Guangzhou, the third largest city in China, can be best explained as “unity in diversity”. It has modern flyovers and metros as well as ancient monuments and historical sites. Guangzhou is a port on the delta formed where the Pearl River meets the South China Sea. This sprawling urban area has been a busy commercial hub since ancient times. In fact, in the past the city was considered the most convenient gateway between China and the Western countries and became a large trading zone over the centuries.

Well-known for its Cantonese cuisine and tourist-friendly people, the metropolis of Guangzhou is a kaleidoscope of mixed cultures, modern educational institutions, major business houses, busy marketplaces, International events, shopping streets, malls, hi-tech entertainment zones, food streets, and more. The Shamian Island, a part of Guangzhou municipality, was a popular export center during the Han, Tang, and Qing Dynasties. But westerners have visited Guangzhou City and set roots here much earlier than that. This is evident from the ancient Huaisheng Mosque built in the 630s in Guangzhou and the Western-style mansions and boulevards located on the Shamian Island.

In contrast, there are two gigantic and modern skyscrapers in Guangzhou. The hourglass-shaped Canton TV Tower is Asia’s tallest edifice and the Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre is the 7th tallest structure. Other modern architectural marvels are the Guangzhou Opera House that is shaped like a gigantic double pebble and the Guangdong Museum that looks like a large box. These buildings are surrounded by luxury hotels and upscale shopping and entertainment zones.

Best Sites to Book Guangzhou Accommodation
Rank Booking Site Price Compared to Average
1. Cheapest -9%
2. Cheap Agoda -7%
3. Average -2%
4. More Expensive Expedia 4%
5. Most Expensive 8%
Where to Stay in Guangzhou

A majority of the luxury hotels of Guangzhou City are located in the urban areas of Tian He, Hai Zhu, Yue Xiu, Nansha, Baiyun District, Li Wan, Panyu District, and what is known as the Guangzhou Science City. Whereas, most of the mid-range accommodation is available in the localities of Yue Xui, Shi Fu Road, Huan Shi Dong Road, Tianhe Road, and Li Wan. The hotels offer various facilities like elite accommodation, in-house multi-cuisine restaurants, concierge services, spas, in-room dining, swimming pools, 24x7 housekeeping, and more depending on its stars.

There are also lodges and hostels for people traveling on a limited budget. These places are clean and have basic amenities. But they do not have in-house restaurants or housekeeping services. Also, the language might prove to be a problem because the smaller places are usually owned by locals who may or may not know English. An English-Chinese voice-based translation app will prove useful in such a situation.

What to See in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is a vast metropolitan city with a pleasant blend of tradition and modernism. One of the classic examples of ancient tourist attractions is the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall. This is an old temple which also has the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum. The Bright Filial Piety Temple, the Western Han Nanyue King's Tomb Museum, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees are classic relics worth visiting. Other places of interest are the Flowery Pagoda and Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

For large groups of tourists and families with kids, a visit to the Yuexiu Park and the Baiyunshan Scenic Area will add an extra element of fun to the trip. But the most enjoyable option is the Chimelong Changlong Holiday Resort. This amusement park sees almost 6 million visitors a year. It is divided into 6 sections called the Chemilong Circus, Safari Park (zoo), Chimelong Paradise with its roller coaster rides, Water Park, and Crocodile Park.

On visiting the South China Botanical Garden, Guangzhou Orchid Garden, and the Yuntai Garden one can understand why the metropolis is also known as the “city of flowers”.

The city of Guangzhou is a paradise for compulsive shoppers. It has a bonanza of marketplaces that have fair-price shops where one can get the best bargains. These bazaars or markets offer a wide range of products from clothes and accessories to electronics and everything else in-between! For shopping, a visit to the TeeMall Plaza, Beijing Road Business Street, and the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street is a must.
The number of public events that take place in Guangzhou City is amazing. In fact, the place can be safely called the “city of events” by the number of trade fairs that are held here. Being the biggest manufacturing and industrial zone in China, the city hosts the Canton Fair every spring season where thousands of products and brands are displayed and sold. But if one wishes to visit during this season it is advisable to book the accommodation well in advance.

Chimelong Tourist Resort | Canton Tower | Shamian Island | Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall | Baiyun Shan (White Cloud Mountain) | Art 64 Gallery | Vitamin Creative Space | New Guangdong Museum | Whampoa Military Academy (Huangpu Military Academy) | Canton Fair Complex (Guangzhou Exhibition Center) | Mausoleum of the Nanyue King | Guangzhou Opera House | Space Flight Spectacle | Qiangang Village | Xiguan Residences | Chen Clan Academy (Chen Jia Ci) | Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurong Si) | Yuexiu Park | Guangzhou Museum of Art | Qingping Market |
What to Eat in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is definitely known as a foodie's city. Apart from the well-known dim-sum, the people of Guangzhou province are known for eating literally everything. Don't be surprised to see bugs, reptiles, amphibians and fish skin on the menu.

Having said that apart from "the weird stuff", Guangdong cuisine is generally quite enjoyed by non-Chinese. Fish and pork make up the majority of dishes, often braised or barbecued. As with all major Chinese cities you can also find Western choices in downtown areas.

Cantonese food, locally called Yuecai, can be identified by its colorful presentation and superb aroma. The cuisine is meant for the adventurous and those who like to experiment with food. Tourists who have a traditional palate should stick to the multi-cuisine restaurants that offer an International spread.

For the curious eaters there is a sea of choices in the various food streets of Guangzhou City. The local teahouses and Cantonese restaurants are a treat. Huifu Dong Street, Panfu & Liuhua Area, Shang Xia Jiu Street, Tiyu Dong Road, Shamian, Tiyu Xi Road, Southern Downtown, and Huanshi Dong are some of the best food streets in the city. They are a tourist hotspot in the evenings when the best freshly made snacks and meals are served.

It would be a shame if one didn’t try out their steamed or fried dim sum (dumplings), Shuang Pi Nai custard, Kao Ru Zhu (whole roast pig), and the Yum Cha (tea with dim sum and other snacks). To describe the cuisine in a nutshell – you can get almost anything to eat in Guangzhou. Those who wish to experiment further should try their signature dish called Long Hu Dou which is made with snake and cat meat!

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