Travel is always great when there are interesting places to explore and a few fun surprises along the way. China may not exactly be counted as “new” to me since I’m Chinese, my ancestors are from there, and I have studied in Xiamen x years ago, but Guangzhou is a different city altogether. Busy Guangzhou now is waking up, with more visitors flooding the city, this old colonial trading post has started to mix business with pleasure.
Listed below are iconic tourist attractions we visited in Guangzhou, China which should be in everyone’s must-see list. Filled with plenty of charm, these treasured places consist of historic values, traditional and cultural Chinese influences, and remarkable views that I can say were worth my hard-earned vacation hours. 🙂
Top 10 Tourist Attractions We Visited in Guangzhou, China
1. Guangzhou Library (广州图书馆)
Address: No.42 Zhongshansi Road / 4 Zhujiang East Road, Tianhe (中山四路42号)
As book lovers, my boyfriend and I felt excited to visit the Guangzhou Library. Upon seeing its exterior architectural design, we were amazed by the execution of the structure. It was glass surface all over!
Suddenly I remembered the National Library of Singapore when we entered, since the GZ Library also is multi-storeyed with floors catering to different interests.
This is exactly the kind of place where I can linger all day and enjoy the quiet and relaxing vibe. 🙂 The library is filled with user-friendly amenities, Chinese and non-Chinese books and references for reading and research.
2. Chen Family Temple – Guangdong Folk Art Museum (陈家祠)
Address: 恩龙里34 Guangdong Folk Art Museum China, Liwan, Longyuanxin 1st Alley (510150中山七路恩龙里34号)
This ancestral temple turned to folk arts museum is definitely a place to visit if you would like to know more about Guangzhou’s history and arts. The Chen Family Temple, Chen Clan Academy, or Chen’s Lineage Hall is a tourist attraction showing an ancient facade with intricate carvings on the roof. Halls are well-maintained in the compound. Lovely items and various superb details extolling nature in the form of wood, brick, pottery, stone, and lime are displayed, demonstrating the artistic side of Guangzhou.
- Regular day admission fee is RMB 10 pax. Ticket is free on Jan. 13, Feb. 24, Mar. 17, Apr. 14, May 18, Jun. (National Cultural Heritage Day), Jul. 14, Aug. 18, Sep 15, Oct. 13, Nov. 17, and Dec. 15.
- Operating hours: 8:30AM-5:30PM
- How to get there: Take Guangzhou Subway Line 1 to Chenjiaci Station. Leave from Exit C to Chenjiaci Square or Exit D to the main entrance. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Routes as follows: 17, 85, 88, 104, 107, 109, 114, 128, 133, 181, 193, 204, 233, 250, 251, 260, 268, 286.
3. Onelink International Plaza (万菱广场)
39 Jiefang South Rd, Yuexiu (解放南路39号)
Onelink International Plaza is to me Guangzhou’s version of the 168 Mall and 999 Mall in the Philippines. Products being sold are straight from manufacturers and buyers can bargain for lower prices when buying wholesale. Most products in the lower floors can be categorized as gifts and premiums, toys, arts and crafts, technical gadgets and accessories, and souvenir items, while those in the upper floors comprise of home decors, furniture, and fixtures.
4. China Import and Export Fair Complex (Canton Fair) (琶洲国际会展中心)
Address: 广东省广州市海珠区新港东路380号琶洲展馆 / 海珠区琶洲国际会展中心
Attending the Canton Fair was our primary objective of traveling to Guangzhou. The China Import and Export Fair Complex can be regarded as a buyer’s paradise where you can find actual manufacturers of items that you might be interested in selling. We learned a lot in our three-day visit—things that we could not have learned in school.
It’s incredible how the Canton Fair was so organized, with four floors and multiple halls holding countless opportunities for importers. The breadth of products and service is very wide! Read more of our experience and tips when attending the Canton Fair in this blog post.
- Admission is free but there are necessary registration forms to fill out and process to follow to get in as a buyer.
- How to get there: Take metro from Exit A of Metro Xingangdong Station to Section A of the fair complex, or from Exit A or Exit B of Metro Pazhou Station to Section B of Fair Complex, or westward approximately 300 meters from Exit C of Pazhou Station to Section C of Fair Complex.
5. Guangzhou Opera House (广州大剧院)
Address: Zhujiang Boulevard/ Tianhe
From the Guangzhou Library, we just walked straight to the Guangzhou Opera House, which is the biggest performing center in southern China and is one of the three biggest theaters in the nation. With an audacious exposed granite and glass-clad steel frame, the building is visually appealing from the outside, as its shape varies accordingly to the angle you look at it. We did not get inside since we were not planning to watch any shows, but our short visit was enough to see how mesmerizing its unique twin boulder design and urban function is.
6. Pearl River Night Cruise (珠江夜游)
泰康街 Tianzi Wharf China, Guangdong, Guangzhou, Yuexiu, Yanjiang Middle Road / Tianzi Pier (天子码头)
The Pearl River Night Cruise from the Tianzi Wharf is highly recommended if you want to take photos with wonderful scenes of surrounding tall buildings, towers, and bridges which are brightly decorated with lights at night. The Pearl River has a length of more than 2,000 kilometers (about 1243 miles) and is the third longest river in China. In the 70-minute cruise, the water was calm so moving around wasn’t difficult.
