Also known as Canton, Guangzhou is the third largest city in China. It has long been one of China's main commercial and trading centres and is one of the first cities that opened to the world. As one of the fastest growing cities in Asia, Guangzhou has also seen fast growth in tourism, attracting visitors with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, world-renowned Cantonese cuisine and its vibrant nightlife.
Chinese Yuan (CNY)
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Major banks are open from 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM on weekdays and 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM on Saturdays and are losed on Sundays and public holidays. Most malls and supermarkets are open between 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM. Most restaurants are open until 11:00 PM or later while bars and nightclubs keep going through the night.
15.31 million (2019)
Zhongshan Liu Road Tourist Information Center
Intersection of Zhongshan Liu Road and Renmin Road, Yuexiu District
Airport Tourist Information Center
Area A at the arrivals hall of the Guangzhou New Baiyun Airport
Being the capital and largest city of Guangdong Province in south-eastern China, Guangzhou is located on the Pearl River about 120 km north-northwest of Hong Kong and is one of China's most important international transportation hubs and trading ports.
Guangzhou, was, in fact, one of the principal harbours of the Maritime Silk Road in the 330s (the world's oldest, and most historically significant overland trade route) and the city became a world famous trading harbour with countries in the South Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean during the Tang dynasties (618-907 AD). It grew rapidly and became the largest commercial city and treaty port in China. Guangzhou was mainly exporting silk, china and tea to foreign countries whereas spices were the main things imported from the Western Region to China. Therefore, the maritime Silk Road was also known as "the maritime China road "or "the maritime spices road".
Guangzhou continues serving as a major port and transportation hub and is the third biggest Chinese city after Beijing and Shanghai today. The city has a lot to offer the tourists with its endless skyscrapers, history, temples and shopping malls and with the largest trade fair in China, the Canton Fair, Guangzhou attracts hundreds of thousands of business people every year.
Besides known for offering historical sights, Guangzhou is also known as the "City of Flowers" with evergreen plants and flowers blooming all year round, resulting in beautiful gardens and greenery everywhere. The Guangzhou people are genuinely crazy about their flowers, and when hosting festivals, every park holds a flower show, and the streets are beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and kumquats.
Guangzhou is a beautiful tourism city that truly deserves a visit, a city that offers exciting history, fascinating culture, and mouth-watering Cantonese cuisine in a dynamic and vibrant atmosphere.
With a history of more than 2,200 years, Guangzhou is a famous cultural city with many interesting sights to explore. Everything from temples to museums, gardens and historical buildings are on offer, as well as sighs that are more modern such as the fun theme park called Chimelong or why not visit Canton Tower, the landmark of Guangzhou City, where you will get amazing panoramic views of the city. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle from the city centre, then Baiyun Mountain, also called "the lung of the city" for its restorative greenery, is another must-see sight.
It doesn't come as a surprise that Guangzhou is one of China's top 10 most popular tourist areas, in fact, there is so much to do in Guangzhou that you cannot see it all in just one visit, so start planning and fill your list with must-see attractions.
Pearl River Night Cruise / 珠江夜游
Guangzhou Opera House / 广州大剧院
Temple of the Six Banyan Trees / 六榕寺
Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King / 西汉南越王博物馆
Huaisheng Mosque / 怀圣寺光塔
Bright Filial Piety Temple / 光孝寺
Yuexiu Park / 越秀公园
Baiyun Shan (White Cloud Mountain) / 白云山
Lotus Hill / 莲花山
Chimelong Water Park / 长隆水上乐园
Chimelong Paradise / 长隆欢乐世界
Chimelong Safari Park / 长隆野生动物世界
Shameen Island / 沙面岛
Canton Tower / 广州塔
Chen Ancestral Shrine - Folk Craft Museum / 陈氏书院
Cantonese cooking is world-famous, yet the watered-down version we know in the West fails to do justice to the delicacy and vibrancy of the real thing. Because of its extraordinarily fortunate location on the Pearl River Delta, the wealth of food is enormous and the locals’ expectations are subsequently demanding.
The Chinese say that the Cantonese eat anything that flies, except for aeroplanes, and anything with legs except for chairs. It is barely an exaggeration. However, while you may be inclined to stick to delicious dim sum and shy away from some of the fare on offer, there is still a freshness and vivacity to the cuisine that is difficult to rival.
