Guangzhou or Canton, the capital of Guangdong Province, is the third biggest city in China after Beijing and Shanghai with a population of more than 12 million. The city has been a springboard for trading, cultural exchanges, many revolutions and reforms, making it an unavoidable stopover to understand what shapes the modern China.
Mention you are traveling to Guangzhou to most northerners, you will almost expect a remark calling the place 'cultureless'. Fair or not, its isolation from the rest of 'typical China' by mountainous topography and early exposure to the outside world has resulted in its unique way of lifestyle, liberal ideas, distinctive cuisine and tremendous wealth.
It is no surprise that Guangzhou is a cradle of many reforms and revolutions that changed the fate of China forever. Today Guangzhou still unveils many republic-era sights that help travelers understand modern Chinese history.
Guangzhou capital of the richest province is always a mix of new and old. It not only boasts some of the oldest temples in China, a millenarian-old park, an imperial tomb of a southern kingdom and complete preservation of colonial villas and church on Shamian, but it also serves as a showcase of futuristic architectures and autopilot metro on Zhujiang New Town.
Despite its vibrant sight-seeing resources, travelers usually come to Guangzhou to shop and eat. Guangzhou accommodates countless huge markets specializing in almost any made-in-china products, including Chinese tea, herbs, garments, watches, electronics and toys. You will be appalled to see the real prices of those China-made products and the profit your local shops earn by selling them.
Food is the centerpiece of life and Guangzhou has the country's largest number of restaurants per capita, which is the birthplace of what you call 'Chinese food' Cantonese food in the west. Here you can grab the authentic taste of sweet & sour pork, wonton soup and dim-sum. Few travelers can leave the city hungry.
As busy as it sounds, you can easily escape the crowd. Just head to surrounding villages, in which some of them date back to the Song Dynasty. Bird watching in Nansha Wetland, a 200-hectare stopover for migrant birds from as far as Seriba, can easily make for a peaceful day.
Guangzhou is divided into ten districts. Among them, Yuexiu and Liwan, the cradle for the Cantonese culture, has been the city center since the imperial era. Tianhe, which was a farming village decades ago, has been constructed into a new business center with some biggest shopping malls and highest skyscrapers in the city.
For travelers, the most useful road is Zhongshan Road, a 9 KM long highway horizontally cutting through the downtown of Guangzhou. The highway is divided into 8 sections. From Zhongshan 6 Road to Zhongshan 8 Road it covers around 80% tourist attractions and all famous restaurants. This area is well connected by Metro Line 1 from Changshou Lu, Chen Clan Academy, Ximenkou to Gongyuanqian
Yuexiu — The Zhongshan 6 Road area, which covers the original area of Yuexiu before its expansion in the 2005, has been the very core since 214 AD. Highlights include Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou Museum located at Zhanhai Tower, Orchid Garden, Mausoleum of Nanyue King, Guangxiao Temple, Temple of Six Banyan Trees, Huangsheng Mosque, Beijing Lu Shopping District, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Temple of Five Rams, Shishi Cathedral. It also has many popular wholesales market including Yide Road Market and Baima Market.
Liwan — On the north of the pearl river makes up the old Guangzhou area and home to the standard Cantonese accent . Tourist highlights include the colonial Shamian Island, Xiguan Old Houses, Xiangxiajiu shopping Street, Liziwan Lake Park and Chen's Clan Academy.
Tianhe is the business district, thriving with many skyscrapers and shopping malls. The newly developed Zhujiang New Town is a showcase of futuristic urban planning and avant-garde archiecture. It is also home to the oldest messy urban village Shipai as well as most expat communities. The district serves as a transportation hub for trains to Hong Kong. Highlights include Guangdong Museum, Central Library, Opera House and Shipai village.
Haizhu — At the south of the Pearl River, the former industrial district has transformed into more residential and business today. It is home to the city's latest landmark Canton Tower and the South Campus of Sun Yat-Sen University, which is a well-preserved historic building complex of the 1920s. Traders come here often for the Canton Fair in Pazhou.
Panyu is an area getting more popular among local tourists. Its Lianhua Mountain boosts 100,000 blooming lotus flower and sits a huge Bodhisattva Guanyin statue. Various theme parks have attracted thousands of tourists. The area is covered by many historic villages and towns that give you a peek into the life of traditional Southern Chinese.
Baiyun — This district is where the old airport is located. The Baiyun Mountain is a major attraction.
Huangpu is home to Huangpu Military Academy.
Nansha is a newly developed area at the southern tip of the city. Rural as it may sound, it keeps the survival of the Nansha Wetland, a stopover for migrant birds. Many Chinese worshipers also like to visit the Palace of Heavenly Queen. The High-Speed Railway Station (South Station) is built here.
Luogang is famous for its plum forest and Tianlu Lake Forest Park.
Huadu is where the New Baiyun International Airport is located.
Zengcheng is famous for its lychee fruit, which are picked in June and July.
Conghua is popular among tourists for its hot springs and Tianhe (Heavenly Lake) Recreation area.
Formerly known as Canton in the West, the city of Guangzhou has a history dating back roughly 2,200 years.
A legend tells of five celestial beings riding into the area that is now Guangzhou on five rams 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: City of Rams, Suicheng: Sheaves of Rice City and Wuyangcheng; 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; City of Flowers.
According to historical records, the city was built in 214BC and was known as Panyu. The name Guangzhou actually referred to the prefecture in which Panyu was located. 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 1757, the government designated the city as the only port allowed business transactions with foreign nations. This continued until 1842, the signing of the Treaty of Nanking, when four other ports were added. Losing the exclusive privilege pushed Guangzhou to become more industrialized later.
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. The first Protestant missionary in China, Robert Morrison, entered Guangzhou in 1807.
Time 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. Temperature can reach almost 40 degrees Celsius.
Typhoon season is from June to September. Please note that the Canton Fair takes place annually during the Weeks from Mid-April to Early May and Mid-October to Early November, so finding accommodation at those times can be difficult and expensive. See the information section under Sleep.
Entering By Air
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, is a major hub in Southern China, second only to Hong Kong. The airport is the base for China Southern Airlines and has an extensive range of domestic flights including: Beijing, Changchun, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Daxian, Guiyang, Guilin, Hangzhou, Harbin, Haikou, Hefei, Hohhot, Jinan, Jiuzhaigou, Kunming, Luzhou, Nanchang, Nanjing, Nanning, Qingdao, Sanya, Shantou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Taizhou, Tianjin, Urumqi, Wanxian, Wuhan, Wuxi, Xi'an, Yibin, Yichang, Yiwu, Yuncheng, Zhengzhou, and Zhuhai.
Direct international routes include Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Brisbane, Busan, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Macau, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Perth, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo and Vancouver.
The airport is 28 km (17 mi) north from central Guangzhou. The most convenient way into the city is by 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 takes about 50 minutes. Trains run every seven minutes, with the first train leaving the airport at 6AM and the last train from and to the airport departing at 11PM.
Taxis are also available and take about the same time as the Metro. A taxi ride to central Guangzhou will cost about ¥120, inclusive of a ¥15 toll fee. Taxi stations are available outside Arrival Hall Section A Gate 5 and Arrival Hall Section B Gate 6. If you arrive after midnight when the metro has stopped running, be prepared for a real long wait in line for taxis.
Waiting times can start from 45 mins, not because of the lack of taxis, but because of the sheer number of arrivees. Also, do not be surprised that the queue is not really an orderly queue, which is quintessentially chinese. Some parts it's 2 people, some parts it's 4, and towards the front it can spread out to 8 in a row.
People will attempt to out squeeze you to the back at every opportunity possible. You may find yourself 10 spaces behind the person who started right behind you.
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 10-15 minutes from 7AM until the last flight and takes 45 minutes to reach the Guangzhou Railway Station and Central Hotel.
The ticket prices range from ¥10-55. 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 Pearl River Delta region, such as Zhuhai and Foshan. However, there is no direct bus to Macau or Hong Kong.
Do not accept solicitations for rides to the city. Sometimes, people will stand at the arrival area and ask if you need a taxi. These are illegally operated and use unmarked vehicles, or charge you a fee, offer you a phony receipt, and then arrange a taxi that will still charge you. They usually cost a lot more than licensed taxis since many travelers do not know the cost of airport transportation.
