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Guangzhou

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Cantonese cuisine is well-known for its blend of color, fragrance, taste and presentation, and it is ranked among the top four in the country. In particular, ''dim sum'', a delicate pastry, is famous for being simple yet delicious. Local customs have also played a major role in the development and diversity of Cantonese cuisine, as it is often said that Cantonese people eat everything that swims except a submarine, everything that flies except an airplane, and everything with four legs except a table.  
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Cantonese cuisine is well-known for its blend of color, fragrance, taste and presentation, and it is ranked among the top four in the country. In particular, ''dim sum'', a delicate pastry, is famous for being simple yet delicious. Local customs have also played a major role in the development and diversity of Cantonese cuisine, as it is often said that Cantonese people eat everything that swims except a submarine, everything that flies except an airplane, and everything with four legs except a table, meaning that Cantonese cuisine is one of, if not the most adventurous in China due to their expansive use of exotic ingredients.
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Do not ever be afraid of ordering too much - almost every restaurant in Guangzhou will have a takeaway option, just ask to ''da bao'' (take-out) and your leftovers will be packaged up in a sealable, microwavable container to be eaten at home.
 
Do not ever be afraid of ordering too much - almost every restaurant in Guangzhou will have a takeaway option, just ask to ''da bao'' (take-out) and your leftovers will be packaged up in a sealable, microwavable container to be eaten at home.
  

Revision as of 00:14, 24 May 2011

For other places with the same name, see Canton (disambiguation).
View of the World Trade Center along Huanshi Dong Road, with the Holiday Inn in the distant background.

Guangzhou (广州 Guǎngzhōu or just simply GZ) is the capital of Guangdong Province in southern China. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 12.7 million, making it the third largest city in mainland China after Shanghai and Beijing. It is adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau forming an urban tri-angle. In the era of tea clippers, Guangzhou was known in the West as "Canton". The food and the language of the area are still known as "Cantonese" and it is perfectly acceptable to use either the western or Chinese term interchangeably. The Cantonese are proud and hardworking people known throughout China and the world over for their famous cuisine and tack for business.

The city is famous for foreign trade and business doings, and holds China's largest trade fair, the Canton Fair. However, in between the seemingly endless skyscrapers, shopping malls and building sites there is a lot of culture and history. While Guangzhou is not usually high on the list of Asian tourist destinations, it is amazing how much the city actually has to offer.

Districts

Layout of Guangzhou
Western central Guangzhou in detail (Liwan and west Yuexiu)
Eastern central Guangzhou in detail (east Yuexiu and Tianhe)

There are ten districts in Guangzhou:

  • Liwan (荔湾 Lìwān) — This is the old Guangzhou, and is combined with the old Fangcun (芳村 Fāngcūn) area in the southwest. Tourist highlights include the colonial Shamian Island, Xiguan Old Houses, and Shangxiajiu shopping districts.
  • Yuexiu (越秀 Yuèxiù) — This is the political and cultural center and includes the old Dongshan (东山, Dōngshān) area. Highlights include Yuexiu Park, Beijing Lu Shopping District, and Huanghuagang Martyrs Memorial Park.
  • Haizhu (海珠 Hǎizhū) — Located south of the Pearl River, the district is becoming more business focused, particularly in real estate and trading. Locals refer to this part of Guangzhou as Henan, meaning south of the river. Highlights include the Canton Fair Pazhou Exhibition Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, and the Pearl River Promenade. Includes Xinjiao Town
  • Tianhe (天河 Tiānhé) — This is the new city center. It is thriving with many new developments, including skyscrapers like the Citic Plaza and new construction within Zhujiang New Town. Highlights include the Sports Center and many shopping centers.
  • Baiyun (白云 Báiyún) — This district has a big rural touch, but is slowly being taken over by new developments. Highlights include the Baiyun Mountain.
  • Huangpu (黄埔 Huángpǔ) — Not well known among foreign tourists, this district is to the east of the city center. Highlights include the former Huangpu Military Academy.
  • Panyu (番禺 Pānyú) — This is the new area and it focuses on technology and economic development. Highlights include the Lianhua Mountain, two wild animal theme parks and the new University City.
  • Huadu (花都 Huādū) — This is a developing industrial area. Highlights include Huadu Square, and the New Baiyun International Airport
  • Nansha (南沙 Nánshā) — This is an industrial area at the southern tip of the city. It offers little to tourists.
  • Luogang (萝岗 Luógǎng) — This is the eastern part of the city and is famous for its plum forest. It is not a popular tourist destination, but it does has some historical sites.

The urban part of the 10 districts are covered by this article, whereas Panyu, Huangpu, Nansha, Huadu, Nangang, and part of Tianhe and Baiyun are covered by Guangzhou Outer City.

In addition to the 10 districts, two nearby cities have been drafted into Guangzhou's jurisdiction:

  • Zengcheng (增城 Zēngchéng) is famous for its lychee fruit, which are picked in June and July.
  • Conghua (从化 Cónghuà) is known for its hot springs and Tian (Heavenly) Lake Recreation area.

The main tourist areas and metropolitan areas are in the northern part of the city and they include Liwan, Yuexiu and Tianhe.

Understand

Location of Guangzhou in China

At first sight, Guangzhou appears less as a city that is developing than one that is about to explode. Every corner seems to be packed with high-rise buildings, overpasses, and people running marathons. It can be overwhelming, and the initial instinct of many travelers is to leave as soon as possible. However, those that overcome this urge and stay around will discover a gentler and more personable side to the city.

As a major entry point for overseas culture for many centuries, foreigners are not the anomaly here that they are in other Chinese cities. Consequently, travelers are afforded more personal space and freedom. In addition, tucked away in the back streets, the old Guangzhou of traditional neighborhoods still moves at an age-old pace, with families and friends often sitting outdoors enjoying tea and banter.

Guangzhou also has the largest urban park in China, an island of refurbished colonial buildings and some world class galleries and exhibition spaces. In addition, possibly due to the distance from the country's political centers, the citizens of Guangzhou have developed a laid-back and play-hard approach to life.

Today, Guangzhou is recognized as one of China's most prosperous, liberal, and cosmopolitan cities. However, despite being an international trading hub, there is still a lack of English signage and, outside of the business districts and tourist areas, very few locals converse well in English. If you need special requirements, i.e. vegetarian diet, it is highly recommended to bring a phrase book. Navigating Guangzhou without a phrasebook or understanding of the language will prove to be a difficult task.

Guangzhou is often (negatively) reffered to as the Los Angeles of China thanks to it's sprawl of highways, shopping malls, smog, traffic jams, diverse population and it's comparatively high crime-rate (desplite many Chinese claiming Guangzhou to be a dangerous city, it's no more dangerous than any large Western city).

History

Formerly known as Canton in the West, the city of Guangzhou has a history dating back roughly 2,500 years.

Although the actual origins of the city are lost in the mists of time, the most popular legend tells of five celestial beings riding into the area that is now Guangzhou on five rams and carrying sheaves of rice. The celestials bestowed blessings on the land and offered the sheaves to the people of the city as a symbol of prosperity and abundance. After the celestials left, the rams turned into stone, and Guangzhou quickly developed into an affluent and influential city. Due to this legend, Guangzhou has gained several popular nicknames: Yangcheng (羊城; City of Rams), 穗城Suicheng (穗城; Sheaves of Rice City) and Wuyangcheng (五羊城; City of Five Rams). In addition, due to the abundance of flowers along the city's main thoroughfares, Guangzhou is often referred to as Huacheng (花城; City of Flowers).

According to historical records, the city was built in 214BC and was known as Panyu (番禺). The name Guangzhou actually referred to the prefecture in which Panyu was located. However, as the city grew, the name Guangzhou was adopted for the city itself.

As a major sea port, Guangzhou's history is full of color. In 786 the city was sacked by the Persians and in 1711 the British East India Company established a trading post here. In 1842 the Treaty of Nanjing was signed, which designated the city as one of the five ports that were allowed business transactions with foreign nations.

Guangzhou was also part of the so called "Maritime Silk Road" that linked southern China with India, South-East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. As a result of its links with the Middle East, a mosque was established in the city in 627, and a small Muslim community continues to live in Guangzhou to this day. Additionally, the sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism was born in Guangzhou and taught the famous Platform Sutra in the city. As a result, Guangzhou has retained a strong connection with this school of Buddhism, and the monastery where the sixth patriarch studied is considered a local treasure.

When to visit

In terms of climate, the best time to visit Guangzhou is between October and November. Alternatively, April and May are also good months. Guangzhou has a sub-tropical climate with humidity levels at their highest in the summer, so unless you enjoy Turkish steam baths, this is a season to avoid! Typhoon season is from June to October. Please note that the Canton Trade Fairs take place annually during the 3rd and 4th weeks of April and October, so finding accommodation at those times can be difficult (See the warning section under Sleep).

Get in

By plane

The New Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (广州白云国际机场, IATA: CAN, ICAO: ZGGG, [50]) is a major hub in Southern China, second only to Hong Kong. The airport is the base of China Southern Airlines [51] and has not only an extensive range of domestic and Asian flights, but some direct international connections including Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Air France to Paris, Emirates to Dubai and China Southern to Los Angeles, Melbourne and Sydney.

The airport is 28 km north from central Guangzhou. The most convenient way into the city is by the new Guangzhou Metro line 3. The lower level of the airport terminal leads to the Airport South metro station. A journey to the East Railway Station, or to Tiyu Xilu metro station (both ¥12) in the center of town, takes about 40 minutes. Trains run every seven minutes, with the last train from and to the airport departing at 11 PM.

Taxis are also available and take about the same time as the train. A taxi ride to central Guangzhou will cost about ¥120, inclusive of a ¥15 toll fee. As of 2011, there is an added ¥2 fuel surcharge that is not shown on the fare meter.

Airport Express buses operate just outside the arrival terminal, but are a distant second to the metro in reliability and comfort. If you have more than one piece of luggage or if a line has a stop at your hotel, this may be your top choice. Line 1 (¥16) departs every 15 minutes from 7 AM until the last flight and takes 45 minutes to reach the train station and Central Hotel. The ticket prices range from ¥10 to ¥45. Lines 1 to 6 are traveling within the metropolitan area, while lines 7-11 go to outer districts. There are also direct Airport Express buses to some cities in the vicinity, including Zhuhai and other cities in the Pearl River Delta. However, there is no direct bus that takes you to Macau or Hong Kong.

Do not accept solicitations for rides to the city. Those are illegally operated and use unmarked vehicles. They may cost more than taxis since many travelers do not know the cost of airport transportations.

For many travelers, especially those arriving from outside Asia, flying to Hong Kong may be cheaper, if you are willing to take several extra hours to transfer overland to Guangzhou. From there, cross-boundary coach service to Guangzhou (and many other cities in Guangdong) is provided by three companies: China Travel Service, Trans-Island Chinalink and Eternal East. Fares range from HK$220-250 one way.

By train

Hong Kong - Guangzhou through train timetable
Train no. Hung Hom
(departure)
GZ East
(arrival)
T812* 07:25 09:20
T824* 08:18 10:09
T820* 09:24 11:19
T804* 10:42 12:37
T808 11:28 13:23
T814 12:14 14:09
T826* 13:10 15:01
T818* 14:47 16:42
T810* 16:35 18:29
T828* 17:50 19:41
T816* 18:35 20:30
T802* 19:24 21:19
Effective from May 2010
* denotes a stop-over in Dongguan (Changping station)

Trains cover the 182 kilometers from Hong Kong in about two hours (including a stop at Dongguan). Through Trains to Guangzhou depart from Hong Kong at Hung Hom railway station in Kowloon and arrive in Guangzhou at the East station in Tian He district. Trains operating on this service are operated by China Rail and the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR). Since the merger of the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) and the MTR, Hung Hom station and Hong Kong ticket sales are controlled by the MTR [52].

