Guangzhou is the capital and a sub-provincial city of Guangdong Province in the southern part of the People's Republic of China. The city is also known by an older English-language name, Canton. It is a port on the Pearl River, navigable to the South China Sea, and is located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Hong Kong. As of the 2000 census, the city has a population of 6 million, and a metropolitan population of roughly 8.5 million (though some estimates are as high as 12.6 million) making it the most populous city in the province and the third most populous metropolitan area in mainland China. The official estimate of the metro's population at end 2006 by the Provincial Government was 9,754,600.
Guangzhou is located at 112°57'E to 114°3'E and 22°26'N to 23°56'N. The city is part of the Pearl River Delta.
Guangzhou has a humid subtropical climate influenced by the Asian monsoon. Summers are hot, wet and humid, with high tempereaqtures complicated by a humidity index. Winters are mild, dry and sunny.
Population（2006）： Metro - 9,754,600, Urban - 6,253,300, and City - 7,607,200
Guangzhou is a sub-provincial city. It has direct jurisdiction over ten districts and two county-level cities.
As of April 28, 2005, the districts of Dongshan and Fangcun have been abolished and merged into Yuexiu and Liwan respectively; at the same time the district of Nansha is established out of parts of Panyu, and the district of Luogang is established out of parts of Baiyun, Tianhe, and Zengcheng also a part of Huangpu making an exclave next to Huangpu.
The first known city built at the site of Guangzhou was Panyu founded in 214 BC. The city has been continuously occupied since that time. Panyu was expanded when it became the capital of the Nanyue Kingdom in 206 BC.
Recent archaeological founding of her palace suggests that the city might have traded frequently with by foreigners by the sea routes. The foreign trade continued through every following dynasty and the city remains a major international trading port to this day.
The Han Dynasty annexed Nanyue in 111 BC, and Panyu became a provincial capital and remains so until this day. In 226 AD, the city however became the seat of the Guang Prefecture. Therefore, "Guangzhou" was the name of the prefecture, not of the city. However, people grew accustomed to calling the city Guangzhou, instead of Panyu.
Although the Chinese name of Guangzhou replaced Panyu as the name of the walled city, Panyu was still the name of the area surrounding the walled city until the end of Qing era.
Arab and Persian pirates sacked Guangzhou (known to them as Sin-Kalan) in AD 758, 2 according to a local Guangzhou government report on October 30, 758, which corresponded to the day of Guisi of the ninth lunar month in the first year of the Qianyuan era of Emperor Suzong of the Tang Dynasty.
During the Northern Song Dynasty, a celebrated poet called Su Shi (Shisu) visited Guangzhou's Baozhuangyan Temple and wrote the inscription "Liu Rong" (Six Banyan Trees) because of the six banyan trees he saw there. It has since been called the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive to the city by sea, establishing a monopoly on the external trade out of its harbor by 1511. They were later expelled from their settlements in Guangzhou (in Portuguese Cant?o), but instead granted use of Macau (first occupied in 1511)as a trade base with the city in 1557. They would keep a near monopoly of foreign trade in the region until the arrival of the Dutch in the early seventeenth century.
After China claimed control of Taiwan in 1683, the Qing government became open to encouraging foreign trade. Guangzhou quickly emerged as one of the most adaptable ports for negotiating commerce and before long, many foreign ships were going there to procure cargos. Portuguese in Macau, Spanish in Manila, and Armenians and Muslims from India were already actively trading in the port by the 1690s, when the French and English British East India Company's ships began frequenting the port through the Canton System. Other companies were soon to follow: the Ostend General India company in 1717; Dutch East India Company in 1729; the first Danish ship in 1731, which was followed by a Danish Asiatic Company ship in 1734; the Swedish East India Company in 1732; followed by an occasional Prussian and Trieste Company ship; the Americans in 1784; and the first ships from Australia in 1788. By the middle of the 18th century, Guangzhou had emerged as one of the world's great trading ports under the Thirteen Factories, which was a distinction it maintained until the outbreak of the Opium Wars in 1839 and the opening of other ports in China in 1842. The privilege during this period made Guangzhou one of the top 3 cities in the world.
Guangzhou was one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened by the Treaty of Nanking (signed in 1842) at the end of the First Opium War between Britain and China. The other ports were Fuzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, and Shanghai.
In 1918, the city's urban council was established and "Guangzhou" became the official name of the city. Panyu became a county's name to the southern side of Guangzhou. In both 1930 and 1953, Guangzhou was promoted to the status of a Municipality, but each time promotion was cancelled within the year.
