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What to Do in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is an interesting city; it has a big metropolis vibe but despite this, it reminded me of a 'province'. There are a couple of things you can do while exploring this part of China.

Visit Shamian Island

Shamian Island played an important role in the city's history. During the Qing and Song  Dynasties, the island was vital to Guangzhou's foreign trade. It later became a French and British concession during the 1800s, hence the many European-style buildings and landmarks in the area. Walking around will take you back in time. It's a nice place to wander in because of the different structures and the story behind them. AND the best thing about it is it's free!

Drop By the Church

I know China to be an atheistic or primarily Buddhist society, so it pleasantly surprised me to see a church in one of the alleys and markets. The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Guangzhou is more than a hundred years old. It is one of the grandest churches in the country and is made of granite.

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou is one of the biggest halls in honor of Sun Yat-sen in the world. It has a beautiful garden and distinct structures. A walk inside will provide visitors with information about the man, his life and his significant contributions.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Combination Ticket: CNY 25

Visit Some of the Parks

The urban sprawl and the modernization (and problems) that come with it can be tiring, take a break from the concrete jungle by going to one of the many parks in the city. This is one thing I've noticed while visiting different Chinese cities all over the country; they make it a point to have a Chinese-style garden/s in them. These are green, breathing spaces for those who want to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.

Go Temple Hopping

You'll never run out of temples to see and visit while exploring Guangzhou, there's just so many of them, differing in size and importance. Two of the temples I visited were the Big Buddha Temple and the Temple of Six Banyan Trees. Inside both, you'll see statues of Buddha in various poses and facial expressions, pagodas and detailed architecture, designs and symbols depicting the teachings of Buddhism.

Entrance Fee: CNY 5 (for the Temple of Six Banyan Trees)
*Other temples are free

Go on a Food Trip

Guangzhou is a good place to eat distinctly Cantonese food; there are many hole-in-the-wall restaurants and big chains to crave your hunger for all types of noodles and Chinese dishes. Some local restaurants sell big bowls of noodles for just around CNY 10-15, which isn't a bad deal!

The Canton Tower

The Canton Tower rises over the city up to a height of 600 meters, and is Guangzhou's primary landmark. A couple of themed restaurants, entertainment items and activities, platforms and rides are inside the structure. It is probably the best place to get a bird's eye view of the city below. Visit at night to see the tower and the buildings surrounding it light up the sky.

Entrance Fee: CNY 150

450 Lookout Fee: CNY 90
Sky Drop Fee: CNY 180
Bubble Tram Fee: CNY 180
488 Lookout Fee: CNY 280
*There are also combination tickets for the platforms and rides mentioned above. There are also discounts for children of a certain height and seniors over 60 years old.

The Mix of Old and New

Like many other developed (and continuously developing) Asian cities, I saw an eclectic mix of old and new while exploring Guangzhou. New skyscrapers and businesses are in the same neighborhood as hole-in-the-wall restaurants, decades or even centuries old structures. This is an interesting mix when I look back on it. The alleys you enter and leave tell their own stories and history.

These are only some of the things you can do while in the vibrant city of Guangzhou. There are more experiences and places waiting to be discovered.

Suggested Forward Destinations

Budget and Expenses

Here's a breakdown of my budget during my stay:

*Everything's in Chinese Yuan

68 - Transportation
240 - 4 nights in Lazy Gaga Hostel
227.5 - Food and drinks
5 - Entrance fee for Temple of Six Banyan Trees
10 - Entrance fee for Sun Yat Sen Memorial
267.5 - Train ticket from Guiyang to Guangzhou   
818 - Total

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