Guangzhou is a giant city well-known for its business and trade opportunities, like the Canton Fair. It’s also thought to be a foodie’s dream city, because you can find literally any kind of cuisine: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Mexican, Korean – it’s all here.
It’s not the first place you think of visiting, however, when you’re looking to travel in China. But don’t let that stop you from coming here! There are so many things to do. From exploring historical places and hiking outside to experiencing Cantonese culture and seeing Guangzhou’s modern style, there’s something for everyone.
10 Things You Should Do In Guangzhou:
1. SHANGXIA JIE PEDESTRIAN STREET
What is it: A great place for shopping, souvenirs, and street food
How to get there: Take Guangzhou metro line 1 to Changshou Road and follow the signs to the Pedestrian street
2. BAIYUN MOUNTAIN
What is it: A famous mountain in Guangzhou – you can hike up in a few hours or take a cable car and spend time exploring the temples, tea shops, and great views up top
How to get there: Take metro Line 3 and get off at Meihuayuan Station.
Cost: 5 RMB to enter the park, 25 RMB for the cable car, and additional costs if you want to see certain sites on top of the mountain (5 – 15 RMB)
Check out more about the mountain: Explore Guangzhou: Baiyun Mountain白云山
3. NANSHA TIN HAU TEMPLE
What is it: A beautiful temple built for the Sea goddess during the Ming Dynasty. It’s farther outside of the city center of Guangzhou but well worth a trip to see! Read more about it here: Explore Guangzhou: Tin Hau Temple
How to get there: Take Line 4 to Jinzhou, then take bus 4 all the way to the temple (about 30 minutes).
Cost: 20 RMB
4. SHAWAN ANCIENT TOWN
What is it: Another site farther outside of Guangzhou, but an interesting place to see an ancient little town!
How to get there: Take the metro to Shiqiao on line 3. Take bus 67 for 20 – 30 minutes and get off when you start seeing signs for Shawan Ancient Town
5. TIYU XILU/ZHUJIANG NEW TOWN
What is it: The heart of downtown Guangzhou – you can go shopping and eat to your heart’s content at the many malls and restaurants around here
How to get there: Take Line 3 to either Zhujiang New Town or Tiyu Xilu
6. TEMPLE OF THE SIX BAIYUN TREES
What is it: A Buddhist temple built in AD 537 and one of the four best temples in Guangzhou
How to get there: Take metro Line 1 or metro Line 2 to Gongyuanqian Station, leave out exit B and walk 5 minutes
Cost: 5 RMB
8. SHAMIAN ISLAND
What is it: Shamian Island was an important port for Guangzhou’s foreign trade. It was where foreigners lived in the 18th and 19th century, so the architecture is very European. You won’t feel like you’re in China!
How to get there: Take line 1 on the metro to Huangsha Station and walk across the road
9. SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL
What is it: A beautiful and famous cathedral in Guangzhou. The inside and outside is gorgeous. They have services here every week in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and English.
How to get there: Take the Line 2 to Haizhu Square, use exit B2 and walk west
10. CANTON TOWER
What is it: The icon for the city of Guangzhou! You can see the tower at night from miles away because of it’s beautiful rainbow lights. Take photos of it outside or go to the top!
How to get there: Take the metro to Line 3 – you can get off at Zhujiang New Town and walk a little to get a view, or get off at the Canton Tower stop to go up inside the tower
MORE THINGS TO DO
This is just the tip of the iceberg for Guangzhou – if you’re looking for more entertainment, there’s a zoo, the Chimelong amusement park, and a circus.
If you like Chinese culture and history, there’s the Chen Clan Academy, SunYat-sen Memorial Hall, and more temples.
And, of course, don’t forget to eat Cantonese food.
There’s so much to see and do in Guangzhou! The longer I’m here I realize there’s still so much I haven’t done yet. Here’s to more adventures in Guangzhou, squinty smiles in the sun, and discovering new Chinese surprises.