable car round trip ¥40; tram from ¥20; other attractions ¥5-¥10; packages available from ¥25.

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