CHINA  |  Guangzhou, China Travel Guide
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Guangzhou, China

Cantonese siu laap store, Guangzhou, China (cc)

Guangzhou Travel Guide


Guangzhou, capital of China's Guangdong province, is the city that most Westerners once referred to as Canton – and many still do. It is famous above all for its cooking – think Cantonese cuisine, often interchangeable with Chinese cuisine or Chinese cooking, particularly in the West. Typically, Cantonese cuisine is centered on pork, beef, chicken, duck, snake, snail, and pretty much any meat, other than lamb and goat which are the domain of the north, and involves stir frying, steaming, braising, shallow frying, deep frying and double steaming, with dried and preserved ingredients for flavoring. Roast goose, wonton noodles, siu mei platters, stir-fried vegetables, Cantonese baoyu and red-bean soup are among the specialties. In any event, the city itself is a familiar mainland Chinese metropolis, at once busy, polluted and unbearably hot during the summer, but with a surprising ethnic diversity that includes a large Hui (Muslim) population. It has several good examples of colonial architecture, mostly found on the city's Shamian Island. Besides which, there's a thriving underground arts scene here, together with a few good museums, parks and markets. But for the most part, Guangzhou, one of the largest cities in south China, is rapidly emerging as the undisputed industrial powerhouse of the region.


Guangzhou is situated on the Pearl River in the Guangdong province in south China, some 75 miles (120 km) north-northwest of Hong Kong or the same distance north-northeast of Macau.

How to Get There


Main Neighborhoods

Guangzhou has 10 districts, divided by the Pearl River, with the Yuexiu, Liwan and Tianhe districts forming the inner core or city center.

  • Yuexiu / City Center - Yuexiu is the central district of Guangzhou, and the center of it is where the city center or downtown of Guangzhou lies, a bustling commercial district packed with shops and restaurants, especially along Beijing Lu Pedestrian Street which forms the core of the district. The Zhanhai Tower and the Temple of Six Banyan Trees are located here too.

  • Liwan - Another central district of Guangzhou, incorporating the old town of Xiguan, just to the east of the city center. It has in it Shangxiajiu, a popular, 1,200-meter-long pedestrian street, where you can discover over 300 shops, teahouses and restaurants, tucked away in 19th- and early 20th-century Tong Lau-style commercial-cum-residential tenement buildings. This is the best place to sample authentic Cantonese cuisine and also soak up the night scene.

  • Tianhe - Tianhe constitutes Guangzhou's main business district, which is largely modern, located just to the east of the city center. It has fabulous shopping malls and some of the city's most impressive skyscrapers.

  • Honan - Situated just to the south of the river and west of the city center, Honan is known for its colorful markets and its underground arts scene.

  • Shamian Island - Tiny Shamian Island, located west of the city center, just off the north bank of the Pearl River, is the principal area of interest, particularly for visitors, for it has most of the accommodations, restaurants and visitor facilities, and is within a 20-minute taxi ride of the majority of tourist sights. It also has several excellent examples of colonial architecture.

  • Ersha Island - Ersha, located east of Shamian, is the larger of the two islands and has on it the Xinghai Concert Hall and Guangdong Museum of Art, and is also the hub of Guangzhou's expat community.

How to Get Around

Where to Party

In Guangzhou, the night scene is largely centered in the Yanjiang Lu area and farther northeast in Huanshi Dong Lu, where most of the popular bars and clubs are located. The Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street area in the Liwan district near the city center also has a lively nightlife.

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Know Before You Go

  • Best Time to Visit: October-March
  • Cost Per Day: Y-Y (US$-US$)
  • Currency: Chinese Yuan CNY (US$1 ~ Y6)
  • Electricity: 220V - 50Hz | Type-A and Type-G Sockets with 2-prong and 3-pin plugs
  • Phone Code: +86 20
  • Population: 7 million

Nearby Destinations

© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated November 22, 2013
Posted in   China  |  Guangzhou
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