The capital of Guangzhou Province, Guangzhou, or Canton holds an important place in the history of China. It has been a catalyst for several revolutions, reforms, trade, and cultural exchanges, that outlined the blueprint of modern China. The city is situated on the Pearl River and highlights a contrasting character; with one part gracefully embracing the ancient heritage, and the other bustling with modern Avant-garde architectural structures.
Best time to visit: October to March is the ideal time to visit Guangzhou as the temperature remains pleasant with low rainfall. During February to May, Guangzhou becomes a floral hub with flower markets almost everywhere.
Let us take a look at the various seasons round the year to help you plan your trip better.
Visa and Immigration requirement
If you’re an Indian passport holder travelling to Guangzhou, then you are required to apply for China tourist visa, under the single-entry scheme that allows for a maximum stay of 30 days. To apply for the visa, you need to submit the visa application form along with a passport size photograph, passport with minimum six months validity from the date of travel, confirmed flight tickets, travel plan with stay details and proof of sufficient fund.
How to reach Guangzhou
Alternatively, you can use taxis and bicycles available on rent to explore the city.
Spoken languages in Guangzhou
It is counted among the best restaurants for Dim sums and has about 25 branches in the city. They offer an array of delicious Dim sums including shrimp and pork dumplings or shāomài, shrimp dumplings, durian puffs, rice rolls along with other favourites.
Considered as Guangzhou's oldest restaurant, they boast of being the grand masters of Dim sums, which are steamed in traditional bamboo steamers, served for breakfast and lunch. In the evening, the restaurant is all about banquet-style Cantonese food.
From the house of the esteemed Bǐngshèng chain, Bǐngshèng Mansion is one of the eight restaurants to be awarded in the opening of the 2018 Guǎngzhōu Michelin guide. A must-try for non-vegetarians is their signature dish char siu pork, which is marinated for 24 hours and then roasted to perfection.
Settled inside Lìwān Lake Park, Táng Lì Yuán is a traditional garden restaurant known for its roasted pigeon. To try their delicious food, you need to book one of their six-seat dining boats inspired by 'drinking boats,' that were used during Qing dynasty by Xīguān merchants for their entertainment.
Guangzhou Province is a manufacturing hub for nearly everything, starting from branded clothes, inexpensive electronics, computers and number of other products. Some of the must-buy items form Guangzhou include Chinese Tea, Jade sculptures, Cantonese Embroidery and Porcelain. All the products are available on sale at numerous shops and markets. However, whether it's a wholesale market or a luxury mall, every place is always bustling with new items. Here are some of the famous shopping spots in the city to check out on your trip.
Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street: It is the most popular shopping area in Guangzhou with ten adjacent streets and hundreds of stores selling items like shoes, clothes, and souvenirs. While shopping, do munch on some street snacks from the local eateries.
Beijing Road: It is another famous shopping street in the city offering souvenirs, jewellery, and clothing. It is popular with foreigners and hence the prices tend to be on the higher side. You will also get ample snacks and refreshments to satiate your hunger.
Haiyin Square: Haiyin Square is a massive market for electronic products. From electronic devices to components, you will get it all at Haiyin Square.
Tianhe Teemall: If you want to indulge in retail therapy for a variety of essentials to luxury products at a pocket-friendly price, then head to Teemall. It is one of the largest malls in the province and is quite popular among Chinese youngsters. Remember to try out some snacks and international food at low prices at the basement.
Zhujiang New Town: This area is known for luxury shopping and is a major attraction among the tourists. You can enjoy a relaxed evening here at various restaurants and coffee shops.
Pearl River Cruise: Cruising along the Pearl River is one of the must things to do in the city and perhaps the best way to spend the night in Guangzhou. Starting from the White Goose Pool and ending at either the Guangzhou Bridge in the East or the Baihedong in the South, the Pearl River Cruise will give you a glimpse of this vibrant city's nightlife. The beauty of the river at night is often compared to the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. From European architecture on Shamian Island, state-of-the-art Canton Tower to artistically-designed Xinghai Concert Hall, every spot is a sight to behold during your cruise.
Pubs and Bars in Guangzhou: There are three streets popular for nightlife in Guangzhou – Huanshi Road, Bai'e Tan Bar Street, and Binjiang Road Bar Street. Huanshi Road is near the city centre, Bai'e Tan Bar Street is on the banks of Bai'e Tan or the White Goose Pond, and Binjiang Road Bar Street is situated alongside the Pearl River, offering spectacular scenery. Some of the best pubs in the city are Tian Bar, Party Pier, Hope & Sesame - Speakeasy Bar, Fei Bar and Club Catwalk.
Cantonese Opera: Watching Cantonese Opera or Yue Ji in Chinese is among the best things to do in at night in Guangzhou. It's just not a regular opera, but a unique performing art, combining chanting, singing, and acrobatics. The major highlight of the opera is that each character has its unique style, make-up, clothes and accessories.
Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Located just opposite to Terminal 1 Departure Hall, Gate no. 12, this luxurious hotel will make you feel like a celebrity. Featuring stylish interiors, plush guest rooms with minibar and double-glazed windows, the room are designed to provide the utmost comfort and luxury to its guests. Hotel Pullman also boasts of two fitness centres, an outdoor swimming pool, sauna rooms, 20 different size VIP rooms and meeting rooms along with a huge multi-functional Kapok Ballroom.
Aerotel Guangzhou Aerotel Guangzhou is situated inside Terminal 2 of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. All the rooms in the hotel are equipped with the basic amenities. It often acts as a space to rest for transit passengers.
Southern Airline Pearl Hotel Strategically located near Baiyun Airport, the hotel offers free shuttle service to all airport terminals. The rooms are well-equipped with basic amenities like flat-screen television, electric kettle, toiletries, etc. Guests can relax at the outdoor swimming pool, rejuvenate at the gym or enjoy at the game room. The restaurant at the hotel serves delicious French, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Italian food.
Four Seasons Hotel Touted as one of the best hotels in the city, Four Seasons Hotel is nestled at the heart of the Guangzhou. It boasts of seven dining options, an indoor pool, gym, and hot tubs. Featuring floor to ceiling windows, the rooms have oriental-inspired themes adorned with gentle colours and décor. It is an ideal place if you want to stay near the prime tourist spots.
Here are some of the other places to explore on your trip to Guangzhou.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall or Zhongshan Memorial Hall is among the landmark structures in Guangzhou. Designed by Lu Yanzhi, the building's octagon shape is something that attracts tourists. The memorial hall exhibits various materials and pictures of Sun Yat-sen (a former Chinese president). The ancient trees in the complex will also grab your attention.
Guangzhou Opera House: A masterpiece by the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, the architecture of Guangzhou Opera House projects a unique shape, blending perfectly with the skyscrapers of the city. Moreover, it's an experience to watch artistic performances like ballet, opera, drama, or symphony concerts in this amazing place. You can refer to the Opera House website for details of the shows.
Sacred Heart Cathedral: With creative architecture, exquisite carvings, and colourful glass windows, Sacred Heart Cathedral is a stunning piece of art and architecture. It took about 25 years to build the cathedral and it is now among the four whole stone Gothic cathedrals across the world. The place is worth a visit to witness the architectural magnificence of the ancient era.
Cycle tours are the cheekiest way of exploring the beautiful city of Guangzhou. From cycling through the old and lively villages, to the modern Avant-garde architecture of the new town, the tour will give you a taste of the city’s culture and history. Explore Guangzhou's beauty and get to know interesting folk stories at your pace, as these tours are suitable for people of all age groups and fitness levels.