Japanese troops occupied Guangzhou from October 12, 1938 to September 16, 1945, after violent bombings. In the city, the Imperial Japanese Army conducted bacteriological research unit 8604, a section of unit 731, where Japanese doctors experimented on human prisoners.
Communist forces entered the city on October 14, 1949. Their urban renewal projects improved the lives of some residents. New housing on the shores of the Pearl River provided homes for the poor boat people. Reforms by Deng Xiaoping, who came to power in the late 1970s, led to rapid economic growth due to the city's close proximity to Hong Kong and access to the Pearl River.
As labor costs increased in Hong Kong, manufacturers opened new plants in the cities of Guangdong including Guangzhou. As the largest city in one of China's wealthiest provinces, Guangzhou attracts farmers from the countryside looking for factory work. Cantonese links to overseas Chinese and beneficial tax reforms of the 1990s have aided the city's rapid growth.
In 2000, Huadu and Panyu were merged into Guangzhou as districts, and Conghua and Zengcheng became county-level cities of Guangzhou.
The Old BeiJing Road
Guangzhou is the economic centre of the Pearl River Delta and is the heart of one of mainland China's leading commercial and manufacturing regions. In 2006, the GDP exceeded ￥600 billions (USD 76.8 billions), per capita was ￥85,000 (about US $11,000), ranking first among the other 659 Chinese cities.
The Chinese Export Commodities Fair, also called "Canton Fair", is held each spring and autumn by Bo Liu. Inaugurated in the spring of 1957, the Fair is a major event for the city.
With the Guangzhou Metro, opened in 1999, Guangzhou is the fourth city in China to build an underground railway system. Currently there are four lines in operation with an ambitious plan to expand rapidly with three lines under construction and four lines that are being planned.
* The First Line of Guangzhou Metro: From Guangzhou East Railway Station to XiLang Station
* The Second Line of Guangzhou Metro: From SanYuanLi Station to WanShengWei Station
* The Third Line of Guangzhou Metro: From Guangzhou East Railway Station to PanYuSquare Station
* The Fourth Line of Guangzhou Metro: From WanShengWei Station to HuangGe Station
Guangzhou's main airport is the New Baiyun International Airport in Huadu District, that opened on 5 August 2004 replacing old Baiyun International Airport close to the city centre.
Guangzhou is connected to Hong Kong by train, bus and ferry services. Express trains depart to Hong Kong from the Guangzhou East railway station (pinyin: Gǔangzhōu Dōngzhàn) and arrive in Hong Kong at the Hung Hom KCR station. They cover the 182 km route in approximately two hours.
Daily ferry sailings include an overnight steamer, which takes eight hours, and high-speed catamarans and hydrofoils which take three hours to reach the China Ferry Terminal or Macau Ferry Pier in Hong Kong. The new Nansha Pier is now open with 6 lines daily traveling between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. The trip takes 75 minutes (￥116-230). However, Nansha is very far from the city center, although there is a bus route available from White Swan Hotel, running three times a day. Location Nansha Port: 1.6km South from Humen Bridge, Nansha District, Guangzhou. Passengers can take buses at White Swan Hotel to the Dock, 3 runs per day.
Schedule: Nansha to Hongkong: 09:30 11:00 12:00 15:00 16:00 17:30 Hongkong to Nansha: 08:00 08:20 09:00 13:00 14:00 15:30 Tickets: Economic ￥116.00, Business ￥170.00, VIP ￥230.00
Since Monday, 1 January 2007, the city government has banned motorcycles from the urban area. From Tuesday, 16 January 2007, motorcycles found violating the ban will be confiscated. The Guangzhou traffic bureau has reported reduced traffic problems and accidents since the motorcycle ban in downtown area.
* Chen Family Confucian Academy
* Guangdong Museum of Folk Handcraft
* Shamian Island
* Guangdong Provincial Museum
* Museum of the Tomb of the King of Southern Yue in Western Han Dynasty
* Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
* Shishi Holy Heart Cathedral
* Huaisheng Mosque
* Bright Filial Piety Temple (pinyin: GuāngXiàosì)
* Chime-Long Paradise
* Chime-Long WaterPark
* Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
* Guangzhou Peasant Movement Institute
* Canton Sculpture includes Canton Ivory Carvings, Jade Sculpture, Wood Sculpture and Olive Sculpture.
* Canton Enamel is short for Guangzhou Colorful Pottery. It has a history of over 300 years.
