China’s trade hub of the past & present
Hello, explorers! The ancient trade city of Guangzhou has been transformed into a dynamic megalopolis that aspires to regain the prestige it enjoyed before the revolution. There is much more beneath the trade facade: a bustling city full of history, culture and friendly people. You will find enough reasons to fall in love with Guangzhou!
Churches, mansions, colonial buildings, mountain view tops, panoramic vistas and soaring towers - that’s what Guangzhou is all about.
You’ll get to explore plenty of markets, climb up the second tallest tower in China, sightsee on Shaiman Island and much more!
Food is a huge part in Guangzhou, and trying Cantonese cuisine is a delightful experience in itself.
There is a wide range of accommodation options - from luxury hotels to small international hostels.
Flights & Transport
Though prices vary and can be unpredictable flights are usually best booked from 3-6 months before departure. This is especially true if you plan to holiday at one of the busier times of the year. China has an excellent connection of high-speed rail which connects Guangzhou to the neighboring regions and all major cities.
Although we advise you to book some of your hotels, flights and excursions before you depart, it’s always good to keep some things spontaneous! Allow yourself the flexibility (and the budget!) to go on an exciting adventure such as bungee jumping at Baiyun or river cruising on the Pearl River.
There are plenty lodging options available—hotels, B&Bs, hostels—just be sure to secure your accommodation in advance. Airbnb is great option if you are traveling as a group.
Insurance & Passport
Travel insurance doesn’t cost a lot, but it can mean the difference between enjoying your adventure or returning home early, perhaps with a mega credit card bill for healthcare/ repatriation. Give yourself peace of mind by taking out a basic policy and remember to inform your insurance company if you plan to do some adventure sports.
Citizens of most countries, including those from the US need to acquire a visa before traveling to China. Fill out the application form and keep the requested documents ready. Make sure your passport is valid for three months after departure and you have two blank pages for stamps.
A few months before your trip is the best time to secure your flights, tours and accommodations. Take a look at our hotel and activity recommendations for each location and book now to ensure your trip is exactly what you want it to be! This way, you’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of your favorite places and activities being sold out.
Chinese power outlets require a three-prong plug which does not match typical US plugs. Get an international power adapter which converts your US plugs to fit any other power sockets in the world. Also, the voltage in China is also much stronger (220v compared to 110v in the USA). Check your appliances, laptop, camera charger etc to make sure they are dual voltage. If not, you will need a power converter to transform the current to suit your electrical appliances
Don’t use unlicensed taxis and always stick to taxis from the taxi ranks.
Always haggle your way through markets.
The best time to visit the Canton Orchid Garden is during Spring.
The Tianhe Sports Center is the place to be, specially if you’re interested in exercising during your trip.
• Traveling light is always ideal. Roll your clothes to save space and avoid creases. If you want to take it to the next level, use vacuum compression bags to maximize space.
• Choose your footwear wisely. Bring a pair of walking boots for hiking and trips out into the beautiful scenery. Pack a pair of comfy sneakers or canvas shoes for walking around town.
• Try to blend in as much as possible. Flashy outfits might make you stand out as a tourist and attract unwanted attention from vendors.
• Pack your shampoo, toothpaste and any other liquids in ziplock bags in case they spill in transit.
• Care for your health: Pack a small medical kit emergencies, mosquito repellant, and sunscreen.
• Remember your camera, charger, memory card and power adapter. Be well equipped to capture all of the beautiful sites when wandering the city.
• Be sure to have cash on hand—it’s not uncommon to find cash only restaurants and shops, even in major cities.
• China Travel Guide | Useful guide for traveling in China
• Tripadvisor | a favorite resource for finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants and things to do. However, all reviews are subjective, so don’t obsess over scores
• Whatsapp | free text messaging to other Whatsapp users
• NobelApp | make cheap calls locally and back home
Transit Booking Sites
• skyscanner.com | easy to use website for finding low air fares
• google.com/flights | helpful fare prediction technology
• https://www.etripchina.com/bus/ | for bus timetables and bookings
• https://english.ctrip.com/trains/ | train booking website
Your trip begins in Guangzhou, a flourishing port city and one of China's main manufacturing and transportation hubs. Forget Guangzhou's reputation as an industrial center: the beautiful riverbank, lush parks, and ancient temples of the city will take you on a journey through the centuries.Famous for being the industrial engine that drives the country's economic growth, Guangzhou has been at the forefront of cultural revolutions and reforms, making it an ideal place for travelers to understand China's rich history. The Cantonese capital will surprise you with its abundant shopping, culinary delights and vibrant mix of old and new.
GETTING TO THE CITY
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is located 24 miles north of the city center. From the airport, you can take taxis or Uber, which can take you to the different tourist areas and hotels. Alternatively, the cheaper and faster option is to take the subway. Check into your hotel, freshen up, get something to eat, and take out your walking.
TEMPLE OF THE SIX BANYAN TREES
Head to your first destination, Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Located on Liurong Street, the center of Guangzhou, this is an ancient Buddhist temple built in 537 AD during the Liang Dynasty. With a history of more than 1,460 years, it houses a rich collection of historical and cultural relics.
Inside the temple, there are three large Buddhist icons: Sakyamuni in the middle, Amitabha on the left, and Maitreya on the right. These are the largest ancient brass structures in Guangdong province. An octagonal building, the Flower Pagoda stands on the grounds of the temple and resembles.
A 15-minute walk away from the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is the Beijing Road. It’s a pedestrian shopping street packed with both locals and tourists, especially on weekends. Stroll along the half a mile stretch, where around 140 stores sell a wide array of products ranging from clothes, jewelry, and leather accessories to books and food items.
