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Guangzhou, previously known as Canton or Panyu, is the largest city in south China and capital of the most populous province in China, Guangdong Province.
You might know it is one of China's top business and commercial centers, but did you know it has one of China's favorite amusement parks? Here are 10 interesting and useful facts for if you're already planning your trip to Guangzhou, or if you're just starting to think about it.
Guangzhou is China's third largest city with about 13 million people in 2018, but statisticians regard Guangzhou as the world largest municipality with 44 million people including Shenzhen, Foshan, and Dongguan. The new metro and bullet train lines make these cities feel like one big city.
However, the main inner city districts such as Tianhe don't feel congested. The broad streets, landscaping, trees, parks and good transportation system make this newer city feel less congested than the inner cities of New York, Hong Kong, or Shanghai.
The CTF Finance Center is China's 3rd tallest building and the world's 7th tallest building as of 2018. With an observation deck, upscale mall, and fine restaurants, it is a tourist attraction along with the neighboring IFC Tower that is the world's 22nd tallest building.
Across the river, only a kilometer away, is the popular Canton Tower that is one of Guangzhou's top 5 tourist attractions. The bright, colorful tower draws tourists like moths to the Pearl River riverfront.
You really shouldn't be leaving Guangzhou without trying the popular local Cantonese cuisine dishes.
Dim sum is popular for midday snacks and meals, while nutritious, light Cantonese dinners are served in upscale Cantonese restaurants. For breakfast, congee, a common breakfast food is recommended if you want to taste what the locals eat for breakfast.
If you want to know more about local food, check out Guangzhou Food.
There is plenty of souvenir shopping to be done in Guangzhou. If you want to shop on bargains on everything from electronics to clothes, you can to to the major markets and search along with the small traders from around the world. For more on wholesale markets, tourist shopping streets, and the popular malls.
The city has been a provincial capital city since the Han Empire era 2,200 years ago.
It was a major trading and export port during several epochs, such as the Han, Tang, and the early Qing Empire from 1700 when the Qing allowed it to be the only port open to foreign traders. From 1861 onwards, the British established Shamian Island as a foreign trade enclave.
The Chimelong Changlong Holiday Resort is by far the most popular place in Guangzhou for tourists. It has a grand circus, a safari park, an amusement park with popular thrill rides, and a water park, and all these are rated with a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor. There are also hotel/resort, art/theater, gaming, and golfing facilities.
Guangzhou can get hot and rainy in the summer, but it's climate is mild and usually sunny in the fall and early winter, after the rains and monsoon weather of April to early September.
April/May isn't a high travel/tourism period, which makes spring easier for hosting the Canton Fair, but October/November is high season AND has a Canton Fair. September through December is the best time of the year to go, but avoid national holiday periods as tourist sights are very crowded on these days.
If you've only ever heard about Beijing's pollution on the news, you might be concerned about the air quality in Guangzhou. For a megacity this size, the air quality is good. Guangzhou used to have smokey factories spewing out fumes, but these have either been moved and controlled.
You'll actually probably see blue skies even in the central Tianhe/Zhujiang region. The air is usually fine or tolerable. In 2017, the city ranked at 55 on the list China's most polluted cities. Pollution is much less than in Beijing that ranked 13th.
Guangzhou is known as the world's marketplace, where, at any one time, hundreds of thousands of foreign buyers are there from all over the world to source products, such as electronics, clothes, and toys.
One of the world's biggest trade fairs called the Canton Fair (广交会), in the spring and autumn, each year draws about 200,000 people per session.
Of large mainland cities with an urban population greater than a million, Guangzhou is presently ranked fifth for per capita GDP after Wuxi, Suzhou, Baotou, and Shenzhen. Nearby Hong Kong has about twice that of Guangzhou’s 2017 GDP per capita. However, Guangzhou's per capita GDP is growing about 7% per year, so, at this rate, GDP will double in about 10 years.
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is third busiest in China. It als has great city and onward high-speed and overnight rail links.
Now, the Guangdong 144-hour visa-free travel policy makes it easy for travelers to enjoy the whole big province and shop for 6 days.
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Due to Guangzhou's sheer size, if you've got time constraints, planning your trip well ahead of time is vital. We can tailor your tour to what you wish to see while you're in Guangzhou.
Here are some popular Guangzhou tour ideas for your inspiration: