Guangzhou can only be described as an incredible city. It has a history of 2,200 years and a totally unique relationship when it comes to destinations outside China. The only real problem is that not much reliable information is found about it. You just get on your Cathay Pacific flight to visit Guangzhou, usually through a travel agency.
Remember that the public transportation network is very good. This includes high-speed trains that can take you to farther destinations. As a result, you can plan a vacation that is exactly as you want it to be. As recommendations, here are some of the top travel attractions you should consider during your visit to Guangzhou.
Liwanhu Park is both a lake and a park. It has simply stunning traditional buildings and stone bridges that can only be described as a must-see. We are talking about the perfect place where you can be a part of the local way of life. You will see people playing games on benches, people enjoying the sun, and basically a big part of local culture and life. There are even performances happening from time to time.
The Canton Tower is often referred to as the Guangzhou Eiffel Tower. It is colossal and is illuminated in a way that makes you want to visit at night. And you absolutely need to reach the top to see the views above Pearl River and the Tianhe skyscrapers. This is a very special experience so make sure you have your camera on hand.
To reach the top you need to pay 150 RMB. After you are there, you can pay more to experience some very high theme park attractions, the Bubble Tram and the Sky Drop.
In the year 1757, it is the Qing emperor who said Guangzhou is going to be made the one and only port in China open to trade from foreigners. Since then and the Opium War’s end, it was Shamian Island where foreign merchants could come in China for trade. At a later point in time, the site became strategic for the second of the Opium Wars, right before being eventually handed over to the French and the British.
Shamian Island is considered to be mostly European, not Chinese. This is because many buildings are made out of European styles. But, this is just a simplification. Here you can find buildings that became churches after being factories. And the island is away from pollution so it is a little sterile and idyllic at the same time, just as it is lifeless and classy, fascinating and singular.
The Guangzhou Nightlife
You have to experience the Guangzhou nightlife to believe it. It is absurd at times but always a blast. You can experience clubs that have trampolines instead of floors and super rich-themed bars. Also, you can find street vendors cooking noodles at 3 AM and much more.
Several great nightlife areas exist but Wende Road is a true hotspot to consider. There are many clubs and great bars there, with late night eateries waiting for you when you get out of the club.
Temple Of The Six Banyan Trees
This temple is located 10 minutes away from the popular Nanyue King Museum. It has to be considered a must-visit. Its origins are in 537 AD and the visually impressive 10 levels Flowery Pagoda cannot be missed. The temple is just one of 4 Yuexiu Buddhist temples.
Right alongside the above-mentioned Pagoda, there is a courtyard with joss sticks, a lovely ceremonial hall, and huge Buddha statues. They are ancient and the largest you can find in Guangdong.
Guangzhou Museum Of Modern History
You might not like what the Chinese government does but this museum of history is a very interesting option when you want to see what the party thinks about what happened in the past. The museum features displays covering the Opium Wars, the Chinese Civil War, and more. You will notice that the Qing Dynasty is vilified and the communist uprising is glorified. But, it is still a part of history and the English translations are perfect, all for a free visit. You can find this museum inside Martyrs Cemetery, another wonderful destination if you want to visit the city.
Chen Clan Ancestral Hall
Located close to Liwanhu Park, this hall is an academy from the Qing Dynasty that was transformed into a Folk Art Museum. If you want to experience wonderful period architecture and various art forms from China, it is the place to go. You can see brick carvings, wood carvings, and pottery all across the bridges and balconies that are a part of a complex made out of 19 buildings. It is a special spot because artworks like what you will see were mostly destroyed during the sixties and seventies due to the Cultural revolution. As a result, we are talking about quite a rare change of experiencing what the Qing Dynasty culture was all about.
Nanyue King Mausoleum Museum
This is another museum in Guangzhou that allows you to see some artifacts coming from past regimes, including Zhao Mo’s tomb of 2,000 years. Zhao Mo ruled Northern Vietnam and Southern China between the years 137 and 122 BC. It was discovered in 1983 by archaeologists together with one thousand artifacts.
We can add that Zhao Mo was buried with gold, instruments, a chariot, and even 15 living assistants who had the job of taking care of his corpse. Remains can now be visited when you enter the museum.
Do Not Neglect The Local Cuisine
A visit to the city is not complete if you do not experience the cuisine. It can be difficult to find traditional Cantonese food since the equivalent more popular in Hong Kong is quickly becoming the norm. This is why it is better to experience the classic dishes while you still can and your trip to Guangzhou is a great time to start. Several restaurants can be considered, with Zhengjia Plaza and Tou Tou Koi being a great option. They are a little out of the regular way for tourists but are fully accessible through the Tianhe Sports Center metro station. Make sure to try some dim sum if you are there.
Besides the obvious restaurants, you can also experience incredible food in markets, with a pretty good one being located in Dong Shan.