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Pearl River Delta Travel Guide

  • Photo: ssguy / Shutterstock

Plan Your Pearl River Delta Vacation

Why visit the Pearl River Delta? History enthusiasts head to Guangzhou, Guangdong Province's ancient capital and the historic center of Cantonese culture. Gourmands flock to both Guangzhou and Shenzhen to indulge in some of the best examples of contemporary Chinese cuisine. Culture vultures take in the many temples, shrines, and museums scattered throughout the region. A visit to the Pearl River

Delta will quickly dismiss any lingering notions that China is still a nation bound by the tenets of Marx and Mao.

The hard-working Pearl River Delta is one of China's fastest-growing and most affluent regions. With a GDP that outranks that of Saudi Arabia, Guangdong Province has been the industrial engine powering China's meteoric economic rise. It's also among China's most polluted regions, and that's saying a lot. From the southern suburbs of Guangzhou city to the northern edge of Shenzhen, industry stretches in all directions. Tens of thousands of factories churn out the lion's share of the world's consumer products. This hyper-industry has polluted the entire area's soil, water, and air so badly that in Hong Kong (on the region's southern tip) pollution is an overriding public concern.

But much has changed in recent years as municipal governments struggle to upgrade the quality of life for residents and visitors. Pollution levels are slowly improving as some factories are being shuttered or moved inland. Guangzhou's clean and efficient subway system has been expanded. In Shenzhen the subway system doubled in size at the end of 2011, and several new lines were under construction in 2013.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Feel the buzz This region is the engine driving China's economic boom, and whether you're in older Guangzhou or the "instant city" of neon-lit Shenzhen you're sure to feel the buzz of a communist nation on a capitalist joyride.
  2. Explore the ancient Though thoroughly modern, the Pearl River Delta has not lost touch with its ancient roots. From the temples of Guangzhou to the Ming Dynasty walled city of Dapeng in Shenzhen, this is a journey through the centuries.
  3. Soak up some colonial splendor Guangzhou's architecture dates back to the 19th century, when European merchants amassed fortunes in the opium trade, and the buildings from which they once plied their trade still stand on Shamian Island.
  4. Culinary treats You can sample a rich variety of foods in the Pearl River Delta from classic Cantonese fare such as dim sum and wonton noodles to seafood fresh from the neighboring South China Sea.

When To Go

When to Go

The best time to go is spring and autumn, when temperatures and humidity are much lower than in the summer, but this is complicated by a few...

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