It is cheaper to take the high speed train (200 km/h) from Shenzhen to Guangzhou. Shenzhen is right across the border from Hong Kong and thousands of people walk over the bridge between the two every day. China High Speed train tickets are numbered D8## and can be bought from ticket counters or machines.

A project is underway to link the entire Pearl River Delta area with high speed (200+ km/h) train network. The Zhuhai-Guangzhou section is due to open in 2008, and the journey will take just 56 minutes. Shenzhen is already connected. This is part of a nation-wide high-speed network that is under construction. Eventually, this will allow a 7-hour Guangzhou-Beijing ride.

There is also a high-speed train service that connects Guangzhou to Wuhan via Changsha and various other cities. It takes only slightly over 3 hours for a journey to Wuhan, nearly 1000 km away. This train holds the current world record for commercial train services in term of average speed.

It is possible to book a train ticket from Guangzhou to Lhasa, Tibet. The 4,980 km journey takes 54h39m and runs every other day. A sleeper costs ¥869 and up. The last stretch is on the new (2006) Qinghai-Tibet railway; for discussion see Overland to Tibet.

Bear in mind there are two major train stations in Guangzhou. The Guangzhou East Station (广州东站) services routes to Hong Kong. The Guangzhou Station (广州站) is one of the biggest in the country and services routes that go all the way to Harbin. Countless travellers have gone to the wrong station and missed their scheduled trips, so be sure of your departing station, which is specified on the ticket. Metro line 1 ends at Guangzhou East Station, and lines 2 and 5 have a stop at the Guangzhou Station.

Note that there is little English signage at the train stations, and staff may not understand English well enough (except at the Guangzhou-Kowloon counter) - bring a phrasebook or a Chinese friend if you're planning on traveling deeper into China.

By bus

Coach services are available to bring passengers from Hong Kong International Airport to several locations in Guangzhou. Among the destinations are recognizable landmarks like Jinan University (暨南大学) on Huang Pu Da Dao (黄埔大道), Garden Hotel (花园酒店) and China Hotel (中国大酒店) (see hotel section). The trip takes about 3+ hours and costs 250 HKD. There are also cross border bus terminals throughout Hong Kong. One of the Stations is at Austin Road and Canton Road near Kowloon Park. A one way ticket costs about 100 HKD.

Domestically, it is possible to hop on a bus from any corner of Guangdong province and get to Guangzhou. There are also many options from nearby provinces like Guangxi, Hubei and Fujian. The main stations are the Provincial Station (省汽车站), Tianhe Dasha Station (天河大厦站), Liuhua Station (流花站) and Yuexiu Nan Station (越秀南站).

By boat

There is a frequent ferry and hovercraft service from Hong Kong, Macau, and Haikou (Hainan Island) at the Zhoutouzui Ferry Pier (洲头咀码头). There are boats from other mainland cities, such as Xiamen, Shanghai, and Qingdao at the Dashatou Pier (大沙头码头).

New Nansha Port(新南沙客运港) is operating 4 lines traveling from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, Macau, and the Hong Kong International Airport. The trip takes 75 minutes to Hong Kong. Note that Nansha is very far from the city center, although there are various bus pickup points from the city center and Panyu. The port is 1.6km south of Humen Bridge, Nansha District, Guangzhou.

Schedule: Nansha to Hong Kong: 08:00 - 18:00 (5 separate lines) Standard ¥140, First Class ¥195, VIP ¥245

Nansha to Macau: Nansha – Macau 13:45; Macau - Nansha 15:50 Standard ¥180, First Class ¥280

Nansha to Hong Kong Airport: Nansha – HKIA 9:30; HKIA – Nansha 16:00 Standard ¥265, VIP ¥350

Get around

Yang Cheng Tong card

Guangzhou has a fairly efficient and rapidly expanding public transportation system. If you intend to stay in Guangzhou for an extensive period of time, purchase a multi-purpose Yang Cheng Tong (羊城通) stored value card, similar to the Octopus Card in Hong Kong. It can be used not only for public transportation (bus, subway, parking meters and some taxis), but also for public phones and designated shops, places of interests and certain vending machines. The card includes a ¥30 refundable deposit. While you can purchase the cards in many places, returning your card at the end of the trip is a hassle, because such service locations are limited. The best place to do so is at the service center at the metro station Gongyuanqian. It may be worth it to simply keep the card as a souvenir.

By subway

Guangzhou Metro

Guangzhou's metro system [53] opened in 1999 and has been expanding at a breakneck pace ever since. The network covers much of the city center and is growing rapidly outward. The fare ranges from ¥2 to ¥19. Most of the signs and announcements are in Chinese and English. Tickets can be bought from vending machines in the stations. Bills from ¥5 - ¥10 or coins from ¥0.5 - ¥1 are accepted. You can break up your big bills at the customer service counters. The ticket is a small plastic token, which you swipe over the blue reader at the gate to enter the platform, and at the exit where you insert the token into the slot like a vending machine. Multi-Pass and Yang-Cheng-Tong are also accepted and can be purchased at the customer service counter. Most of these machines do not accept old or torn notes. You can exchange old or torn notes for coins at the customer service counter. Tell the officer at the counter where you want to go and he or she will return your note with the requisite fare in coins and the rest in notes.

As of October 2010 there are now 6 metro lines, and one APM line. Lines 1 and 2 are the most useful to tourists, running east-west and north-south respectively across the city center. Line 1 serves the Liwan and Yuexiu Districts and ends at the East Railway Station. Line 2 serves the new South Railway Station and goes all the way to Jiahe in the Baiyun District. Line 3 connects the airport and East Railway Station to the Tianhe and Panyu districts, with a split into two branches at Tiyu Xilu. Line 4 is an elevated suburban line serving Panyu, University City and the surrounding villages south-east of the city proper. Line 5 is a half-circular route mostly following Huangshi Dong Lu (the inner ring-road). Line 8 is a line that took over the Line 2 stations Xiaogang to Wanshengwei and is now an independent line, it also comprises of a new section from Changgang (which links with Line 2) to Fenghuang Xincun on Gongye Avenue North. The Guangfo Metro is an Intercity subway line connecting Foshan with Guangzhou. The Zhujiang APM line is a driverless train that runs between Linhexi and Chigang Pagoda. There is also a line going to the neighboring city of Foshan. The line is operated by Foshan Metro and it connects to Guangzhou at the line 1 Xilang station.

By bus

There is also a comprehensive public bus service that covers Guangzhou from end to end. By far, it is the cheapest way to move around. Bus fares are ¥1 for the older buses and ¥2 for the air-conditioned ones, although the older buses have been mostly retired. Information at bus stops is mostly written in Chinese, although the current stop's name is also written in English and stops close to subway stations are marked with the Guangzhou Metro logo, which is handy if you are lost. On-board announcements are made in Mandarin, Cantonese and sometimes English. Exact fare or a Yang Cheng Tong card is needed when boarding. If travelling on a quiet bus it's advisable to signal to the driver that you wish to get off when approaching your stop by pressing the red buzzer next to the exit door or by saying 'xia yi zhan you xia'(pinyin:xià yī zhàn yǒu xià) meaning I'm getting off at the next stop or simply 'you xia'(pinyin:yǒu xià).

Buses are only handy for travelling within one district or for reaching suburban districts that are not served by the subway, and heavy traffic can lead to a slow, uncomfortable journey although they can be handy for a cheap but slow sightseeing tour. Trolleybus routes 101-109 are handy for exploring Liwan and Yuexiu districts. There are also 3 tourist bus lines passing through many scenic spots in the city.

A handful of commuter express buses run mostly in peak hours from major bus/subway interchanges to outlying districts using the elevated roads and can be faster than taking a conventional bus. Fares are charged according to distance.

By BRT

The bus rapid transit system went into service in early 2010 and although most tourists won't use it, it's worth a mention. It is essentially a long segregated bus lane running along the Tianhe Lu/Huangpu Dadao corridor towards the eastern suburbs. Intersections are traversed by bridges and tunnels, which cuts journey times considerably. Buses generally pass along the BRT and then run as normal services at either end. If boarding a BRT bus at a normal (non BRT) bus stop, the normal fare of 2 RMB applies, however you can transfer to other BRT routes for free, provided you transfer at a BRT stop. If boarding at a BRT stop, insert 2 yuan (coins only) into the entry turnstile to enter the platform area - no payment is required when boarding the bus.

By taxi

This is the most popular way for foreigners to get around, and it is very affordable. The starting charge is ¥7 for the first 2.3 kilometers, or about 1.4 miles. After that is ¥2.6 for each kilometer. The cost may be slightly different, depending on the taxi operators. ¥2 fuel surcharge is now added. Although widely publicized, many of them actually do not accept Yang Cheng Tong as payment. The taxi hot line is 96900. This comes in handy if you forget your valuables in a taxi. Save your receipt because it contains the taxi's identification number.

Most taxi drivers do not speak English or any other foreign languages, so be sure to have the name and address of your destination written in Chinese to show your taxi driver. Many are from the poorer northern provinces and do not even speak Cantonese.

Beware of taxi driver as sometimes, in addition to going around the block one too many times, they will also try to push meaningless pieces of paper with Chinese characters and numbers on them as genuine bills. Pay close attention as to what they pay when passing tolls, especially when going to the airport and usually in the range of 5-7RMB, and only add this amount to what is displayed in the meter. Be firm and do not pay a cent more. To and from the airport from the train station (arriving from Hong Kong) should be in the 120-130RMB range.

By car

While driving in Guangzhou is an option, drivers unfamiliar with the driving conditions in China's large and densely populated cities should be aware that the experience can be extremely daunting and potentially dangerous.

Car rental companies in Guangzhou:

  • Avis 9 Huali Lu + 86 20 3758-5080
  • Hertz 89 Linhe Xi Lu + 86 20 8755-1608

See also Driving in China.

By motorcycle

Although a convenient way to navigate the city's back alleys and lanes, motorcycles are banned from the city centre, and riding a motorcycle into these prohibited areas can lead to fines and possible confiscation of the bike.

In addition to the central motorcycle ban, electric bicycles are banned from the city roads. [54]

By bicycle

Due to the increasing affordability of private cars, bicycles are in sharp decline in Guangzhou. In recent years, the government has been promoting this low-carbon mode of transportation. Over 100 rental outlets are now available along many BRT lines and subway stations. The rental fee is by the hour and up to ¥30 a day. One popular bike route is along the Pearl River on the Haizhu District side. Other dedicated bike lanes are slowly appearing in the city center, including Tianhe District. Yangchengtong Card is accepted in many public rental outlets.

New bikes are available in major hypermarkets from 200 yuan for a cheap single-speed to around 800 yuan for a 21-speed mountain bike, although quality leaves a lot to be desired. Giant and Merida are the two most common international brands (both are from Taiwan) and whilst a little more expensive (expect to spend over 1000 yuan for anything with more than 1 gear), they offer something a little faster and of better quality. Get a decent quality lock too - bike theft is rampant!

Folding bikes are permitted on the subway (but not on buses) and can be carried in the trunk of a taxi at the driver's discretion, but non-folders are not permitted on any form of public transport other than the cross-river ferries. Bicycles are not permitted to cross the river via the Zhujiang Tunnel or Zhujiang suspension bridge, but are permitted to go on the public ferries for ¥1 (see below).

By ferry

The ferry is the cheapest way of crossing the Pearl River (Zhujiang) - it runs between the seafood market next to Shamian Island in Huangsha and the Bai-e-tan Bar Street (Changdi Lu) in Fancun every 10 minutes from 6AM to 10PM. The fare is 0.5 yuan for a foot passenger or 1 yuan if you bring a bicycle. The fare can be paid in cash (no change given) or by using a transportation card. There are separate boarding gates for cyclists and pedestrians, and you pay at the boarding gate.

