Things to Do in Guangzhou, China for the Traveler on a Tight Schedule

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Guangzhou, a hotspot for tourists and international business people, is one of the greatest metropolises in the southern China region. The city is a unique blend of landmarks highlighting conventional Chinese history and an impressive skyline that underscores modern China.

The city also has fascinating museums that aren't your average museums, notably that you can find a roughly 2000-year-old mausoleum of the Nanyue King. The city also has parks full of trees and rolling hills which will almost make you forget you're in one of the biggest cities in the world. Not to mention, you will find endless shopping opportunities throughout the city. So whether you are in the mood for sightseeing, bargain hunting, or history, the city has it all, and you won't be disappointed you visited.

Downtown of city in Guangzhou, China

Some key areas of Guangzhou to familiarize yourself with:


Five goats statue in Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou

This area, an old city within Guangzhou, has been a hub of commerce and culture ever since the 2nd century B.C.E. The district is home to many historic sites, Yuexiu Park, and bustling shopping centres. Try to see the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, Guangxiao Temple, Beijing Road, and Yuexiu Park if you can.


Aerial of Mingzhuwan Bridge in Nansha District at Guangzhou

The city's southernmost district, Nansha, is a port area where several rivers meet and access the sea. It's ideal for people who love the outdoors, wildlife, and lush grasslands. There's even a miniature ecosystem in the preserved wetlands, along with fascinating temples too.


Dusk view of Guangzhou's Zhujiang New Town central business area of Tianhe District, China

The area sprang up as a business locality in the early 1980s. Here you'll find some must-see spots, such as the Guangdong Museum and the South China Botanical Gardens. This district is the epitome of sleek urban development and modern marvels. Also, you can find several big shopping centers like the Grandview Plaza.

Things to Do in Guangzhou

City Skyline of Guangzhou, China with view of the Canton Tower

The city of Guangzhou is located at the center of the Pearl River Delta. It's got a lot to offer whether you go on your own, with family/friends, or hire a private guide for a tour around the city. There's a lot to see in Guangzhou, and if you're in a hurry, hiring a guide will ensure you get the quick tour without missing out on the more popular spots combined with the historical information attached to them. However, it's not necessary to hire a guide. The cab drivers and public transportation can help you reach the places on our list below. So find what interests you most and dive right in!

1. Cycle Tour of Guangzhou

In the morning, a shared bicycle is parked under the big banyan tree in the park

This is a guided tour around the city which would cost roughly $55 USD per person. The tour involves an English-speaking guide responsible for guiding you throughout the city. The package also includes a bike and a helmet. In addition to this, they will also provide you with light snacks and bottled water. The process to register is quite simple and can be done through their website if you click on the link below.


2. Guangzhou Historical City Tour - All Inclusive

Chen Clan Temple, Guangzhou, China

If you have a keen interest in history, this tour might be helpful to you. The cost of this tour is about $156 USD. The tour includes a hotel pickup, drop-off and has an English-speaking guide. The package includes all the entrance fees, so it's a quick and easy way to get the most out of your trip.

3. Guangzhou Day Tour

Statues of ancient chinese artistic golden buddhas, in temple of the six banyan trees (Liurong Temple), Guangzhou, China

This is a small group Guangzhou day tour which will cost you around $101 USD per individual. The tour also includes a pick and drop from your hotel in a private vehicle. In addition to this, you are also provided with a local guide to understand the city better.

The tour starts early in the morning, around 9 am. You meet the guide at the designated meeting place. Most notably, this tour includes a visit to the museum of Nanyue King. They will take you inside the original tomb, excavated earlier in 1983. The itinerary also includes a visit to Yuexiu Park. Here, you will often see many local people dancing and singing their hearts out. For more about this tour, you can visit their site below.

Top Attractions You Must-See in Guangzhou:

1. Canton Tower

Beautiful Canton Tower in Guangzhou

The Canton tower is a 1968 foot, 600-meter tall tower, which symbolizes the growing power and ambition of the residents of Guangzhou. The tower also holds the record for one of the tallest buildings. It has a 450-meter main body and a 150 meter TV antenna. It is a fun site to visit whenever you visit the city.

The tower offers a breathtaking view across the newly built Zhujiang New Town and Guangzhou. You can also boost your experience by taking a bubble tram. These trams have glass cabins that wind slowly around the tower top.

2. Night Boat Cruise on the Pearl River

Guangzhou Tower and Pearl River night view

Near the Canton Tower, you can get on a boat and tour around the city from the river. However, for the best experience, we recommend doing this in the evening. The city lights up, and you get a fantastic view of the Canton Tower coupled with the rest of the city. Unfortunately, it can also get quite windy out there, so try to pick a calm night, especially if you're in Guangzhou during the rainy season, or you'll want to stay inside the boat instead of out on the deck.

3. Shamian Island

Houses in Shamian Island, Guangzhou, China

A 300 square meter island, formerly a European concession, Shamian Island is a must-see destination. It is, without a doubt, one of the more unique areas of Guangzhou. The town also has cobbled streets, flanked avenues, and wrought iron signposts. It is a total contrast to the city won't be a stretch. For all of you coffee drinkers, there's also one of the most excellent branches of Starbucks, situated in an old mansion.

4. Private Day Tour to Canyon Glass Bridge

Gulong gorge, a famous scenic spot in Qingyuan city

One of the many fun things to do in Guangzhou is the Private day tour to Canyon Glass Bridge. It costs around $256 USD per person. It is a two-hour ride to Gulong Canyon, located in Qingyuan. Once you arrive, you will have to walk on the path that leads up to Nine-waterfall. The waterfall in itself is a sightseeing spot as it runs from the top of the hill to the pool, creating a mesmerizing sight in the process. First, you will have to walk on a glass walkway 520m in length. Then you will walk on Glass Bridge, 329m. Finally, you will be able to view the waterfall through the glass.

In Conclusion

Aerial view of urban skyline with overpass in Guangzhou, China

Being one of the greatest metropolises of Southern China with a history of more than 2000 years old, Guangzhou has a lot to offer tourists. You may get to know areas like Tianhe, Nansha, or Yuexiu. You may travel around the city on your own, or you may opt for one of the private tours listed above. Regardless, the city has a little something for everyone and will create lasting memories for you and your family. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends and family on social media using the links below.

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