How to Plan a Guangzhou Tour
Guangzhou or Canton, the thriving world metropolis lying in Guangdong Province in Southern China, is attractive to a growing amount of people to come by and see its marvelous change as the south gate of China to the world since the Reform and Opening-up Policy in 1978. Its special Cantonese food, Lingnan culture and history, military and political changes, unique architectures, language, etc. are the best labels to draw your interests to plan a trip here, no matter it is your fresh first time or another interesting next time! And our ultimate guide article will let you get the must know information about when to go, how to get there & around, what to see & do, how many days to stay there, where to stay, what to prepare and so on to help you plan your Guangzhou trip in 2020/2021!
When Is the Best Time to Visit Guangzhou?
Guangzhou belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate zone and has warm and humid weather. It is suitable to visit all year round and the best traveling time is in spring and autumn seasons, usually during March to early May and September to December.
September - December: this period during the autumn and early winter is the best popular season to visit Guangzhou due to the lots of sunny days and comfortable temperature around 24℃, which is really suitable for outdoor activities and visiting. Sometimes in September, the temperature is still a little high to make you feel hot. As the tourist peak season, many tourists come to Guangzhou, and flight tickets as well accommodation are usually a little higher, especially on the Canton Fair during middle October to early November. However, many shopping malls and markets offer very good discount for your taking of good commodities.
January - February: it is the winter of Guangzhou with the lowest average temperature of a year at around 14℃. It rains not frequently, but still cold with humid. Flight and train tickets are sold very early as the traditional Spring Festival vacation. Round trip tickets are highly suggested to book very early if you are planning to visit Guangzhou during those two months.
March - May: Guangzhou experiences its spring in those three months usually. Temperature rise up to about 20℃ to offer warm feeling, which is suitable for outdoor visits. However, it usually becomes a little hot from middle May. Hotel discounts are offered to attract guests, but vacancies are limited for Canton Fair during middle April to early May. It is good to visit tourist sites with fewer crowds if you do not mind the light rains.
June - August: the three months belongs to the summer season of Guangzhou, with high temperature up to around 30℃, sometimes even up to 38℃. It rains cats and dogs sometimes suddenly, but changes to sunny not after long. Summer is also the typhoon period of Guangzhou, but it occurs not very frequently. However, as it will disappoint your trip once happened, visitors are highly advised to check the real-time temperature before leaving for Guangzhou. Furthermore, student visitors gather there for summer vacation, and rates for flights and hotels usually rise during those months.
Canton Fair is usually held twice a year, from middle April to early May and middle October to early November, when a lot of people rush to Guangzhou for the exhibition and conference, so regular travelers are not recommended to visit Guangzhou during those time in order to avoid the crowds and higher prices of flight/train tickets and room rates.
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Shamian Island in Summer
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Canton Tower in A Sunny Day
How to Get to & Around Guangzhou?
Being one of the busiest gateway and transportation cities in China, Guangzhou is super easy to access from any place of the world. Visitors can get there by flight, train, distance coach, and ferry and travel around by local metro, bus, taxi, bike, private car, etc.
Get to Guangzhou
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is linked by international flights with international destinations includes Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Brisbane, Busan, Cairo, Doha, Dubai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Irkutsk, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Macau, Melbourne, Moscow, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Nairobi, Paris, Perth, Phuket Island, San Francisco, Sabah, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Toronto, Tokyo and Vancouver. Visitors from Chicago, Frankfurt, Kuwait and Mauritius can also get to Guangzhou by flight with a middle transfer.
Besides, visitors can also fly to Guangzhou from many domestic cities including Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guilin, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, Zhangjiajie, Hangzhou, Huangshan, Shenyang, Luoyang, Nanjing, Qingdao, Xiamen, Xining, Sanya, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Harbin, Dalian, Tianjin, Jinan, Guiyang, Wuhan, Changsha, Hohhot, Nanning, Taiyuan, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Yichang, etc.