Flying to Hong Kong is another option. From the Hong Kong International Airport, you can take cross-boundary coach to Guangzhou and other cities in Guangdong. Service providers include China Travel Service, Trans-Island Chinalink and Eternal East. Fares range from HK$220-250 one way.
The food in the international transfer terminal is very expensive. You can pay US$10 plus for a cup of tea! It is recommended to bring everything you will need for your layover. There is a free hot water machine downstairs, next to one of the smoking lounges. If you bring a mug, and some tea bags, you will be good to go for hours.
Trains cover the 182 kilometers from Hong Kong in about two hours, including a stop at Dongguan. Through Trains to Guangzhou East Railway Station depart from Hong Kong at Hung Hom railway station in Kowloon and arrive in Guangzhou at the East station. Through train services are operated by Hong Kong MTR. The one-way journey price ranges from 190HKD-230HKD.
Note: Tickets purchased on it3.mtr.com.hk must be paid for by credit card and collected in Hong Kong by the card holder. If you intend to begin your journey from Guangzhou, most times of the year you can obtain tickets on the spot at Guangzhou East Railway station. However, at peak season, you will want to book ahead to have a reserved seat.
Booking (and paying for) tickets through the MTR website will only RESERVE your seats if you are outside Hong Kong and intend to begin your journey in Guangzhou.
You will need to pay again at Guangzhou East station and then seek a refund from MTR once you arrive in Hung Hom. To avoid this, MTR has an officially appointed ticketing agency on the China side for multilingual inquiry and booking.This company has been confirmed by MTR customer service and is: Norrway Trading Co. Ltd.
Alternatively, China International Travel Service has non-real time inquiry and booking service in English. There are a number of other avenues (Chinese travel agents) for inquiring and booking GZ-HK MTR tickets, but they are in Chinese (e.g., www.020ztc.com), who have an office on the first floor of Guangzhou East station.
Many of the better quality hotels in Guangzhou will also have an affiliated travel agents where you can book and pay for train tickets, so contact them as well. Reservation for Guangzhou-Kowloon trains usually opens 28 to 30 days before departure.
It is cheaper to take the Guangzhou-Shenzhen intercity train service from Shenzhen to Guangzhou East Railway Station. Some trips also stop at Guangzhou Railway Station. Shenzhen is right across the border from Hong Kong and thousands of people walk over the bridge between the two every day through Luohu, or spelled as Lo Wu from the Hong Kong side of the border. Tickets can be bought at the Shenzhen Rail Station in Luohu. The one-way journey price starts from ¥80.
A project is underway to link the entire Pearl River Delta area with high speed rail network. The Guangzhou–Zhuhai (near Macau), Guangzhou–Shenzhen High Speed Rail (a different railway, originating from Shenzhen North Station and terminating in Guangzhou South Station, than the Guangzhou-Shenzhen intercity train mentioned above) have opened in 2011, and the journey takes just 57 minutes and 35 minutes respectively.
A new long distance line from Guangzhou to Beijing travels through major cities such as Changsha, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Shijiazhuang. It takes 7h59m to 9h38m for a journey to Beijing, over 2,000 km away. One way ticket is ¥865. There are also overnight soft sleeper bullet trains for ¥990 on most days of the week.
Some high-speed trains also go to Luoyang and Xi'an. One way trip from Guangzhou South Station to Xi'an North is between 7h40m and 9h09m, price from ¥813.5. This is part of a nationwide high-speed network. The above mentioned destination are also accessible by much slower non-high-speed sleeper train from Guangzhou Station in the center of the town.
It is easy to go to Guilin and Yangshuo by bullet train before moving on to rest of China. It will take 2h31m to 3h8m and costs ¥137.5. Guilin is also accessible by non-high-speed sleeper train from Guangzhou Station right in the center of the town, which takes about 11 hours.
It is possible to take a direct train from Guangzhou to Lhasa in Tibet. The 4,980 km journey takes 55 hours and runs every other day from Guangzhou Station. A sleeper costs ¥869 and up. For discussion see Overland to Tibet.
For reservation on all the train tickets except tickets to Hong Kong, Chinese Railway do have a online ticketing website and smart-phone app, but it's all in Chinese and only accepts Chinese debit or credit card. For English speaker with no access to a Chinese bank account, follow the tips on seat61.com, which gives very thorough instruction on how to buy train tickets from major reputable online travel agencies.
Bear in mind there are now three major train stations in Guangzhou. Countless travelers have gone to the wrong station and missed their scheduled trips, so be sure of your departing station, which is specified on the ticket.
Guangzhou Railway Station is one of the biggest in the country and services non-high-speed routes that go all the way to Harbin. Metro lines 2 and 5 have a connection stop here.
Guangzhou East Railway Station services non-high-speed routes to Hong Kong and some other mainland cities. Metro line 1 ends here, and Metro line 3 from Airport South has a station here.
Guangzhou South Railway Station serves ONLY the high-speed rail network.
Guangzhou also has several other stations such as the North Station and West Station. There are also different names for each of the stations. Be sure to use official names to avoid confusion.
Although some signs are available in English, most of the staffs do not really understand and speak English, except at the Guangzhou-Kowloon ticket counter, in which staffs are generally able to communicate in simple English. Bring a phrasebook or a Chinese friend if you're planning on traveling deeper into China.
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 on Huangpu Avenue, Garden Hotel and China Hotel. 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. Here are some of the main stations in the city:
Provincial Station (Metro 2 & 5 Guangzhou Railway Station Exit F1, F2, H1, H2) The station serves mostly long distance lines outside the Guangdong Province.
Liuhua Station (Metro 2 & 5 Guangzhou Railway Station Exit D4) Across from Provincial Station, it mostly serves nearby cities in the province.
Tianhe Station (Metro 3) The station services Southern and central China, reaching as far as the Gansu Province. There are also many routes to cities in Guangdong.
Haizhu Station The station is located in the southern part of Haizhu, servicing major cities in the province and other Southern China provinces, including Hainan.
Fangcun Station The station serves similar routes as the Haizhu Station.
Yuexiu Nan Station Other than desintations in the province and other provinces, it also has lines to Macau and Hong Kong.
Guangzhou South The station mainly services nearby cities. There is a bus to Lo Wu, a commonly used border crossing between Hong Kong and mainland China. The fare is ¥65 and it runs every hour.
Please note that English and Chinese names of bus stations vary from one sign to another -- coach terminal, coach station, bus terminal, bus station, passenger terminal or passenger station. Be aware that the different names may be referring to the same station.
There used to be frequent ferry services from other cities in the Pearl River Delta, as well as some cities in Guangxi and along the coast, for example, Xiamen, Haikou or Shanghai. But nowadays, along the construction of extensive highway, water transportation no longer have its value as they used to. There is currently no ferry terminals in downtown. The two major ferry terminals are Lianhuashan Port Ferry Terminal in Panyu District and Nansha Port Ferry Terminal in Nansha District.
Lianhuashan Port Ferry Terminal in Panyu has ferry service to two locations in Hong Kong: Kowloon (China Ferry Terminal or China HK City, both refer to the same terminal in Hong Kong) and Hong Kong Intl Airport Sky Pier. Service to Hong Kong Intl Airport Sky Pier is for transiting passenger at Hong Kong Intl Airport only, as passenger will be transferred directly between Sky Pier and airport terminal, without clearing immigration in Hong Kong.
Passenger taking this service need to have a flight reservation departing Hong Kong on the same day with the minimum connecting time of 120 minutes in Hong Kong. Traveling from downtown Guangzhou to Lianhuahan takes about an hour by car, complimentary shuttle buses are available to or from several locations in Panyu, including Panyu Square Station on Metro Line 3 and Shiqi Station on Metro Line 4. Alternatively, public buses are available from Shiqi Station on Metro Line 4.
Nansha Port Ferry Terminal in Nansha has services to two locations in Hong Kong: Kowloon and Hong Kong Intl Airport Sky Pier. The trip takes 75 minutes to Hong Kong. Note that Nansha is extremely far from the city center, as traveling between downtown Guangzhou to Nansha is about 75 minutes.Free shuttle buses are available to or from several locations in Panyu,and at Garden Hotel for passenger traveling to Hong Kong Intl Airport only. The port is 1.6km south of Humen Bridge in Nansha.