* Canton Embroidery, namely Yue Embroidery, is one of the Four Famous Chinese Embroideries together with Su Embroidery, Xiang Embroidery and Shu Embroidery.
* Canton Bacon is the general designation of cured meat in the Guangzhou Area.
* Baiyun Mountain
* Lie Shi Ling Yuan
* Yue Xiu Park
* Guangdong Olympic Stadium
* CITIC Plaza
* Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower
* Guangzhou TV Tower
* Pearl River Tower
* Guangzhou Zhujiang Brewery Group
Plans are also underway to build what will become the world's tallest free-standing 610m tall Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower for the 2010 Asian Games.
Guangdong and the greater metropolitan area is served by several Guangdong Radio stations and Guangdong TV. There is an international station Radio Guangdong which broadcasts information about this region to the entire world through the World Radio Network.
* Sun Yat-sen University
* South China University of Technology
* Jinan University
* Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
* South China Agricultural University
* Zhongkai Agrotechnical College
* South China Normal University
* Shantou University
* Guangzhou Medical College
* Guangzhou University of TCM
* Guangdong College of Pharmacy
* Guangdong University of Technology
* Guangzhou University
* Guangdong Institute of Science and Technology
* Guangdong Business College
* Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
* Xinghai Conservatory of Music
* GuangDong Polytechnic Normal University
* Guangzhou Physical Education Institute
Guangzhou Higher Education Mega
Guangzhou Higher Education Mega is home to 10 of the province's universities' campuses, many of whom also have campuses located elsewhere. They are listed as below:
* Sun Yat-sen University
* South China University of Technology
* South China Normal University
* Guangdong University of Technology
* Guangdong University of Forign Studies
* Guangdong College of Pharmacy
* Guangzhou University
* Guangzhou Acmdemy of Fime Arts
* Xinghai Conservatory of Music
Guangzhou Higher Education Mega can accommodate up to 200,000 students, 20,000 teachers and 50,000 staff.
* American International School of Guangzhou
The New Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (IATA: CAN, ICAO: ZGGG, ) is a major hub in Southern China, second only to Hong Kong. The airport is the base of China Southern Airlines and has not only an extensive range of domestic flights, but some international connections, including Air France to Paris, China Southern to Los Angeles, Thai Airways to Bangkok, Singapore Airlines to Singapore and Finnair to Helsinki. Other direct international destinations include Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Osaka.
The airport is 28 km north from downtown Guangzhou, and should not be confused with the former Baiyun Airport which was closed in 2004. A metro line to the airport is under construction but won't be ready until around 2009. In the meantime, taxi is the fastest option. See the airport fare table for approximate fare cost. A taxi ride to downtown should cost no more than ￥120, inclusive of a ￥15 toll fee. As of the end of 2005, there is a ￥1 fuel surcharge that is not shown on the fare meter.
Alternatively, 9 Airport Express bus lines are available to take you to major destinations in Guangzhou. Line 1 (￥16) departs every 15 minutes from 7 AM until the last flight and takes 45 minutes to reach the train station and Central Hotel. The ticket prices range from ￥10 to ￥36. Lines 1 to 6 are traveling within the metropolitan area, while lines 7-9 go to outer districts. There are also direct Airport Express buses to some cities in the vicinity, including Zhuhai (￥90). Routes to Dongguan and Zhongshan will be in operation soon.
Do not accept solicitations for rides to the city. Those are illegally operated and use unmarked vehicles. They may cost more than taxis since many travelers do not know the cost of airport transportations.
Standard trains cover the 182 kilometers from Hong Kong in one and a half hours or less. Guangzhou-Kowloon Through Train from Hong Kong (Hung Hom station) to Guangzhou East station is operated by the KCR.
It is faster and cheaper to take the high speed train (200 km/h) from Shenzhen to Guangzhou. Shenzhen is right across the border from Hong Kong and thousands of people walk over the bridge between the two every day. China High Speed train tickets are numbered D8## and can be bought from ticket counters or machines.
A project is underway to link the entire Pearl River Delta area with high speed (200+ km/hr) train network. The Zhuhai-Guangzhou section is due to open in 2008, and the journey will take just 56 minutes. Shenzhen and other major cities will be connected at a later date.
