While our Guangzhou trip was primarily meant for business, we made it a point to still enjoy and immerse ourselves in the culture that speaks much about our roots. Throughout our four-day visit in Guangzhou, China, we have managed to try a couple of local dishes, visit a popular tourist spot and go on a romantic dinner cruise on our last night.
So, while preparing your itinerary, try to find time to visit these places to make your visit more memorable and truly enjoyable:
1) Beijing Pedestrian Road
This pedestrian road is lined with retail outlets and food stalls for locals and tourists to enjoy. Think about it as a mall without a roof where you can enjoy dining and shopping al fresco style.
Also, this road has actually a long history dating back to the Sung Dynasty and probably even beyond. A proof of which can be seen in one portion where they have a glass display at the middle of the street that shows the actual road used back in 960-1279 AD. Seeing this gave me goosebumps, I can't believe that I am standing on top of another road that existed even way before my ancestors did.
Paul and I enjoyed shopping in the Beijing Pedestrian Road as each store has a bright signage that calls out price-off promotions that sells tops and shorts even for as low as CNY10 (approx. Php. 70)!
A word of caution though, check the item at least three times making sure it's free from oil stain, holes or missing buttons. Note that while these goods are really affordable, quality is not really their strongest point.
How to get there: Take the Metro Train and go down the Gong Yuan Qian station.
2) Yue Xiu Park
Admittedly, Guangzhou is not the cleanest city in the world. During our first day, Paul and I have noticed that the sky was cloudy and we immediately assumed that it might rain pretty soon. However, not a single drop of rain fell that night. The following day, it was a sunny windy day and again, the sky was pretty foggy. This time, we find this a bit odd. During the day, we realized that it is not fog that we see but smog. Yes, the biggest indicator that the city is very much polluted. I guess, a lot of locals have traded in their bicycles for cars or some just opted to take the taxi or bus instead.
On our third day in Guangzhou, we spent the rest of the afternoon in one of Guangzhou's scenic parks that has three artificial lakes, a historical building, lots of jogging paths, and a statue that has a beautiful story behind it.
Just like any park in Guangzhou, there's an entrance fee of CNY5 (approx. Php. 35). There are a lot of things to see and do inside the park but given the limited time we have available we went straight to our target destination: to see the Five-Ram Statue.
It was pretty a long walk towards the statue as we passed through a stagnant pond, made a stopover in front of a waterfall for some photo op, went through a recreational ground and climbed more than 50 steps to finally come face to face with this mythical statue. We did all this on foot! What a workout!
Finally, we saw the Five-Ram statue. Legend has it that back in the days, Guangzhou was a poor province of China and five fairies arrived on a ram bringing grains to the community. After giving their blessings, they left and the rams turned into stone.
Walking down from the statue, we stopped at the recreational ground and watched the senior citizens play a Chinese game. It's amazing how active they still all are.
The sun is starting to set which signals that we have to head back to the hotel, there are still a lot of attractions inside the park and hopefully we can go back and explore more of Yue Xiu Park.
How to get there: Take the Metro Train and go down the Yue Xiu Park station, from the exit, turn right and walk for 2 minutes until you see the entrance to the park.
3) Pearl River Dinner Cruise
We were told that no trip to Guangzhou will ever be complete without visiting the Pearl River. Eversince my first night, I was mesmerized with the beauty of the river as I view it from my hotel room. The river sparkles against the moonlight and during the day, it looks very calm and serene. It was our last night in Guangzhou and instead of going on another shopping spree, we took the more relaxing route which is to have a romantic dinner cruise on board the Pearl River boat.
We got to the ferry port at 630PM and availed of the set dinner cruise worth CNY 48 (approx. Php. 360 / $7). The moment we boarded the ferry boat, we were immediately served with our dinner packed in a styrofoam box and a steaming cup of tea. Sadly, the food fell way below our expectations but the view from the river made up for it. We went around for an hour as the boat slowly cruised up and down the river. We enjoyed the lighted skycrapers and the cool night wind. It was truly romantic and I'm glad to have Paul there with me.
How to get there: Take the Metro Train and go down the Haizhu Square station and walk for 15 minutes along the riverbank until you reach the Ferry port.
There are still a lot of attractions in Guangzhou. On our next visit, I plan to see Dr. Sun Yet Sen's Memorial Hall, Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street and more historial sites.
Up next: What to eat in Guangzhou?
Guangzhou, China 101
Guangzhou, China 101: Where to stay?