Public transportation system is comprehensive in Guangzhou like most other big Chinese cities. If you stay in Guangzhou for long time, purchase a multi-purpose Ling Nan Tong - Yang Cheng Tong stored value card, which can be used to pay fares in metro, bus and ferries and used for many convenience stores, public phones and vending machines.
However, to return the card at the end of the trip, you need to go Gongyuanqian (Exit J) and Tiyu Xi Exit G, and East Railway Station. (Exit HJ). It may be worth simply keeping the card as a souvenir.
Despite the sheer size of the city, walking is a great way of exploring the traditional Liwan and Yuexiu districts. The easy tour is to walk through Zhongshan 6 Road Zhongshan Liulu which covers most tourist attractions including Liurong Temple, Guangxiao Temple, Huaisheng Mosque and many huge markets. It also has the two most popular pedestrian streets , Beijing Lu and Shang-xia-jiu for shopping mania.
To give you some sense of direction whenever you get lost, figure out the location of two major horizontal lines, which are Zhongshan Road and the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang) , you will easily tell every direction. This area is also well connected by Metro Line 1 and Trolleybus 104, 107, 109 and 78(Night Bus) which is the only trackless tram system in South China.
Bicycles are promoted as 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 ¥500 for a reasonable cheap single-speed to around ¥2000-3000 for a 21-speed mountain bike. Giant and Merida are the two most common international brands. High-end bicycles are also available to affluent customers in this rich city.
Folding bikes are permitted on the subway (sometimes not on buses) and tax, 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.
Opened in 1999, the ever-growing Guangzhou Metro system covers much of the city center. The fare ranges from ¥2 to ¥12. Most of the signs and announcements are in Chinese and English.
If you stay in Guangzhou for extended period, think of getting a Yang Cheng Tong transportation cards (see details above). Card holders can get 40% off on any rides since the 16th uses in every month.
There are currently 8 lines in operation:-
Line 1 is the most useful for tourists, horizontally cutting through the center of Guangzhou. Five major stations Huangsha, Changshuo Lu, Chen Clan's Academy, Ximenkou, Gongyuanqian cover up to 80% tourist sights.
Line 2 runs horizontally through Guangzhou South Station and Yuexiu Park.
Line 3 is a Y-shaped eastern Guangzhou. The 'main line' runs from Panyu Square to the Tianhe Intercity Coach Station, whilst the 'branch line' splits off at Tiyu Xilu and heads towards Airport South.
Line 5 runs east-west from Jiaokou (Liwan District) to Wenchong (Huangpu District) and follows the inner ring road through the city. Useful for reaching Guangzhou Railway Station, the Garden Hotel and Zhujiang New Town.
Line 4 serves Guangzhou's eastern outer suburbs and runs from Huangcun in Huangpu District down to Jinzhou in Nansha. This line is most useful for reaching the Olympic Sport Centre and the University Town.
Line 8 was formed out of the remnants of Line 2 following it's southward extension and runs east-west through Haizhu District from Fenghuang Xincun to Wanshengwei. Useful for reaching Sun Yat-sen University and Pazhou Exhibition Centre.
Zhujiang New Town APM is an experimental autopilot metro system which takes you to the Canton Tower. You need a separate 2yuan ticket to get a ride.
Guangfo Line is China's first intercity railway, connecting downtown Foshan with Xilang, where you can transfer to Line 1. Central Foshan can be reached in approximately 45-60 minutes from central Guangzhou. Transfers from GZ metro lines and Yangchengtong cards are accepted.
Guangzhou bus network is comprehensive. Bus fares are ¥2 for adults and ¥1 for children, disables and senior citizens. However, information at bus stops is mostly written in Chinese characters. A current stop's name may be displayed in pinyin or English on a LED display panel as long as it is available. On-board announcements are made in Mandarin, Cantonese and mostly English as well.
Buses are only handy for traveling within one district or for reaching suburban districts that are not served by the subway. Heavy traffic can lead to a slow, uncomfortable journey although they can be handy for a cheap but slow sightseeing tour. Trolley bus lines (Routes 101-109) are handy for exploring Liwan and Yuexiu districts.
Most bus routes run from around 6am to 10 or 11pm, after which there are night buses with the prefix 'Ye’. Night route numbers are not related to the normal route numbers. The fare is usually ¥3 - ¥4. There are more than 100 night routes, but most of them stop running in between 12:00 to 1:30am, and some start again around 5am. In most cases, taking a taxi after midnight and before the sunrise is a better idea.
Guangzhou has over 30 commuter express bus lines run mostly during peak hours from major bus and subway interchanges to congested areas and outlying districts. Fares are from ¥1-4. There are also four special lines for University Town. You can find these in most major stations in the city that would take you to University Town. Fares are from ¥2-4. There are also 2 tourist bus lines passing through many scenic spots in the city. Other special lines are: Lines to some commercial districts, shuttle buses for many different residential complexes such as Favourview Palace and Star River, and even complementary shuttle buses for some shopping center. The driver of a shuttle bus may ask for your receipts.
By Bus Rapid Transit
The Bus Rapid Transit system went into service in early 2010. It is essentially a long segregated bus lane (not an elevated busway like in Xiamen) running along the Tianhe Road and Zhongshan Avenue corridor towards the eastern suburbs. Some intersections are traversed by bridges and tunnels, which cuts journey times considerably, but other intersections have traffic lights and therefore traffic jams, and crowds can be as dense as in Metro stations but with fewer doors and a narrower standing area compared to Metro trains.
All buses that use the BRT start with a B prefix (B1, B22 etc.), though some without the "B" stop nearby. When reading a bus route (in Chinese) you can see the BRT logo above each BRT station name, like the GZ Metro logo above bus stops that are near Metro stations. The B1 stops at every BRT station, but other B routes use any number of BRT stations (sometimes just one) and use normal roads the rest of the time.
If boarding a BRT bus at a normal (non BRT) bus stop, the normal fare of ¥2 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 (coins only) into the entry turnstile to enter the platform area; no payment is required when boarding the bus, and you can board at the rear.
As with normal bus routes, there is almost no English at BRT stations, and only the current station name is in pinyin. Overall it isn't much use to tourists.
By taxi and Uber
This is the most popular way for foreigners to get around, and it is very affordable. The starting charge is ¥10 for the first 2.6 kilometres, and after that ¥2.6 for each kilometre. No fuel surcharge is added, but a 50% surcharge is automatically added when the trip reaches 35 kilometres. A few of them also accepts Yang Cheng Tong as payment, but it is not preferred by the drivers. The taxi hotline 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 have the name and address of your destination written in Chinese to show the driver. Many are from the poorer northern provinces and do not even speak Cantonese. If your destination is not well known, have a nearby landmark included in the address, e.g. "across from the Garden Hotel."
Whilst the majority of taxis are the regular VWs and Hyundais found in almost all Chinese cities, there are an increasing number of 'London taxis' on the streets of Guangzhou (which comes as no surprise as the latest generation of London black cabs are built by Geely Motors in China). In Guangzhou they are known as "old-fashioned" cabs.
They are wheelchair accessible and can carry up to 6 passengers. Many people recommend using the yellow taxis as that company only employs local Guangzhou drivers who know the city well - other taxi companies usually hire migrant workers from other provinces who may not know where they are going.
Beware of taxi driver as sometimes, in addition to going around the block one too many times, they will also try to pass counterfeit notes. Pay close attention as to what they pay when passing toll booths. Good drivers will show you the toll receipts. Only add the toll amount to what is displayed in the meter. A trip between the airport to the East Railway Station cost around ¥120-130.
Most people find taxi drivers in Guangzhou to be honest. However, during the Canton Fair near the Pazhou Complex, it is common to see drivers violate rules, such as refusal of service and pre-negotiating a price rather than using the meter. It is also difficult to find a taxi available elsewhere in the city.
Most taxi shift changes take place between 15:00-17:00. During this time, it is hard to find a taxi as many drivers stop working by displaying the "out of service" sign before the end of the shift, unless you are going in their direction. Taxi can be also hard to come by during commuter peak hours of 19:30-09:00 and 17:00-19:00. Finding a taxi at night is usually not a problem.