On foot

Due to the sheer size of the city, walking is not advisable if you are trying to reach destinations in different districts e.g. from Shamian Island to Citic Plaza. However, walking is a great way of exploring individual districts, and treats such as markets, small antiquities shops and local restaurants can be found up almost every little alley. Walking along main roads can be a nightmare - construction work can result in some inconvenient pedestrian diversions. Open manhole covers or sidewalks blocked by huge piles of cement are common. Take caution when crossing roads, even when the light is green, as bicycles and cars routinely expect everyone to move out of their way and drive through blindly. Many major intersections must be crossed using complex underpasses and footbridges. Make sure you have a map with you. It is all too easy to get lost in the rabbit-warren of small streets and alleys, even if some street signs are also in English.

By getting on a bus without looking where it's going

(see above for information about using the buses) Whilst this is not a guarantee of a good day out, if you have seen all the major sights and still have time leftover, many small attractions are scattered around every corner of the city. Go to a busy bus stop, jump on a random bus and see where it takes you. For 2 yuan you might get a cheap sightseeing tour of the 'undiscovered Guangzhou', although you might end up in a boring residential area or the bus might terminate 2 blocks from where you got on! Make sure you remember the route number of the bus so you can get back! (Bus Routes Online Service on: [55])

Talk

The primary language of Guangzhou is Cantonese, although standard Mandarin, or Putonghua, is also widely spoken due to the large influx of migrants. However, Guangzhou natives are known among the Chinese for their heavily accented Mandarin, which may take a while to get used to if you have just started learning Mandarin. As the Guangzhou dialect of Cantonese is considered to be the prestige dialect, Guangzhou is a good place to start for those wanting to learn Cantonese in its "purest" form. As Mandarin is the only language used in schools in mainland China, most younger locals will be bilingual in Cantonese and Mandarin.

English is not common, but is still better understood here than most other Chinese cities, especially in restaurants and bars. It's a good idea to get your hotel's business card so taxi drivers can take you back if you get lost, and also to get hotel staff to write down the names of any tourist attractions you wish to visit in Chinese, so that locals can point you in the right direction.

See

Landmarks

Sun Yat Sen Memorial
Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral, on Shamian Island
  • Guangxiao Temple (光孝寺 guāng-xiào-sì) 109 Guangxiao Lu (光孝路) (Metro 1 Ximenkou - Exit C) – As the sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Hui Neng, trained at this temple in the 7th Century, it is a popular pilgrimage site for Zen Buddhists. The temple has been destroyed several times by fire, and the current buildings date only from the mid 19th century. Admission ¥4. Warning - there are beggars outside who will approach any tourist and whilst they will be grateful for whatever you give them it is the 'monks' of which you need to be careful. The 'monks' thrust small 'lucky' charms onto tourists before insisting on 'donations', and claiming that anything between 100 and 400 RMB is normal, which is crazy for a country with a typical weekly salary of around 600 RMB: avoid these orange clothed con artists.
  • Liurong Temple (六榕寺 liù-róng-sì) 87 Liurong Lu (六榕路) (Metro 1 Gongyuanqian - Exit I)– The Temple of Six Banyan Trees, which includes the 17 story, eight-sided Hua Ta, or Flowering Pagoda, is one of the most popular attractions in Guangzhou. The temple dates back to the 6th century, while the pagoda predates it by about 300 years. Admission ¥5, Flower Pagoda ¥10.
  • The buildings and streets of the former British and French concession on Shamian Island (沙面岛) have been beautifully renovated, creating an oasis of tranquility in an otherwise bustling and hectic metropolis. One of the old structures is Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel, located at 14 Shamian Street. Attractions on the island are all free. As an island, Shamian is not particularly spectacular, but what makes it special that for several hundred years this tiny spit of land was the only place in all of China that Europeans could establish settlements. The architecture reflects that era, and it has a unique atmosphere. (Metro 1 Huangsha - Exit D)
  • Across the canal from Shamian is the Chinese Medicine Market. The modern front of the market has quite a few stalls selling dried herbs used in Chinese Medicine. The real charm here lies just behind the modern exterior. The modern exterior is built onto a series of old historical narrow alleyways with shops selling herbs. The Starbucks on Shamian provides a great respite from the hustle and bustle of Guangzhou
  • Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (中山纪念堂 zhōng-shān-jì-niàn-táng),(Metro 2 Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall - Exit C) located on Dongfeng Zhong Lu, is dedicated to the founder of the Republic of China and local hero Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. It was constructed in 1931 and built on the original site of Sun Yat-sen's presidential office on Yuexiu Hill. Oopen 8AM-6PM. Admission is free for the park and ¥10 to go inside the hall.
  • Chen Clan Academy (陈家祠 chén-jiā-cí) [56] Zhongshan 7 Lu (中山七路)(Metro 1 Chan Clan Academy - Exit D). This is very well preserved architecture from the 19th century. It used to belong to a wealthy family by the name of Chen and now houses many articles including ivory sculptures and artistic statues. (Admission ¥10)
  • Shishi Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral (石室圣心大教堂 shí-shì-shèng-xīn-jiào-táng) 56 Yide Lu (一德路旧部前)(Metro 2 Haizhu Square).It is one of the oldest church structures in the city, and the largest of its kind of Southern China. It is currently in use for worship. Visiting hours are limited to Sun from 7AM-6PM. Free admission.
  • Huangpu Military Academy (黄埔军校旧址 huáng-pǔ-jūn-xiào-jiù-zhǐ) is on Changzhou Island. It was founded in 1924 by Sun Yat-sen, along with the Chinese Communist Party at the time. Many famous Chinese war heroes were trained here. Admission ¥15.
  • Wu Xian Guan Temple (五仙观 wǔ-xiān-guān) Weifu Xi Lu (惠福西路). (Metro 1 Ximenkou - Exit C)Admission ¥5.
  • Huaisheng Mosque (怀圣寺 huái-shèng-sì) 56 Guangta Lu (光塔路) (Metro 1 Ximenkou - Exit C). This is one of the oldest Muslim mosques in China, built in 627. The mosque is not open to the public, but you can take a peek outside.
  • Sanyuan Temple (三元宫 sān-yuán-gōng) – Yingyuan Lu (Metro 2 Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall - Exit C). This is the largest and oldest Taoist temple in the city.
  • Xiguan Residence (西关大屋 xī-guān-dà-wū) (Metro 1 Changshou Lu)– See the traditional Cantonese architectures from ancient Guangzhou. This structure was occupied by the upper class.
  • Hualin Temple (华林寺 huá-lín-sì) (Metro 1 Changshou Lu)
  • Guangzhou Traditional Buildings (骑楼) are slowly disappearing due to the rapid growth in the city. Remaining buildings can be found near Yide Road, Renmin Nan Road and Zhongshan Road. They make great photo spots.

Museums and galleries

  • Guangzhou City Art Museum (广州美术馆) guǎng-zhōu-měi-shù-guǎn (Metro 2 Yue Xiu Gong Yuan)– Located near the Zhehai Building in Yuexiu Park, this impressive gallery has more than 10,000 pieces of art work, including calligraphy, traditional Chinese paintings, sculptures and Tibetan Buddhist art (Thangka).
  • Guangdong Museum of Art (广东美术馆) guǎng-dōng-měi-shù-guǎn, 8 Yanyu Lu, Er-sha Island, (Tour Bus No.2) [57]. Open 9AM-5PM, Tue-Sun. The museum is on Er-Sha Island and focuses on contemporary Chinese art, with a particular emphasis on Guangdong artists. Admission ¥15. Under 18 is free with paying parents.
  • Nanyue Royal Tomb Museum (南越王墓 nán-yuè-wáng-mù), 867 Jiefang Bei Lu, (Metro 2 Yue Xiu Gong Yuan) (解放北路867号) - Across from Yuexiu Park. This is a tomb of a king of ancient South China. 9AM-5:30PM. Admission is ¥12, 20 8666 0885)
  • Guangzhou Sculpture Park (广州雕塑公园) guǎng-zhōu-diāo-sù-gōng-yuán – Tongxin Lu at the foot of Baiyun Mountain. Free Admission.
  • President Sun Yat-Sen Museum (孙中山大元帅府纪念馆) 18 Dongsha Jie, Fangzhi Lu (纺织路东沙街18号). +86 20 3428-1366. Admission is ¥6. Open 9AM-5PM Tue-Sun. Closed Mon.
  • Guangzhou Uprising Museum (广州起义旧址纪念馆) 200 Qiyi Lu (起义路200号)(Metro 1, 2 Gong Yuan Qian Exit J). The Museum is at the site of the first Communist government building. Open 9AM—12PM and 1:30PM-4:30PM Tues–Sun. Closed Mon.
  • Guangdong Revolutions History Museum (广东革命历史博物馆) 2 Lingyuan Xi Lu [b8907[p (陵园西路2号大院之2), (Located in the martyrs memorial park. Metro 1 Lie Shi Ling Yuan Exit D). Sun Yat-Sen was sworn in here in 1921 as the president of Republic of China. The museum tells stories from the Opium War to the founding of the new China.
  • Peasant Movement Institute (农民运动讲习所 nóng-jiǎng-suǒ) 42 Zhongshan 4 Lu (中山四路42号),(Metro 1, Nong Jiang Suo Exit C). This is the original site of Communist training center founded by Mao Tse-tung in the 1920s. Now it is a museum covering the recent China revolutionary history. Open 9AM-4:30PM Tue-Sun. Free admission.

Parks

Yuntai Garden
Communist monument in Martyrs' Memorial Garden
  • Huanghua Gang Commemoration Park (黄花岗公园), huáng-huā-gǎng-gōng-yuán, [58] 79 Xianlie Zhonglu, ) +86 20 3758-8321. Open 6AM-8:30PM. This is a park that will set you in a poignant mood. The main attraction is the monument built to commemorate the 72 martyrs who died during the 1911 uprising. Free admission.
  • Yuexiu Park (越秀公园) yuè-xiù-gōng-yuán, (Metro 2 Yue Xiu Park Station Exit B1)[59] is the largest urban park in China and is a lush green area that flows over acres of hills and includes several lakes. It includes the Ming Dynasty Zhenhai Tower (镇海楼) zhèn-hǎi-lóu, now home to the City Museum with relics dating back to the 15th century and an up-to-date miniature of Guangzhou (separate admission). Also check out the Stone Statue of the Five Rams (五羊石像), the symbol of Guangzhou (For more details, see 'History' section of Understand). Open 6AM-9PM. Free Admission.
  • Yuntai Garden (云台花园)(Tour Bus No. 1, 3) yún-tái-huā-yuán is situated at the foot of Baiyun (White Cloud) Mountain and is famous for its wide variety of rare flowers and trees. There are also seasonal exhibits (additional admission). Admission is ¥10.
  • Huadu Square (花都广场) huā-dū-guǎng-chǎng is a park-cum-recreation square located in the north part the city and near the government office buildings of Huadu District (花都区). The square incorporates, among other attractions, an outdoor theater, large fountain, outdoor dance area and statues. There is a large grass area that is similar to a Western style meadow and a subtropical forest and ornamental flower beds.
  • Xiangjiang Wild Animal Safari Park (香江野生动物世界) xiāng-jiāng-yě-shēng-dòng-wù-shì-jiè is in Panyu district. Admission is ¥150.
  • Guangzhou Martyrs' Memorial Garden (广州起义烈士陵园) guǎng-zhōu-qǐ-yì-liè-shì-líng-yuán) Zhongshan 2 Lu (中山二路),(Metro 1 Martyrs' Park Station Exit D) – This park is dedicated to those who fought and died in the Communist Uprising in 1927. Free adminssion.