A new express line connecting Guangzhou with Lhasa, Tibet is now open. The 4,980 km journey will take 58 hours. (￥869 and up)
Bear in mind there are two major train stations in Guangzhou. The Guangzhou East Station services routes to Hong Kong, and other popular tourist destinations. The Guangzhou Station is one of the biggest in the country and services routes that go all the way to Harbin. Countless travelers have gone to the wrong station and missed their scheduled trips. So be sure to know which train station to go to, which is specified on the tickets. Metro line 1 ends at Guangzhou East Station, and line 2 has a stop at the main station.
Coach services are available to bring passengers from Hong Kong International Airport to several locations in Guangzhou. Among the destinations are recognizable landmarks like Jinan University on Huang Pu Da Dao, Garden Hotel and China Hotel. The trip takes about 3+ hours and costs 250 HKD. There are also cross border bus terminals throughout Hong Kong. One of the Stations is at Austin Road and Canton Road near Kowloon Park. A one way ticket costs about 100 HKD.
Domestically, it is possible to hop on a bus from any corner of Guangdong province and get to Guangzhou. There are also many options from nearby provinces like Guangxi, Hubei and Fujian. The main stations are the Provincial Station, Tianhe Dasha Station , Liuhua Station and Yuexiu Nan Station.
There is a frequent ferry and hovercraft service from Hong Kong, Macau, and Haikou (Hainan Island) at the Zhoutouzui Ferry Pier. There are boats from other mainland cities, such as Xiamen, Shanghai, and Qingdao at the Dashatou Pier.
New Nansha Pier is now open with 6 lines daily traveling between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. The trip takes 75 minutes (￥116-230). However, Nansha is very far from the city center, although there is a bus route available from White Swan Hotel, running three times a day. Location Nansha Port: 1.6km South from Humen Bridge, Nansha District, Guangzhou. Passengers can take buses at White Swan Hotel to the Dock, 3 runs per day.230.00
Guangzhou has a fairly efficient and rapidly expanding public transportation system.
If you intend to stay in Guangzhou for an extensive period of time, it is highly advisable to purchase a multi-purpose Yang Cheng Tong stored value card, similar to the Octopus Card in Hong Kong. It can be used not only for public transportation (bus, subway, parking meters and some taxis), but also for public phones and designated shops, places of interests and certain vending machines. The card includes a ￥30 refundable deposit. While you can purchase the cards in many places, returning your card at the end of the trip is a hassle, since service locations are limited. The best place to do so is at the service center at the metro Gong Yuan Qian station. It may be worth it to simply keep it as a souvenir.
Guangzhou's metro system opened in 1999. The network covers much of the city center and is growing rapidly outward. The fare ranges from ￥2 to ￥12. Most of the signs and announcements are also in English. Tickets are bought from vending machines in the stations. Bills from ￥5 - ￥20 or coins from ￥0.5 - ￥1 are accepted at ticket vending machines. You can change smaller bills at the customer service counter. The ticket is a small plastic token, which you use at the gate entering the platform, and at the exit. Multi-Pass and Yang-Cheng-Tong are also accepted and can be purchased at the customer service counter.
There is also a comprehensive public bus service that covers Guangzhou from end to end. By far, it is the cheapest way to move around. Bus fares are ￥1 for the older buses and ￥2 for the air-conditioned ones, although the older buses are slowly being retired.
There are also 3 tourist bus lines, passing through many scenic spots in the city.
This is the most popular way for foreigners to get around, and it is very affordable. The starting charge is ￥7 for the first 2.3 kilometers, or about 1.4 miles. After that is ￥2.6 for each kilometer. The cost may be slightly different, depending on the taxi operators. ￥1 fuel surcharge is now added. Although widely publicized, many of them actually do not accept Yang Cheng Tong as payment. The taxi hot line is 96900. This comes in handy when you forget your valuables in a taxi. Save your receipt because it contains the taxi's identification number.
Tip: Business names and addresses on this guide are also in Chinese. Print them out and show them to the taxi drivers. Most drivers do not speak English; many not even Cantonese.
While driving in Guangzhou is an option, drivers unfamiliar with the driving conditions in China's large and densely populated cities should be aware that the experience can be a extremely daunting and even potentially dangerous.
Although a convenient way to navigate the city's back alleys and lanes, motorcycles are totally banned from the downtown area of city, and riding a motorcycle into these prohibited areas can lead to fines and possible confiscation of the bike.
In addition to the downtown motorcycle ban, electric bicycles are banned from the city road.
The primary language of Guangzhou is Cantonese, although standard Mandarin, or Putonghua, is fast becoming the lingua franca due to the large influx of migrants. English is not common, but is still better understood here than other Chinese cities, especially in restaurants and bars. Be sure to check out the Cantonese phrasebook and Chinese phrasebook.