Uber has large presence in Guangzhou. The price is usually half of a taxi and can be safer. As in elsewhere, Uber is relatively scam-free. However, some drivers do take an unusually long route. Be sure to make sure the route is right by using the maps and GPS on your own phone. Most of the drivers don't speak English and cannot call a foreign phone number if your roam your phone in China, so keep an eye on both the map and the cars coming, or get a local sim card in China.
While driving in Guangzhou is an option, drivers unfamiliar with the driving conditions in China's large cities should be aware of the risk and potential compensation incurred. Many car rental companies offers a driver as well.
Car rental companies in Guangzhou:
Avis 9 Huali Road + 86 20 3829-6279 Hours 8:30AM - 5:30PM
Hertz 89 Linhe West Road, first floor of Jingxing Hotel + 86 20 8755-1608
Although a convenient way to navigate the city's back alleys and lanes, motorcycles are banned in the city center, 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.
The ferry is the cheapest way of crossing the Pearl River (Zhujiang). They were very popular in the 1980s and early 90s, carrying tens of thousands of passengers across the river each day. Nowadays its popularity declines greatly, mostly because of the construction of many bridges along the Pearl River and the availability of other public transportation.
The river narrows while going through the city center (a bit wider than the Thames in central London). It is usually faster and more convenient to use the bridges or public transport(metro, bus) to cross the river than wait for the ferries. One ferry route that maintains its popularity operates between the Huangsha Pier by the seafood market next to Shamian Island and the pier on Bai-e-tan Bar Street (Changdi Road) in Fangcun.
It departs every 10 minutes from 6AM to 10PM. The fare is ¥0.5 for a foot passenger or ¥1 if you bring a bicycle. The fare can be paid in cash (no change given) or by using Yangchengtong Card. There are separate boarding gates for cyclists and pedestrians, and you pay at the boarding gate.
Mandarin is the official language as is spoken by everyone other than some of the older generation. All true Guangzhou locals speak Cantonese, and if you visit areas such as Liwan and Yuexiu, this is the predominant language spoken on the street. Migrants from other parts of China will speak Mandarin. Local people take the preservation of their dialect so seriously that they even marched to the government office to protest against a plan to limit the use of Cantonese in TV and radio broadcasting.
English is spoken by more people than in the rest of China (save for Beijing and Shanghai), but still not by the majority, so it is a good idea to carry your hotel's business card with you. Do not expect drivers to speak English, some of them can't even speak Mandarin without a heavy accent. To save yourself the hassle and agony when asking for directions, have names of your destinations clearly written down in Chinese by the hotel staff before venturing out.
That said, many educated younger people will have a basic knowledge of English and staff at hotels as well as bars and restaurants widely visited by foreigners generally speak an acceptable level of English. Staffs at Starbucks generally speak acceptable English and high school or college students can generally understand basic English as well, but not for speaking.
If you find a Chinese people on the street who speaks English fluently, then you most likely run into either someone working at a foreign company, a highly educated student or a person who has studied abroad.
Despite the fact that not the majority of people speak English, but the signs are often in Chinese and English, even though sometimes the English version doesn't really make any sense or obviously translated by google.
Dafo Temple, No. 21 Huixin Xijie, Huifu Donglu, Yuexiu District (No. 22 Huixin Zhongjie). One of the five renowned Buddhist temples in Guangzhou. It was originally built by Liu Yan, King of the Southern Han Dynasty in the 8th century. Located for keen shoppers needing a break just off Beijing Lu. Free entry.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial
Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral, on Shamian Island
Xiguan Residence and Cantonese Arc.See the traditional Cantonese architectures from the late Qing Dynasty and early Republic Era. These houses can be found in Haizhu South Road, Duobao Road, Baohua Road, Longjin West Road and Shangxiajiu Road. One of the most famous ones is located at 18 Baoyuan North Street. They were occupied by the upper class in the old days.
Chen Clan Academy Zhongshan 7th Road (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)
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (Metro 2 Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall - Exit C) located on Dongfeng Middle Road, 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. Open 8AM-6PM. Admission is free for the park and ¥10 to go inside the hall.
Shamian Island (Metro 1 Huangsha Exit D) The buildings and streets of the former British and French concession 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. The architecture reflects the colonial era of 19th Century, and it has a unique atmosphere.
Canton Tower (Metro 3, APM Chigang Pagoda) is the tallest structure in China. In additions to the observation deck, the tower features various restaurants, a 4-D theater and other entertainment venues. Admission is ¥150.
Bright Filial Piety Temple (Guangxiao Temple) 109 Guangxiao Road (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 back to the mid-19th century. Admission is ¥10; free if you eat at the temple's vegetarian restaurant. You can also apply your admission toward your meal.
Liurong Temple 87 Liurong Road (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 is ¥5; Flower Pagoda ¥10.
Wu Xian Guan Temple Huifu West Road. (Metro 1 Ximenkou Exit C) Admission is ¥5.
Huaisheng Mosque 56 Guangta Road(Metro 1 Ximenkou Exit C). This is one of the oldest Muslim mosques in China, built in 627. The mosque is open to Muslims only and not open to the general public, but you can take a peek outside.
Shishi Sacré-cœur Catholic Cathedral 56 Yide Road (Metro 2 Haizhu Square Exit B1).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 weekdays 8:30-11:30AM and 2:30-5:30PM; weekends 8:30AM-5PM. Free admission.
Sanyuan Temple Yingyuan Road (Metro 2 Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Exit C). This is the largest and oldest Taoist temple in the city.
Hualin Temple(Metro 1 Changshou Lu) Free admission.
Yuanxuan Taoist Temple is located in the Huadu District. It includes three Taoist buildings in one complex: Sanqing Hall, Taihe Hall and Yuanchen Hall. Sanqing Hall 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 Huadu Downtown. Admission is ¥10.
Xiaozhou Village The village is a short taxi ride from University City. Some travelers describe this district as full of historical buildings, fruit orchards and canals and relate that, in recent years, this has become artists' haven. Others report that recent development has obliterated all traces of the village and that the district is a typical industrial suburb adjoining a huge field used as an outdoor latrine.
Memorial of the Huangpu Military Academy is on Changzhou Island (Metro 5, Yuzhu Exit D. take 431 bus to the Ferry to Changzhou Pier.). The original Military Academy was founded in 1924 by Sun Yat-sen, with support from the Chinese Communist Party and the Soviet Union. The mission of the Academy was to create an officer corps for the new Chinese Republic.
Many famous Chinese war heroes were trained here. The original site was destroyed by the Japanese in 1938. Two exhibition halls on the Campus of the Academy cover the History of the Academy with English translations. Unfortunately the other exhibition halls, such as Heroes of the Academy, do not have English translations. The site is far from the city center. Free admission.
Huang Pu Gu Gang Definitely a spot worth checking out. It is the old trading port of Guangzhou, and set amongst a multitude of old style buildings akin to the hutong district in Beijing. Its cheap and full of good places to eat, as well a plethora of lovely small coffee shops by the river side to enjoy a snack and a bit of food. To get there ride the metro to WanShengWei (end of line 8) and take either a motorbike, golf cart or bus (229) to Huang Pu Gu Gang.
Former Residence of Hong Xiuquan , The former home of the quasi-Christian leader of the Taiping Rebellion that resulted in the death of about 20 million people during the late Qing dynasty. Shortly after failing the imperial examinations on multiple occasions, Hong Xiuquan became delusional and claimed to have received visions in his dreams that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ destined to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and establish the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in Nanjing as its captial.
Museums and galleries
Most museums and libraries are closed on Monday.
Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, (Metro 2 Yuexiu Park Exit E) Discovered accidentally in 1983 during the construction of proposed shopping mall, this impressive mausoleum proves to be the most important historic discovery in South China, making it a must on any itinerary. Major display is the King's burial suit made of thousands of jade tiles. 9AM-5:30PM daily. Admission is ¥12.
Guangzhou Museum, Zhenhai Tower in Yuexiu Park. Among the first museums in republic era of China, it is located in an ancient Zhenhai Tower overseeing the traditional Guangzhou regions. The museum vividly displays the history of South China. Admission: ¥10.