From roast suckling pig and stewed snake and the enormous variety of dim sum dishes, this is a food lover’s paradise. If you can get out of your comfort zone in Guangzhou, you could open your pallet to a host of flavours and dishes that would previously have been beyond your imagination. It really is one place where it pays to be brave.
The restaurants offered below are just the merest selection. Remember that there are thousands of them in Guangzhou.
Tao Tao Ju / 陶陶居
PanXi Restaurant / 泮溪酒家
Sultan Restaurant / 苏坦
Tiger Prawn / 大头虾
Wuu's Restaurant / 吴系打边炉
Bombay Grill Cuisine Of India
Chez Max / 香舍法餐
Man Ho / 万豪
Given that Guangzhou historically was the centre of the East to West tea trade, herbal tea drinking cafés fill up long before lunchtime. As an escape from Guangzhou’s summer heat, they are perfect retreats as well as fascinating places to watch the degree of reverence applied to the tea-making process. Coffee freaks do not need to worry – Guangzhou has a plethora of coffee shops, and the vast majority offer free WiFi.
Caffe Mondo / 意珍
Living Room / 悦厅
This ever-vibrant city has a myriad of pubs, clubs, and karaoke bars scattered around downtown, a town offering a well-developed bar and club scene with many hot spots for drinking and dancing. Bai-e-Tan bar Street (Metro 1 Fang Cun) is perhaps the most famous street where a mix of people from around the world gather to party the night away from 11:00 PM onwards.
Other bar clusters include those around Binjiang Lu and Huanshi Lu where numbers of popular pubs and bars are to be found that offer different vibes and great music. The bank of Pearl River is also an excellent place to head for when wanting to have a relaxing time while enjoying a cocktail or two and where the bars and lounges offer a fantastic view over the river. On the other hand, why not take a dinner cruise and discover the landmarks of the city in the night-lights? There is for sure no shortage of nightlife options in Guangzhou, and you will undoubtedly find some favourite hangouts during your stay.
Hooley's Irish Pub and Restaurant / 活利仕西餐厅
Fei Bar / 妃吧
Tian Bar / 天吧
Guangzhou offers the full shopping experience, from spotless shopping malls that will spoil fashionistas with a range of national and international branded clothes to noisy and charming markets where you will almost find every kind of products you can think off.
This city is truly a shopper’s paradise, where you can bargain inexpensive clothes, electronics, shoes, handbags, accessories and other products as well as great designer clothes at a higher price. There are plenty of shopping destinations to choose from, everything from streets lined with shops after shops to huge malls where stores are spread across several floors offering just about everything.
Don't forget the wholesale markets where to find very low-cost products such as tea, souvenirs, craft and clothes. No wonder why Guangzhou has so much to offer when it comes to shopping, the city is the largest and most flourishing trade centre in south China. You will not leave this vibrant city empty-handed.
Beijing Road Shopping District / 北京路商业区
Qingping Medicine Market / 清平中药材市场
Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street / 上下九步行街
Teemall Department Stores / 天河城百货
China Plaza / 中华广场
Taikoo Hui / 太古汇
Guangzhou Fangcun Tea Market / 芳村茶叶批发
Onelink International Plaza / 万菱广场
Flower City Square / 花卉城
Passport / Visa
Guangzhou is one of the Chinese cities that supports the 72-hour transit visa on arrival program, which means that selected nationalities (all citizens of the European Union, as well as several other countries including Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, and United States) are eligible for a transit visa on arrival via the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport. For more extended stays, the visa must be pre-arranged in advance, so consult your local embassy for details.
You must have your passport at all times, and all hotels will insist on seeing it for check-in. It is now mandatory to present your passport when buying train tickets; you will also need it for using internet cafes that accept foreigners.
The Chinese government requires that your passport must be valid for at least six months after the expiry date of your visa when entering the country. You will need at least one entire blank page in your passport for the visa.
Take an ID card with your photo in case you lose your passport and make photocopies of your passport: your embassy may need these before issuing a new one in case of loss. You must report the damage to the local Public Security Bureau (PSB), who will issue you with a 'Statement of Loss of Passport'.
Long-stay visitors should register their passport with their nation's embassy.