* Guangxiao Temple, 109 Guangxiao Lu . As the sixth patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Hui Neng, trained at this temple in the 7th Century, it is a popular pilgrimage site for Zen Buddhists. The temple has been destroyed several times by fire, and the current buildings date only from the mid 19th century. (Admission ￥4)
* Liurong Temple, 87 Liurong Lu. The Temple of Six Banyan Trees, which includes the 17 story, eight-sided Hua Ta, or Flowering Pagoda, is one of the most popular attractions in Guangzhou. The temple dates back to the 6th century, while the pagoda predates it by about 300 years. (Admission ￥5; Flower Pagoda: ￥10
* The buildings and streets of the former British and French concession on Shamian Island have been beautifully renovated, creating an oasis of tranquility in an otherwise bustling and hectic metropolis. One of the old structures is Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel, located at 14 Shamian Street. Attractions on the island are all free. As an island, Shamian is not particularly spectacular, but what makes it special that for several hundred years this tiny spit of land was the only place in all of China that Europeans could establish settlements. The architecture reflects that era, and it has a very unique atmosphere.
* Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, located on Dongfeng Zhong Lu, is dedicated to the founder of the Republic of China and local hero Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. It was constructed in 1931 and built on the original site of Sun Yat-sen's presidential office on Yuexiu Hill. (8AM-6PM; Admission ￥5 to the park; ￥20 to go inside the hall)
* Chen Clan Temple, Zhongshan 7 Lu. This is a very well preserved architecture from the 19th century. It used to belong to a wealthy family by the name of Chen and now houses many articles including ivory sculptures and artistic statues. (Admission ￥10)
* Shishi Sacred Heart Catholic Church. 56 Yide Lu. It is one of the oldest church structures in the city, and the largest of its kind of Southern China. It is currently in use for worship. Visiting hours are limited to Sunday morning only from 7AM-10AM. (Admission: Free)
* Huangpu Military Academy is located on Changzhou Island. It was founded in 1924 by Sun Yat-sen, along with the Chinese Communist Party at the time. Many famous Chinese war heroes were trained here. (Admission ￥15)
* Wu Xian Guan Templ, Weifu Xi Lu. (Admission ￥5)
* Huaisheng Mosque, 56 Guangta Lu. It is one of the oldest Muslim mosques in China, built in 627. The mosque is not open to the public, but you can take a peek outside.
* Sanyuan Temple, Yingyuan Lu. This is the largest and oldest Taoist temple in the city.
* Xiguan Residence. See the traditional Cantonese architectures from ancient Guangzhou, used to be occupied by the upper class. [Metro 1, Chang Shou Lu]
* Hualin Temple
Museums and galleries
* Guangzhou City Art Museum, located near the Zhehai Building in Yuexiu Park, this impressive gallery has more than 10,000 pieces of art work, including calligraphy, traditional Chinese paintings, sculptures and Tibetan Buddhist art (Thangka).
* Guangdong Museum of Art, 8 Yanyu Lu, Er-sha Island. 9AM-5PM, Tu-Su. The museum is located on Er-Sha Island focusing on contemporary Chinese art, with particular emphasis on Guangdong artists. (Admission ￥15; under 18: free with paying parents) [Tour Bus No.2]
* Nanyue Royal Tomb Museum, 867 Jiefang Bei Lu - across from Yuexiu Park. This is a tomb of a king of ancient South China. (9AM-5:30PM; ￥12, 20 8666 0885)
* Guangzhou Sculpture Park, Tongxin Lu at the foot of Baiyun Mountain.
* President Sun Yat-Sen Museum, 18 Dongsha Jie, Fangzhi Lu. +86 20 3428-1366. (Admission ￥6; 9am-5pm; closed Monday)
* Guangzhou Uprising Museum, 200 Qiyi Lu. The Museum is at the site of the first Communist government building. (9am—12pm; 1:30pm-4:30pm; closed Monday)
* Guangdong Revolutions History Museum, 2 Lingyuan Xi Lu,) in the martyrs memorial park. Sun Yat-Sen was sworn in here in 1921 as the president of Republic of China. The museum tells stories from the Opium War to the founding of the new China.
* Peasant Movement Institute , 42 Zhongshan 4 Lu. This is the original site of Communist training center founded by Mao Tse-tong in the 1920s. Now it is a museum covering the recent China revolutionary history. (9am-4:30pm; closed Monday)
* Sun Yat-Sen University
* Guangzhou University of Traditional Medicine
If time and weather permits, walking is perhaps the best way to see the city as the back alleys are littered with antiquities that are not accessible by motorized vehicles. Most trades and goods categories are concentrated in a specific area or along one main street.