By Bullet Train:
Three of all the seven railway stations in Guangzhou are used for high speed train and normal trains to, via and from Guangzhou, which are Guangzhou Station, Guangzhou South Station and Guangzhou East Station. Travelers can get to this city by bullet trains from many places in China, such as Beijing (8-10 hours), Shanghai (7-8.5 hours), Hong Kong (1 hour), Shenzhen (0.5 hour), Guilin (2.5-3 hours), Chengdu (9-10 hours), Chongqing (7-8 hours), Xian (7.5-9 hours), Guiyang (4-5.5 hours), Lanzhou, Changsha, Wuhan, etc. Besides, through trains from Hong Kong to Guangzhou are available at Guangzhou East Station.
Hong Kong to Guangzhou Bullet Train
Check transportation between Guangzhou and some hot domestic destinations:
Get Around Guangzhou
Guangzhou has very good metro system connecting the city center, train station, airport, coach station, ferry port, main attractions and many places with short transfer and low costs. Local buses and public bikes are also available to get to anywhere you want in this city. Public taxies are easy to hail to shortcut your time on the way. Besides, our private transfer service is also recommended for a comfortable, fast and worry-free transfer from your hotel to where you want to go.
Learn More about How to Get to & Around Guangzhou >>
Guangzhou Metro Line 9
What to See in Guangzhou?
Although there is no magnificent royal architectures from thousands of years ago, like those in Beijing and Xian, nor is appealing peculiar natural landscapes and formations in wonderland like Guilin, Zhangjiajie, etc. Guangzhou will enrich your days there to enjoy its unique highlights. Go to Chen Clan Ancestral Hall to admire the exquisite decoration on the roofs and learn about the historical story of the big family of Chen. Yuexiu Park is a good site to get close to local citizen’s life and know what Guangzhou is called “City of Goat”. The nearby Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall presents the legendary life of this great father of the nation. Also, the exotic Shamian Island preserves a large array of colonial architectures to tell you all that happened to Guangzhou during the 18th century after the Opium War. Take leisure but holy visits to the Temple of Six Banyan Trees and Guangxiao Temple is really a cool thing to do as locals and feel the influence of Buddhism in Guangdong area. You are highly recommended to visit the Museum of the Mausoleum of Nanyue King to learn the history of the whole Lingnan area 2,000 years ago with the precious historical relics and materials.
Besides the top places to seek the old history of Guangzhou, you are also suggested to appreciate the iconic Canton Tower and Zhujiang New Town with the skylines of this world metropolitan city. Guangdong Museum and Guangzhou Opera House are changing gradually popular among visitors here. Furthermore, you are not going to miss the famous Guangzhou Chimelong Park to have great fun with those activities, shows and close up with animal friends if you travel Guangzhou with your kids.
Furthermore, many people also have fun and meaningful time at Kaiping Diaolou & Villages in Jiangmen to appreciate the world cultural heritage combing the features of ancient Greek, ancient Roman and Islamic architectures.
Chen Clan Ancestral Hall
Light Show of Canton Tower
What to Do at Night in Guangzhou?
Joy never ends at night in Guangzhou, but will be put into higher with a lot of wonderful experiences.
● Take a night cruise along Pearl River: marvel at the splendid night view of this large and prosperous modern city on the leisure cruise during 70 minutes. The fabulous Canton Tower in colorful lights is not to be missed during your cruise.
● Ascend to top of Canton Tower to Have the City’s night panorama: apart from admire the tower on the land, why not take the elevator up to the highest floor of 488 meters high? There you can catch the full view of Guangzhou at night and the stunning lights and neon of the Zhujiang New Town.
● Leisurely walk or do shopping along Beijing Road / Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Streets: take a leisure walk along the historical shopping streets lined with many shops, restaurants, etc. to feel local shopping life style and admire the typical streets with archery.
● Watch Chimelong International Circus Performance: enjoy the impressive performance with acrobatics, motorbike riding, etc. of the excellent performers from throughout North and South America, Russia and China.
● Appreciate Classic Cantonese Opera: admire the famous and classic Cantonese Opera to deeper understand the special language and popular traditional form of art in China.
● Have a Sip at Local Bar Street: after a full day visiting the sites in Guangzhou, enjoy some simple entertaining night moments to have a sip at the famous bar streets. Relaxing with the soft music or getting more excitement with the beat with your partners is another great way to feel the night pulse of Guangzhou.
