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  • Overview

    Guangzhou is one of China's largest cities, and shopping mecca tempered by ancient traditions and well-preserved historical districts. Capital of the Guangdong Province in southern China, and adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau, Guangzhou was formerly known in the West as Canton, with a rich heritage of Cantonese cuisine and tea production.

    Today, the city skyline is dominated by massive skyscrapers, which play host to vast business and trade enterprises. This is fitting considering it was an ancient trading hub, functioning as a major terminus on the maritime Silk Road. This only adds to its reputation as a great destination for both history lovers and businesspeople.

    Along with many cultural and historical attractions, Guangzhou has numerous shopping malls. Some of Guangzhou's best shopping areas include Shangxia Jiu Lu, Beijing Lu and Renmin Nan Lu. Cantonese food and opera are highlights of the Guangzhou social scene, and the city's history, stretching back to 214 BC, can be discovered at sites such as the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum and the Museum of the Western Han Dynasty.

    Travellers to Guangzhou will probably find the summer season a bit hot and rainy, but the winters, from December to March, are mild and sunny and a wonderful time to explore this fascinating city. There are a number of buses and taxis to transport tourists in the city, along with frequent flights and trains from Guangzhou to other major Chinese destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai. The city is well equipped to accommodate its more than 100 million annual visitors, and presents a great balance between historical intrigue and modern indulgence.

    Chimelong

    Chimelong Paradise is one of China's largest amusement parks and is recognised internationally as a quality establishment, with one of its rollercoasters even being featured in the Guinness Book of Records. The park has more than 100 rides and is guaranteed to delight thrill seekers and kids of all ages. The water world section boasts one of the largest water stunt shows in the world and is a famously enjoyable place to spend a sunny day.

    The Chimelong International Circus is said to be the world's largest permanent circus and the theatre can hold nearly 7,000 people. This show is wildly popular and it is recommended that visitors book their tickets in advance, especially if going over the weekend. The Chimelong International Circus includes award winning acts from all over the world and its set, lighting and costume design are sublime. Chimelong certainly tops the list when it comes to family attractions in Guangzhou.

    Address: Yingbin Road, Panyu District
    Chimelong Paradise Amusement Park Chimelong Paradise Amusement Park Stdragon04
    Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

    A must-see attraction in Guangzhou is the impressive Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. This ancient Buddhist structure was built around the year 537, and still attracts many local and foreign visitors. Aside from its three famous Buddha statues, one of the temple's best features is the magnificent statue of Kuan Yin, the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion and mercy. The nearby six-story Flower Pagoda is a beloved landmark, with its distinctive petal-like layers and rich collection of cultural treasures. The temple is surrounded by some lovely gardens that add to the impression of it being a centre of serenity in a bustling city.

    Address: 87 Liurong Road, Yuexiu
    Temple of the Six Banyan Trees Temple of the Six Banyan Trees Airunp
    South China Botanical Garden

    The South China Botanical Garden is stunningly beautiful and varied, and one of the largest in the country. It's divided into three areas: a nursery and arboretum, which house modern conservatories and over 30 specialised gardens; a research and residential zone; and Dinghushan Nature Reserve, which was the first national nature reserve in China. The South China Botanical Garden has a plethora of local flora for visitors to admire, including collections of magnolias, orchids and medicinal herbs, as well as bonsai, bamboo and endangered plants. Long Dong Magic Forest is a particularly special attraction, as it is one of the top eight scenic spots in Guangzhou. Non-botanical attractions at the gardens include the Science Education and Information Centre and Guangzhou's Oldest Village, which was rebuilt on Neolithic ruins.

    Address: 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe
    South China Botanical Garden South China Botanical Garden Zhangzhugang
    Baiyun Mountain

    Baiyun Shan Mountain is a popular tourist attraction just outside of Guangzhou, with the lofty vantage point providing phenomenal panoramas of Pu Valley, the Nengren Temple and the sprawling cityscape of Guangzhou. There are cable cars running for just over a mile (1.7km) between Yuntai Garden and Peak Park, the park itself consisting of 30 peaks and covering over 17 square miles (28 sq km). It's stunningly beautiful, with well-maintained gardens, numerous temples and a sculpture park, and time here is best spent walking along the winding paths up in the clear mountain air and relishing a break from the city. As with most monitored nature areas in China, visitors are sadly not really given the freedom to wander, hike or picnic beyond the paths.