Guangdong Museum(Metro 3,5 Zhujiiang New Town Exit B1; APM Opera House Exit C) Open 9AM-5PM, Tue-Sun. The new museum is located in Zhujiang New Town, not to be confused with the old Guangdong Museum near Metro 1 Peasant Movement Institute Station. This is the biggest museum in the city. It covers Guangzhou's history, culture, science and nature. Arrive early as admission is limited to 5,000 per day. Personal ID is required to obtain free tickets at ticket office.
Guangdong Museum of Art on Ersha Island. It shows contemporary, and sometimes ultra controversy Chinese art. Personal ID is sometimes required. Open 9AM-5PM, Tue-Sun.
Guangzhou Sculpture Park Tongxin Road at the foot of Baiyun Mountain. Free Admission.
The Memorial Museum Of Generalissimo Sun Yat-Sen's Mansion 18 Dongsha St, Fangzhi Road. Open 9AM-4:30PM Tue-Sun. Free Admission.
Guangzhou Uprising Museum (Metro 1, 2 Gongyuanqian Exit J). The Museum is at the site of the first Communist government building. Open 9AM—12PM and 1:30PM-4:30PM Tue–Fri; 10AM-4:30PM Sat-Sun. Free Admission.
Guangzhou Ocean.Situated within Guangzhou Zoo, Guangzhou Ocean World covers an area of 13,000 square meters (about 139,931 square feet) and has more than 200 kinds of fish and many other rare ocean creatures. It is a high-tech exhibition hall serving sightseeing, entertainment, research and education purposes.
Guangdong Revolutions History Museum 2 Lingyuan West Road (Located in the martyrs memorial park. Metro 1 Martyrs' Park 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. Free Admission.
Peasant Movement Institute ,(Metro 1, Peasant Movement Institute 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 recent China revolutionary history. Open 9AM-5PM Tue-Sun. Free admission.
Redtory 128 Yuancun 4th Cross Road Once a can food factory, this old can-packing factory is transformed into galleries for contemporary artists. There are also restaurants and shops, which blend in well with artistic surroundings.
Despite its reputation for business and busy trading, Guangzhou has many historic parks everywhere, ranging from a 1000-year-old lake garden, green mausoleum for martyrs to a vast wetland dedicating for migrant birds from Serbia and Mongolia.
Yuexiu Park (Metro 2 Yue Xiu Park Station Exit B1) 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 now home to the Guangzhou Museum with relics on five floors dating back 5,000 years ago and an up-to-date miniature of modern Guangzhou. Admission is ¥10. Hours 9:00 - 11:30, 13:00 - 17:00. Also check out the Stone Statue of the Five Rams, the symbol of Guangzhou . Open 6AM-9PM. Free Admission.
Lingnan Impression(Metro 4, Higher Education Mega Center South Exit B) This is a place to see the city's past before the economic boom. The park is 15 minute walk from the subway station. Free shuttle is available on the weekend. Admission is ¥60.
Baomo Garden is located in Panyu District, rebuilt in the 1990s from a destroyed ancient garden. Hours 8:30AM-6:00PM; Admission is ¥45.
Huanghua Gang Commemoration Park , 79 Xianlie Middle Road 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.
Guangzhou Martyrs' Memorial Garden Zhongshan 2nd Road ,(Metro 1 Martyrs' Park Station Exit D) This park is dedicated to those who fought and died in the Communist Uprising in 1927. Hours 6:00AM-10:00PM; Free admission.
Yuntai Garden (Tour Bus No. 1, 3)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.
Xiangjiang Wild Animal Safari Park is in Panyu district. Hours 9:30-18:00; Admission is ¥180.
Green Walk(Metro 1, Peasant Movement Institute) This is in Yuexiu District, under the Donghaoyong Elevated Road.
Taoist temple Five fairy Taoist temple is located in Hui Fu Xi Lu of the center of Guangzhou. is the historical markers of that Guangzhou has been founded 2000 years.
Million Sunflower Garden.Sunflower Garden million theme park, located in Panyu, Guangzhou Wanqingsha town, covers an area of 260,000 square meters, planting one million sunflower, become the first in the country house, all imported seeds (mainly Japan) ornamental sunflower park.
Chimelong Paradise. The theme park has many thrill rides and shows. Hour: 9:30-18:00 (18:30 weekend); Admission is ¥200.
Chimelong Water Park. This is a western style water park with great water rides. Hour: 9:30AM-10:00PM, April to Mid-October; Admission is ¥140 (fall) - ¥250 (summer).
Guangzhou CrocoPark You can see, play, touch, take pictures of crocodiles and even eat and buy stuff made of them! Guangzhou Metro Line 2, Huijiang Station.
Guangzhou Xiangjiang Safari Park.Day safaris and night safaris offered, mini jungle train, free ranging animals. Guangzhou Metro Line 3, Hanxi Changlong Station, take exit E, there are scheduled free shuttles to all the Chimelong parks.
Chimelong International Circus The closest China gets to Cirque du Soleil, 250/adult, 125/child or senior. Hanxi Changlong, exit E, free shuttle.
Baiyun Mountain (White Cloud Mountain)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 bungee 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) 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 Metro line 4 and exchange bus line 92 or 93 at Shiqi Station. There are ferry services from Guangzhou at Tianzi Pier (¥20) and Xidi Pier(¥25). The boat leaves at 8:15AM and returns at 3:15PM. Admission is ¥50.
For in-depth skills and knowledge on the Chinese language and culture, the Guangzhou University, on the university island in Guangzhou, offers international students courses on the Chinese language (Mandarin), the Chinese culture, economy and law.
An exchange semester in Guangzhou University's international study abroad program is ideal for all students interested in China, international economy and international affairs in general. Most of the participants are students of business, technology, political science and tourism.
Guangzhou University, in its present form, was founded in 2000, when Guangzhou Normal University, the South China Institute of Construction, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou Junior Teachers' College, and the Guangzhou Institute of Education were combined into one institution.
Guangzhou University’s history, however, dates back to 1927 and the university was given the power to grant degrees in 1984. GU is a public university funded by the Guangzhou Municipal Government and recognized by the Ministry of Education in China as well as the International Association of Universities (IAO).
Other private options:
Mandarin House Guangzhou School offers intensive & business courses to HSK preparation to all levels.
Sun Yat-sen University. Founded by Republican China's (and Guangdong's own) revolutionary hero. Offers full-time Manadarin language program to foreigners at various levels. Attracts students from all around Asia and the world. Program is located in the beautiful and historic south campus in Haizhu District.
Locals on the run outside the Grandview Plaza in Tianhe District. In the background is the 80-story CITIC Plaza.
If time and weather permit, 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 market directory. Find all kinds of professional wholesale markets in Guangzhou
Qingping Market Qingping Road ,(Metro 1 Huangsha Exit D) 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.
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.
There is a vast system of small streets and alleys, greenways, boulevards and parks that are great for cycling. You have the opportunity to explore parks, temples, outdoor markets and the quieter residential areas of Guangzhou. Some hostels have a bike rental service for as cheap as RMB5 per hour.
Cycle Canton - guided cycle tours. Cycle Canton offers guided cycle tours through Guangzhou. The tour winds through old and lively urban villages where you mingle with locals, to the ultramodern architecture in the new city. The route through downtown Guangzhou, from Taojin to Pearl River New Town, is very safe and convenient as it is almost entirely free from cars and mainly follows quaint alleyways, greenways, parks, outdoor markets and riverside boulevards.
You will be surprised by the beauty of Guangzhou and the fascinating inside stories about the places we visit, including old hutongs, temples, ancestral halls, parks, kong fu studios, islands and squares. Cycle Canton hosted 1,000+ guests -tourists, expats and locals- since 2013.
It is consistently ranked Best Activity in Guangzhou on TripAdvisor and has featured in numerous local media. Guests do not need to be avid cyclists; child seats are available upon request. The tour takes 4 hours, bike, helmet, guide, snacks and water are provided and total costs are 300 RMB.
Eating Adventures. offers private and group walking foodie tours of Guangzhou. Tours take roughly 3 hours and are lead by licensed English speaking guides. Costs from 399 RMB including all food.
Walk the Old Hutongs
There is a vast network of undeveloped hutong streets south of Chan Clan Academy, where a tourist can enter the daily lives of the people living in these small alleys.