Mountains

  • Baiyun Mountain (White Cloud Mountain) (白云山 bái-yún-shān)[60] is a great place to relax and enjoy a day among lush, rolling hills. It also offers great views over the city. The road to the top in most of the daytime is restricted to park trams and pedestrians. To get to the top lookout point, you can use the main roads or trails. There are many places to rest and refreshments are available along the way. It is a great place to see people enjoying nature and playing games, such as shuttlecock, badminton, football and even bungie jumping. There are many bus routes to and from different parts of the city, as well as taxis usually available near the park gate. Open 24 hours. Park entrance ¥5; Cable car round trip ¥40; tram from ¥20; other attractions ¥5-¥10; packages available from ¥25.
  • Lianhua Shan (Lotus Mountain) (莲花山 lián-huā-shān) features an impressive quarry from which red sand stones were mined about 2,000 years ago, a pagoda from 1612, and a barrack from 1664. The obligatory statue of Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of compassion, at the side of the Buddhist temple is also not to be missed. From Guangzhou, take bus 308 or 302 and exchange bus at Panyu (番禺). The bus takes about two hours and costs ¥14. There is a ferry service from Guangzhou at Tianzi Pier (天字码头) at Beijing Lu Nan (北京路南) for ¥25. The boat leaves at 8:15AM and returns at 3:15PM. Admission is ¥30.

Learn

  • Sun Yat-Sen University [61] (中山大学 zhōng-shān-dà-xué), (Metro 2 Sun Yat-Sen University Station - Exit A)– This is the most famous university in Guangzhou and Southern China. It was founded by Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China. The school now has three campuses. The old campus is green and beautiful, and has many historical sites. The north gate has a great river view.
  • Chinese medicine and acupuncture (中医和针灸) is taught at Guangzhou University of Traditional Medicine (广州中医药大学 guǎng-zhōu-zhōng-yī-dà-xué) [62] (Metro 2 San Yuan Li - Exit B). This is one of the main universities for traditional medicine in China and attracts many overseas students.

Buy

Locals on the run outside the Grandview Plaza in Tianhe District. In the background is the 80-story CITIC Plaza.

Street markets

If time and weather permits, walking is perhaps the best way to see the city as the back alleys, which are littered with antiquities, are not accessible by motorized vehicles. Most trades and goods categories are concentrated in a specific area or along one main street.

  • Guangzhou wholesale marker directory [63]. Find all kinds of professional wholesale markets in Guangzhou
  • Global International Shoes Trade Centre [64](国际鞋城步云天地) Address: 26 Zhan Xi Road 广州市站西路26号步云天地
  • Xiguan Antique Street (西关古玩城) near Liwan Park (荔湾湖公园).
  • Flower Street (花卉水族街) Baohua Lu (宝华路).
  • Jade Street (玉器工艺街/玉器街) Changshou Lu (长寿路) and Wenchang Lu (文昌路), near Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street. (Metro 1 Changshou Lu)
  • Ivory and Sea products (象牙雕刻海味街) Daxin Lu (大新路).
  • Toy Street (玩具街) and Dried goods and snacks Street (干果海味食品专业街) Yide Lu (一德路). (Metro 2 Haizhu Square)
  • Bridal Street (婚纱专卖街) Jiangnan Bei Lu (江南大道北) (Metro 2 The 2nd Workers' Cultural Palace).
  • Flowers, Aquatic and Lightings Street Danan Lu (大南街) near Beijing Lu (北京路). (Metro 1, 2 Gongyuanqian)
  • Household Merchandise Street (日用百货街) Gaodi Jie (高第街). The street has become a shopping center selling everyday goods.
  • Cultural Street (古玩字画街 / 文化商业街) Wende Lu (文德路),(Metro 1 Peasant Movement Institute). This is a good place to look for antiques and traditional Chinese artistic goods.
  • Qingping Market (清平市场) Qingping Lu (清平路(,(Metro 1 Huangsha) –It is located North from Shamian Island. Cantonese are known to eat just about any animal, and the market is world famous for its wild animal trades, although it has been tamer since the SARS outbreak. It is still a great place to go for exotic goods.
  • Haiyin Shopping District (海印专业购物区) is located at the northwest side of the Haiyin Bridge (海印大桥), selling appliances, sporting goods, cloth, fabrics, camera accessories and electronics.

Malls and shopping centers

Shangxiajiu pedestrian street
  • Beijing Lu Pedestrian Street (北京路步行街 běi-jīng-lù) – This is the main shopping thoroughfare, a pedestrian street where most stores are open from 9AM-10PM. Avoid individuals who solicit pirated DVDs and imitation goods. Don't follow anyone into the small dark alleys in between buildings to see their goods. Remember to visit Mayflower Plaza (五月花广场 wǔ-yuè-huā-guǎng-chǎng) at 68 Zhongshan 5 Lu (中山五路68号), at the northern end of the Pedestrian Street. This is a place where young people hang out and shop. (Metro 1, 2 Gong Yuan Qian - Exits C, D)
  • Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street (上下九商业步行街 shàng-xià-jiǔ) This shopping area is also a showcase of traditional Cantonese architecture. It is particularly pretty at night when it's lit up. Prices here are generally lower than Beijing Lu's, but prepare to bargain a fair bit. Remember to visit Liwan Plaza (荔湾广场 lì-wān-guǎng-chǎng), located at 9 Dexing Lu (德星路9号), the east end of the street. (Metro 1 Chang Shou Lu - Exits D1, D2.) You will find a good selection of crystal here.
  • Zhengjia Plaza (Grandview Mall) (正佳广场 zhèng-jiā-guǎng-chǎng) [65] 228 Tianhe Lu, (天河路228号),(Metro 1, 3 Ti Yu Zhong Xin). +86 020 3833-0098. This is new mall built near Teem Mall, located in the heart of Tianhe district. It includes famous fashion stores and several department stores, with beautiful musical fountians and fantastic views. Guest flow can reach half a million a day on holidays and festivals. This mall includes Starbucks, Dairyqueen, Pizzahut and McDonalds. An iceskating rink, amusement park, and a fivestar cinema is available. This is the largest Western-style shopping mall in China.
  • China Plaza (中华广场 zhōng-huá-guǎng-chǎng). 33 Zhongshan 3 Lu, (中山三路33号),(Metro 1 Martrs' Park) – Located on top of a metro station, this is another large shopping mall with brand name department stores, clothing and electronics stores, restaurants, etc.
  • Tee Mall (天河城 tiān-hé-chéng) [66] (Chinese) 208 Tianhe Lu (天河路208号),(Metro 1 Ti Yu Xi Lu). This is probably the busiest and most popular shopping mall in the heart of the city. It is located right above the metro station.
  • Zhong Tian Shopping Plaza (中天购物城 zhōng-tiān-gòu-wù-chéng) – Located at Zhongxin Square near the East Train Station. (Metro 1 Guangzhou Dong Zhan.) (天河北路 233号中信广场). This plaza is more than a place to shop and eat. The plaza has great one-stop service to meet your banking, dry cleaning, grooming and transportation ticket needs.
  • Friendship Store (广州友谊商店 yǒu-yí-shāng-diàn) 369 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路369号). 9:45AM-9:45PM. It is one of the oldest department stores targeting foreigners in Guangzhou. You will also find its branches in Zhengjia Plaza and Times Square on 28 Tianhe Beilu (天河北路28号).
  • Wang Fu Jing (王府井百货 wáng-fǔ-jǐng) 40 Long Lin Xia Lu (农林下路40号). The famous department store in Beijing opened a branch in Guangzhou with the same name, featuring mid to high-end products.
  • Onelink Plaza (万菱广场 wàn-líng-guǎng-chǎng) 39 Jie Fang Nan Lu (解放南路39号) – At first glance, this looks like a regular shopping mall but it is actually a wholesale market. Each shop usually sells just one type of product but the selection and variety of products is enormous, you'll find variations of products you won't find anywhere else. You can buy products such as arts and crafts, jewelry, sporting goods, toys, key chains, collectibles and gifts of all types. Many store and boutique owners from all over the world come here to buy their products wholesale. You will get the best prices if you buy in bulk (usually 20 or more). Most shop owners will not bargain unless you buy in bulk. However, if you only buy one or two items, the prices are usually cheaper than anywhere else since you are buying directly from the wholesaler.

Do

Pearl River Dinner Cruise
  • Pearl River dinner cruise (珠江夜游) Dashatou Pier (大沙头码头), Tianzi Pier (天字码头), and Xiti Pier (西堤码头) – This is a one to two hour cruise in the evening and a great way to see the Guangzhou skyline along the Pearl River, including a light show at Bai-E-Tan. Tickets for the deluxe dinner cruise can be bought from most high-end hotels. Prices from ¥50 per person.

Festivals

  • Chinese New Year/Spring Festival (春节 chūn-jié) occurs on first day of first lunar month, usually in January or February. This is a 15 day celebration and some districts can be quite deserted as many migrant workers return to their home provinces. The flower fair is popular during the days before New Year.
  • Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 duān-wǔ-jié) on fifth day of fifth lunar month, usually in May or June. This festival commemorates the sacrifice of Qu Yuan (屈原), a famous poet who drowned himself in the river by way of making a statement against government corruption during the Warring States Period. The highlights are dragon boat racing along the Pearl River, and eating rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves (粽子).
  • Mid-autumn Festival (中秋节 zhōng-qiū-jié) is on the 15th day of 8th lunar month, usually in Sept or Oct. Cantonese moon cakes are enjoyed during this holiday. Lian Xiang Lou and Tao Tao Ju's moon cakes are especially famous (see "Eat" section). Kids' favorites are paper lanterns. Many locals also enjoy riding ferries and watching the full moon on the Pearl River.
  • Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节 qīng-míng-jié) is around the spring equinox, usually on April 5th. Involves visits to the family tombs for cleaning and making offerings.
  • Chinese Valentines Day (七夕 qī-xī) is on 7th day of 7th lunar month, usually in August or September. According to legend, a heavenly fairy Zhi Nu (织女) fell in love with a mortal farm boy Niu Lang (牛郎). It's forbidden of course, so as punishment, they are only allowed to meet once a year on this day. This is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day, but it is steadily losing its appeal among the locals, especially to the young.
  • Winter Solstice (冬至, 过冬) dōng-zhì, which literally means the Coming of Winter is on December 22nd. Traditionally, Cantonese people observe the day with a family feast, which often includes preserved duck and sausages. However, the highlight of the day's festive dishes is hot soup served with flour dumplings (汤丸).

The Canton Fair

Canton Fair [67] (China Import And Export Commodities Fair) held twice a year in Guangzhou since 1957 and is the largest trade fair in China. It has the largest assortment of products, the largest attendance, and the largest number of business deals made at the fair.

If you are going to the fair, book a hotel well in advance. Hotels tend to be booked and expensive during the Fair. Metro is the best transportation option to go to the fair ground, while many hotels provide free shuttle services.

Starting from Oct 2008 (the 104th session), Canton Fair is held in Pazhou Complex at 380 Yuejiang Zhong Lu (阅江中路380号) (Metro Line 8 Xingangdong or Pazhou station) only. The old Liuhua Complex at 117 Liuhua Lu (流花路117号) (Metro Line 2 Yuexiu Park station) has closed after serving Canton Fair for more than 34 years.

Eat

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Cantonese cuisine is well-known for its blend of color, fragrance, taste and presentation, and it is ranked among the top four in the country. In particular, dim sum, a delicate pastry, is famous for being simple yet delicious. Local customs have also played a major role in the development and diversity of Cantonese cuisine, as it is often said that Cantonese people eat everything that swims except a submarine, everything that flies except an airplane, and everything with four legs except a table, meaning that Cantonese cuisine is one of, if not the most adventurous in China due to their expansive use of exotic ingredients.

Do not ever be afraid of ordering too much - almost every restaurant in Guangzhou will have a takeaway option, just ask to da bao (take-out) and your leftovers will be packaged up in a sealable, microwavable container to be eaten at home.

