Stopping in Guangzhou for a weekend? Maybe you’re visiting from Hong Kong on business, or just passing through on your way to catch a flight home. Either way, if you have some time to kill in Guangzhou, there’s more than enough to keep you busy.
Frequently, foreigners in China feel as if they don’t have enough time to get to know a city before they have to leave again. That’s why we’ve put together this list of places we think everyone should try to visit even if they have just a day or two in the city. There’s no need to rush to see all of them; simply visiting one or two of Guangzhou’s most interesting attractions will give you a much better idea of what the city is really all about.
If you only visit one Guangzhou attraction, make it the Guangxiao Temple. Located in the Yuexiu district, it is one of the oldest structures in South China. It was built during the Jin Dynasty and is a site of pilgrimage for many Buddhists to this day. The enormous Buddha statues are a must see, but remember to be respectful and refrain from taking photos.
Guang Xiao Temple 光孝寺View In Map
Add: 109 Guangxiao Lu, Guangzhou
Price: 5-10 RMB
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Ximenkou Station
A short metro ride away from the temple is Shamian Island, one of the most interesting areas of the city. The island was an important port during the Song and Qing Dynasties, and was the only place in China where foreigners were permitted to live for several centuries. On Shamian Island you’ll find numerous examples of 18th century European and American architecture. Interestingly, many buildings are a fusion of those styles plus Chinese motifs. There’s also a slew of nice restaurants on the island. We recommend the German-style Station One for lunch or dinner. Additionally, a short walk from Shamian Island is the Qing Ping Herbal Medicine Market – highly recommended for anyone interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Shamian Island 沙面岛View In Map
Add: Shamian Dao, Liwan District, Guangzhou
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Huangsha Station
Station One 车卡德国餐厅View In Map
Add: 1-1, Shamian Beijie, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 81218882, 81215226
Price: 35-60 RMB
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Huang Sha Station
Qing Ping Herbal Medicine Market 清平药材市场View In Map
Add: 246 Liu Er San Lu, Liwan District, Guangzhou
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Huang Sha Station
Station One, Guangzhou
If the weather is fine, check out some of Guangzhou’s numerous parks, most of which are wonderfully kept and offer a bit of history as well. If you only have time to visit one or two, we would recommend seeing either the Yuexiu Park or the Memorial Garden for the Martyrs. Yuexiu Park is absolutely massive, and houses the Five Immortals Statue, an image of the five enormous goats that are the city’s icons. Also worth seeing are the beautifully kept gardens and the art museum. The Memorial Garden for the Martyrs is an equally impressive set of gardens dotted with enormous landmarks commemorating the Communist soldiers and leaders who died during the insurrection of 1927. The gardens are stunning, and the Communist Uprising Monument is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou
If you want to brush up on the history of modern China, Guangzhou has a plethora of important historical sites. If you’re pressed for time, just visit the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Constructed in 1931 on the site of Sun Yat-sen’s former presidential office, the huge hall houses a museum of his life and accomplishments. It’s a fitting memorial to one of China’s most significant and controversial figures.
Yuexiu Park 越秀公园View In Map
Add: 988 Jiefang Beilu, Guangzhou
Telephone: 020 8666 1950
Price: 5 RMB
Getting There: Metro Line 2, Yuexiugongyuan Station
Memorial Garden for the Martyrs 广州烈士陵园View In Map
Add: 92 Zhongshan er’Lu, Guangzhou
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Martyrs’ Park Station, Exit D
Sun-Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Add: 259 Dong Feng Zhong Lu
Telephone: 020 8355 2030
Price: 10 RMB
Getting There: Metro Line 2, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station
Beijing Lu Walking Street, Guangzhou
However, if you’re more inclined to go shopping, you won’t have any problems. Guangzhou’s most notable retail streets are Beijing Lu and Shang Xia Jiu Lu. Both are pedestrian walking streets, and both provide more than enough window shopping options to satisfy even the most ardent shopper. Beijing Lu has something for everyone, although it’s more focused on electronics and clothing. Be warned though: afternoons and early evenings tend to get quite crowded, especially at weekends. Shang Xia Jiu Lu is slightly more traditional shopping, and has some attractive architecture, making for an all-around pleasant shopping experience.
Beijing Lu 北京路
Getting There: Metro Lines 1 and 2, Gongyuanqian Station,
Shang Xia Jiu Lu 上下九路
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Changshou Lu Station
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