We purchased the tickets right at the Tianzi Pier and ran to board the cruise. The ticketing process was fast and easy. Just note that the ticketing staffs do not speak English. Since we only wanted to take pictures and see the various points of interest in the short route of the Pearl River, we did not opt to pay a higher price and opt for the dinner buffet. Instead, we had tea on the lower deck and listened to the commentary in Chinese then went up to the top floor to appreciate the views.
- Admission fee depends on the ship you choose, the deck, and the time. We rode the Bright Pearl of the Pearl River, first floor, at 8:05PM and paid RMB 58 pax. The ship was well furnished to satisfy visitors (280 people capacity) with a range of requirements.
- How to get there: Take Subway Line 2 and get off at Haizhu Square Station or take Bus 1, 128, 131B, 194, 219, or 238 and off at Haizhu Square (Qiaoguang East) Station.
7. Taikoo Hui (太古汇)
Tai Koo Hui is the most expensive mall in Guangzhou hosting high-end boutiques and luxurious Chinese and Western restaurants. It’s more like Greenbelt in the Philippines but only in one building. This stylish shopping center is a great place for those who want retail therapy. To catch some fresh air, go up to the top floor where you can find a garden and relax a bit.
- Operating hours: 10AM-10PM
- How to get there: Take the subway Line 1 and get off at Shipaiqiao.
8. Canton Tower (广州塔)
The Canton Tower (Guangzhou Tower) is the famous landmark of Guangzhou inspired by the design of the female hip joint. Standing at 600 meters (1968 feet), it is the highest TV tower in China and the third highest in the world. From the top, visitors must have a birds-eye view of the whole city.
Unfortunately, when we got there at the Star Observation Deck (108th floor), all we saw was smog and no clear panoramic view of Guangzhou City. 🙁 It was a huge disappointment since we paid RMB 228 pax for the 450 Lookout. To make the most of it, we just stayed longer to feel the cool breeze and appreciate our bonding time together. We even witnessed a surprise wedding proposal with props and video cameras waiting. Aww…how cute! 😛
- Admission fee: Cloud & Star Observation Decks is RMB 150 pax. With 450 Lookout is RMB 228 pax. We got 10% discount by showing our Canton Fair Buyer’s ID. 🙂
- Operating hours of the tower: 9AM-11PM
- How to get there: Take the subway line 3 and get off at Canton Tower Station. Alternatively, you can take bus 262, 468 and tour line 1, and get off at Canton Tower West Station, or take bus 121a, 121, 204, 262 and tour line 2, and get off at Zhujiang Dijingyuan Station.
9. Chimelong Xiangjiang Safari Park (长隆野生动物世界)
Address: Dashi street, Panyu District (511430番禺区大石街)
The Chimelong Xiangjiang Safari Park is located inside the Chimelong Holiday Resort. It bagged the title “2014 Travellers’ Choice” in TripAdvisor.com, so we supposed that this “national-grade wildlife world” is truly a must-visit. After all, it’s the biggest wild animal theme park in Asia!
We explored the entire park from 12NN to 6PM (closing time) and there was never a dull moment. We were much awed by the animal shows and rare animal exhibits including giant pandas, koalas, Honduras anteaters, pygmy hippopotamus, black rhinoceros, white tigers, and white lions.
One drawback for non-Chinese speakers, however, is that language spoken in all shows is either Cantonese or Mandarin. Anyway, watching the animals perform may be educational and entertaining enough.
Lots of restaurants are found inside, so you can be rest assured that great treats can’t be missed midway through your adventure.
As the layout is spacious and set in tropical rainforest-like gardens, this park is also great for photoshoots. The pathways were modern and the map provided a big help in navigating the numerous sections by foot. All in all, I can say that this is by far the best zoo I have visited in the world. The kids will absolutely love it! 🙂
- Admission fee is RMB 250 pax.
- Operating hours: 9:30AM-6:00PM
- How to get there: Take bus 304 to Xiangjiang Safari Park or bus 288, 288A, 301, 301A, 305, 309 to Xiangjiang Zoo Station and walk 300 meters then to the main entrance of Xiangjiang Safari Park.
10. Beijing Road Walking Street / Shopping District (北京路步行街)
Address: Beijing Road, Yuexiu District 510055越秀区北京路
The best description of this district can be put as “Ancient China meets Modern China.” Bustling with upmarket stores, Beijing Road Walking Street (part of Old Guangzhou) is one of the best shopping spots for tourists and shoppers. The place gets really crowded during weekends and holidays. We just had dinner here one night and have stumbled upon many stores selling both international branded stuff (expensive) and also fake stuff (cheaper) in parallel roads. Bargaining is welcome in some shops.
- Most stores are open from 9AM to 10PM.
- How to get there: ou can take subway line 1 or 2, get off at Gongyuanqian (公元前站), and then walk to Beijing Road.
Our DIY tour itinerary in Guangzhou went smoothly and we returned home happy after careful planning. The five-day trip has been wonderful and also a little bit stressful since we had to make sure that we’re not wasting time going nowhere while trying to locate the proper bus or train heading to our destination.
We have to thank people in Guangzhou who are really nice and friendly in helping us. No one hesitated to give advice and directions when asked. 🙂 I guess it was also a big advantage that I know how to speak their native language (Mandarin/Cantonese) so it’s easier for us to survive day to day.
Have you visited Guangzhou or are planning to travel to China soon? What are your recommended sites? Feel free to share your thoughts and experience below. 🙂