* Xiguan Antique Street, near Liwan Park.
* Flower Street, Baohua Lu.
* Jade Street, Changshou Lu and Wenchang Lu, near Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street.
* Ivory and Sea products, Daxin Lu.
* Toy Street, and Dried goods and snacks Street, Yide Lu.
* Bridal Street, Jiangnan Bei Lu.
* Flowers, Aquatic and Lightings Street Danan Lu , near Beijing Lu.
* Household Merchandise Street, Gaodi Jie. The street has become a shopping center selling everyday goods.
* Cultural Street, Wende Lu. This is a good place to look for antiques and traditional Chinese artistic goods.
* Qingping Market, Qingping Lu. It is located North from Shamian Island. Cantonese are known to eat just about any animal, and the market is world famous for its wild animal trades, although it has been tamer since the SARS outbreak. It is still a great place to go for exotic goods.
* Haiyin Shopping District, is located at the northwest side of the Haiyin Bridge, selling appliances, sporting goods, cloth, fabrics, camera accessories, and eletronics.
Malls and shopping centers
* Beijing Lu Pedestrian Street. This is the main shopping thoroughfare, a pedestrian street where most stores are open from 9am to 10pm. Avoid touts who solicit pirated DVDs and imitation goods, and whomever you have to follow into the small dark alleys in between buildings to see the goods. Remember to visit Mayflower Plaza at 68 Zhongshan 5 Lu, at the northern end of the Pedestrian Street. This is a place where young people hang out and shop.
* Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, This shopping area is also a showcase of traditional Cantonese architecture, especially pretty at night when it's lit up. Prices here are generally lower than Beijing Lu's, but prepare to bargain a fair bit. Remember to visit Liwan Plaza, located at 9 Dexing Lu , the east end of the street. You will find a good selection of crystal here.
Zhengjia Plaza, 228 Tianhe Lu. +86 020 3833-0098. A new mall built near Teem Mall, located in the heart of Tianhe district. Includes famous fashion stores and several department stores, with beautiful musical fountians and fantastic views. Guest flow can reach half a million a day on holidays and festivals. This mall a most likely suitable for foreigners, mentioning that Starbucks, Dairyqueen, Pizzahut and McDonalds are within. An iceskating rink, amusement park, and a fivestar cinema is available. This is the largest Western-style shopping mall in China.
* China Plaza. 33 Zhongshan 3 Lu . Located on top of a metro station, this is another large shopping mall with brand name department stores, clothing and electronics stores, restaurants, etc.
* Teem Mall, 208 Tianhe Lu. This is probably the busiest and most popular shopping mall in the heart of the city. It is located right above the metro station.
* Zhong Tian Shopping Plaza, Located at Zhongxin Square near the East Train Station, it's more than a place to shop and eat. The plaza has great one-stop services to meet your banking, dry cleaning, grooming and transportation ticket needs.
* Friendship Store, 369 Huanshi Dong Lu. 9:45AM-9:45PM. It is one of the oldest department stores targeting foreigners in Guangzhou. You will also find its branches in Zhengjia Plaza and Times Square on 28 Tianhe Beilu.
* Zi You Ying Outdoor Travel Goods, 229 Jiangnan Dadao Zhong, Xin An Plaza Suite 180. This is a great place to replenish your travel supplies.
* Wang Fu Jing, 40 Long Lin Xia Lu . The famous department store in Beijing opened a branch in Guangzhou with the same name, featuring mid to high-end products.
* Pearl River dinner cruise, Dashatou Pier, Tianzi Pier, and Xiti Pier. A one to two hour cruise in the evening and a great way to see the Guangzhou skyline along the Pearl River, including a light show at Bai-E-Tan. Tickets for the deluxe dinner cruise can be bought from most high-end hotels. (From ￥50)
* Chinese New Year/Spring Festival on 1st day of 1st lunar month, usually in January or February. This is a 15 day celebration, and some districts can be quite deserted as many migrant workers return to their home provinces. The flower fair is popular during the days before New Year.
* Dragon Boat Festival, on 5th day of 5th lunar month, usually in May or June. This festival commemorates the sacrifice of Qu Yuan, a famous poet who drowned himself in the river by way of making a statement against government corruption during the Warring States Period. The highlights are dragon boat racing along the Pearl River, and eating rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves.
