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Planning Your Trip

Guangzhou, the third-largest city in China, is on the Pearl River and known for its avant-garde architecture and elements of Cantonese culture. Here’s what to pack for your trip.


Business Travel

The dress code for business-related affairs in China is conservative. This is not the place to experiment with flashy trends and bright patterns.

 

 

  • Men should bring simple suits in neutral and dark colors, along with elegant ties and a good pair of leather dress shoes.
  • Women may also wear well-tailored pantsuits or opt for a sophisticated knee-length dress paired with a fitted blazer.
  • Leave your highest heels at home (unless you plan on going out at night) and pack simple, closed-toe shoes that are of reasonable height. Opt for simple jewelry.
A tall building overlooks a river at night

Exploring the City

Whether you plan to take a stroll around Guangzhou’s many lush gardens, take a boat ride down the Pearl River, fill your suitcase with comfortable essentials.

 

  • You’ll spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring the various parts of the city. Be prepared with plenty of sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses and a hat or two.
  • While summers are hot and sticky, buildings will be strongly air-conditioned. Pack a sweater or shawl for chilly indoors (you’ll also need it to cover up in the temples).
  • Guangzhou has developed a buzzy nightlife scene in recent years, thanks to its growing population of younger people. Leave room for a nice cocktail dress, chic sandals, khakis and sharp button-down shirts.

Day Trips

You can spend a day hiking on the beautiful Baiyun Mountain or take your kids to the Xiangjiang Safari Park, home to white tigers, sea lions and polar bears.  

 

  • Pack a selection of workout clothes and sneakers for nature outings.
  • A lightweight backpack or tote is great for carrying necessities (water bottle, sunscreen, extra layers). Opt for ones with a zipper to deter petty thieves.
  • Guangzhou and its surrounding areas can be incredibly scenic. Bring a good camera to capture the highlights.
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Don’t Forget:

Weather here is unpredictable, especially during summer. A compact, folding umbrella and light waterproof jacket are smart additions.  


As the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, Guangzhou is rich with history and authentic food. It’s also a major port city, attracting millions of visitors a year, which makes it a vibrant and thriving modern metropolis. Below are some suggestions to get a taste of Guangzhou’s old and new.

Dining Reservations

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What Westerners consider Chinese food today has its origins in this city. And the people here are serious about their food — there are more restaurants in Guangzhou per capita than anywhere else in China. For Cantonese cuisine in an upscale setting, book a table at The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou’s award-winning Lai Heen, where Chef Gordon Guo takes centuries-old recipes and reimagines them into unique, contemporary creations. There are a few old-fashioned garden-style restaurants still around, and the best is Panxi, which was built in 1947 on a former Han Dynasty imperial garden and has one of the finest traditional dim sum selections in town.

Outdoor Excursions


You can’t come to this city and not explore Baiyun Mountain. Baiyun means “white cloud” in Mandarin and is so called because the peaks get shrouded in a cinematic mist after a rain. If you’re traveling with kids, there are five theme parks to keep them entertained. Along with the roller coaster-filled Chimelong Paradise and the water rides of the Water Park, there is a crocodile park, a circus and a safari with 10,000 species of animals, from white tigers to koalas.

Tours

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Enjoy stunning panoramic views from the observation deck of Guangzhou’s anchoring landmark, Canton Tower, which, at 1,982 feet, is among the tallest towers in the world. For a little history, go to the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, an ancient Buddhist temple complex built in 510. Or marvel at the colorfully carved roofs of the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, built as an academic temple during the Qing Dynasty in 1894. Guangzhou has several wonderful parks that demand a visit, like the popular Yuexiu. And don’t miss a trip to Shamian Island, a former British and French concession where the charming architecture will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Europe.   

Museum Tickets & Cultural Sights

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Guangdong Museum, a comprehensive history museum with a collection of over 160,000 artifacts, had been around since 1959 but was replaced in 2010 by the New Guangdong Museum, now the largest in the city, with an expanded assortment of historical treasures, some on view for the first time. And even if you don’t have tickets to an opera, it’s worth paying a visit to the Guangzhou Opera House, one of the city’s many architectural feats, which was designed by the legendary Zaha Hadid.

Visiting the third-largest city in China is a unique proposition. The past of the bustling port city sits side by side with dazzling new architecture. Traditional Cantonese cuisine and dim sum occupy a special place in Guangzhou, but you can also find the best of almost any international cuisine, thanks to its large expat community and place in international business. Whether you spend your time cruising on the Pearl River, visiting museums or eating local delicacies, prepare to have your horizons broadened in Guangzhou.


24 Hours In

With over 2,000 years of history, Guangzhou is a mesmerizing blend of the old and new in China. Discover true Cantonese cuisine and traditional life along the Pearl River while also taking in an obvious population boom, which brings explosive new building growth. The port city is the biggest population-wise in the province of Guangdong, making it the third-largest city in China, and its proximity to Hong Kong and Macau ensures its urban sophistication.  

 

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Culinary Tour

Guangzhou is the beating heart of the Cantonese cuisine, with all the traditional variations intact in the city. But just as the old buildings sit next to skyscrapers, the new has boldly announced itself in this city of 14 million people. As you wander the city and its distinct neighborhoods defined by the Pearl River and other waterways, you might find yourself discovering and tasting more than you expected.

 

 

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