Located northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a bustling city with a wealth of attractions that have made it a hot destination on many bucket lists. Formerly known as Canton, this metropolis is the third-largest in China and its tourist attractions make it easy to see why it is continuing to grow in popularity. From its architecture, the offering of Cantonese delicacies and colonial beauty, Guangzhou ought to be your next holiday destination.
Experience cultural diversity like nowhere else in this city along the Pearl River Delta, where there is a variety of individuals who reside from all different backgrounds. You may want to try out your language skills in Guangzhou, too, as it is one of the only cities in China which interchangeably uses Mandarin and Cantonese to communicate with.
Although it remains one of the most important trading ports in China, the city retains a calm demeanour, making it the perfect location for tourists to relax and unwind.
The best time of year to travel to Guangzhou is during Autumn, from late October to mid-December, as this time of year sees warm but comfortable temperatures for walking around in. Although hospitable in Spring, the weather is likely to be cloudy or misty, so you are less likely to benefit from any sunshine.
Guangzhou is easily accessible, with a range of airlines offering commercial flights. With a flight time that ranges from around 9.5 to 13 hours depending on stopover time, the city is relatively easy to get to from Australia. You can fly direct from Melbourne, Perth or Sydney.
The airlines which fly to the country include: China Southern (direct), Qantas, China Eastern, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, Air China, Xiamen Airlines, Qatar Airways, AirAsia, Vietnam Airlines, China Airlines, Scoot, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia, Korean Air, Japan, Hainan, Asiana, Malindo Air, Delta, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Philippine Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, EVA Air, Cebu Pacific, and Tianjin Airlines.
The wide availability of public transport is what you would expect from such a contemporary city. With city buses, taxis and the metro to choose from, you won’t struggle to make your way around.
With over 30,000 taxis in the city, it is important to choose an operator with a good reputation. Baiyun and Guangjun Taxi Groups and the Guangzhou Transportation Group have the best track record. For organised individuals who like to make the most of their money, Didi and Uber taxis operate online, so it is worth downloading these apps and creating an account prior to your visit.
The metro in Guangzhou has 14 operating lines and was awarded the accolade of the most reliable operation in 2016, with frequent services that you can depend upon.
The city buses have a variety of lines to enable you to seamlessly get from one side of the city to the other. There are four main bus transportation hubs: Railway station bus terminal, Tianpingjia bus terminal, Zhongshan Balu bus terminal and East Railway Station bus terminal. There are also specific tourist bus lines that enable you to see all the essential sites with minimal planning!
You definitely won’t be short of things to see or activities to do in this beautiful city. Whether you a lover of art or the outdoors, the wealth of must-see places will leave you with a jam-packed itinerary.
White Cloud Mountain - For the thrill-seekers who want to experience some beautiful views via cable car, the White Cloud, or Baiyun Mountain, is a must-see. Many organized tours will also take you to this idyllic setting, allowing you to soak up the natural landscape.
Shāmiàn Island - This historic neighbourhood is situated adjacent to the Pearl River. Whilst foreign migrants once resided here, the space has become a favourite place for a chilled walk or stop-off for a spot of lunch outdoors. You are bound to fall in love with its whitewashed buildings and leafy streets.
Five Ram Statue - Situated in Yuexiu Park, this sculpture is one of the most famous in Guangzhou and has become a strong identity marker of the city. The statue is considered to be an ode to the mythical existence of barren land that was transformed as a result of blessings that were left to the city.
Guangzhou Opera House - Opened in 2010 and designed by Zaha Hadid, this impressive piece of architecture has recognisable flowing curves that are thought to be inspired by rocks that washed away from the Pearl River. Its contemporary exterior also extends to the inside of the building.
Qingping Chinese Medicine Market - For an alternative day out, it is definitely worth paying a visit to this market. Don’t be alarmed by the offering of insects, this is commonplace here. The street market has a variety of produce, all of which are considered to benefit Chinese medicine in some respect. For a unique, authentic experience of Chinese culture, add this market to the list.
Canton Tower - This tower is the tallest building in the city, recognised by its twisting shape that is particularly spectacular when it is illuminated in rainbow colours at night. The viewing platform at 488m provides panoramic views across the city - perfect for getting those Instagram-worthy shots. For those of an adventurous nature, take a bubble tram across the top of the tower.
Whether you want to experience premium restaurant dining or sample local eats, the food scene in Guangzhou really does cater for everyone.
Táo Táo Jū Restaurant - Famous for its yum cha offerings (meaning ‘small tea’ that encompasses portions of deep-fried or steamed dim sum), this restaurant offers a unique dining experience. Don’t expect to receive a menu there – a slip of paper will be marked every time you help yourself to one of many choices from the heated carts or kitchen kiosks. Don’t let its contemporary interior fool you; this building was constructed in the 1880s.
Panxi - This garden restaurant has the most exquisite backdrop, which doesn’t make it hard to see why there are so many wedding parties milling around the area. With a rich 70-year history, the restaurant has 15 grand banquet halls as well as several private rooms. If you are looking to indulge on your travels and are a fan of bao buns and dumplings, Panxi is the place to be.
Bingsheng Zen Tea House - This vegetarian restaurant is situated near Xiaogang Park. With private rooms to facilitate a relaxed dining experience, the whole aura of the space is extremely calm. The soybean dishes made with spring water are a must-try.