Traditional

  • Guangzhou Restaurant (广州酒家), 2 Wenchang Nan Lu (文昌南路2号) (Metro 1 Chang Shou Lu), +86 20 8138-0388. This Cantonese family restaurant has several branches all over the city. Other locations include 20 Binjiang Xi Lu (滨江西路20号) and 112 Ti Yu Dong Lu(体育东路112号).
  • Lian Xiang Lou (莲香楼), "67 (Metro 1, exit Chang Shou Lu), +86 20 8181-1638. M-F 6:30AM-10PM, Sa-Su 6:30AM-11PM. Founded in 1889, Lian Xiang Lou is known for its tasty dim sum. Local cards only.
  • Pan Xi Restaurant (泮溪酒家), 151 Longjin Xi Lu (龙津西路151号), +86 020 8181-5718. Serves up dim sum among trickling streams and stunning architecture. Try one of their famous dumplings shaped like a rabbit's head.
  • Datong Restaurant (大同酒家), 63 Yanjiang Lu (沿江路63号), +86 20 8188-8988. Huge restaurant spans all 8 floors of the old building. The place has been around for a long time and is a favorite among locals.
  • Tao Tao Ju (陶陶居), 20 Dishipu Lu, (第十甫路20号) (Metro 1 Changshou Lu), +86 20 8138-9632. Specialty is the Cantonese moon cakes.
  • Four Seasons Restaurant (中国大酒店四季厅), 122 Liuhua Rd (流花路122号中国大酒店) (Metro 2 Yuexiu Park), +86 20 8666 6888. 11AM-2.30PM, 6PM-10PM. Classic Cantonese cuisine using fresh, quality ingredients. Renowned for its Roasted Suckling Pig and Peking Duck. They do not serve dimsum for dinner. ¥200 per person.
  • Food Street Restaurant (中国大酒店食街), 122 Liuhua Rd (流花路122号中国大酒店) (Metro 2 Yuexiu Park), +86 20 8666 6888. 7.30am-12 midnight. Serving local and regional cuisine, this casual restaurant resembles the open Kitchens of Old Canton. Try their famous Wonton Noodles, Dim Sum and Fisherman's Congee.
  • Baifu Restaurant (百福酒家), 112 Tiyu Dong Lu (体育东路112号百福广场三楼) (3F, Baifu Plaza, Metro 1 Ti Yu Zhong Xin), +86 20 3880-8268.
  • Chuan Guo Yan Yi (川国演义), 140-148 Tiyu Dong Lu, Tienhe District, +86 20 3887-9879. Food from Sichuan (Szechwan) province, the food from this restaurant is served hot pot style. Busy on Friday and Saturday nights. Popular with expats and those who like hot/spicy food.
  • Liuhua Congee House (流花粥城), Renmin Bei Lu (人民北路903号流花湖公园) (In Liuhua Park. Metro 2 Yuexiu Park), +86 20 8668-0108. Open 24 hours. Excellent dim sum in beautiful surroundings.
  • Wenji Restaurant (文记壹心鸡), 10 Xuanyuan Qiao (荔湾区宝华路旋源桥10号) (Metro 1 Changshou Lu), +86 20 8172-8887. As the place was established by the former chefs from Qingping restaurant, they have the original Qingping chicken on the menu.

Vegetarian

  • Cai Gen Xiang (菜根香), 167 Zhongshan 6 Lu (中山六路167号) (Metro 1 Xi Men Kou), +86 20 8334-4363. 6:30AM-2:30PM, 5PM-9PM.
  • Fo Shi Jie (佛世界素食馆), Niu Nai Chang Jie (同福中路牛奶厂街二圣宫前2-8号) (by Tongfu Zhong Lu), +86 20 8424-3590. 7AM-9PM. Part of the profits is given to charity.
  • Fo You Yuan (佛有缘素食馆), 12 Shi Lu Ji Zhongshan 8 Lu; 712 Shangjiu Lu (上九路712号) (Metro 1 Chang Shou Lu), +86 20 8181-9188. 6:30AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM. Interesting and new vegetarian dishes.
  • Shui Yun Tian (水云天), 38-42 Jinghui Lu (净慧路38-42号首层) (next to the Guangxiao Temple, Metro 1 Xi Men Kou), +86 20 8107-2463. 6:30AM-2:30PM, 4:30PM-9:30PM. Great buffet around noon.

Southeast Asian

  • Cow and Bridge Thai Restaurant (牛桥泰菜), 2/F, Xiang Long Garden, 181 Tianhe Bei Lu (天河北路181号祥龙花园二楼), +86 20 8525-0821. This famous Thai restaurant offers many varities of Thai dishes. Ask for the more fiery version of your meal, if you're used to Thai cuisine, as the dishes are somewhat localized.
  • Lan Kwai Fong (兰桂坊), 5 Shamian Nan Jie (沙面南街5号), +86 20 8121-6523. Good curries and polite service in this Shamian Island favorite. It is tourist friendly and menus are available in English.
  • Banana Leaf (蕉叶西餐厅), 28 Tianhe Bei Lu (天河北路28号时代广场2楼) (2/F, Times Square), +86 20 3891-0728, [1]. Traditional and established Thai restaurant chain in Guangzhou. They also have restaurants at GZTV Hotel (G/F, 8 Luhu Lu, +86 20 8359-7499) and World Trade Center (5/F, 371-375 Huanshi Dong Lu). (Metro 3 Lin He Xi)
  • Tai Man Guan' Thai Cuisine - Thailand Cuisine

Room701, 7F Tower North East, Teemall, 208 Tianhe Lu, Guangzhou. This is located in the Tee Mall in Tianhe. Thai restaurant offers many varities ofThai dishes, Tiyu Xilu Metro Stop. Great Curry and Noodle dishes.

Indian

  • Vaastu, a date with India (雅仕度餐厅), "D2,, +86-20-38258181, [2]. Vaastu started operations in October 2008. The food is great and the location is near the new central business district in Zhujing Xinchng (Pearl River New City). Very nice decor. Consists of three sections. Owner is often there.

Western

  • Prime Steakhouse, 122 Liuhua Lu (流花路122号中国大酒店), +86 20 8666 6888. 11am-2.30pm, 6pm-11pm. Guangzhou's Finest Steakhouse serving Australian and Japanese prime cuts, seafood, pastas and desserts.
  • Cafe Veranda, 122 Liuhua Lu (流花路122号中国大酒店), +86 20 8666 6888. 6.30am-10pm. Serving a lavish international buffet and a la carte menu.All Western and Asian delights can be found here and the breakfast buffet is simply excellent..
  • Oggi Trattoria, 天河区体育东路1号, +86 20 8751 5882 (), [3]. 11am-12am. Trattoria Serving great Pizzas and Pastas in central Guangzhou.
  • Oggi Pizzeria, Tianlun Garden ground floor, Jianshe 4 Ma Lu, Yuexiu District (建设四马路), 20-83561196 (), [4]. 24/7. Located in the busy old central district featuring a European theme style cafe and bar serving great Pizzas and traditional Italian home dishes with Wine carte and draught beer.
  • 13 Factories (十三行), Tianhe Bei Jie No. 7 (体育西路天河北街七号) (Metro 3 Linhexi exit B), +86 20 3884 9230. 11AM-12AM. Menu has a heavy American South influence, with authentic gumbo, jambalaya, po' boys, and pulled pork all on offer, but French, Spanish, and Italian dishes can also be found. It's a favor of both expats and locals.
  • Buongiorno Italian Restaurant (Buongiorno意大利餐厅), 33 Jiansheliumalu, 3F Yian plaza (越秀区建设六马路33号宜安广场3楼304/310), +86 20 83633587, [5]. 11AM-11PM. Real Italian restaurant, Italian managed and prepared. Best pizza and pasta in town, wonderful meat and fish dishes.
  • Danny's Italian American Restaurant, 4F Unit 403, 188 Huangpu Da Dao Xi, Home Garden Mall, Tianhe District 黄埔大道西 188号 维家思广场 四楼 (Metro APM Huangpu Da Dao), +86 020 8756-1993, [6]. Established in Guangzhou since 1997, the restaurant serves Italian/American dishes including pasta, pizza along with other western food. Chinese dishes are also available. For dine in, Delivery or take out.
  • The Italian Restaurant (小街风情意大利餐厅), 3F, Zhujiang Building East Tower, 360 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路360号珠江大厦东座3楼) (Metro 5 Taojin), +86 20 8386-3840. 10:30AM-2AM. Despite the unimaginative name this place offers good pizzas, pastas and beer. Buffet is available.
  • La Seine Restaurant Franca (塞纳河法国餐厅), 33 Qingbo Lu (Ground floor, Zinghai Concert Hall), +86 20 8735-2222. The place is expensive, so plan to spend at least ¥200 here. It has an elegant French decor, overlooking the Pearl River skyline.
  • K's Western Delights (KS的西方佳肴), Tao Jin Jia Yuan, +86 13533377784, [7]. They serve Western-style homemade kosher sandwiches, managed and prepared by Westerners. Delivery service is available.
  • Pizza2Pizza, Tianhe Bei Rd (天河北路614号2号铺), (), [8]. 10AM-2AM. Starters, Salads, Pizza, Pastas. Free delivery within 2 km of the restaurant. Dine-In/Take Out/Delivery/Catering. Check website for other locations.
  • Lucy's Cafe & Restaurant, 3 Shamian Nia Jie 沙面南街3号) (Metro 2 Huangsha), +86 20 8121 5106. Located near the White Swan hotel, Lucy's Cafe & Restaurant is an established American restaurant on Shamian Island. They serve everything from burgers to pasta to Tex-mex, and portions are large.

Foreign chains

Foreign fast food, ice cream and coffee chains are well established in Guangzhou. These include Subway (赛百味), Dairy Queen (冰雪皇后), Saizeriya (Japanese Italian Food Chain), Papa John's Pizza (棒约翰), KFC (肯德基), Pizza Hut (必胜客), McDonald's (麦当劳), Starbucks (星巴克) and Häagen-Dazs (哈根达斯). Most of these can be found in the Zhengjia Plaza (See "Shop").

Convenience stores and supermarkets

Convenience stores are on almost every street corner and most are open 24 hours. Major convenience store chains include 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Circle-K and C-Store. Prices are a little higher than in local shops or supermarkets, particularly at 7-Eleven. FamilyMart and Circle-K do not sell cigarettes, but C-store does. Corner Deli is an imported products (Europe, U.S.A. and AUS/NZ) grocery store on the backstreet behind CITIC Plaza.

The main supermarket chains are:

Carrefour - huge French hypermarket on Kangwang Lu near Chenjiaci station. It's cheap and has a good product choice.

Jusco - several including Tee Mall (TiyuXilu) and GZ East train station (Relocated from China Plaza near Martyrs Park). This Japanese chain has a good selection of imported foods.

Park 'n' Shop - Hong Kong chain with several locations ranging from convenience stores to hypermarkets. The largest stores are in the shopping mall above Changshou Lu Station and on Tianhe Bei Lu close to the Longkouxi bus stop. A little more expensive but has a good choice of imported foods.

TESCO - British hypermarket located on Zhongshan 6th Rd. above Ximenkou Station. Spread over 4 floors, and fairly good prices.

Trust-mart - locations at Fangcun, Kecun Living Mall and Gangding. This Chinese chain has a large stock of non-food items but the grocery selection is a little limited although prices are lower than its international rivals. Often crowded at weekends.

Vanguard - Flagship operating supermarket chains of China Resources. It is the third largest supermarket chain in Hong Kong. It operates approximately 450 stores in Hong Kong, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Beijing.

African

  • Best-Way African Restaurant, No. 003 1/F Jindu Bldg, No. 99 Guangyuan Xi Road (opposite Canaan Market), +8661147501. Nigerian restaurant serving cuisine cooked Igbo style (try the semo and egusi soup). The restaurant is a bit out of the way (down some narrow stairs and under a concrete overpass) but inside, the ambiance is cozy with Nigerian music playing. Carry-out is also an option with prompt delivery service.

