Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, is known to many in the West as Canton (though the name technically refers to its province). Guangzhou is located in southern China in the middle of Guangdong Province, north of the Pearl River Delta. The city also lies close to the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Macau. With year-round flowers and evergreen plants, Guangzhou has been affectionately called the “Flower City” since ancient times.
Guangzhou is historically both the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road and the center of Lingnan Culture. The Lingnan paintings, architectures, gardens, Cantonese opera, music, food and language collectively demonstrate the style of Lingnan culture. Being the foreland of China’s reform and opening to the outside world, Guangzhou is one of China’s richest and most progressive cities.
Best Time to Visit Guangzhou
The best time to visit Guangzhou is in spring and autumn, especially in autumn (from late September to early December) when the weather is comfortable with cool winds. Unless you have friends in the hotel industry, try not to visit Guangzhou during the biannual China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) held in spring and autumn respectively, when hotel prices double or triple!
Spring (March to mid-May): Wet and cool. A thin coat or a woolen sweater will do. The average spring temperature is 23 degrees centigrade.
Summer (late May to mid-September): Temperature may go as high as 33 degrees centigrade and humidity to 90 percent. Umbrella is suggested to be carried.
Autumn (late September to early December): It is cool. Thin overcoat is needed sometimes. The average autumn temperature is 23 degrees centigrade.
Winter (mid-December to late February): It is somewhat cold. Sometimes you need to ware overcoats. But winter in Guangzhou lasts for only a short period. In January, when it is snowy and cold in northern China, Guangzhou seems to be in spring with flowers everywhere. The average winter temperature is 17 degrees centigrade.
Eating in Guangzhou
Feeling peckish? Guangzhou has a gastronomic culture and legendary cuisine, which won’t let you leave hungry. Cantonese cuisine is well-known for its blend of color, fragrance, taste and presentation, and it is ranked among the top four in the country. Chinese food served in Western countries is usually Cantonese food. Dim sum, or yum cha, is the heart of Cantonese cuisine. You can sample world-renowned dim sum prepared at its best.
In terms of language, Cantonese is very different from Mandarin. You may be puzzled when you hear local residents speaking Cantonese. A frequently used phrase in Guangzhou is “um gai”, which means “thank you” or “excuse me”. You can learn just a few of these expressions, which will be helpful when you are in Guangzhou. For example, when you need someone to help you do something, you can say “da rao sai”. You will surprise the locals!
72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy
Guangzhou started offering international transit passengers 72-hour stays from Aug. 1, 2013. If you hold confirmed onward ticket and visa for a third country when transiting through Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, you are permitted to stay in Guangdong without a Chinese visa for a maximum of 72 hours. And you must inform the crews of the airlines to Guangzhou beforehand.
The Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is located in the northern part of Guangzhou at the juncture of Renhe Town in Baiyun District and Xinhua Town in Huadu District. It’s about 28 kilometers from the center of Guangzhou as the crow flies. The taxi pick-up point is offered at the outside of Gate A5 in Arrival Area. The metro is located on the Basement 1 in the main building of the Terminal.
Getting Around the City
Getting around central Guangzhou is easy enough using the subway around downtown, and public buses reach every corner of the Guangzhou metro area. Besides, taxis are always a convenient solution. Also you can leave the city for other Pearl River Delta locations via a short boat or train, and Hong Kong is less than two hours away.
Safety and Precautions
Most cities in China are quite safe, including Guangzhou. But it will be better to alert outside, especially in those crowded places.