Internet Access and VPN in China
Due to the Internet policy of China, certain websites and applications are not accessible from the mainland, which includes those very commonly used in the west (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Skype and more). Some travellers have been able to gain access to those via a VPN service (installed prior to arrival in China).
Make sure you comply with local laws and regulations when deciding on whether or not to employ a VPN, and which one to choose (if you do, only use those explicitly allowed by the Chinese government, and only use them for authorised purposes to avoid any trouble). There have been reports of foreigners in China getting their cell service cut off in response to unauthorised use of VPN being detected; restoring cell service required a trip to the local police station where contents of the device were investigated and certain apps removed.
Giving that Google is banned in China, Google Maps might not be the most accurate and reliable source of information. Some local apps such as Baidu Maps and AutoNavi tend to work better than Google Maps.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Guangzhou is during autumn, from September to November. This is when the weather and average temperatures are at their most pleasant.
Baiyun International Airport opened in August 2004 and is located 28 kilometres from the city centre. Flights connect to nearly 100 domestic cities and numerous international destinations.
There are bunches of express bus taking you to the main destinations in the city. The buses depart from arrival area.
Metro is another option to travel to the Guangzhou from the airport. The metro station Airport South is located directly below the terminal building. You will see the Metro signs when arriving at the arrival hall. The Metro Line 3 runs every day of the week from 6:10 AM to 11:00 PM with an interval of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. You can buy your ticket either from automatic ticket vending machines (only coins are accepted) or the Metro Customer Service Center. The metro is a convenient way to travel downtown at a reasonable price.
Taxi ranks are located in both A and B arrival areas. At the A arrival, it is set outside the gate A8. At the B arrival, it is set outside the gate B6. You should only use a legitimate Chinese taxi driver and not just follow anyone who is offering. The taxi drivers will be waiting on the line at the taxi ranks and make sure the driver uses the meter. Also, have your destination address written in Chinese to show to the driver for most of them don't speak English.
Address: Baiyun International Airport, Guangzhou
Guangzhou's metro opened in 1999 and is rapidly expanding. Several lines are operating, and they run very frequently, making it an easy way to transport to different destinations. The single-ticket is only valid on the day when you buy it. The ticket can be purchased on the ticket vending machines at the Metro stations (they only accept CNY5, CNY10 and the coins of CNY0.5 (5 Jiao) and CNY1 (1 Yuan). There is also the Guangzhou Transportation Smart Card, and it is widely used on bus, ferryboat and metro.
Buses might not be the most comfortable way to move around, but they are certainly the cheapest. There are four bus transportation hubs in Guangzhou: Railway Station Bus Terminal, Tianpingjia Bus Terminal, Zhongshan Balu (Zhongshan 8 Road) Bus Terminal and East Railway Station Bus Terminal. Mostly the buses run from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. There are also night buses that operate from 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
The ferries are convenient, comfortable and quick and they play a significant role in the local public system. Twelve waterbus lines are running along the channels between the piers in the city, to be more precise, there are 26 piers scattered along the Pearl River. This is a popular way to travel around the city. The ferries run from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and the Transportation Smart Card can be used when taking the boat.
Taxis are cheap, quick and convenient. There are more than 80 taxi companies in the city, so you can easily get hold of a taxi, although it can be hard during peak hours.
Each taxi company has its own colour. For example, Guangjun taxis are yellow, the GZ Transport Group drive dark red cabs, and Baiyun taxis are in sky blue. Small taxi companies operate green and golden coloured taxis. To get one easier, you can go to one of the taxi stands. These taxi stop boards are mostly located close to the bus station boards, and many of the large departments and shopping malls have a special stop for taxi passengers.
Always use a legitimate taxi driver, and make sure the taxi has a meter and a taxi company logo on the car.
You can also use taxi cab hailing service with WeChat or Alipay (like the Chinese version of Uber).
You can easily find a pharmacy in Guangzhou as they are scattered around the whole city.
Guangzhou CanAm International Medical Center is a medical centre with more than 200 medications, both prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs.
Address: 5/F Garden Tower, No.368 Huanshi Dong Lu, Guangzhou
Phone: +86 20 8386 6988
Post offices are generally open from 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM and there are plenty of them scattered around the city.
Address: 8 Tianhe Er Road, Tianhe District, Gunagzhou
Phone: +86 20 8757 6676
Country code: +86
Area code: 20
220V, 50 Hz three-pin plugs