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Things to do in Guangzhou

Things to do in  Guangzhou

Welcome to Guangzhou

As China’s third-largest city, Guangzhou is not for the faint-hearted. A sprawling metropolis framed by stainless steel skyscrapers and split by the Pearl River, Guangzhou offers history and modernity in equal measure. The city’s size means a sightseeing tour is the best way to travel between landmarks quickly and easily. Full-day tours typically cover Chen Clan Academy, the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurong Temple), and the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, and include a traditional Cantonese lunch. Yuexiu Park—home to the emblematic Five Ram Statue and Ming-era Zhenhai Tower—offers plenty to explore, as does Shamian Island, with its the colonial mansions and neo-Gothic churches. Embrace Guangzhou’s evening energy on a Pearl River night cruise or by pre-booking a ticket to the Chimelong International Circus—and don't forget to eat your fill of Cantonese cuisine, such as dim sum and roast duck, on a food tour. Day trips to Hong Kong by super-speed bullet train are a popular choice with travelers short on time, while traveling to Chengdu by air makes the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding doable in a day. Plus, don’t miss Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, a rainbow of imperial architecture; Chimelong Paradise, China’s largest amusement park; and Canton Tower, the country’s tallest structure.

Top 10 attractions in Guangzhou

#1
Canton Tower

Canton Tower

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Guangzhou’s loftiest and most impressive skyscraper, the vertiginous Canton Tower is one of the tallest buildings on Earth and Guangzhou’s most notable structure. Unveiled in time for the 2010 Asian Games, the freestanding structure is known for its slim shape, its outdoor observation decks, and the rainbow lights it sports after dark.More
#2
Pearl River (Zhujiang)

Pearl River (Zhujiang)

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The Pearl River stretches for 1,376 miles (2,214 km from Xi Jiang to the South China Sea. It’s the third-longest river in China and the second-largest by volume. The most famous portion of the Pearl River flows through the heart of Guangzhou, and the waterfront is home to many of the city’s top attractions.More
#3
Chen Clan Academy (Chen Jia Ci)

Chen Clan Academy (Chen Jia Ci)

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One of Guangzhou’s most significant historical attractions, the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall (also known as the Chen Clan Academy) dates to the late 19th century. The large campus comprises 19 buildings, and was initially built as an academic temple complex. Today, the striking landmark is home to the Guangdong Folk Art Museum.More
#4
Shamian Island

Shamian Island

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Beyond Guangzhou’s soaring skyscrapers, discover another, older side of the city when you visit Shamian Island. A sandbank island in the heart of the city that once served as a busy port, Shamian Island was divided between British and French concessions in the 19th century. Today, it’s known for its heritage architecture and ample charm.More
#5
Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King

Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King

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The Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King houses the contents of the royal tombs of the Nanyue ruler Zhao Mo. The skeletons of Zhao Mo, along with 15 of his courtiers, who were buried alive to serve him in death, and several thousand objects from the empire are on display.More
#6
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (Sun Zhongshan Ji Nian Tang)

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (Sun Zhongshan Ji Nian Tang)

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Perched on the southern slope of Guangzhou’s Yuexiu Hill, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (Sun Zhongshan Ji Nian Tang) is a monument built in 1931 in honor of the Chinese revolutionary. A bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen was erected in front of the hall in 1956, and the octagonal structure houses a collection of photos and letters from his life.More
#7
Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurong Si)

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurong Si)

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Among Guangzhou’s most significant religious landmarks, the Buddhist Temple of the Six Banyan Trees dates back to AD 537 and is still active today, with a community of monks. Visitors marvel at the vibrantly painted exterior of the temple’s Flower Pagoda, which soars some 187 feet (57 meters) high.More
#8
White Cloud Mountain (Baiyun Shan)

White Cloud Mountain (Baiyun Shan)

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White Cloud Mountain (Baiyun Shan, Baiyun Mountain, or Mt. Baiyun), located just north of Guangzhou City, gets its name from the wreath of wispy clouds that circle the mountaintop after a heavy rain. A visit to the mountain and the surrounding 17-square-mile (44-square-kilometer) park area is a popular way to stretch your legs, take in some fresh air, and escape the busy city.More
#9
Chimelong Safari Park

Chimelong Safari Park

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China's Chimelong Safari Park—among the largest wild animal parks in the world—is home to some 20,000 animals and is presently the only zoo in the country to be awarded the 5A class tourist attraction level, the highest level attainable. More than 500 species are represented, including giant pandas, black rhinos, and Chinese white tigers.More
#10
Chimelong Water Park

