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Overview

China's third largest city (population 14 million), Guangzhou shares the prosperous Pearl River Delta with Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau. Known to the West since colonial days as Canton, modern Guangzhou is all about business, trade and manufacturing, but there are some glittering attractions. Charming little Shamian Island preserves an architectural record of the British and French colonial occupation that began in earnest here in 1859. Across from Shamian is the Chinese Medicine Market and Qingping Market, notorious for its exotic animals and endangered edibles. More old houses and antique shops line Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street in the ...

China's third largest city (population 14 million), Guangzhou shares the prosperous Pearl River Delta with Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau. Known to the West since colonial days as Canton, modern Guangzhou is all about business, trade and manufacturing, but there are some glittering attractions. Charming little Shamian Island preserves an architectural record of the British and French colonial occupation that began in earnest here in 1859. Across from Shamian is the Chinese Medicine Market and Qingping Market, notorious for its exotic animals and endangered edibles. More old houses and antique shops line Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street in the Xiguan historic district, a pretty place to stroll at night, with lower prices than those on upscale Beijing Lu Pedestrian Street. Guangzhou has a street for every taste and season. There's a Flower Street, a Jade Street, a Toy Street, a Bridal Street, even a Household Merchandise Street. Yuexiu Park, China's largest urban park, has a fine city museum housed in a Ming Dynasty tower. Next door to the park is the Nanyue Royal Tomb Museum, packed with the treasures of Han Dynasty potentate Zhao Mo (137-122 BC), including chariots, musical instruments and an exquisite 2,291-piece silk-jade gown. Although Guangzhou personifies urban sprawl, befitting its title as the "Los Angeles of China," it also offers refinements from bygone days, including traditional teahouses, Pearl River cruises, and fine Cantonese cuisine, which originated here.

J.D. Brown
About the Expert

J.D. Brown is a contributor to Frommer's China and Frommer's Beijing, coauthor of Frommer's China: The 50 Most Memorable Trips, Berlitz Shanghai, Berlitz Singapore, and other books.

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J.D. Brown for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Heat and humidity are very high all summer, and the typhoon season stretches from June to October. Late spring and early October are more pleasant and winter is dry and mild. Hotel rooms are hard to find during the Canton Fair in the third and fourth weeks of April and October.