Attractions in Guangzhou
is the largest city in the world’s largest conurbation (the
Pearl River Delta: pop. 65 million). A leading commercial
and industrial city, it has 11 districts under its
jurisdiction with a total area of 7,434 square km (2,870 sq
mi). At the end of 2019, the population of the city's
administrative area was estimated at 15,300,000.
Guǎngzhōu (广州), once better known internationally as Canton, has been China's busiest trading centre for centuries. Despite breakneck redevelopment up to and after the 2010 Asian Games, much of the metropolis still hums along at a pleasantly sedate pace, where narrow, leafy streets conceal temples and mosques, pockets of colonial-era heritage, traditional dim-sum eateries, distinctive qílóu shophouses and Lǐngnán architecture. Equally, you can embrace modernity via the 21st-century architectural landmarks of the showpiece Zhūjiāng New Town, such as the late Zaha Hadid's Opera House and the slim-waisted Canton Tower, rising up over the Pearl River, which cuts a lazy swathe through the city.
Pearl River Night Cruise /
Pearl River Night Cruise goes through the heart of the city in 2 hours, depending on the route and if dinner is included. Routes usually pass Shamian Island and return through Renmin Bridge and Haizhu Bridge before winding up at the Guangzhou suspension bridge. Options include a light show at Bai-e-Tan.
Address: Liwan District, Guangzhou
More Info: Cruises depart from several wharves, the most known are Tianzi Wharf and Dashatou Wharf.
Opening hours: 6h30 - 21h30
Opera House / 广州大剧院
The Opera House in Guangzhou does not only host spectacular international music acts and theatre performances (in both English and Chinese), but is also an eye-catching sight due to its interesting architectural composition. Whether or not you're a theatre-goer, the structure makes for a worthwhile visit.
Address: Zhujiang West Road 1, Guangzhou
Phone: +86 20 3839 2888
Temple of the Six Banyan
Trees / 六榕寺
Not far from Huaisheng Mosque lies Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. This temple was originally built in AD 537 and has been rebuilt several times. It is one of the four best Buddhist temples in Guangzhou. The sight is well worth a visit because of its vast collection of cultural-relics and the 57-meter-high pagoda garden that dates back to the 3rd century.
Address: No.87 Liurong Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: 8h - 17h
Public Transport: Subway Line 1 or 2 to Gongyuanqian Station Exit B
Chimelong Safari Park /
Chimelong Safari Park is the biggest wild animal theme park in Asia and home to over 500 species and 20,000 rare animals such as pandas and white tigers. The park/zoo features safari on wheels where visitors are allowed to drive their cars inside the stock area. This is a large-scale park where you can have an intimate experience with animals, and you can surely spend a wonderful time here with your family.
Address: Dashi Street, Panyu District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: 9h30 - 18h
Phone: +86 20 8478 3333
Tower / 广州塔
The landmark of Guangzhou, also known as the Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower and is one of the world's most remarkable new buildings. It serves not only as a popular tourist destination but also as an intensive facility for radio and television transmission. The tower is 450-meter-high and have an amazing Bubble Tram (spherical cabins) that allows you to experience the beautiful panoramic views of Guangzhou.
Address: No.222 Yuexiang West Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou Opening hours: 9h - 23h
Paradise / 长隆欢乐世界
If you are seeking thrilling rides, Chimelong Paradise is the place to go. It houses over 70 rides including a 10-looped roller coaster, the quickest motorbike roller coaster and the first Skating roller coaster of Asia. For kids, there are plenty of rides for them as well. Besides, the park also offers all sorts of performances such as magic tricks, songs and dances, acrobatics and fancy car parades.
Address: Yingbin Road, Panyu District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: 9h30 - 18h
Phone: +86 20 3993 2888
Shan (White Cloud Mountain) / 白云山
If you are looking for a day trip, Baiyun Shan is hard to beat. An escape from the heat of the city, this mountain located in Guangzhou's scenic surroundings is well worth a visit. From the foot of the mountain, a cable car will take you to Peak Park.
Address: Baiyun Shan, Baiyun District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: 24/7
Applying for Visas
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the expiry date of your visa and you’ll need at least one entire blank page in your passport for the visa. You may be required to show proof of hotel reservations and onward travel from China, as well as a bank statement showing you have $100 in your account for every day you plan to spend in China.
A standard 30-day single-entry visa can be issued from most Chinese embassies abroad in three to five working days. Express visas cost twice the usual fee. In some countries (eg the UK and the US) the visa service has been outsourced from the Chinese embassy to a Chinese Visa Application Service Centre, which levies an extra administration fee. In the case of the UK, a single-entry visa costs £30, but the standard administration charge levied by the centre is a further £36.
A standard 30-day visa is activated on the date you enter China, and must be used within three months of the date of issue. 60-day and 90-day tourist visas are reasonably easy to obtain in your home country but difficult elsewhere. To stay longer, you can extend your visa in China at least once, sometimes twice.
Visa applications require a completed application form (available at the embassy or downloaded from its website) and at least one photo (normally 51mm x 51mm). You normally pay for your visa when you collect it. A visa mailed to you will take up to three weeks. In the US and Canada, mailed visa applications have to go via a visa agent, at extra cost. In the US, many people use the China Visa Service Center, which offers prompt service. The procedure takes around 10 to 14 days.
Hong Kong is a good place to pick up a China visa. However, at the time of writing only Hong Kong residents were able to obtain them direct from the Visa Office of the People’s Republic of China. Single-entry visas processed here cost HK$200, double-entry visas HK$300, while six-month/one-year multiple-entry visas are HK$500. But China Travel Service (CTS) and many travel agencies in Hong Kong can get you a visa in two to three working days. Expect to pay HK$650 for a single-entry visa and HK$750 for a double-entry. Both American and UK passport holders must pay considerably more for their visas.
Be aware that political events can suddenly make visas more difficult to procure or renew.
Chinese law requires foreign visitors to carry their passport with them at all times; it is the most basic travel document and all hotels (and internet cafes) will insist on seeing it. You also need it to buy train tickets or to get into some tourist sights, particularly those which are free.
It’s a good idea to bring an ID card with your photo in case you lose your passport. Even better, make photocopies, or take digital photos of your passport – your embassy may need these before issuing a new one. You should also report the loss to the local Public Security Bureau (PSB).