Chimelong Water Park

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Part of the massive Chimelong Tourist Resort in Guangzhou, Chimelong Water Park is one of the most popular water parks in the world, welcoming more than two million visitors a year. Spanning 450 acres (182 hectares, the largest water park in Asia offers plenty of opportunities for water play for families and thrill-seekers alike.More

Trip ideas

Top Historical Sights in Guangzhou

Top Historical Sights in Guangzhou

How to Spend 1 Day in Guangzhou

How to Spend 1 Day in Guangzhou

How to Spend 3 Days in Guangzhou

How to Spend 3 Days in Guangzhou

Top activities in Guangzhou

Guided Cycle Tour of Guangzhou

Guided Cycle Tour of Guangzhou

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$62.62
Seven Star Crag private tour

Seven Star Crag private tour

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$210.00
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Guangzhou

star-5
Most wonderful tour and best guide
Denise_R, Mar 2021
Baojing Palace Cave and Glass Skywalk Bridge private tour
Thrilling tour of glass bridge, and we loved Zack our tour guide who speaks perfect English and is very smart and kind.
star-5
Great tour!
KrenzyAnn_V, Feb 2020
Pearl River Night Cruise in Guangzhou with Private Transfer
He was very knowledgeable and he also helped us with suggestions for other sights to visit in the city for the rest of our trip.
star-5
Great private tour
Elly_M, Dec 2019
Gulong Canyon Grand Glass Skywalk Bridge private tour
Our tour guide, Zack, was very knowledgeable, helpful, and had excellent English, making him very easy to understand.
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Amazing Experience
ChandraJanuar_A, Dec 2019
Gulong Canyon Grand Glass Skywalk Bridge private tour
really2 recommend if you want to see the other side of Guangzhou and amazing experience
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Great tour. Experienced and...
dawncarnell, Nov 2017
Guided Cycle Tour of Guangzhou
Experienced and knowledgeable guides with very good English who offered lots of history and allowed us to see a side of Guangzhou we hadn't seen.
star-5
Pleasant and knowledgable guide...
Beverly P, Aug 2016
Private Historical Tour: Guangzhou City Sightseeing Including Lunch
This tour is a very good way to see the scattered sightseeing spots in Guangzhou.
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We had a really lovely day.Great...
Stephen_M, Oct 2016
All-inclusive Guangzhou Historic City Private Day Tour
Great sight seeing,A guide who spoke excellent English.
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This was a fantastic way to...
Rowena H, Mar 2017
Guided Cycle Tour of Guangzhou
He was very knowledgeable, great English, an all round nice guy.
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Beautiful historical sites!
KrenzyAnn_V, Feb 2020
Private Historical Tour: Guangzhou City Sightseeing Including Lunch
We got to see a lot of amazing and beautiful places in Guangzhou.
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A must to do and see in the city, great guided private night tour of Guangzhou
Sofy_A, Jan 2020
Private Guangzhou night tour with Pearl River Cruise and Canton Tower
Our guide Zack is very knowledgeable about his hometown(Guangzhou) , speak perfect English and provided great insight to the local culture and history of the city.
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Knowledgeable and friendly!
batekau, Dec 2019
Local Guangzhou private tour guide service with car
Looking forward to visiting again.
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Must visit in Guangzhou
Hellboy4ever, Dec 2019
Private Guangzhou Night Tour with Canton Tower and Bar Hopping
We were in Guangzhou on a whirlwind trip and on reviewing top things to do in Guangzhou....
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Great day trip from Guangzhou
Kirk_H, Dec 2019
All Inclusive Kaiping Diaolou Heritage Private Day Trip from Guangzhou
We all decided to come a day early to see the sights - we toured Guangzhou on our own, but wanted to see something interesting in the countryside so we booked this trip.
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Transfer Service from Guangzhou Baiyun Airport to Hotel in Guangzhou
Donald_W, Dec 2019
Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Guangzhou Hotels:Private with Meet & Great Service
I was pleased to see that he had a mini-van for a car would not have sufficient trunk space to hold all the things for 3 people.
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Something for everyone
Alex_K, Dec 2019
Chinese classical garden and lion dance&Kungfu show private tour
The grounds were clean and luscious, we started with a train ride within the park to see the animals and then took a stroll throughout the park and saw the White Tigers, there were cubs and new born's being nursed by their mother.
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Pearl River Night Cruise
Donald_W, Dec 2019
Pearl River Night Cruise & Eveing Tour in Guangzhou with Private Transport
Jack spoke excellent English.
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A tale of two cities
ALEXANDROS_K, Dec 2019
Guangzhou Local Tours: Tailor-made Guangzhou private city tour
There are SO MANY things to see and do that 4 days were really not enough.
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We spent one week in Guangzhou...
Alan T, Feb 2018
Guangzhou Highlights Small-Group Day Tour with Lunch
It was so good to see several generations of Chinese families dining together.
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If your a foodie I would highly...
Jeffrey C, Jan 2018
Guangzhou Foodie Tour
We got to visit a number of establishments.
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The tour was outstanding. Our driver...
David B, Jul 2014
Private Historical Tour: Guangzhou City Sightseeing Including Lunch
Our guide spoke English very well, had grown up in the area, and gave us an excellent description of each of our stops.
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All about Guangzhou