Learn More about Top Things to Do in Guangzhou at Night >>
Pearl River Night Cruise
Guangzhou Xingsheng Road Bar Street
Where to Stay in Guangzhou?
Guangzhou as a large and prosperous modern city offers a rich array of accommodations of various levels at different areas within its city area. Travelers can select your ideal place to stay very easily according to your different needs.
● Tianhe District: the most prosperous area to witness modern Guangzhou with many skyscrapers, grand shopping malls and high class restaurants. Night view of Zhujiang New Town is handy if staying there. Room rates are comparatively higher.
● Yuexiu District: the original old city of Guangzhou where preserves a lot of tourist attractions including Yuexiu Park, Temple of Six Banyan Trees, Museum of Nanyue King Mausoleum. Many reputed local restaurants with Cantonese food are dotted there.
● Liwan District: traditional and quiet old city place to learn history, culture and architecture of Lingnan area. Besides the most famous Chen Clan Ancestral Hall and jubilant Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Streets, you can enjoy more accommodation options with good prices.
● Haizhu District and Pazhou Exhibition Area: the first choice for people coming for Canton Fair with short distance. A portion of international brand hotels are located around within this district. The iconic Canton Tower stands in the north part of this area.
● Baiyun Airport & Nearby: staying near the airport is most chosen for catching an early morning flight, and also spares some time to get fully relaxed if you land there after a tiring flying.
● Guangzhou Chimelong Tourist Area: extend your fun time with your family members with one night’s stay in or within the park, so more amazing night performances can be added to ignite your family trip!
Learn More about Where to Stay in Guangzhou >>
Accommodation at Tianhe District
Hotel at Liwan District
Do I Need a Visa for Guangzhou?
Guangdong Province has implemented the 144 hour visa free transit policy since May 1, 2019, so qualified visitors from the specified 53 countries holding a connecting ticket (usually flight ticket) to a third country/region with confirmed seat, date within 144 hours can enter Guangdong Province from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport or Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport and visit Guangzhou and the whole Guangdong Province no more than 6 days without applying for Chinese Visa. This policy allows visitors exit Guangdong Province only from the 32 valid ports in Guangdong, including airports, railway stations, highways and harbors.
32 Ports of Exit in Guangdong:
Air Ports (5): Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport, Meizhou Meixian Airport, Zhanjiang Airport.
Railway Ports (4): Guangzhou East Railway Station (Tianhe Port), Dongguan Railway Station, Foshan Railway Station, Zhaoqing Railway Station.
Highway/Road Ports (8): Shenzhen Shatoujiao Port, Wenjindu Port, Huanggang Port, Luohu Port, Shenzhen Bay Port, Futian Port Zhuhai Gongbei Port, Zhuhai Hengqin Port.
Harbor/Sea Ports (15):
Guangzhou: Guangzhou Port, Nansha Port, LianHuaShan Port; Shenzhen: Shenzhen Shekou Ferry Terminal, Shenzhen Fuyong Port; Zhuhai: Zhuhai Jiuzhou Port, Wanzai Port, Wanshangang Port, Doumen Gang Port; Jiangmen: Jiangmen Port, Heshan Bay Port; Foshan: Foshan Gaoming Port, Rongqi Port; Dongguan: Dongguan Humen Port; Zhongshan: Zhongshan Port.
Learn More about 144 Hour Visa Free Transit of Guangdong >>
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What to Prepare Before Visiting Guangzhou?
Valid travel documents including passport, air tickets or train tickets (round trip), cash (RMB), clothes of the season, sun cream, hat, credit card, necessary digital device like mobile phone, camera, etc., are not to be missed to pack. Other things like umbrella or rain coat, etc. are highly recommended. Usually, we suggest you book the hotel 1 month in advance, and follow the weather 1 week before your setting off.
What to Eat in Guangzhou?