Drink

Bar Street at Bai-E-Tan

When it comes to drinks, Guangzhou is one of the best cities in China to knock back a few. With a relatively large population of foreigners here, the city offers a wide variety of nightspots that cater to all tastes.

Tsing Tao and Zhu Jiang are the two major Chinese beer brands that are sold almost everywhere. Both are fairly standard light lagers. Carlsberg is also brewed in Guangzhou, which explains the reasonably large amount of Carlsberg taps in the bars.

Bai-E-Tan Bar Street (白鹅潭酒吧风情街) on Changdi Street (长堤街) (Metro 1 Fang Cun; across the river from White Swan Hotel) is packed with bars, but action is scarce until at least 10:30PM. It is recommended to have dinner in one of the nearby restaurants before heading out to the bars. Special promotions, such as a half dozen bottles of beer for ¥100, are common.Overseas Chinese Village, next to Holiday Inn is a sort of bar street consisting of six or seven bars side by side, all two-storey buildings with a different theme on each floor. Prices are on the high side, costing about ¥40 for a small bottle of beer.

For latest reviews of restaurants, bars and night clubs pick up a free copy of That's PRD [68], a monthly English publication. It is available at several hotels and lounges.

Pubs

Nightlife at Shangxiajiu in Liwan District.
  • Elephant and Castle, (next door to Hill Bar opposite the Garden Hotel). British style pub serving Kilkenny, Guinness and a variety of bottled and draft beers. Prices are reasonable for the area, especially during Happy Hour.
  • Hill Bar, (outside Baiyun Hotel and opposite Garden Hotel). Reasonable price for drinks and live band performances nightly. ¥30 pints.
  • Hooley's Irish Pub and Restaurant, 2 Tian He Bei Lu, Ground Floor of the Bing Hua Hotel, Tianhe District (Walking distance from Westin Hotel). Hooley's is an Irish themed pub with a focus on live music performances (rock, pop, folk and jazz). Serves Irish, Italian and fusion dishes. Bakes its own bread. Music Friday to Saturday with open mic sessions on Wednesdays and Ladies Night on Thursdays.
  • Lucy's (Cafe Bar), (next to the White Swan Hotel right by the Pearl River). Western food and drinks for reasonable prices. Nice area in the open for al-fresco dining.
  • Paddy Field Irish Pub and Restaurant, (around the back of Garden Hotel).
  • Tavern Bar, poly 108/ no 2 hua jiu jui lu, zhujiangxincheng 珠江新城华就路2号 Tel. 020 85503038 (zhu jiang xin cheng guangzhou), 020-85503038. 12.00 pm to late. The Tavern Bar is an English-style pub. Serves a menu of snacks, pub-grub and international food. Happy Hour from 4-8pm and all day Monday, Happy Hour pints from 20RMB. Range of draught beers and cocktails. Shows all major sports matches live on big screens. Free pool tables and private rooms. ¥20 pint.
  • Sleeping Wood Cafe. (happy hour before 8PM). Cozy restaurant pub next to the Holiday Inn with friendly, English speaking staff. Serves western food and all kinds of alcoholic drinks. One-for-one pint-sized Tsing Tao draft beer during happy hour. Good place to unwind, especially in the open area. 2nd location along Pearl River. ¥25-¥30.

Lounges

  • Sapphire Lounge, 122 Liuhua Lu (流花路122号中国大酒店), 020-8666 6888. 3.00pm to late. Sapphire Lounge serves an extensive selection of classic and contemporary martinis, cocktails, wines, liquor and more in a chic and upbeat atmosphere. Perfect for after-work drinks or a night out.

Dance clubs

  • C:Union, No.115, Shuiyin Rd., Chengshihui. Great place to hear atyipical live music like reggae or classic rock. Bar has both an indoor section consisting of a dance floor and couches and an outdoor section with patio seating and recently-added new basement. Wide beer selection and bartenders measure all drinks out in plain view. Early on the bar is populated mostly by locals, however as the night progresses the bar quickly fills with expats. Patrons tend to be very friendly open to meeting new people. There is usually at least one English speaking bartender at each station. ¥25-¥50 beer, ¥15 shots.
  • The Cave (墨西哥餐厅酒吧), 360 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路360号珠江大厦东侧) (basement on the end of the Zhu Jiang Building (珠江大厦) nearer to the Garden Hotel), +86 020 8386-3660. ¥30 standard drink. A favorite expat hangout. The resident DJ spins a wide range of music. Exotic dance performances, i.e. live-python dance, start late on the dance floor.</drink>
  • Club NaNa, No. 26 Tianlun Garden Jian She 4 Rd. (建设4马路26号天伦花园) (up the street from Oggi's Pizza). Packs a variety of music, well-known throughout Guangzhou for its wild parties, including a singles lock and key party, a secret costume party, and live hip-hop shows. The owners may be seen handing out free drinks. Beware of the tequila shots. Begins as a largely Chinese club but around 11:30PM, the shaking switches from dice to dancing and it becomes a mix of East and West.
  • Gipsy King Bar (大篷车酒吧), 360 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路360号珠江大厦西地下) (opposite end of the Zhu Jiang Building from The Cave), +86 020 8387-5177. Underground bar similar to The Cave. Many local "working" girls sashay around. There are individual dance performances at one corner of the bar, while group performances start on the main dance floor at 10PM. ¥30 standard drink.
Gipsy King Bar
  • Penthouse. High class bar with dance floor. Variety of sparkling wine ensures you can live it up with standards. The DJs blast the hottest music.
  • Club NaNa, No. 26 Tianlun Garden Jian She 4 Rd. (建设4马路26号天伦花园) (up the street from Oggi's Pizza). CLOSED, NOW HAIR SALON

Tea houses

The culture of tea drinking, also known as Yum Cha (饮茶), runs deep in Guangzhou. After all, the city was at the center of the massive tea trade that existed between China and Europe during the 19th century.

  • Simple Love Tea Shop, #102, 94 Tianhe Nan 1 Lu (Down from the south gate of Teem Plaza). 3PM-2AM.
  • Tian Chang Di Jiu, 1 Zhengping Zhong Jie, Taojin Lu, +86 20 8358-1627.
  • Chun Ya Yuan Teahouse, 19 Siyou Xin Ma Lu (4/F, Changcheng Hotel), +86 20 8761-2888 ext.6488. 7PM-1AM.
  • Crystal Tea House, 6 Longkou Dong Lu, Tianhe (1/F, Yuan Yang Hotel), +86 20 8759-6988 ext.67. 10AM-2AM.
  • Wong Chun Loong Herbal Tea. Several branches at 17 Wenchang Nan Lu, 109 Huagui Lu, 51 Dishipu Lu, 504 Xihua Lu, 859 Longjin Dong Lu, 25 Longjin Xi Lu, 142 to 144 Huanshi Xi Lu, 4-lst No.1 street, Xiwan Dong Lu, 320 Duobao Lu and 120 Shangjiu Lu.
  • People's Cakes & Coffee, #102, 17 Jianshe 6 Ma Lu (建设六马路17号102房), +86 20 8376-6677. Enjoy cakes and coffee at this Western coffee shop run by Koreans. There is another branch at 98 Taojin Nan Lu (Tel. +86 20 8348-8085).
  • Starbucks, [9]. has been in china for over 10 years, with more than 25 locations in Guangzhou alone. The benefit to many travelers is the free wireless internet. Popular locations include Taojin Lu by the Guangzhou Friendship Store, Huanshi Dong Lu in the Peace World Plaza, across the street from the Garden Hotel, and Shamian Island. Check their website for complete listing. Check out some local fusion items including a wide selection of Chinese tea, Green Tea Tiramisu and Shredded Ginger Pork Panini.

Sleep

Travel Warning WARNING: Weeks from Mid-April to Early May and Mid-October to Early November (April 15-May 5 and October 15-November 5) coincide with the annual Guangzhou International Trade Fairs. Hotel room rates are unreasonably hiked up anything between 200% and 400%, including hostels! If you're not travelling to see the Trade Fair, you might want to consider visiting some other time.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ¥150
Mid-range ¥150-500
Splurge Over ¥500

Budget

  • Guangzhou Journey Hostel (征途青年旅舍), Room 27F,building 1st,jiayiyuan garden,No.445 tianhe bei road (天河北路445号,天河北与天河东相交处,嘉怡苑小区1栋27F房), +86 13922237650 (), [10]. checkin: 1:00PM; checkout: 12:00AM. at the heart of guangzhou.very convinent,nearby metro line 1 sports centre station and line 3 lin he xi station.rooms and lobby are nice. dorm room ¥50, singles with ¥120 (¥180 in contan fair).
  • Bin Jiang Hostel (滨江青年旅舍), 405 Yanjiang Dong Lu (大沙头沿江东路405号), +86 20 8383-4110. A little far from the center of the city. No close Metro access. dorm room ¥60, singles with shower ¥170 (¥180 in Oct).
  • City Youth Hostel (广州国际青年旅舍), 179 Huanshi Xi Lu (环市西路179号) (Metro Line 2 & Line 5, Guangzhou Railway Station), +86 020 8666-6889. Tiny single rooms and close to the train station but it does not provide the nicest environment. singles ¥80, ¥60 for members (¥270 in Oct).
  • Guangdong Youth Hostel (广东省外事办招待所), 2 Shamian 4 Jie (沙面四街2号) (diagonally across the street from the landmark White Swan Hotel, Metro 1 Huang Sha), +86 20 8121-8298, [11]. Clean, convenient and reasonably priced for Guangzhou. English is spoken. There are 8 dormitory beds in each room. Ask for a double room on the 5th floor on the river side. Good quality/price. There is a lounge with free access to computers and internet, TV, microwave oven, and refrigerator. Reservations are accepted and encouraged, since the hostel is usually at capacity and was featured on the Globe Trekker. dorms ¥60, singles ¥200.
  • Guangzhou Riverside Youth Hostel, No.15 Changdi St., Luju Rd, Liwan (Near Luju Rd along Pearl River, Metro 1 Fangcun), +86 20 2239-2500 (, fax: +86 20 22392548), [12]. Convenient and near to a number of establishments and attractions, including the Bank of China, Metro station, restaurants, Pearl River, and shopping centers. doubles ¥178, dorm bed ¥65 during the annual Guangzhou International Trade Fairs jumps up ¥96.
  • Hengfulai Hotel, No. 406 Sanyuanli Rd, Baiyun District, +86 020-86662829, [13]. near the train station. rates start at ¥138″.
  • Jin Fa Hotel, 2 Zoumagang, Sanyuanli Rd, Baiyun District, +86 20-86361238, [14]. Best rates on official website start at ¥130″.
  • Tielu Tong Tong Hotel, 101 Guangyuan Xi Lu (Metro 2 Guangzhou HuoCheZhan). A few blocks from the train station, includes hot water, toilet and A/C. Spacious but noisy. Friendly to African travelers who are looking for lodging near Canaan and other wholesale trading markets. ¥160.

