For one living in Guangzhou, it can be hard to imagine that just two years ago, our city landscape was void of the lustrous and luminous Canton Tower, and that the soil on which the sultry, curvaceous structure now stands was just earth and field. In those days, the image of a feminine, Academy-Award winning image illuminating a barren night sky was a contrivance hard to conjure. Now, however, the city's leading lady is not only one of Guangzhou's top figures, but has also taken place as the world's award winner for largest television tower.
Guangzhou's architectural femme fatale unfurled herself in 2010; from farm land to the toast of the city's skyscraping scene, this voracious vision was capturing enough; hordes of sightseers came from all over just to take the lift to the top, or, for a cheaper price, to merely the middle. Anyone who was camera competent was taking a shot and rumours about what else this GZ Goddess might portend abounded.
She didn't disappoint. These days, Canton Tower's range of entertainment and offerings transcends far beyond a night spent watching sitcoms.
For the extremist, there is more than just sightseeing. The Bubble Tram is comprised of sixteen, transparent cars that take you on a high-rise spin around the perimeter of the Tower's rooftop; a true bird's eye view of the city (328 RMB before 17:00; 348 RMB after). The Sky Drop (130+ RMB) is a go at gravity, lifting passengers higher than the 450 metre area before plunging them back down to the land below. The Spider Walk (50+ RMB) is a mid-level adventure, leading guests through the Tower's narrow waist via an open staircase. Here, one can take a true top-to-bottom look at the complexity and scale of the structure. Most of these aerial adventures are open from 10:00 to 22:00, allowing for patrons to take full advantage of Guangzhou's glowing city lights.
For those more inclined to take a simpler walk through the clouds, there are top-level observation decks and viewing areas. There is a China Post located at the top from whence you can send a themed postcard to any place on the globe from the tallest TV tower on the planet.
Wining and dining
Dining, of course, is available; the rotating, French-themed Lutece is on the 105th floor and the Mediterranean-style Twist on the 106th floor. Both are quite lavish and upscale, with weekend buffets starting at around 388 RMB. A higher-end, Asian themed restaurant is also on site.
If all the height has you hungering for a baser meal, Café Jaspa has cakes and specialty drinks, all for an average of 38 RMB. Chopstix, located below level one, is a chic canteen-style restaurant, with plenty of seating, good lighting and a modern Hong Kong restaurant vibe. For its location, prices aren't terribly toppling; curries range from 49-59 RMB, dim sum dishes are between 8-26 RMB and various other Chinese and Western style plates are on average around 50 RMB. Wine by the glass starts at 69 RMB and bottles at 299 RMB. Beer, teas and other beverages are available, as well.
At ground level, there are a few high end shops selling clothes, luggage, snacks and souvenirs. An official CT Tower beer bottle opener will set you back 22 RMB and a T-shirt 96 RMB. There is a photo centre, as well, selling personalised things such as key-chains, coffee mugs and framed pictures. You can even have a portrait of yourself superimposed in a photo, dancing on the top of the Tower. Prices here go from about 70 RMB upwards.
Unbeknownst to most, the lowly grounds encompassing our cloud-high construction did exist before our lady of GZ. If you'd like a quiet walk away from the grandeur, there are a few locations dotting the perimeter. A small convenience store is located caddy corner to the West Gate if you'd like to grab a cheap snack or some water; just take a left at the exit. Across the street from East Gate is the Regal Riviera Hotel, a European-esque, dome shaped resort. Inside here, there is a little café offering pizza, sandwiches and beer with costs between 20-180 RMB and a sit down Cantonese restaurant. Around the corner of the main entrance of the resort is the Pearl River Museum of Art which is a simple, serene little place that showcases different exhibits each month. The Chigang Pagoda is nearby as well, and if you walk through the Pagoda Park away from the Tower, there are a few places to grab a bite; a few proper restaurants, a few quick-slurp noodle shops, a Champion Pizza and some smaller stores align the street. There is also a 7 Days Inn located here. Turn to the right of the West Gate and you can take a walk along the river promenade. The Opera House is a close cab ride away, too.
Logistics and service
For all practical purposes, The Canton Tower and its surrounding area are all accessible by metro, (Line 3, Chigang Pagoda exit) or the APM. As for other acronyms, ATM's are available inside the tower as well. As any divine diva would demand, toilets are kept clean, (soap and all), and are located at all necessary levels. The staff is friendly and helpful, and ample parking is available underneath the tower. Please be prepared for vehicle, as well as personal body and bag, security checks.
Gracing the city with its wining and dining, exploring or touring, The Canton Tower is an alluring addition to our Cantonese carousing, and the surrounding area will certainly begin to grow with more touristy enchantment. And for those of us in the city, the sight of our own Babel writhing her way into the farthest reaches of cosmopolitan heaven has become, and shall remain, a part of our commonplace city conscious. Who says television isn't good for you?
The Canton TowerView In Map
Add: 222 Yuejiang Lu, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-21:00
Getting there: Metro Line 3 or APM to Chigang Pagoda.
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Keywords: Canton tower guide skyscrapers in Guangzhou modernization in Guangzhou largest television tower activities and restaurants Canton tower
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