Guangzhou is one of China's top 10 most popular tourist areas according to TripAdvisor and Google. The big export industry and rapid bullet trains to other regions in China draw hundreds of thousands of foreigners to the city each year.
On your visit, you can find an interesting range of things to do, from some of the cheapest bargain shopping to some of China's best amusement and entertainment and skyscrapers and luxury malls. In some areas, the history has been well retained, notably on Shamian Island.
1. Visit Chimelong Safari Resort
It is quite unusual to have some of the world's leading entertainment and amusements ranging from a big safari park to a world-class circus all in one big place. Due to its quality and diversity, most tourists consider the safari park to be the best in Asia, and they rank the circus entertainment as among the best in the world.
- The Safari Park features cart rides and walks past animals that are let to roam around. Some of the animals can be touched. There are more pandas than anywhere outside of Chengdu.
- Chimelong Circus provides comedic, musical, acrobatic, and performing animal show. The acrobatics are about the best in China, but the unusual performing animals puts the show in a class by itself.
- Chimelong Paradise is an amusement park with some world-class rides.
- Chimelong Waterpark has some world-class rides and has received awards.
- Chimelong Birds Park is a wetland park that is home to rare birds, such as red-crowned cranes and black-necked swans.
Besides all these facilities, there is a golf practice center and a luxury hotel.
2. Ascend Canton Tower
Canton Tower is a modern landmark located in Guangzhou CBD. Tourists like going to the top of the tower because it is the tallest structure in Guangzhou, offering a wonderful bird’s-eye view of the city. At night, it lights up the Pearl River and Zhujiang New Town area with its rainbow of lights.
There are various features for you to enjoy:
- Observation ride at the top in which people sit in revolving glass balls to see the view.
- Glass floor observatory at 450 meters.
- The world's highest rotating restaurant at 424 meters serves an international buffet.
Other features include a 4D theater.
3. Sightsee on Shamian Island
A foreign settlement was built on this island in the Pearl River in the 19th and early 20th centuries. You could enjoy strolling among old European buildings of different styles and big old trees. Some restaurants complement the area.
While walking around Shamian Island, there are lots of incredible buildings to be seen, and there is a lot of opportunity to try different cuisines including the local Cantonese cuisine. It's a great place for a stroll, and you'll find many old official embassy buildings, cathedrals, churches, as well as shade walking along the greenery.
4. Visit the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall
The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall is an ancient architectural complex, which has 19 buildings with nine halls and six courtyards that are connected in a symmetrical pattern. It was established by members of the large Chen clan who were very influential in southern China in the late 1800s.
The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall has a very traditional look to it, and it is huge. It is interesting that the structure was built in such a traditional manner at a time when building going up in commercial cities in the south often had a Western architectural style.
There is a folk museum called the Guangdong Folk Art Museum in it now.
5. Watch an Artistic Performance in Guangzhou Opera House
The architecture of Guangzhou Opera House is a masterpiece of British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. The fantastic shape of the building blends perfectly with the skyscrapers in Guangzhou CBD.
Watching an artistic performance, such as an opera, ballet, drama, symphony concert, Beijing opera, or local Cantonese opera, in this opera house is an amazing experience. You can check out the homepage of Guangzhou Opera House to find out if there is a show you may be interested in.
6. Visit Zhujiang New Town
Zhujiang New Town is the CBD of Guangzhou and its modern showcase. Also called Tianhe CBD, the area is only 6 square kilometers in size but it has the most skyscrapers at a height of over 300 meters in China. Over 140 of the world's top 500 companies have set their headquarters or agencies there.
There are a lot of things to enjoy: check-in at some of the highest skyscrapers, go shopping in some of the luxury malls, or feast on the delicious food. The art center of Guangzhou is there, which is where Guangzhou Opera House and Guangdong Contemporary Art Center are located.
7. Visit the Sacred Heart Cathedral
The foundations of the Sacred Heart Cathedral were laid in 1863 and it took 25 years to build, with it now being the largest Catholic cathedral in Guangzhou. It is one of the four whole stone Gothic cathedrals in the world.
Although damaged in the turbulent ages of China, the Sacred Heart Cathedral has now been restored to its old glory. No matter whether you are a Catholic or not, the artistic architecture, the colorful glass windows, and the exquisite carvings are all worth a visit.
8. Visit the Statue of Five Goats in Yuexiu Park
Guangzhou is called the City of Goats. This is not because the city has many goats but because of the legend of five goats that brought good harvests and wealth to ancient Guangzhou city. Today, the statue of the five goats is in Yuexiu Park and has become the city’s symbol.
Yuexiu Park is the largest park in the city. There are verdant trees, bamboo groves, flower gardens, and stepped paths up the hill. Every morning, local people will visit the park to exercise or go for a stroll. Try to join in with them — this is an excellent chance to get closer to the locals.
See more about the park>>
9. Get Out to Baiyun Mountain Park
Baiyun Mountain has a stunning natural landscape and cultural heritage. The mountain range is full grandeur with majestic peaks and crisscrossed valleys. There are seven scenic areas on the mountain.
Travelers can appreciate the overall splendid landscape of Guangzhou and especially the beautiful jade-belt-like Pearl River at the top of the mountain.
10. Take a Pearl River Cruise
The Pearl River is China's third longest river. Its Guangzhou section is where the city's most scenic spots are located.
Along the cruise, the scroll of modern Guangzhou gradually unfolds before your eyes: the distinctively-shaped Liede Bridge, the site for the opening ceremony of the 2010 Asian Games, a concert hall with an artistic appearance, as well as the CBD skyscrapers.
A nighttime cruise is highly recommended.
11. Attend the Semi-Annual Canton Fair
The most famous visitor highlight is the twice-yearly Canton Fair that is China's biggest trade fair and one of the biggest in the world. It is held in April/May and October/November each year and attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.
2020 Canton Fair Schedule
- Spring Fair: April 15-19; April 23-27, May 1-5
- Autumn Fair: October 15-19; October 23-27, October 31 - November 4
See The Top 5 Trade Fairs in China.
12. See the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
Guangzhou has its own version of the Qin imperial mausoleum in Xi’an but this is much, much smaller and is the mausoleum of a king from the Nanyue Kingdom who ruled in about 130 BC. A small but well-constructed museum was built to hold the beautiful artifacts discovered inside.
Visit Guangzhou’s Highlights with Us
With our private tour service, you can enjoy a bespoke Guangzhou tour with an English-speaking guide. Whether you're there on vacation, on business, or just a layover, we can offer you some excellent experiences in this vibrant city.
Check out our most popular Guangzhou tour for reference:
Onward Tours to Hong Kong and Macau
Guangzhou's advantageous location makes Hong Kong and Macau conveniently accessible. It is a great idea to extend your trip to experience some cultures that are different from other cities in Mainland China.
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