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Guangzhou Attractions

What to See in Canton

Guangzhou has plenty of architecture showcasing the ancient magnificence of Chinese civilization. Visitors should allow time to explore the place a bit more in order to fully appreciate this city.

If you want to avoid the crowds, try not to visit during the city's big trade fair, the Canton Fair (mid-April to first week in May).

Important venues that one should not miss include the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, The Museum of the Southern Yue Royal Mausoleum, Shamian Island and The Chen Family Temple.

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All Attractions in Guangzhou

Baomo Park

Built at the end of the Qing Dynasty, Baomo Garden is a fine example of Lingnan architecture. The entire garden is intelligently and meticulously divided into hills, mountains, gardens and buildings.

There is a view tower, a huge gallery of halls and in the garden is a statue of Confucius.

Several good restaurants are in this park but it's also an ideal picnicking spot. 

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Cantonese Opera

When in Guangzhou, you might like to try the famous Yue Ju (Cantonese Opera) which is a traditional regional style performed in the Cantonese dialect and based on ancient stories. It is popular in Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and wherever overseas Chinese are found in Southeast Asia.

One can enjoy the show without having to know the Cantonese language as the music, costumes and body language all speak for themselves. The actors show off their unique skills, somersaulting and careening around, with outstanding acrobatic fighting. 

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Guangxiao Temple

Guangxiao Temple is a magnificent and ancient temple and a popular pilgrimage site for Zen Buddhists. Built as a mansion for a prince of the Nanyue Kingdom during the Western Han Dynasty (206BC - 24AD), the temple was destroyed several times by fire, and the current buildings date only from the mid 19th century. Hui Neng, one of the six founders of Chinese Buddhism, studied here in the 7th century. The temple grounds also hold the oldest Iron Pagodas in China, dating from 967 and 963.

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Guangzhou Martyrs' Memorial Garden

A good place to spend a couple of hours, this park features many gardens, walkways and halls. It originally was created in memory of more than 5,000 people killed by the Guomindang Government during the communist uprising that took place in Guangzhou in 1927. The memorial park also contains a pavilion dedicated to Sino-Soviet friendship and one to Sino-Korean friendship.

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Guangzhou Museum of Art

The modernistic Guangzhou Museum of Art opened in 2000 and has an extensive collection of works, from classical Chinese painters to more modern pieces. There is a room devoted to Liao Bingxiong, a political cartoonist of the 20th century whose works have a surrealistic edge. It consists of 12 indoor exhibition halls covering an area of 8,000sqm as well as an outdoor 5,000sqm Sculpture Garden. Each year, the museum hosts nearly 60 exhibitions.

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Huaishengsi Guangta Mosque

Huaishengsi Guangta, translates as 'Remember the Prophet Mosque' and is the oldest mosque in China. It was built in classical Chinese architectural style, rebuilt on the site of a former mosque that is said to have been established 1,300 years ago during the Tang Dynasty. The mosque was rebuilt after burning down several times. The present structure is from the Qing Dynasty.

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Kaiping Diaolou & Villages

Kaiping – located 140 kilometres away from Guangzhou – is home to a noteworthy collection of watchtowers known as diaolou, which have resulted in it being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These European-style watchtowers served two purposes during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00 Daily
  • Price Range: Ruishi Lou: Y20; Li Garden: Y60; Each village: Y50
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Lotus Mountain

Lotus Mountain (Lianhua Shan) is located in Panyu City at the mouth of the Zhujiang River. The Mountain is about 45km southeast of Guangzhou. Here, you'll see pagodas, temples and other Ming Dynasty architecture. The Mountain also served as a deterrent against the British in the Opium Wars and as is known locally as the 'Great Wall of Guangzhou'. Various restaurants, picnic spots and shops stand at the foot of the hill.

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Qing Ping Herbal Medicine Market

This big market selling dried herbs and dried exotic animals is located near Shamian Island in the south-central part of Guanzghou. Here, you can spot scorpion sellers amongst many other interesting things. There are different sections in Qing Ping market; you can find endless rows of seafood, turtles, fish, snakes, and all parts of animals are on display. Many locals go to shop for ingredients to prepare their daily meals. The market is a great place for people watching.

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Sacred Heart Cathedral

The largest Catholic Church in China, the Sacred Heart Church is also known as the 'House of Stone' by the Chinese because it is constructed entirely out of granite transported from Kowloon in Hong Kong. Construction on the church started in 1863 and was completed in 1888 during the reign of Emperor Guangxu. The church is in Neo-Gothic style with twin spires and its four bells were made in France, as were the stained-glass windows.