Mid-range

  • Huifeng Apartment Guangzhou (广州汇峰国际公寓), No 8 Xingsheng Road, Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District, (86-20) 38051035 (), [15]. The apartment is located central of Zhujiang New Town of Tianhe district. Each of the 198 serviced apartments has a kitchens and free cable internet access. Daily rates starts from CNY298.
  • Springdale Serviced Residence Guangzhou (广州盛雅服务公寓), Tower B1, No 105 Tiyuxi Road, Tianhe District, (86-20) 8396 6088 (, fax: (86-20) 8360 0466), [16]. Close to major shopping malls, entertainment and a wide array of food and beverage outlets. Offers studio, one, two or three-bedroom residences with living and dining area, broadband Internet access and kitchen. Daily rates starts from ¥480.
  • Baiyun Hotel (白云宾馆), 367 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路367号) (across from Garden Hotel), +86 20 8333-3998, [17]. Member of Best Western hotel chain.
  • Bing Hua Hotel (冰花酒店), 2 Tian He Bei Lu(2号冰花酒店首层(广州大道转角处), +86 20-87502888 - 3315/3300. Located at the gateway to Tian He and features a pub in its lobby, Hooley's, featuring a foreign chef.
  • Bostan Hotel, No. 76 Tianhe North Rd, Tianhe District, +86 20-38782888, [18]. The hotel has multifunction halls and meeting rooms for business or personal affairs, as well as KTV rooms, a beauty salon, and restaurants that serve Sichuan and Xinjiang cuisines. .
  • Dragon Pearl Hotel, 91 Longkuo West Rd, Tianhe District, +86 020-87241616, [19]. Rooms are fitted with a sofa, dining area, writing desk and chair, and private toilet and bath with shower. Internet access, an IDD phone, and refrigerator are also provided. Welcome drinks and a fresh fruit plate are served upon arrival. ¥218″.
  • Dongyue Fashion Hotel, No.10 Tang Dong East Road, Tianhe District, 008620-28864999, [20]. It offers clean and comfortable rooms that are furnished with all the essentials for a restful stay such as air-conditioner, cable TV, and a safe. Some of its amenities are high-speed Internet access, mssage service, and room service/housekeeping. While staying here you can visit some tourist spots like Global International Shoe Trade Center and Qingping Exotic Market. Best rates on official website start at CNY 178.00.
  • Golden World Hotel, No 38 West Panyu Rd, Tianhe District, +86 020-87241616, [21]. Conveniently located 10 minute walk from Tianhe Square. Well appointed rooms, restaurant and 24 hour room serice. From CNY 170″.
  • Guangzhou Hotel (广州宾馆), 2 Qiyi Lu, Haizhu Square (海珠广场起义路2号) (Metro 2, Haizhu Sq), +86 20-83338168, [22].
  • Huada HaoLaiDou Business Hotel, No. 5 Guihua Road, Baiyun District, Guangzhou, China, 0086-020-86233766, [23]. Huada HaoLaiDou Business Hotel is located at Baiyun District, Guangzhou, China. It offers accommodation rooms, all of which have dining area, mini-bar, and refrigerator. Some of its amenities include conference room, high-speed Internet access, and beauty parlor. CNY 168.
  • Hotel Canton (广州大厦), 374 Beijing Lu (广州市北京路374号), +86 20-83189888, [24]. This was once a glorious hotel, but it's now a bit outdated. However, it is in the northern end of Beijing Lu pedestrian shopping street. Metro station for both lines 1 and 2 nearby. ¥390.
  • Hotel Landmark (华厦大酒店), 8 Qiaoguang Lu, Haizhu Square (海珠广场侨光路8号) (Metro 2, Haizhu Sq), +86 20-83355988, [25].
  • JinDu Business Hotel GuangZhou, Fifth Floor No. 389 Ruikang Road, Haizhu District, 0086-020-89999908, [26]. 125 rooms with dining area, Internet access, mini-bar and refrigerator. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, and café, massage and foot spa, and business centre. ¥268.
  • Lido Hotel, No. 182, Beijing Rd, +86 20-83321988, [27]. In the heart of central Guangzhou and Beijing Road Shopping Street.
  • Kaying Hotel, 418 Huanshi E Rd, Tianhe District, +86 21-61226688 Ext. 7800, [28]. The hotel offers 339 rooms, 2 conference rooms, a hotpot restaurant, and a Western restaurant. Online reservations.
  • Liuhua Hotel, 194 Huanshi Xi Lu (Across from main train station), +86 20-86668800.
  • Nanyang King's Gate Hotel, (near Baiyun Mountain in Tianhe District), +86 20-61368888, [29]. +" lat="" long="">5-star hotel with 468 air-conditioned rooms and modern comforts, which includes a bathroom with steam area and massage tub. Chinese and Western restaurants, lobby bar, conference hall, health club, and KTV. ¥333.
  • Pullman Baiyun Airport Guangzhou (广州铂尔曼白云机场大酒店), in the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport complex..
  • TaiXiang Business Hotel GuangZhou, No. 13 LiuHua New Street, Zhan Qian Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou, China, 0086-020-86221088, [30]. 105 rooms, all with Internet , mini-bar, dining area and refrigerator. The hotel has a business centre, beauty parlor, restaurant, bar and café. ¥268.
  • Guangdong Victory Hotel (广东胜利宾馆), 53 N Shamian Street (沙面北街53号) (Metro 1 Huangsha), +86 20-81216688, [31]. The hotel is located on Shamian Island. It consists of the main building and Annex building which was renovated in 2007. ¥420.
  • Zhong Qiao Hotel Guangzhou, No. 103 Chigang Rd, Haizhu District, +86 20-62764628, [32]. Close to Pazhou Trade Center, where the Canton Fair is held. ¥150″.

Splurge

  • Ascott Guangzhou (广州雅诗阁服务公寓), No 73 Tianhe Dong Road, Tianhe District, (86-20) 8513 0388 (, fax: (86-20) 8513 0366), [33]. The residence is located inside the Financial District of Tianhe. Each of the 208 serviced residences has a kitchens and broadband internet access. Daily rates starts from ¥700.
  • Asia International Hotel (亚洲国际大酒店), 326 Huangshi Dong Lu, Sec 1 (环市东路326号), +86 20-61288888, [34]. One of a handful of hotels that feature separate bath and shower areas in a standard room. Internet access is free but slow. It also features Guangzhou's highest revolving restaurant on the top level.
  • China Hotel, A Marriott Hotel (中国大酒店), 122 Liuhua Lu (流花路100号) (Metro 2 Yuexiu Park), +86 20-86666888, [35]. 5-Star Luxury Marriott Hotel in the heart of central Guangzhou. Featuring 850 guestrooms, 8 Food and Beverage outlets, Executive Lounge and Shopping Arcade. An entrance to the Metro is just outside. ¥650.
  • China Mayors Plaza (广州市长大厦), 189 Tianhe Bei Lu (天河北路189号), +86 20-87553838, [36]. ¥600.
  • Dong Fang Hotel (东方宾馆), 120 Liuhua Lu (流花路120号) (Metro 2 Yuexiu Park), +86 20-86669900, [37].
  • Donlord International Hotel, No. 63 N Guangzhou Ave, Tianhe District, +86 20-87748999, [38]. 288 rooms and Guantang Chinese Restaurant, specializing in top-grade Cantonese and Chaozhou dishes. Four Seasons Cafe provides French style food, music, and bar.
  • Garden Hotel (花园酒店), 368 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路368号), +86 20-83338989, [39]. Has both standard hotel rooms as well as apartments and offices for rent. Deluxe rooms are clean but basic, elite rooms are newly renovated and attractive. Excellent dinner buffet at the revolving restaurant on the top level. Shops, HSBC and Bank of China branches, and a bus station serving express buses to the Guangzhou airport, the Hong Kong airport and nearby cities such as Zhuhai.
  • Grand Hyatt Guangzhou, 12 Zhujiang W Rd, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District (in the new central business district), + 86 20-83961234 (), [40]. A 5 star hotel with 350 rooms and suites enjoying views of Pearl River, open bathroom concept, Wi-Fi and iPod docking station. Hyatt Grand Club lounge for free continental breakfast and canapés.
  • Guangdong International Hotel (广东国际大酒店), 339 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路339号), +86 20-83311888, [41].
  • Han Feng International Hotel, Tianhe N Rd, Tianhe District (near Pazhou Complex), [42]. Free broadband Internet, apart from generously furnished rooms and conference suites.
  • Holiday Inn City Center Guangzhou (文化假日酒店), 28 Guangming Lu, Overseas Chinese Village, Huanshi Dong Lu(环市东路华侨新村光明路28号) (off Ouzhuang intersection), +86 20-61286868, [43]. Not exactly the newest, biggest or cheapest hotel around, but does offer a convenient location. Rooms are clean, have comfortable beds and pillows, and a good selection of TV channels. Internet access is stable and costs ¥100 a day. Priority Club platinum members get automatic upgrades to executive rooms (based on availability) and access to the executive lounge. An airline ticketing office and a Hertz car rental counter are available. There's also another Holiday Inn at 188 Dishifu Lu.
  • Nan Yang Royal Hotel, 11 Tianfu Rd, Tianhe District, [44]. 5-star hotel offering 268 Victorian-inspired rooms with high speed Internet access and other contemporary amenities. Leisure and dining facilities are also available.
  • Oriental Resort (广州鸣泉居), 1068 Baiyun Dadao Nan (白云大道南1068号) (On Baiyun Mountain), +86 20-86632888, [45]. Quiet and away from the city. ¥600.
  • "Raystar, 95 Chepi Rd, Tianhe District (near Zhongshan Rd), [46]. 4-star hotel offers free broadband Internet apart from generously furnished rooms and conference suites.
  • Royal Marina Plaza, 288, +86 20 34628888, [47]. Offers air-conditioned rooms all equipped with a private toilet and bath, satellite TV, safe, and refrigerator. Some of its amenities include Pattaya Spa Center, indoor pool, and health club, boutique shops, and night club. Best rates on official website start at ¥528.
  • The Westin Guangzhou, 6 Lin He Zhong Rd, Tian He District, +86 20-28866868, [48]. Next to the Consular section of the U.S. Consulate. It's also a short walk to the East Rail station for trains to Hong Kong. 448 rooms and suites.
  • White Swan Hotel (白天鹅宾馆), 1 Shamian Nan Jie (沙面南街1号) (Metro 1 Huangsha), +86 20-81886968, [49]. On the banks of the Pearl River on the quiet Shamian Island, complimented by a charming park nearby where locals can be found doing taichi. Surrounding the hotel are blocks of little shops run by locals willing to bargain. Offers a traditional Chinese restaurant and an American style restaurant to accommodate its visitors. ¥800.

Stay safe

While Guangzhou is known among the Chinese for its relatively high crime rate, it is still not a dangerous city by Western standards, and is no more dangerous than a large American or Western European city. Due to the enormous number of people from other mainland provinces flocking to Guangzhou in the hope of finding jobs (often unsuccessfully), the area surrounding the main train station has gained a notorious reputation for being chaotic, unsafe and rampant with petty crimes. Pickpockets are especially active here. Security enforcement has increased and security cameras are now more commonly used since the 2010 Asian Games. In recent years, armed (large blades, knives, and such) robberies in the open and abductions which result in first degree murders have been on the rise in the city, even though such crimes are punishable by death. Just bear in mind, when people become desperate, they will do anything to get what they want. If you are getting robbed, do not expect the crowd to help. And if they are armed, do not fight back. The best defense, as always, is common sense. Do not flash your valuables in public, do not wander around by yourself late at night and remain alert at all times. Use only official taxis and get advice from the government-run tourist office. While shopping, be aware of scams such as street hawkers trying to sell fake laptops and other high value goods.

Use caution at bars or night clubs. Foreigners have been targets of physical assaults in these venues. Attacks on foreigners have been provoked when someone is perceived to have made derogatory statements about China. Overall, bars are relatively safe in the city.

With its vast, ever-increasing population, there will always be people (mostly from out of town) who just seem to be hanging around. Those unaccustomed to this may feel intimidated, especially Westerners who get stared at a lot. However, please remember that rural Chinese are not used to seeing a "Gwai Lo" (a white man), so their stares are merely out of interest, and should not be construed as something rude or offensive. In this respect, it is important to bear in mind that 3 out of 10 people in Guangzhou are migrants from other provinces.

Traffic accident rates in Guangzhou (or China for that matter) are significantly higher than other countries. Use extra caution when crossing streets; use pedestrian bridges and tunnels whenever possible. Like everywhere else in China, cars do not yield to pedestrians. Instead, drivers automatically expect pedestrians to give way to them. So in most cases, they do not stop until it is too late.