Walking Tour - Guangzhou Private Tour Guide by JanviJanvi is a native of Guangzhou. He offer overseas visitors a guided tour in and around Guangzhou, helping overseas visitors experience Guangzhou's culture and local customs. He will take you explore the old Guangzhou (Canton) which only the locals know and with low cost which travel agency they don't, telling you the historic Guangzhou as well as the modern Guangzhou, you will be taken to get involved in the daily life of Guangzhou. The tour takes from 7~10 hours, costs from USD$100~120.
Cheap and safe. The electric trams are even cheaper at flat rate of ¥2. Hop on to any one of the public buses. Drivers are generally very friendly and helpful. So long as you have sufficient small change for the journey, tell the driver you are in just for a joyride. (In cantonese Yau Cheh Hor literally meaning just for the ride or just for fun. Where the journey terminates, ask anyone what buses will take you back and request the driver to let you know when to get off.
So long as you sit not too far away, he (sometimes she) will tell you. Don't worry, everyone is very helpful on these buses. Being paranoid about scams and perceived crimes takes the joy out of what would otherwise be a marvellous holiday.
Daytime River "Cruise"
As cheap as ¥2, you get a ride down to the last terminal at ZhongSan University and back. Just tell the ticket seller at the jetty, in front of Riverside Hostel,you just want a joyride. On your way back,you can get off on the other side of the river at the heart of the commercial district. After spending a couple of hours walking around or even dinner, it will cost you only ¥1 to cross back to the Riverside Hostel
Chinese New Year/Spring Festival 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.
Flower Street in Tianhe during Chinese New Year
Dragon Boat Festival 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.
Mid-autumn Festival is on the 15th day of 8th lunar month, usually in September or October. Cantonese moon cakes are enjoyed during this holiday. Lian Xiang Lou and Taotao 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 is around the spring equinox, usually on April 5th. Involves visits to the family tombs for cleaning and making offerings.
Double Ninth Festival is on the 9th day of 9th lunar month, usually in October. Cantonese has the tradition of hiking up Baiyun Mountain. This is also the fall version of the Tomb Sweeping Day in April.
Qi Xi, or Chinese Valentine's Day is on 7th day of 7th lunar month, usually in August or September. According to legend, a heavenly fairy Zhinu fell in love with a mortal farm boy Niulang. This was forbidden; as punishment, they were only allowed to meet once a year on this day. There are usually parades and carnivals in the city celebrating the holiday. This is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day, but it is steadily losing its appeal among the locals; many have adopted the Western Valentine’s Day on February 14th.
Winter Solstice, 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.
The Canton Fair
Canton Fair (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. Canton Fair is held in the Pazhou Complex at 380 Yuejiang Middle Road (Metro Line 8 Xingangdong or Pazhou station).
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.
Eating in Guangzhou
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, as well as a long history of contact with the West compared to other regions in China, have played a major role in the development and diversity of Cantonese cuisine.
Chinese food served in Western countries is usually Cantonese food, albeit slightly adapted to Western tastes, meaning that most Western visitors from large cities will be familiar with Cantonese food to a certain extent. That being said, authentic Cantonese cuisine is also famous throughout China for another reason - Cantonese people eat absolutely anything, and it is often said that Cantonese people eat anything that has four legs other than a table, anything that flies other than an airplane, and anything that swims other than a submarine.
In addition to that, various internal organs of animals are regularly eaten, such as the liver, kidneys, heart and even brain. This means that Cantonese cuisine is one of, if not the most adventurous in China due to their expansive use of exotic ingredients, and their extremely broad definition of what is considered edible.
This is how Guangzhou earned the distinct name of "Eating in Guangzhou."
Food in Guangzhou
White Cut Chicken.This is one of the most popular Cantonese dishes. It is lightly flavored to allow one to taste the true chicken meat. Many Cantonese restaurants have their signature dish based on this, such as the Wenchang Chicken from Guangzhou Restaurant, Real Taste Chicken from Bingsheng Restaurant and Qingping Chicken from various restaurants. However, to be cautious, especially westerners, since the chicken is completely steam without any cut off, you might see the head and feet of the chicken
Yum Cha / Dim Sum "A pot of tea with two pieces" is Guangzhou's dim sum culture. Many locals stay for hours chatting and reading newspaper with just a small order of food. The varieties of dim sum dishes in many restaurants are easily over a hundred. The bite-size quantity of each dish allows one to venture out and try new things that will satisfy one's taste bud.
Siu Mei / Shao Wei Cantonese barbecue is famous around the world where many have seen the image of roasted ducks and chicken hanging in front of a store. Siu mei is a staple item in Cantonese restaurants. Some Varieties include barbecued pork, roast goose and roast pig.
Seafood.Eating fresh seafood the Cantonese way is a good way to explore Cantonese culture. From picking live fish or lobsters in front of your eyes to eating the sea creatures with their heads attached, this is a great advanture for any visitors.
Dessert.A Cantonese meal is not complete without Cantonese desserts. Soupy or custard desserts are common. Two distinct Guangzhou favorites are double layered milk and ginger milk curd. Other popular choices include tofu pudding, red bean paste, green bean paste, guilinggao, black sesame paste and sago.
Eating Houses In Guangzhou
Guangzhou Restaurant, 2 Wenchang South Road (Metro 1 Changshou Lu). This Cantonese family restaurant is famous for its signature dishes Wenchang Chicken and special baby pig. Get up early and try it's Yum Cha (Cantonese dim sum). It has several branches in the city. Other locations include 20 Binjiang West Road and 112 Tiyu East Road.
Pan Xi Restaurant, 151 Longjin West Road. Located in the heart of the Old Guangzhou, this Cantonese Restaurant serves dim sum next to trickling streams and stunning architecture. Try one of their famous dumplings shaped like a rabbit's head.
Datong Restaurant , 63 Yanjiang Road. This time-honored restaurant spans all 8 floors of the old building, overlooking the Pearl River. The place has been around for a long time and is a favorite among locals.
Taotao Ju Restaurant, 20 Dishifu Road (Metro 1 Changshou Lu; Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street). This is the oldest traditional dim sum restaurant in the city but nowadays, their food not up to standard as their chef left for high end restaurant in Hong Kong. Dim sum hours are still busy, so reservation is recommended. Specialty includes moon cakes and other traditional Cantonese pastries.
Four Seasons Restaurant, 122 Liuhua Road (Metro 2 Yuexiu Park Exit D2). 11AM-2.30PM, 6PM-10PM. Classic Cantonese cuisine using fresh, quality ingredients. Renowned for its Roasted Suckling Pig and Peking Duck. Dim sum is serve during lunch hours. ¥200 per person.
Liuhua Congee House, Renmin North Road (In Liuhua Park. Metro 2 Yuexiu Park). Open 24 hours. Excellent dim sum and Cantonese porridge in beautiful surroundings.
Wenji Restaurant, 10 Boahua Road (Metro 1 Changshou Lu; Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street). As the place was established by the former chefs from Qingping Restaurant, they have the original Qingping Chicken on the menu.
Lian Xiang Lou, "67 (Metro 1 Changshou Lu; Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street). M-F 6:30AM-10PM, Sa-Su 6:30AM-11PM. Founded in 1889, Lian Xiang Lou is a famed Cantonese restaurant across China. Local gourmets may disdain its dishes but its bakery is still popular among tourists.
Fo World Sushishe, 2-8 Niunaichang St, Tongfu Middle Road.(Metro 2 The 2nd Workers' Cultural Palace). 7AM-9PM. The restaurant is hidden in a small street, this place is especially crowded on the 1st and 15th of each month (lunar calendar). Part of the profits is given to the neighboring temple.
Foo Yau Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant, Xinfu Xincun. (Metro 1 Chan Clan Acadamy Exit D). 7AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM. This place serves creative vegetarian dishes with dim sum served in the morning.
Sharmaji Vegetarian Indian Restaurant. One of the most famous Vegetarian Indian restaurants in Guangzhou. Founded in 2001, it serves vegetarian Indian buffet only, located in the Indian ghetto in Guangzhou, near the Dong Yue Hotel. Located on the 4th floor of the Gitic Hotel. No meat or alcohol served.
Shui Yun Tian, 38-42 Jinghui Road (next to the Guangxiao Temple, Metro 1 Ximenkou). 6:30AM-2:30PM, 4:30PM-9:30PM. Great buffet around noon.
