“If you are passing through Guangzhou for a day, what should you go see?” Guangzhou (also ‘Canton’) is one of China’s most bustling cities. The arguable “Capital of the South,” is one of China’s cultural and historical centers. As such, it has no shortage of things to do.
Whether you prefer tasting new foods, visiting historical sites, catching up on some shopping, or strolling through parks, Guangzhou can accommodate. This city has it all! For that very reason, however, it’s not easy to plan a trip for a single day. Nevertheless, we’ve done our best to gather a few great options of must-see places in Guangzhou.
What Should I do in Guangzhou?
You shouldn’t expect to accomplish ALL of these in a single day. Unless you are hoping to catch up on exercise by jogging everywhere, it’s best to pick a few and see how it goes. Still, even just seeing a few of these will make your trip well-worth the visit. After all, you can’t expect to get too much done in just one day, right?
1. Guangzhou Opera House
A jewel in this big metropolis, the Guangzhou Opera House is one of southern China’s premier performance venues. Designed by British architect Zaha Hadid, these two ‘pebbles by the Pearl River’ serve as home to the city’s fine arts. Here you can watch a theatrical or dance performance, or listen to an opera.
2. Yuexiu Park (5 Rams Sculpture)
If the weather permits, parks are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in the city. Yuexiu Park is just north of the downtown area and is Guangzhou’s biggest park. Here you will find the famous 5 Rams Sculpture, a symbol of the city, and the Zhenhai Tower, a five-story pagoda housing a small museum.
3. Shamian Island (Liwan District)
The most “European” side of Guangzhou. Shamian Island, like the Bund in Shanghai, serves as a picturesque example of British and French influence. This colonial European neighborhood and its pedestrian avenues are perfect for exploring. For anyone interested, this area is also known as a “hotspot” for photographers.
4. Canton Tower
Arguably Guangzhou’s most-famous landmark, the Guangzhou Tower, or Canton Tower, rises high above the city. Once China’s tallest tower, this structure is still one of the most iconic. Consider riding to the top of the tower to one of the observation decks, or simply enjoying the tower’s surroundings. A short walk away, you can find the Party Pier Plaza, host to a number of restaurants, hotels, banks, clubs, and bars.
5. Shopping: Beijing and Tianhe Roads
Beijing Road Pedestrian Street and the Tianhe Road Commercial Area are two must-visit places for shoppers. These are two of the city’s most prosperous commercial centers. Moreover, aside from great shopping, you will also find a great selection of restaurants and several historic sites. Thus, offering a great contrast of the new and traditional local culture.
6. Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
Quite close to the Yuexiu Park, sits the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. The tomb belongs to King Zhao Mo, and is where he has been, in a full jade burial suit, for over 2000 years.
The tomb itself is composed of over 700 large stones decorated with colorful murals on slabs. The King is buried 20 meters (66 feet) underground and shares his tomb with ancient bronze-ware, terracotta, jade, and even by 15 human sacrifices! All in all, the museum serves as a showcase of the city’s construction for the past 2200 years.
7. Baiyun Mountain
Hiking is a great idea in any city. Getting outdoors, walking in nature, and all while appreciating the best views of the cityscape. Whether you prefer hiking in the morning or in the evening, the views from Baiyun Mountain are spectacular! If you are feeling particularly energetic, walk through the trails and get firsthand skyviews of Guangzhou’s downtown area.
8. Nine-storey Pagoda: The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
No trip to a Chinese city would be complete without visiting the local temples.If you only have time to see one, The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, also Liurong Temple, is your best bet. Though there are still a few Banyan trees left in the Buddhist temple’s grounds, the real attraction is its Nine-storey Pagoda. This ornate pagoda stands tall over the tranquil temple; offering a fantastic contrast to the busy city that surrounds it.
9. Guangzhou Folk Arts Museum
Located in the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, built during the Qing dynasty, is home to the Guangdong Folk Art Museum. Here you will find a large collection of wood carvings, pottery, stone and brick carvings, and other traditional artifacts. As well, you can find local folk artists and exhibitions all year round.
How to Get Around Guangzhou
Guangzhou is a big city. Even knowing where you wish to go, actually getting there can be a challenge. For this reason, we recommend taking advantage of a trusted car service that can take you around. With the guidance of professional local drivers and a 24-hour customer support team, you can guarantee yourself a smooth trip.
A Brief Guide to Guangzhou City
As mentioned earlier, Guangzhou is one of China’s most important historical and cultural centers. With its convenient positioning on the Pearl River Delta, it’s also one of the country’s fastest growing cities.
As you prepare your itinerary for visiting Guangzhou, be sure to leave some extra time. These spots are, no doubt, great starting points for your visit. However, getting lost and finding nice cafes or restaurants along the way is also a part of the charm. Leaving a flexible schedule can help you enjoy the city at your most comfortable pace.