When to visit

Subtropical Guangzhou is known for its sultry weather and toasty summers; depending on your heat tolerance, you may wish to visit in the cooler fall months. That said, the sizable city always has events worth traveling for, from Lunar New Year (complete with vibrant flower markets) and spring's Dragon Boat Festival to the Lotus Flower Festival in summer.

Time Zone
CST (UTC +8)

A local’s pocket guide to Guangzhou

Shelly Yang

Born in the North of China, Shelly moved to Guangzhou with her family when she was little and lived there for over a decade. Now living 8,000 miles from home, Shelly dreams about the food in Guangzhou every day.

The first thing you should do in Guangzhou is...

explore Zhujiang New Town, which represents the new spirit of Guangzhou. Also, make sure to spend some time in Shamian Island for a look at the city’s history.

A perfect Saturday in Guangzhou...

starts with dim sum (or, “yum cha”) at Bei Yuan Restaurant, continues with a hike to the summit of Baiyun Mountain, and ends with a nighttime river cruise on the Pearl River.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the food. Guangzhou is the birthplace of Cantonese food, where you can try the authentic taste of white cut chicken and dim sum. No one leaves the city hungry.

To discover the "real" Guangzhou...

try out the oldest and smallest restaurants on Xihua Lu and Huifu Dong Lu, where you can find the most traditional food and snacks. Look out for rice noodle rolls, wonton soup, and more.

For the best view of the city...

visit the top of Canton Tower at night, and try some Longjing tea in the tea lounge after enjoying the view over the city.

One thing people get wrong...

is only spending time in the city center and missing the rich history Guangzhou has to offer.

People Also Ask

What is Guangzhou known for?

Once known as Canton City, Guangzhou is China’s third largest city, a busy trading port, and the capital of Guangdong (Canton) province. It’s best known for Cantonese cuisine, Cantonese opera, the Pearl River, and modern architecture, including the 1,970-foot (600-meter) Canton Tower and Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House.

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How many days should I spend in Guangzhou?

Most travelers find 2–3 days is enough to explore Guangzhou. That lets you feast on Cantonese food, take in modern architecture and historic Shamian Island, enjoy a Pearl River cruise, and follow in the footsteps of former residents such as martial artist Bruce Lee and revolutionary Sun Yat-Sen.

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What's in Guangzhou?

There’s more to Guangzhou than dim sum and discount shopping. Besides modern architecture, like the Canton Tower, Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou Opera House, and Guangzhou Circle, heritage sites include Shamian Island, Yuexiu Park, the Chen Clan Academy, the Former Residence of Sun Yat Sen, and the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King.

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How can I spend a day in Guangzhou?

Start the day by discovering Guangzhou’s historic European architecture on a stroll around scenic Shamian Island, then enjoy a dim sum feast. Spend the afternoon exploring heritage sites, such as Yuexiu Park or the 2,100-year-old Nanyue royal tomb. When night falls, soak up the skyline from a Pearl River cruise.

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Do they speak English in Guangzhou?

Not really. Much less English is spoken in Guangzhou than in Hong Kong: you can’t expect taxi drivers, shop workers, or staff in budget eateries to speak English. However, young people will have studied English at school and should have some basics, while subway signs are in both English and Chinese.

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Is Guangzhou safe?

Yes. It is unusual for travelers to experience serious crime in Guangzhou. However, pickpocketing is not uncommon, while you should avoid anyone who offers to help you at an ATM. China operates a zero tolerance policy for drugs, which can include random drug testing of foreigners.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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