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Planning Your Trip

Located by the Pearl River, Guangzhou is known for its avant-garde architecture and 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 boasts a rich history and is renowned for its 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 where the Cantonese take their gastronomy very seriously. To savor Cantonese cuisine in an upscale setting, reserve a table at Lai Heen, the signature Cantonese restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou where Chef Gordon Guo reinterprets centuries-old recipes to craft innovative culinary creations to delight food connoisseurs. There are a few traditional garden-style restaurants still around like Panxi which was built in 1947 in a former Han Dynasty imperial garden, and continues to serve traditional dim sum selections in town.

Outdoor Excursions


You cannot claim to have truly been to Guangzhou without having visited Baiyun Mountain. Baiyun means “white cloud” in Mandarin and is so called because the peaks become 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, at 1,982 feet. 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 worth exploring, 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, with a comprehensive collection of over 160,000 artifacts, was upgraded in 2010 with an expanded assortment of historical treasures. Even if you are not able to procure tickets to a performance, it is certainly worth visiting the Guangzhou Opera House, a showcase of one of the city’s architectural feats designed by the late Zaha Hadid.

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.

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With over 2,000 years of history, Guangzhou is a mesmerizing blend of tradition and modernity. Discover authentic Cantonese cuisine and the locals’ way of life along the Pearl River while admiring the vibrant kaleidoscope of new architectural masterpieces in the city. The port city, which is also the capital city of Guangdong province and within close proximity to Hong Kong and Macau, has its own characteristics and urban sophistication.

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A long dining table set up next to a fountain at night

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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