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Shamian Island

Shamian is a small island located in the middle of the Pearl River where many people go for a quiet and peaceful afternoon. It has colonial influences from the 19th century with old European-style buildings and boulevards. Some trees are more than 180 years old. Here, there are many good coffee shops, cafes and restaurants including charity souvenir shops around. Shamian also has a Catholic and a Protestant Church.

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Temple of the Five Celestial Beings

Built in the 1300s, this temple is famous for its big bell from the Ming Dynasty. According to legend, there were five celestial goats that brought rice and the knowledge of rice cultivation to the local people. Having wished the locals bumper harvests for the future, the immortals rose to the sky and disappeared. The goats turned into stone statues, hence the name of Guangzhou as Yangcheng (City of Goats) and Suicheng (City of Rice Ears). The Five Celestials Shrine houses the footprints of the immortals and is located in Yuexiu Park.

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Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

A must for people who love Buddhist temples and pagodas, this beautiful temple is well maintained and located right in the heart of the city, just south of Yuexiu Park. It was built in 537 during the Liang Dynasty. Many people are amazed that it has survived all these years and especially that it made it through the anarchy of the Cultural Revolution.

A notable structure located in the grounds of the Six Banyan Tree Temple is the Flowery Pagoda. This structure was built in 1097.

It stands 57 metres high and at 17 storeys high it is the tallest pagoda in Guangzhou. The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees does not actually have any Banyan trees; they died off some years back. 

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The Chen Family Temple

Walking through The Chen Family Temple is almost like walking through a living museum. It was built by the Chen family members from all over Guangdong Province at the end of the 19th century during the Qing Dynasty. There are a total of 19 buildings on the property, most of which now house various artifacts and artworks on display include porcelain, fine paintings, and carvings of ivory and jade. The design is an excellent example of Southern China architecture. The temple was built for worship as well as used to house Chen family members who came from all over the province to sit for the imperial examinations.

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The Museum of the Southern Yue Royal Mausoleum

One of the key sights in Guangzhou is the Museum of the Southern Yue Royal Mausoleum. It stands on the site of Emperor Wen's tomb - the second ruler of the Southern Yue Kingdom (the area around Guangzhou at the time), which dates back to 100 BC. Inside the museum, there is the actual wooden tomb. It also features a jade shroud made up of 2,300 pieces of jade stitched together, used to cover the emperor's corpse inside his tomb. The museum is not far from Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou’s largest and most beautiful park.

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The Orchid Garden

The Orchid Garden provides an oasis in the middle of this busy city. The garden has three greenhouses and, as its name suggests, houses over 200 varieties of orchids.

The landscaped gardens feature ponds, sculptures, pagodas, a very impressive classical Chinese teahouse as well as various pavilions.

The Orchid Garden also has creepers, vegetables, rare flowers, luxuriant bushes, and bamboos. 

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The Peasant Movement Institute

The Peasant Movement Institute was a former Confucian temple up until the 1920s when it was converted into a communist training institute by Mao Zedong. The Peasant Movement Institute has various departments, such as the main lecture hall, student dormitories, a cafeteria and leadership quarters. Mao Zedong himself served as the director of the institute. Inside there is a re-creation of Mao’s personal quarters including his simple bed.

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The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall was built in 1931 on the original site of Sun Yat-Sen's Presidential Office at Yuexiu Park. It is one of Guangzhou's major landmarks. Dr Sun Yat-Sen was the founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party and was originally from Cuiheng Village in Guangdong Province.

He was largely responsible for the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the formation of the Republic of China in 1911 and also served as the first President of the Republic.

The impressive hall is used for meetings and performances and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. There is a small museum behind the hall.

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White Cloud Mountain

White Cloud Mountain (Baiyun Shan) is easy to travel to. It is located north of Guangzhou and surrounded by urban developments. It covers about 28sqkm, consisting of 30 peaks. The highest peak, Moxing Ridge (Star-Scraping Ridge) stands in the centre of White Cloud Mountain. There are good spots where you can enjoy the views of the whole city and the famous Pearl River. Visitors can also take a cable car to reach the top of the mountain.

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Zoos in Guangzhou

If you want to see pandas and all kinds of other animals, try the Xiangjiang Safari Park, in Panyu District, Guangzhou. It's about 35mins from central Guangzhou and can be reached by Metro or by taxi.

There 460 species here include white tigers, white lions, white kangaroos, red-headed cranes, flamingos, pygmy hippos, polar bears and so on.

Another zoo to visit is Guangzhou Zoo. It is set on 430,000sqm in and is the largest zoo in South China. There are more than 2,000 animals at the zoo, including pandas, golden-haired monkeys, and other unique animals. 

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