* Mid-autumn Festival, on 15th day of 8th lunar month, usually in September or October. Cantonese moon cakes are enjoyed during this holiday. Lian Xiang Lou and Tao Tao Ju's moon cakes are especially famous (see "Eat" section). Kids' favorites are paper lanterns. Many locals also enjoy riding ferries and watching the full moon on the Pearl River.
* Tomb Sweeping Day, around the spring equinox, usually on April 5th. Involves visits to the family tombs for cleaning and making offerings.
* Chinese Valentines Day, on 7th day of 7th lunar month, usually in August or September. According to legend, a heavenly fairy Zhi Nu fell in love with a mortal farm boy Niu Lang. It's forbidden of course, so as punishment, they are only allowed to meet once a year on this day. This is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day, but it is steadily losing its appeal among the locals, especially to the young.
* Winter Solstice, on December 22nd. Traditionally, Cantonese people observe the day with a family feast, which often includes preserved duck and sausages. However, the highlight of the day's festive dishes is hot soup served with flour dumplings.
The Canton Fair
Twice a year, in Spring and Fall, Guangzhou hosts the China Import And Export Commodities Fair, also known as the Canton Fair. It has been running since 1957 and for many years was almost the only way foreign businesses could make contacts in China. It is still very important now. Anyone who is doing or wants to do business with China should consider visiting.
If you are going to the fair, book a hotel well in advance. Hotels tend to be full and expensive during the Fair. China Hotel and Dongfang Hotel are probably the best places to stay if you can afford it. It is right across the street from one of the main exhibit halls. Many good hotels provide shuttle services to the main exhibit centers during the fair. Taxis may not be your best option since there are traffic controls in the exhibit areas.
The two main exhibit halls are the Pazhou Complex at 380 Yuejiang Zhong Lu [Metro 2 Pa Zhou], and the old Liuhua Complex at 117 Liuhua Lu.
Cantonese cuisine is well-known for its blend of color, fragrance, taste and presentation, and it is ranked among the top four in the country. In particular, dim sum, a delicate pastry, is famous for being simple yet delicious. Local customs have also played a major role in the development and diversity of Cantonese cuisine, as it is often said that Cantonese people eat everything that swims except a submarine, everything that flies except an airplane, and everything with four legs except a table. However, despite the culinary achievements in the kitchen, the standards of hygiene still leave a lot to be desired, and so care should be taken in choosing restaurants and dishes. If in doubt, it is safer to avoid food containing meat, and fortunately Cantonese cuisine is famous for its vegetarian dishes.
* Liuhua Congee House, Renmin Bei Lu (In Liuhua Park), ? +86 20 8668-0108. Excellent dim sum and beautiful surroundings.
* Panxi Restaurant, 151 Longjin Xi Lu, ? +86 20 8181-5718. Traditional Chinese restaurant famous for their dim sum, alternatively the hotpot is a good option in the afternoon. Menu in English is available, but the restaurant accepts only local credit cards.
As of January 7, 2008, this restaurant was closed for renovation, now open as at 22nd March 2008
* Lian Xiang Lou, 67 Dishipu Lu, ? +86 20 8181-1638. Founded in 1889, Lian Xiang Lou is known for it's tasty dim sum.
* Tao Tao Ju , 20 Dishipu Lu, ? +86 20 8138-9632. Tao Tao's speciality is the Cantonese moon cakes.
* Guangzhou Restaurant, 2 Wenchang Nan Lu, ? +86 20 8138-0388. This Cantonese family-restaurant has several branches all over the city. Other convenient locations include 20 Binjiang Xi Lu and 112 Ti Yu Dong Lu.
* Datong Restaurant, 63 Yanjiang Lu, ? +86 20 8188-8988. This huge restaurant spans all the 8 eight floors of the old building. The place has been around for a long time and is a favourite among locals.
* Wenji Restaurant, 10 Xuanyuan Qiao, ? +86 20 8172-8887. As the place was established by the former chefs from Qingping restaurant, they have the original Qingping chicken on the menu.
* Shui Yun Tian, 38-42 Jinghui Lu (next to the Guangxiao Temple), ? +86 20 8107-2463. 6:30AM-2:30PM, 4:30PM-9:30PM. Great buffet around noon.
* Cai Gen Xiang, 167 Zhongshan 6 Lu, ? +86 20 8334-4363. 6:30AM-2:30PM, 5PM-9PM.