Guangzhou as the paradise for gourmet is a wonderland for pleasing your taste bud. Not to mention its classic and global famous Cantonese food featured in delicate, fresh, crispy, tender feel, including Cha Siu, sea food and so forth, you can meet countless delicious surprises along the streets. Tasting the morning tea is a must-do for visiting Guangzhou! Walking into a local restaurant, the hundreds of kinds of exquisite dim sum will make you feel difficult about which one(s) to choose. No worry! Select the most classic crystal shrimp dumpling, steamed buns stuffed with barbecued roast pork, or any other and go with some tea as locals and many other visitors do, your exploration of Cantonese food will be unforgettable! Furthermore, as a comprehensive big city, Guangzhou collects diverse types of cuisines from other places in China, including Sichuan Cuisine, Hunan Cuisine, etc. Moreover, numerous reputed western restaurants are your good places to go to taste western food, Japanese food, Southeast Asian food, vegetarian food, and other excellent dishes of new elements.
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How Many Days to Stay in Guangzhou?
For most travelers to Guangzhou, 2 to 3 days is usually enough to catch its top classic highlights, including the must see Chen Clan Ancestral Hall and Canton Tower and popular Museum of the Mausoleum of Nanyue King, Yuexiu Park, Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Shamian Island, Pearl River and Flower City Plaza, etc.
For Family travelers, we suggest you spend 1 to 2 more days to visit Chimelong Safari Park to enjoy the simple happiness.
And if you visit Guangzhou for Canton Fair, you can arrange 6 to 7 days in total to enjoy the big global event with a lot of new things on exhibition and admire top things to see in Guangzhou.
Travel Beyond Guangzhou
Most travelers to Guangzhou would plan their visit beyond to the nearby destinations to see more natural, cultural, historical and other highlights in southern China and taste more delicacies. To go not far, you can take a metro to enjoy 1 day in Foshan to learn more about Wing Chun Kung Fu and legendary stories of Bruce Lee, taste amazing food in Shunde for leisure 1 day, spend 1 day to watch the historical heritage of Kaiping Diaolou & Villages in Jiangmen. To extend further, you can take the a bullet train to Shenzhen to see the superfast rising up of this “Silicon Valley in China” for 2 to 3 days, to Hong Kong to see the world class metropolis containing the traditional southern Chinese charm and the opening western vigor for about 1 to 3 days, to Macau to feel the unique combing Chinese and Portuguese culture and enjoy the regional food for about 1 to 2 days… Also, you can travel further more to spend 3 to 5 days in Guilin to see the peculiar lovely Karst landform and idyllic countryside view, to enjoy 4 to 6 days in Guizhou to admire the amazing culture and costumes of ethnic minorities…
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Travel with China Discovery
To enjoy a relaxing and joyous trip experience, you can choose our private transfer service for traveling in and around Guangzhou. Our professional local guide and driver will escort you from your hotel, train station, airport to all attractions with comfortable private car with speed and convenience and let you catch the highlights of every site and this city, so you can get really relaxed on the way and focus on what you are interested. Please contact us directly to tell your needs if you are interested!
If you are considering a personal trip to Guangzhou and other destinations in China but do not want to do the detailed planning of every transportation, hotel and connection of each attraction, you can feel free to contact our travel expert for professional advices and recommendations, and we will help you sincerely to plan your Guangzhou tour or customize your own one according to your interests, needs and budget!
Top Attractions in & around Guangzhou
- Chen Clan Ancestral Hall
- Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
- Yuexiu Park
- Canton Tower
- Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
- Nanyue King Mausuleum
- Kaiping Diaulou and Villages
- All Popular Guangzhou Tours
- How to Plan a Guangzhou Tour
- How to Get to & Around Guangzhou
- From Guangzhou Airport to Downtown
- Guangzhou Maps
- Guangzhou Metro
- Flights to Guangzhou
- Things to Do in Guangzhou
- Featured Activities in Guangzhou
- Top 6 Things to Do at Night
- Canton Fair (Import & Export Fair)
- Guangzhou Weather & Seasons
- Luxury Hotels in Guangzhou
- Comfortable Hotels in Guangzhou
- Where to Stay in Guangzhou
- 10 Best Cantonese Restaurants
- Top Food to Eat in Guangzhou
- All Guangzhou Travel Guide
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