Morning and Afternoon
On the second day, take a taxi or subway to Shamian Island. Located in the heart of the modern city, this oasis of greenery surround the last intact colonial houses of Guangzhou. Sitting by the Pearl River, Shamian is not really an island, but a sand bank attached to the city through several bridges. For almost a century, Shamian was both English and French. Shamian was returned to China in 1949, but will always retain a strong colonial imprint. While walking through its streets, you will sense the contrast with the lively and bustling urban areas of the city. Streets lined with banyan trees and camphor trees add a provincial touch. Victorian style houses have been restored and their original pastel colors have been recovered. Throughout the place, you will find several bronze statues depicting the life of the ancient times.
Head to the Canton Tower, a monumental observation and television tower with a height of 450 meters. Go all the way to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the illuminated city skyline. End your day with a delicious Cantonese dinner at Chopstix Treehouse Restaurant.
On the third day, get acquainted with the fascinating culture of Guangzhou. Located in downtown Guangzhou, Chen Family Temple was built during the Qing Dynasty. It is the largest, best preserved, and intricately decorated ancient architecture existing in Guangdong Province. Originally, it was built for the Chen clans for accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations. Later it changed to being Industry College of the Chen clan, and the secondary school later. It is now the Guangdong Folk Arts and Crafts Museum. The scenes represent stories of Chinese literature and folklore.
Next to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial is Guangzhou’s largest park, Yuexiu Park. Spread across 860,000 square meters with seven hills and three lakes, it is unlikely that you would explore the park end to end. However, be sure to stop by Five Rams statue, an icon of the city. The ruined walls of Ming dynasty and Zhenhai Tower are also worth visiting. For late evening, you can Cath a show at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city, climb the Baiyun Mountain, also known as White Cloud Mountain located towards the north of the city. The park has several ridges covered with lush greenery and acts as the lung of the city.
GETTING TO THE PARK
Enjoy a leisurely Cantonese breakfast which is quite different from the western breakfast. Zhou is a popular breakfast in southern China, made from rice similar to porridge or oatmeal.
Grab a taxi to get to the Baiyun Mountain.
THE ECCENTRIC FOOD MARKET
Get back to the city to Qingping Market, a famous food market the adventurous. Located along the Pearl River and accommodating more than 1200 stalls, the food items available here surpasses your bounds of imagination. Edibles on sale range from general groceries to dried deer tendons, caged kittens, turtles, puppies, and monkeys. Don’t get startled if you see tiger paw and shark fin up for sale in a dark corner of an alley. Clearly not for the faint-hearted!
Wake up early this morning and get to Guangzhou South Railway Station to catch the 8:00 AM train to Macau. The journey takes nearly three hours so keep your favorite playlist or that gripping novel ready for the journey.
Upon arrival in Macau, check into your hotel, and get something to eat. If you have chosen a hotel in the old city, you will have countless.
A WALK TO HISTORY
Discover the Portuguese legacy of Macao by walking the old colonial town. Thanks to numerous old buildings that make up the oldest European architectural complex in all of China, as well as the fusion of East-West styles, the historic center of Macao has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start with Senado Square and its porticoed buildings, stopping by St. Domingos Church (the first church in China) and reaching the façade in ruins of St. Paul’s, a baroque jewel with Chinese and Japanese elements considered the historical emblem of the region. Located nearby is Fortaleza do Monte, the first and most prominent Portuguese fortress in Macao, located just behind St. Paul’s. This fort offers beautiful panoramic views of the city.
As the sun approaches the horizon, head to St. Augustine Square, a Portuguese-style cobblestoned square nestles on top of a small hill. It is a great place to sit back at sunset and gaze leisurely at the passerby. Right on the square is St. Augustine’s Church dating back to the 16th century. It holds priceless old stories within its walls and is intricately decorated with religious artworks.
Continue your exploration of Macau’s historical center on the third day as well. Your first destination today is the A-Ma Taoist Temple that has existed since before the arrival of the Portuguese. The temple of AMá has several pavilions. The one dedicated to the protective deity of the seas is the most important, although there are references in others to other gods and even to other religions embraced in China such as Confucianism and Buddhism.
After grabbing a quick lunch in one of the restaurants nearby, set off to Mandarin’s House, a typical Chinese Macau mansion with some western elements incorporated into its structure. The house was built in the mid-nineteenth century as the residence of Chinese writer Zheng Guangying. Don’t forget to get some photos near its magnificent doors. The mansion is located next to the Lilau Square, a small colonial urban charm built on a spring. There is a fountain with the face of a child throwing a stream of water. There’s a Portuguese saying that, “One who drinks from Lilau never
You might feel you have walked too much, if so, it is time to put a stop on the route and sit down to have a filling, lazy dinner. You may be in luck as Macau has the best of Portuguese, Oriental and Macanese cuisine, the latter considered a fusion of different overseas traditions (not only Portuguese or Chinese, also African or Indian). Sit in a traditional Portuguese tavern and try rice with seafood, grilled cod, delicious clams, and pair with an excellent Alentejo wine preserved in a typical Portuguese cellar. Your last night here couldn’t be better!
You can directly take a subway from Macau to Guangzhou International Airport. The journey takes around 4 hours and if your flight home is in the evening, you still have some time for a quick visit to an attraction or two in the morning. You may want to walk around Vila da Taipa, the "little Portugal" where there are no skyscrapers. Taipa's museum-houses are the greatest exponent of the colonial bourgeoisie of Macao. You can enter into some Victorian buildings or walk around the Rua de Cunha where humble Portuguese houses coexist with Taoist temples whose doors make way for an intense smell of incense.