Cow and Bridge Thai Restaurant, 2/F, Xiang Long Garden, 181 Tianhe North Road (Metro 3 Linhexi). This famous Thai restaurant offers many varieties 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, 5 Shamian South St(Metro 1 Huangsha). This tourist friendly restaurant offers good curries and polite service on the quite Shamian Island.
Banana Leaf. This is a established traditional Thai restaurant chain in Guangzhou.
Tianhe, 28 Tianhe North Road(Metro 3 Linhexi; 2/F, Times Square).
GZTV Hotel, G/F, 8 Luhu Road.
World Trade Center, 5/F, 371-375 Huanshi East Road.
Tai Man Guan, 7F Tower North East, Teemall, 208 Tianhe Road (Metro 3 Tiyu Xilu). This is located in the Tee Mall in Tianhe. The Thai restaurant offers many varieties of Thai dishes with great curry and noodle dishes.
Vaastu. This high end restaurant opened its door in 2008. It serves traditional Indian food with vegetarian dishes available.
Sharmaji Vegetarian Indian Restaurant. One of the most famous Vegetarian Indian restaurants in Guangzhou. Founded in 2001, it serves vegetarian Indian buffet only, located near the Dong Yue Hotel. Located on the 4th floor of the Gitic Hotel. No meat or alcohol served.
Zebra Star Cafe, "Unit (take line 5 metro train to Taojin station then find Taojin Rd and a short 5 minute walk from there). Located in the old Yuexiu district this cafe is famous for its Australian influenced cuisine. It has real coffee and it and ideal hangout for travellers who crave western food and culture. The boss is an Aussie and has a large network of expats who frequent this place. Has great music and atmosphere.
Lucy's Cafe & Restaurant, 3 Shamian South St (Metro 2 Huangsha). 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. This is a favorite for adoption families who stays on the island.
Oggi Restaurants. Oggi serves traditional Italian food in central Guangzhou.
Oggi Trattoria, 1 Tiyu East Road. 11am-12am. Come and enjoy their great pizza and pasta with choice Italian wine.
Oggi Pizzeria, G/F Tianlun Garden, Jianshe 4th Road. The European theme style cafe and bar serves great pizzas and traditional Italian home dishes with wine carte and draught beer.
Bosphorus Turkish Restaurants, 1 Jianshe 6th Road (Metro 5 Xiaobei Exit A). 10AM-11PM. There are two location in GZ. Bosphorus Premium Located in ex Tang Club , and Bosphours Xiaobei located in Zhaoqing Building , it has delicious and halal foods. The third location in Yiwu city . The Bosphorus premium has two floor, having lunch and dinner at 2. floor, smoke and coffee at 3. floor. The portions are large, price are acceptable according to food quality. This is a favorite for eating doner (one of famous Turkish food) and kebabs especially Iskender.
Buongiorno Italian Restaurant, 3F Yian Plaza, 33 Jianshe 6th Road. 11AM-11PM. The authentic Italian restaurant is Italian managed and prepared, serving pizza, pasta, meat and fish dishes.
Prime Steakhouse, 122 Liuhua Road.11am-2.30pm, 6pm-11pm. This is one of Guangzhou's finest steakhouse serving Australian and Japanese prime cuts, seafood, pasta and desserts.
Cafe Veranda, 122 Liuhua Road. 6.30am-10pm. This place serves a lavish international buffet and also has a la carte menu. All Western and Asian delights can be found here and the breakfast buffet is simply excellent.
Danny's Italian American Restaurant, 4F Home Garden Mall, 188 Huangpu West Avenue(Metro APM Huangpu Dadao). Established in Guangzhou since 1997, the restaurant serves Italian and American dishes including pasta and pizza along with other western food. Chinese dishes are also available. Delivery is also available.
The Italian Restaurant, 3F Zhujiang Building East Tower, 360 Huanshi East Road (Metro 5 Taojin). 10:30AM-2AM. Despite the unimaginative name, this place offers good pizzas, pasta and beer. Buffet is available.
La Seine Restaurant Franca, 33 Qingbo Road(Ground floor, Zinghai Concert Hall),. The upscale restaurant has an elegant French decor, overlooking the Pearl River skyline. ¥200 and up.
K's Western Delights, Tao Jin Jia Yuan.. They serve Western-style homemade kosher sandwiches, managed and prepared by Westerners. Delivery service is available.
Pizza2Pizza, Tianhe North Road. 10AM-2AM. The restaurant serves appetizers, Salads, Pizza and Pasta. Dine-in, take-out and catering are available. Free delivery within 2 km of the location. Check their website for other locations.
Tekila Mexican Restaurant and Bar, 2F, 11 Jianshe 6th Road (Metro 5 Taojin). This place serves authentic Mexican food. It has great Margaritas. Entertainment includes salsa dancing.
BOCA Restaurant and Cafe, 75 Tianhe East Road #107. This place serves appetizer, Soup, Salad, Sandwiches, Rice Delights, Pastas and other Main Courses. Kids' meal is available.
Gail's Place, 1/F Stars Building, 172 Huasui Road. The family owned restaurant has a huge western food menu with an accent on American and fusion style dishes. For those who celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, Gail's offers a fully cooked turkey with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce.
Best-Way African Restaurant, No. 003 1/F Jindu Bldg, 99 Guangyuan West Road (opposite Canaan Market). This Nigerian restaurant serves cuisine cooked Igbo style,try the semo and egusi soup. It is a bit out of the way (down some narrow stairs and under a concrete overpass), but the ambiance is cozy inside with Nigerian music playing. edit
Foreign fast food, ice cream and coffee chains are well established in Guangzhou. These include Subway, Dairy Queen, Saizeriya (Japanese Italian Food Chain), Papa John's Pizza, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks and Häagen-Dazs. Most of these can be found in the Zhengjia Plaza.
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.
Some FamilyMarts and Circle-K's do not sell cigarettes, but C-store does. Corner's Deli is a specialty food chain store with several locations in the city with a good selection of imported foods. One of the locations is at unit 6, Backstreet, CITIC Plaza.
TESCO (乐购) The British hypermarket is located on Zhongshan 6th Road above the Metro Ximenkou Station and it is the largest supermarket in Guangzhou on a single premise.
Park 'n' Shop.This Hong Kong chain has several locations ranging from convenience stores to hypermarkets. The largest stores are in the shopping mall above Metro Changshou Lu Station and at Tianhe North Road close to the Longkouxi bus stop. It is a little more expensive but has a good selection of imported groceries.
ÆON .There are several locations including Tee Mall at Tiyu West Road and Linhe Middle Road near the East Train Station. This Japanese chain has a good selection of imported groceries.
Carrefour.This French hypermarket has four stores in Guangzhou. One of them is at Kangwang Road near Chenjiaci station. It is cheap and has a good selection of products.
Trust-Mart.The lower-end market has numerous locations in Guangzhou and it is recent acquired by Wal-Mart. It will be soon re-branded to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has been upgrading the stores, and the prices while they are at it. This chain has a large stock of non-food items but the grocery selection is limited. It is often crowded on the weekends.
Vanguard.This is the flagship operating supermarket chains of China Resources. It is the third largest supermarket chain in Hong Kong. It operates approximately 450 stores in China. There are over 20 stores in Guangzhou.
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.
Nightlife at Shangxiajiu in Liwan District.
Covent Garden.(Located on the small road across from Ocean Palace on Jinsui Road). 10AM to 3AM. British pub in the Zhujiang New Town. Recently won the best new pub in Guangzhou at the PRD awards. Large selection of cocktails and whiskeys with pints of Tiger Beer from ¥25 during happy hour, 4PM-8:30PM.
Drop In. This English-styled bar is perfect for a night out with your friends. There are many different burger dishes and delicious cocktails on the menu.
Feeling Bar, (next to MRT 3 Exit C of South China Normal University). 10am-2am. This trendy bar is the place to be if you are a student or expat. It offers a wide range of delicious meals and drinks, has schishas and daily promotions.
Hill Bar, (Outside Baiyun Hotel and across from Garden Hotel). Reasonable price for drinks and live band performances nightly. ¥35 pints.
Hooley's Irish Pub and Restaurant, Xing Sheng Lu, Zhujiang New Town (Metro 5 Liede exit D). 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.