* Fo Shi Jie, Niu Nai Chang Jie (by Tongfu Zhong Lu), ? +86 20 8424-3590. 7AM-9PM. A part of the profit from this humble Buddhist vegetarian restaurant is given to charity.
* Fo You Yuan , 12 Shi Lu Ji Zhongshan 8 Lu; 712 Shangjiu Lu , ? +86 20 8181-9188. 6:30AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM.Interesting and new vegetarian dishes.
Bars & Pub
When it comes to drinks, Guangzhou is one of the best cities in China to knock back a few. With a relatively large population of foreigners here, the city offers a wide variety of nightspots to cater to all tastes.
Tsing Tao and Zhu Jiang are the two major Chinese beer brands that are sold almost everywhere. Both are fairly standard light lagers. Carlsberg is also brewed in Guangzhou, which explains the reasonably huge amount of Carlsberg taps in the bars.
For latest reviews of restaurants, bars and night clubs pick up a free copy of That's PRD, a monthly English publication. It is available at several hotels and lounges.
* Overseas Chinese Village, next to Holiday Inn Guangzhou. This is a sort of bar street consisting of six or seven bars side by side, all two-storey buildings with a different theme on each floor. Prices are on the high side, costing about ￥40 for a small bottle of beer.
* Hill Bar, outside Baiyun Hotel and opposite Garden Hotel. Reasonable price for drinks (￥30 for a pint of beer, less at happy hour) Live band performance every evening.
* Tang Club, 1 Jianshe 6 Malu. This is one of the most expensive places to hang out in Guangzhou, featuring a live band that plays good old rock-and-roll as well as contemporary rock. This is the place to be seen. The crowd is a mixture of expats and local wannabes. A small bottle of beer costs ￥50.
* Strange Brew, 200m from the Ramada Hotel, 103 Ming Yue Yi Lu, close to the river. Three Canadians own this bar and burger joint. It is simply the best place in Guangzhou to get a great burger and put back some cheap draught beer. They serve Paulaner and Tiger on draught. This is a meeting place for Expats and Chinese and a good place to start your night.
* The Cave, 360 Huanshi Dong Lu. +86 020 8386-3660. Located at the basement on the end of the Zhu Jiang Building, nearer to the Garden Hotel, this is a favourite expat hangout. The resident DJ spins a wide range of music, from pop to disco to trance. Erotic dance performances, i.e. live-python dance, start late on the dance floor. ￥30 for a standard drink.
* Gipsy King Bar, 360 Huanshi Dong Lu. Located on the opposite end of the Zhu Jiang Building from The Cave, this is an underground bar on a similar theme. Many local "working" girls sashay around, looking for a good time. There are individual dance performances at one corner of the bar, while group performances start on the main dance floor from 10PM. ￥30 for a standard drink.
* Hooley's Irish Pub and Restaurant (2 Tian He Bei Lu, Ground Floor of the Bing Hua Hotel, Tian He District, call Rob at 5 minute taxi from the Garden Hotel. Walking distance from Westin Hotel. An authentic Irish pub with a focus on live music performances (rock, pop, folk and jazz) An Australian chef serves up pub grub, Irish, Italian and fusion dishes--also bakes his own bread. Great rocking vibe from Thursday--Saturday. Chill out and chat from Sunday to Wed in a cosy environment.
* Paddy Field Irish Pub & Restaurant, an Irish Pub in Guangzhou, round the back of Garden Hotel. Serves pretty good western food. Drinks are at usual bar prices.
* Sleeping Wood Cafe, a nice cozy restaurant pub next to the Holiday Inn with friendly, English speaking waiters and waitresses. Serves western food and all kinds of alcoholic drinks. One-for-one pint-sized Tsingtao draft beer during happy hour (before 8PM). Good place to unwind and take it easy, especially in the open area. A drink costs ￥25-30. There's a separate branch along the Pearl River.
* Sky Bar, newly opened in June 2006, also next to the Holiday Inn. Serves Brazilian-style food and all kinds of drinks. Standard drinks start from ￥25.
* Lucy's (Cafe Bar) next to the White Swan Hotel, right by the Pearl River. Excellent western food and drinks for very reasonable prices. Very nice area in the open for al-fresco dining.
* Bai-E-Tan Bar Street, Changdi Street in the Fangcun area, across the river from White Swan Hotel. The street is packed with bars, but action is scarce until at least 10:30PM. It is recommended to have dinner in one of the nearby restaurants before heading out to the bars. Special promotions, such as a half dozen bottles of beer for ￥100, are common.