Guangzhou: On the Banks of the Pearl River

Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province and formerly known as Canton, is China’s busy metropolis by the water. Situated on the banks of the Pearl River, navigable to the South China Sea, Guangzhou is where high-rises and history, tradition and modernity, and trade and transport meet. In its early history during the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC – 256 BC), legend suggests that Guangzhou experienced a famine broken only by five immortals descended from heaven on goat-back to bless the region with warmth and fertility. The city certainly experiences favourable weather with a short, mild winter and year-round sunshine. Nearby Shamian Island is home to European relics while more traditional architecture can be found at the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall – a shrine, Confucian school and the chamber of commerce for the clan.
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Flights to Guangzhou

Things to do

  • Baiyun Mountain

    In the northern suburbs of Guangzhou is Baiyun or ‘White Cloud’ – a mountainous area with more than 30 peaks dotted with temples and monasteries. The area is perfect for hiking or, for spectacular views, take a ride on the cable car.

    Latitude: 23.15729 | Longitude: 113.273289

  • Canton Tower

    The 600-metre tall Canton Tower is a landmark on the Guangzhou skyline. At night it’s bathed in an ethereal rainbow light with colours emanating across the Pearl River. Take a ride on the bubble tram at 455 metres high or visit 488 Look Out for a sky view of Guangzhou. opens in new window

    Latitude: 23.106553 | Longitude: 113.324673

  • Guangzhou Opera House

    Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, Guangzhou Opera House is one of China’s biggest and most unique performance venues. Its curved glass panels joined together have been likened to pebbles washed up from the nearby Pearl River. Join one of five daily tours or plan ahead and purchase tickets for an upcoming show. opens in new window

    Latitude: 23.115162 | Longitude: 113.322254

  • Shamian Island

    Take a day trip to nearby Shamian Island for European architecture including the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes (built by the French in 1892) and Shamian Dajie, the island’s main road, lined with old houses, galleries and picturesque trees.

    Latitude: 23.109444 | Longitude: 113.239444

  • Shawan Ancient Town

    In the southwest district of Panyu lies the cobblestone streets, shrines, ancestral halls and Taoist temples of Shawan Ancient Town. Shawan was once the centre of Lingnan culture and its history is particularly evident in the town’s architecture.

    Latitude: 22.904799 | Longitude: 113.333785

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Airport information

CBD 40km

Travel time 45 minutes

Taxi Approx CNY 150

Shuttle Approx CNY 17-32

Train Metro line2, 40 Minutes, CNY 8 

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When to go

Guangzhou enjoys a humid subtropical climate, meaning summer (June - October) is long and humid while winter (December - February) is short and mild. The average yearly temperature is around 22°C. Autumn (October - December) is the best time to visit when temperatures are mild and it is generally sunny but cool.

Come February, Guangzhou is coloured by flowers with the Spring Flower Fair and again in June with the Guangzhou Lotus Flower Festival on Lotus Blossom Hill. Twice a year Guangzhou hosts the Canton Fair, from April to May and again from October to November.

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Getting around

The best way to travel around Guangzhou is using the city’s nine metro (train) lines. Trains operate from 6.30am to 11.30pm with fares costing from CNY2 to CNY14. Transit passes are available for one-day (CNY20) or three days (CNY50) for unlimited use during that time. Taxi prices begin at CNY10 for the first 2.5km and CNY2.6 for every additional kilometre plus the fuel surcharge (CNY1).

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