Motorcycles (other than 3 wheeled vehicles for the handicapped) have been completely banned from Guangzhou's streets due to a previous rash of motorcycle based snatch robberies and other safety issues.

Emergency numbers are: Police: 110; Fire: 119; Medical: 120; Traffic accident: 122.

Contact

  • The area dialing code for Guangzhou is 020. From overseas, dial +86 20 XXXX-XXXX. Phone numbers are 8 digits.
  • Tourism Administration of Guangzhou Municipality (广州市旅游局) [69] 13-15/F, 140 Dong Feng Xi Rd. (东风西路140号13-15楼). +86 20 8107-8200.
  • Consulates
    • Australia, 12F, Development Center, No.3 Lin Jiang Da Dao, Zhu Jiang New City (珠江新城临江大道3号发展中心12楼) +86 20 3814-0111.
    • Belgium, Rm. 1601-1602A, Citic Plaza, 233 Tie He Bei Rd. (天河北路233号中信广场1601-1602A室) +86 20 3877-2351/6.
    • Cambodia, Rm. 804-807, Garden Hotel, 368 Huan Shi Dong Rd. (环市东路368号花园大厦804-807室) +86 20 8384-9937.
    • Canada, Ste. 801, China Hotel Office Tower, Liu Hua Rd. (流花路中国大酒店商业大厦80) +86 20 8666-0569.
    • Cuba, (珠江新城华明路13号华普广场东塔10/D室) +86 20 2238-2603.
    • Denmark, Ste. 1578, China Hotel Office Tower, Liu Hua Rd. (流花路中国大酒店商业大厦1578室) +86 20 8666-0795.
    • Finland, Rm. 3309B-12, Citic Plaza, 233 Tie He Bei Rd. (天河北路233号中信广场3309B-12室) +86 20 3877-0188.
    • France, Rm. 803 Guangdong International Hotel Main Tower, 339 Huan Shi Dong Rd. (广东国际大酒店主楼801-803室) +86 20 2829-2000.
    • Germany, Rm. 19F, Guangdong International Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Rd. (环市东路339号广东国际大酒店19楼) +86 20 8330-6533.
    • India, Units 1401-1404, 14th Floor, Skyfame Tower, 8 Linhe Zhong Road, Tianhe District, +86-20-85501501-05 (印度驻广州总领事馆. 天河区林和中路8号, 天誉三期14楼1401-1404单元)
    • Indonesia, Rm. 1201-1223, West Building, Dong Fang Hotel, 120 Liu Hua Rd. (流花路120号东方宾馆西座2楼1201-1223室) +86 20 8601-8772.
    • Italy [70], Rm. 5207-5208, Citic Plaza, 233 Tian He Bei Rd. (天河北路233号中信广场5207-5208室) +86 020 3877-0556/7/8/9.
    • Japan, Garden Tower, 368 Huanshi Dong Lu (环市东路368号花园酒店1楼) +86 20 8334-3090.
    • Korea, 18F, Guangzhou International Commercial Centre West Tower, 122 Ti Yu Dong Rd. (体育东路羊城国际商贸中心西塔18楼) +86 20 3887-0555.
    • Malaysia, Rm. 1912-1918, Citic Plaza, 233 Tian He Bei Rd. (天河北路233号中信广场 1915-18室) +86 20 3877-0757.
    • Mexico, Rm. 1402-03, 183 Tian He Bei Rd. (天河北路183号大都会广场1401室) +86 20 2222-0980.
    • Netherlands, Rm. 905, Guangdong International Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Rd. (环市东路339号广东国际大酒店主楼905室) +86 20 8330-2067.
    • Norway, Rm. 1802, Citic Plaza, 233 Tian He Bei Rd. (挪威驻广州总领馆, 广州市天河北路233号中信广场18楼1802室, 邮编: 510613) +86 20 3811 3188 .
    • New Zealand, Rm. 1160, China Hotel Office Tower, Liu Hua Rd. (流花路中国大酒店商业大厦1160室) +86 20 8667-0253.
    • Pakistan, Rm. No. 705-06, Grand Tower No. 228, Tianhe Rd.,510620, +86-20 85505679/85505680.
    • Philippines, Rm. 709-711, Guangdong International Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Rd. (环市东路339号广东国际大酒店710室) +86 20 8331-1461.
    • Poland, 63 Shamian Dajie (沙面大街63号) Tel: +86 20 8121-9993/4.
    • Singapore, Rm. 2418, Citic Plaza, 233 Tian He Bei Rd. (天河北路233号中信广场2418室) +86 20 3891-2345.
    • Sweden, Rm. 1002B-1003, Citic Plaza, 233 Tian He Bei Rd. (广州市天河北路233号中信广场1002B-1003室) +86 20 3891-2383.
    • Switzerland, 27F, Grand Tower, 228 Tian He Rd. (天河区天河路228号广晟大厦27层) +86 20 3833-0450.
    • Thailand, M07 Garden Hotel, 368 Huan Shi Dong Rd. (环市东路368号花园酒店2楼M07室) +86 20 8384-9937.
    • United Kingdom, 7F, Guangdong International Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Rd. (环市东路339号广东国际大酒店二楼 ) +86 20 8314-3000.
    • U.S.A., (美国驻广州总领事馆) [71] Note that the visa, passport and adoption sections of the Consulate have recently moved to 5th Floor Tian Yu Garden (Phase II) 136-146 Linhe Zhong Lu (林和中路136-146号天御花园二期5楼); Mailing address remains and other offices remain at: 1 Shamian Nan Jie, Shamian Island (沙面南街一号), +86 20 8121-8000. This is the only U.S. Consulate in China that processes adoption visas.
    • Vietnam, 2F Building B North, Landmark Canton Hotel, 8 Qiao Guang Rd., Haizhu Square (侨光路8号华厦大酒店B座2楼) +86 20 8330-5911.
  • Internet cafes are common in major Chinese cities, though are often the target of government crackdowns. Popular ones in Guangzhou include:
    • Worldwide Network on Jiangsu Lu
    • the more up-market Sparkice in Central Plaza on Huai Hai Zhong Lu
    • China Mayors Plaza (市长大厦). 189 Tianhe Bei Lu (天河北路189号)
    • Budget Internet Cafe on Fuzhou Lu
    • Starbucks
  • Police: The Public Security Bureau Exit-Entry Administration Division is located at 155 Jiefang Nan Lu (解放南路155号) +86 20 8311-5808 (M-F 8:50AM-11:30AM, 2:30PM-5PM.) You can get your visa extension done here if needed.

Cope

Banking

ATMs that accept foreign credit or debit cards are common in shopping malls and tourist areas. Withdrawal is available in Chinese currency only. Most banks also accept exchanges from your local currencies to RMB but not every branch and every town. Some small town, although tourist towns may cannot find where to exchang. Your passport is required for this service. However, they do not change it back to your local currencies.

  • Bank of China (中国银行) [72] There is a branch inside Garden Hotel. ATM is available on the ground floor of White Swan Hotel, and over 100 locations in Guangzhou. Their ATMs are the best bet for using foreign cards.
  • Bank of America [73] Rm 2506, 555 Renmin Zhong Lu. +86-20 8130-0888. The bank has alliance with China Construction Bank.
  • Citi [74] Unit 101, Fortune Plaza No. 118 TiYu East Road Tian He district. +86-20-38981688. This bank has a full service branch, foreign currency exchange services, and a 24 hour International ATM Service.

Laundry

Few lower end hotels and hostels have coin-operated self-service laundry room. Self-service laundromats are not available on the streets, although dry clean and laundry stores are available to clean your clothes. Normally you can drop your clothes off and pick them up the next day. One laundry chain is TianTian (天天洗衣), which is conveniently located in all Metro stations. There are many stores on Shamian Island that have laundry service. An average load of laundry costs about ¥100. In other parts of the city, there are laundry/dry clean shops sprinkled throughout neighborhoods. An average load should cost no more than ¥40 (couple pair of bottoms, one or two skirts/shorts, 6 or so tops). If you are doing sheets and blankets, they should charge no more then ¥10 for a blanket, ¥30 for a quilt. Dry-cleaning a sweater is about ¥8.

Television

Guangzhou Television (GZTV) [75] has an English channel, offering entertainment and cultural programs. There are two English channels from Hong Kong, "Pearl" and "ATV World", available in most hotels, show programmes from the UK and US.

Newspapers and Magazines

The China Daily and/or Global Times are the two only English language newspapers available in Guangzhou, and both can be found on newstands throughout the city. There are several bookstores throughout the city that sell current English and Foreign periodicals. The South China Morning Post from Hong Kong is also available by subscription only. South China TALK is a monthly English-language magazine based in Guangzhou.

Places of worship

All the religious sites listed in the See section are open to worshippers.

  • Christian: Guangzhou International Christian Fellowship [76] holds weekly service on Sundays at 10AM for expats from around the world in English. You must show your travel documents to enter since residents are not allowed there due to local laws. The meeting location is Star Hotel (景星酒店) near the East Train Station. Phone: 1366 234 6904. Hotel Address: 89 Linhe Xi Lu (林和西路89号). (Metro 1 East Railway Station)

Gym

Guangzhou has over 15 branches of Total Fitness [77]. One of the locations is at the 8th floor of Zhengjie Plaza (正佳广场). Many locations are close to metro stations. The Guangzhou Marriott (see sleep) has a complete new gym (Dec. 2008) with brand new Star Trac equipment, a swimming pool, tennis court, sauna and steam.

Health

  • Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital is near the Garden Hotel. 106 Zhong Shan Er Lu. +86 20 8382-7812, +86 20 2062-2031.
  • Kaiyi International Dental Care [78] Ice Flower Hotel, 2 Tianhe Bei Lu. +86 20 3886-4821, +86 20 3387-4278.

Mail

  • Post Office - There is a post office on Shamian (Shamian 3 Jie 沙面三街) 9AM-5PM, closed on Sunday.
  • DHL - There is a branch in Garden Hotel.
  • UPS 1121 Guangyuan Zhong Lu, +86 20 8657-9898.

Guide

  • Guangzhou4U [79] offer business tour guide,interpreter services

Get out

  • Visit the peach orchards and canals at nearby Xiazhou (下洲).
  • Yuanxuan Taoist Temple includes three Taoist temples in one complex: Sanqing Temple, Taihe Temple and Yuanchen Temple. Sanqing Temple is the most architecturally important of the three structures, while Yuanxuan Taoist Temple has carvings of divine beings. The central hall is covered by yellow glazed tiles and decorated with the bright images of Yuqing, Shangqing and Taiqing, the three authoritative deities in Taoism. The temple is located near Bi Village in southwest Xinhua Town. You can take the No. 9 bus from Hua Du Downtown. (Admission ¥2)
  • The dwellings of overseas Chinese from the early 20th century in Kaiping (开平).
  • Foshan (佛山) is only an hour away from Guangzhou. Famous for its Ancestry Temple (祖庙), it is also the home to legendary Wong Fei Hong, a martial art master.
  • Hong Kong (香港) is 2-3 hours away, depending on the modes of transportation.
  • Humen (虎门) in Dongguan (东莞) is famous for its Opium War era relics (虎门销烟). It is a bridge away from the Nansha District.
  • Shenzhen (深圳) is a new city on the borders of Hong Kong, one of the first special economic zones set up in China. Check out theme parks such as Windows of the World, The China Folk Culture Villages and Splendid China. Frequent buses and trains are available (Tickets around ¥60 - ¥80). The trip will take 1 to 2 hours. Make sure you have your passport while traveling to Shenzhen; they check it when you enter Shenzhen, although you are still in Guangdong, China.
  • Zhuhai (珠海) is another special economic zone to the south, at the border with Macau. You can get a bus ride from any of the major bus stations in the city. A train line is under construction but,as of mid-2009, not complete.


Routes through Guangzhou
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