Paddy Field Irish Pub and Restaurant, (Behind Garden Hotel).
Rebel Rebel, 42 Ti Yu Dong Lu, Tian He District (A little off the main road, down a side road next to the Oakwood Premier building). 11am to 2am. This trendy British-inspired urban bar and restaurant has an extensive drinks menu, specialising in British real ales when available. It also offers a range of meals, with contemporary twists on British classics, such as Punk Rock Pie, Sausages & Mash and Fish & Chips, as well as a range of pastas, pizzas, burgers & popular Asian dishes.
There are daily meal specials and a happy hour from 2 to 8pm. Live music on most nights adds to the vibe of this popular central bar which is popular with both locals and expats. Regular sports events, especially football, are normally shown live on the big screen. It also holds monthly art shows showcasing local talent from all artistic fields and there is usually some interesting artwork on display in the bar.
Tavern Sports Bar (Metro APM Guangzhou Opera House), poly 108/ 2 huajiu Road, Zhujiang New Town Panyu Location, Yingbin Road, right hand side of the Huanan Country Garden entrance,. 11:30AM to 2AM. Tavern Bar is an English-style pub serving appetizers, pub-grub and international food. Happy Hour from 4-8pm and all day Monday, Happy Hour pints from ¥20.
Range of draught beers and cocktails. Shows live sports on big screen TVs. Pool tables and private rooms are available. Wednesday night is trivia night from 9-10:30pm at the Zhujiang New Town branch.
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.
Oh Marco Wine Cellar, 9 Yiyuan Road 4-5, Haizhu District. 9AM-9PM. Oh Marco is a retail wine chain shop. There you can drink a glass or buy a bottle of wine. It offers full range of wines, directly imported from France. Perfect for after-work drinks. Drinks from ¥18.
Sapphire Lounge, 122 Liuhua Road 3:00PM to late. Located on the 4th floor of China Hotel, 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.
The Brew, Zhujiang New Town, Panyu, Jianshe Liu Ma Road (Metro 5 Taojin exit B). The Brew, formally known as The Strange Brew, is a Canadian owned and operated bar with three locations in Guangzhou. It's menu has a strong Canadian/ American influence and boasts the best burgers in the city. There are specials every day of the week which differ from location to location. It is the ideal place to have a drink and catch the game (NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA, Rugby and more).
Perry's Café, 2nd floor of No. 61, Hongmei Lu, Haizhu District (taxi would be easiest way, make sure you have the address written down in chinese). Located in Dadao of Haizhu District, is Perry's Café. Although hidden, the newly opened cafe is ideal for overseas students or foreign friends in the community. Offers European dishes, opened until late night (at least 4AM)
C:Union, 115 Shuiyin Road. Great place to hear atypical 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 , 360 Huanshi East Road (basement on the end of the Zhujiang Tower near Garden Hotel). This is a favorite expat hangout. The resident DJ spins a wide range of music. The Cave features exotic dance performances, including live-python dance. ¥30 standard drink.
Club NaNa, Tianlun Garden, 26 Jianshe 4th Road (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, 360 Huanshi East Road (opposite end of the Zhujiang Building from the Cave). 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.
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.
Heihei Club, 2 Qiaoguang Road, Yuexiu District.. Good crowd, blend of locals and foreigners. Good music though a little pricy. It was reported that pickpocketing is rampant here. ed
True Colors, 276 Yanjiang Zhong Lu ((200m east of the Tianzi Matou), Yuexiu District (8373 5858)). Club has dozens of tables on the floor for groups to drink and play local dice games. The DJ booth overlooks the floor and between it and the massive windows runs a strip that can rise up for live performances and for models to runway walk.
There's a dance floor that's maybe 25 square meters where locals and expats dance. DJs come from all over the world and play their own mix of house occasionally punctuated with hip-hop.
The culture of tea drinking, also known as Yum Cha, 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 South Road (Down from the south gate of TeeMall). 3PM-2AM. This is a Taiwanese style tea and coffee shop. There are about five other locations in the city.
Tian Chang Di Jiu, 1 Zhengping Middle Street, Taojin Road.
Chun Ya Yuan Teahouse, 19 Siyou New Road (4/F, Changcheng Hotel). 7PM-1AM.
Crystal Tea House, 6 Longkou East Road, Tianhe (1/F, Yuan Yang Hotel). 10AM-2AM.
Wong Chun Loong Herbal Tea. The traditional herbal tea chain has over a dozen branches in the city, including 17 Wenchang South Road, 109 Huagui Road, 51 Dishifu Road, 504 Xihua Road, and many more.
People's Cakes & Coffee. Enjoy cakes and coffee at this Western coffee shop run by Koreans.
Yuexiu, #102, 17 Jianshe 6th Road.
Taojin, 98 Taojin South Road.
Foreigners MUST present an original passport with a valid visa for staying at a legal hotel or hostel.
Visitors have reported troubles during check-in when their passports were held by other consulates for applying for or extending a visa. Make sure to check in first at hotels/hostels before applying any visas.
If you don't have an original passport, don't expect mercy from hotel receptionists, who may face a prison term and heavy penalty if they allow you to stay without a passport.
Guangzhou has Public Security Bureau (PBS) 's Exit and Entry Office for renewing visa for staying at China. When submitting your application, you need to present a Temporary Residence Registration Form, Linshi Zhusu Dengji , which is issued only by legal hotels and hostels. Consult front desk staff.
From April 15th to May 5th and October 15th to November 5th are the annual Guangzhou International Trade Fairs in which room rates in hotels and hostels will usually be hiked up. Prices vary every year and you are advised to secure your bed before going to Guangzhou in those two seasons
Guangzhou is not as well known as Beijing or Shanghai as a hub of foreign commerce and trade - perhaps unfairly, as it's the center of manufacturing in China. Most people on the planet are no further than a few feet away from an object produced in in the Guangzhou metropolitan area at any given time..
While there may not be as many opportunities for foreigners here compared to Beijing or Shanghai, this massive city and its rapidly growing economy does offer some work for foreigners,management, translation, engineering and teaching English.
There are a number of large ESL school chains, owned by foreigners, in the area who hire mainly North American teachers. As with any rapidly growing industry, there are many sketchy companies trying to make a buck. If you want to work as an English teacher in Guangzhou which can be an amazing experience make sure to verify the credentials of the school.
English teaching jobs are available teaching a range of ages from kindergarten to elementary, middle and high school students as well as universities and private language centers. Schools usually require native speakers with a degree in any discipline and TEFL certificate.
Violent crimes are not common. As one of the first open ports in China, Guangzhou is known for its liberalism and general tolerance of cultural differences. Crimes that target foreigners are rarely heard of but pickpockets could happen in shopping areas and transportation hubs. Teahouse scams, which are serious problems in Beijing and Shanghai, have not been reported in Guangzhou.
A possible scam is when a taxi driver refuses your notes and tells you it is fake. What happens is that the taxi driver changes your note for a fake one without you noticing. Always be suspicious when a vendor refuses your money and gives it back to you.
As the wealthiest province of China, it has attracted enormous immigrant workers both from other provinces and overseas. The local police has Arabic and English-speaking forces to deal with the rising drug trade involved with foreigners, who are not exempted from the death penalty for drug trafficking.
Traffic conditions in Guangzhou have drastically improved in recent years and rules are practiced relatively. However, like everywhere else in China, cars do not yield to pedestrians and zebra crossings are for display only.
Emergency numbers are: Police: 110; Fire: 119; Medical: 120; Traffic accident: 122.
The area dialing code for Guangzhou is 020. From overseas, dial +86 20 XXXX-XXXX. Phone numbers are 8 digits. Mobile numbers are 11 digits and city code is not required.
Tourism Administration of Guangzhou Municipality, 140 Dongfeng West Road.
Internet is prevalent in Guangzhou. Many western chain restaurants such as McDonald's, Subway, Starbucks, offer an easy access to Internet. Many major public places are now covered with free wifi (ssid: wireless_GZ), including the Baiyun International Airport, libraries, public parks, hospitals, railway stations and several shopping centers.
Police: The Public Security Bureau Exit-Entry Administration Division is located at 155 Jiefang South Road.(M-F 8:50AM-11:30AM, 2:30PM-5PM.) You can get your visa extension done here.