    Baiyun Mountain Baiyun Mountain Popolon

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    English Pronounciation

    Guangzhou is part of the Pearl River Delta and has a humid subtropical climate. The city is situated just under the Tropic of Cancer and the generally pleasant weather is a big advantage for travellers. Guangzhou has fairly good weather year round with a generally warm and humid climate. As with most of China, the four seasons are distinct. Summers (June to September) are wet, humid, and hot, and winters (December to March) are mild and dry. Springs and autumns are temperate and very pleasant, but as spring is prone to rain, autumn (September to early December) is probably the best time to visit Guangzhou. The daily mean temperature range is from 57°F (14°C) in winter to 84°F (29°C) in summer. Guangzhou does experience the Asian monsoon and actually has a lengthy monsoon season from April to September. The heat and humidity can be a bit overwhelming in summer and good sun protection is required if you are travelling at this time.

    Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 17 miles (28km) from Guangzhou city centre.
    Time: Local time is GMT +8
    Getting to the city: There are 5 Airport Express lines and 6 Airport Non-stop lines to round-trip between airport and downtown. There are also local taxis that transport passengers to and from Guangzhou city.
    Car Rental: Rental cars are available at the airport, or in downtown Guangzhou.
    Airport Taxis: There are taxis available at Guangzhou Airport.
    Facilities: There is a post office, bank, business centre and information desk at the airport, as well as leather, cosmetics, and local speciality stores. The airport also has dining facilities and a wine and cigarette shop. Special facilities for the disabled are provided.
    Parking There is both covered and uncovered parking at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

    There is an efficient and expanding public transportation system that makes getting around in Guangzhou relatively simple. The Yang Cheng Tong card, available from convenience stores throughout the city, offers discounted travel using local buses, subways, and even some taxis. The subway covers much of downtown, and the stations are clearly marked with the Guangzhou Metro logo. The bus system has a more comprehensive service, but is slow if you travel long distances. Buses require exact change or a Yang Cheng Tong card.

    Taxis are a popular form of transport in Guangzhou for visitors, as they are cheap and reliable. Many drivers will not speak English, however, so it is best to have your destination written in Chinese to show them. Renting a car is possible, but driving in the downtown area can be confusing and possibly dangerous for those unfamiliar with Chinese as the road signs are not in English.

    China has a reputation for being bicycle-friendly, but Guangzhou does not have necessary amenities like bicycle lanes. You can rent a bicycle on Shamian Island, but for longer stays it is preferable to buy one, as rentals are often in bad repair. It is also possible to explore some areas of the city on foot, but the various districts are far apart.

    Being a thriving metropolis and the third largest city in China, it comes as no surprise that Guangzhou is filled with a sites that captivate all who visit it, including historic religious structures, an array of interesting museums, and some beautiful parks and gardens. The ChimeLong Group offers exciting theme parks set up for visitors to enjoy with circuses and waterparks, while the Guangdong Provincial Museum provides a good overview of the region and its history. The Guangzhou City Art Museum is one of the best in China, with impressive exhibits of traditional Chinese calligraphy and paintings. Other favourites include the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum, situated in the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, and the Museum of the Western Han Dynasty, which includes the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King.

    Guangzhou has a unique tourist attraction in Shamian Island, a former colonial outpost. The European architecture and manicured lawns are dotted with shops and cafes, making it a relaxing refuge from the bustle of the city. The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is another popular Guangzhou attraction, an oasis of peace in the city.

    For those who like outdoor activities there is the South China Botanical Garden and the beautiful Baiyun Mountain. Another exciting attraction, especially for those travelling with children in Guangzhou, or who just particularly like animals, is the Chimelong Safari Park, where China's beloved Giant Pandas can be observed.

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