5 tips for Guangzhou

night view in city of Guangzhou China

Guangzhou is a city in southern China, which became famous among other things for its international trade fairs. The prosperous metropolis is the capital of Guangdong province. Guangzhou owes its economic boom not least to its excellent connections to Hong Kong and Macau. Guangzhou is located on the Pearl River, which is navigable to the South China Sea.

With numerous sights, Guangzhou also has a lot to offer for tourists looking for recreation and culture.

Guangzhou is also known for its culinary diversity. It is considered a paradise for gourmets. Around the old city area, Dongshan District, Yuexiu District and Liwan District Panfu Road, numerous traditional restaurants await guests.

If you are looking for good and cheap shopping opportunities, Guangzhou is the place to be. Shangxiajiu Road, Beijing Road and many other attractive shopping streets offer great bargains.

Tip 1: Canton Tower

The Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China, is a television and observation tower that is 600 meters high. The tower impresses with an unusual architecture with the two staggered ellipses. The foundation stone of the tower was laid in 2005. Completion was in 2010. It was once the world’s tallest television tower and the world’s second tallest freestanding structure. However, the structure lost the rank of the tallest television tower to the 634-meter Tokyo Sky Tree.

Canton Tower
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The ring elements have a lattice-like structure, forming the tower in the manner of an hourglass stretched in length. The tower has several viewing platforms. The highest one is located at a height of 459.2 meters. The base of the top observation platform is an ellipse, and this platform was designed in a stepped manner. On the pod ride, which is attached to the highest ring, 16 spherical glass observation cabins slowly travel along from a height of 3.2 meters, which is comparable to a lying Ferris wheel. The silhouette of the tower is modeled on an impressive twisted tube, which looks truly graceful compared to its height. Thanks to the curved shape, the tower got the nickname “Supermodel”. At the narrowest point, the tower is only 30 meters wide.

On several levels, the tower has catering areas with restaurants, cafes and teahouses. On two levels there are even two revolving restaurants and there is a “VIP restaurant”. The area known as the “intermediate zone” also features a 4D cinema, an arcade area, and other restaurants, cafes, and impressive open-air gardens with teahouses.

Tip 2: Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall or Chen Clan Academy is an academic temple in Guangzhou, China, built by the 72 Chen Clans for their juniors’ accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations in 1894 in Qing Dynasty. Later it was changed to the Chen Clan Industrial College, and then middle schools thereafter. Now it houses the Guangdong Folk Art Museum.

Chen Clan Ancestral Hall in Guangzhou
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Located on 7th Street next to Chen Clan Academy subway station, Chen Clan Ancestral Hall is a symmetrical complex consisting of 19 buildings with nine halls and six courtyards. Facing south, the complex forms around a north-south axis. A large collection of southern Chinese artworks, for example, wood carvings and pottery, can be found in the structure. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall complex displays traditional Chinese architecture and decoration and has influenced cultural and architectural developments worldwide. It was included in the list of “cultural relics of national significance under the protection of the state” in 1988.

Tip 3: Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (or Liurong Temple) is an ancient Buddhist monastery and now the seat of Guangzhou’s Buddhist Society. It was founded as early as 537.

Guangzhou - Temple of The Six Banyan Trees
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The temple complex of about 7000 square meters was destroyed several times in different wars and was always rebuilt. The monks of the temple began in the 11th century with the construction of a 57 m high pagoda, which became one of the landmarks of the city of Guangzhou. Its official name is Pagoda of 1000 Buddhas, but it is usually called Flower Pagoda (Hua Ta) because of its colorful decorations. It consists of 9 floors on the outside, but has 17 levels on the inside, which can be climbed via narrow stairs. The way up is worthwhile, because if it is not too hazy, one has from up there a beautiful view over the city and the surrounding former Tartar quarter. Finally, the roof of the flower pagoda is crowned by a bronze staff adorned with a thousand Buddha statuettes. In the large Mahavira Hall of the temple, one finds three enormous, 6 m high Buddha statues, which were cast in bronze in 1663 in the nearby city of Foshan, and each of which weighs about 10 tons. .

Tip 4: Guangzhou Opera House

The attention paid to opera in China can be seen in the construction of the 1,800-seat Guangzhou Opera House in southern China. Located in Guangdong, China’s most populous province, the opera is pioneering in its architecture and technology. The architectural wonderland was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who in 2004 became the first woman to receive architecture’s most prestigious honor, the Pritzker Prize.

Guangzhou Opera House
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After five years of construction, the State of the Art monument featuring Puccini’s Turandot was inaugurated in May 2010. Along with the Shanghai Grand Theater and the National Grand Theatre in Beijing, the Guangzhou Opera House is one of the three largest performance venues in China. Overlooking the Pearl River, the buildings resemble smoothly polished pebbles and open an entrance to the river and harbor facilities.

Tip 5: Shamian Island

Shamian Island, formerly known as Zhongliusha or Shicuizhou, is an ellipse-shaped sandbank in the Pearl River.

One will notice that Shamian Island has been carefully planned. Three east-west avenues, Shamian Avenue, Shamian North Avenue and South Avenue,and five north-south streets, Shamian Street 1 to Street 5 divide the whole area into 12 parts, with various buildings such as Swan Hotel, Shamian Hotel and Guangzhou Polish Consulate.

Shamian Island Guangzhou
© Jianhua Liang | Dreamstime.com

In Song (960 – 1279) and Qing (1644 – 1911) Dynasties, it served as an important port for foreign trade of Guangzhou. Then it became a strategic point for city defense during the Second Opium War (1856-1860). In 1859, the area had been divided into two territories to France and the United Kingdom. It was then contained and provided with roads, drainage systems and imposing buildings and became home to a prosperous foreign enclave. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, most public facilities were completed, including political buildings such as consulates, cultural buildings such as churches and schools, and commercial buildings such as banks and businesses.

After 1949, the mansions there became government offices or apartment buildings, and churches were converted into factories. But later, in many cases, they were restored to their former glory. Each building has a sign indicating its former purpose. So you can imagine the history of the buildings and their function.

Shamian Island is a very good place for a walk. Since traffic is greatly restricted, Shamian Island shows a completely different atmosphere and way of life.