Pearl River Delta

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Pearl River Delta - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Dafen Oil Painting Village

    Longgang District

    If you're interested in watching art in the making, spend an afternoon at the Dafen Oil Painting Village, a small town 20 minutes by taxi from Luohu, which employs thousands of artists painting everything from originals to copies of classics. Where do all those oil paintings you find in motels come from? Visit Dafen and you'll know. It's open most days from about 10 am to 8 pm.

    Dafen Youhua Jie, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518129, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Daily 10–8
  • 2. Five Celestials Shrine


    According to local legend, a quintet of gods in the form of goats blessed the city with rice and bountiful harvest. This temple was built to celebrate the origin of Guangzhou's name, which means "City of Goats." Bring your passport to gain admission.

    Huifu Xi Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510000, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Tues.–Fri. 9–5; weekends 8:30–5:30
  • 3. Museum of the Tomb of the Nanyue King


    In 1983, bulldozers clearing ground for the China Hotel uncovered the intact tomb of Emperor Wen, who ruled Nanyue (southern China) from 137 to 122 BC. The tomb was restored and its treasures placed in the adjoining Nanyue Museum. The tomb contained the skeletons of the king and 15 courtiers—guards, cooks, concubines, and a musician—who were buried alive to attend him in death. Also buried were more than a thousand funerary objects, clearly designed to show off the accomplishments of the southern empire. You can walk through the remarkably compact tomb, which is built of stone slabs and located at the back of the museum up the stairs.

    867 Jiefang Bei Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510040, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y12, Daily 9–5:30; last admission 4:45
  • 4. Shamian Island

    Shamian Island

    More than a century ago, the Mandarins of Guangzhou designated a 1-km-long sandbank outside the city walls in the Pearl River as an enclave for foreign merchants. The foreigners had previously lived and done business in a row of houses known as the Thirteen Factories, near the present Shamian, but local resentment after the Opium Wars—sometimes leading to murderous attacks—made it prudent to confine them to a protected area, which was linked to the city by two bridges that were closed at 10 every night. The island soon became a bustling township, as trading companies from Britain, the United States, France, Holland, Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Japan built stone mansions along the waterfront. With spacious gardens and private wharves, these served as homes, offices, and warehouses. There were churches for Catholics and Protestants, banks, a yacht club, football grounds, a cricket field, and the Victory hotel. Shamian became a fighting ground during the anti-imperialist Shakee massacre in 1925, but survived until the 1949 Revolution, when its mansions became government offices or apartment houses and the churches were turned into factories. In recent years, the island has resumed much of its old character. Many colonial buildings have been restored, and churches like Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church have been beautifully renovated and reopened to worshippers. Especially worth visiting is a park with shady walks and benches that has been created in the center of the island, where local residents come to chat with friends, walk around with their caged birds, or practice tai chi.

    Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  • 5. Baiyun Mountain

    Also known as White Cloud Mountain, Baiyun Mountain gets its name from the halo of clouds that, in the days before Guangzhou was shrouded in heavy pollution, appeared around the peak following a rainstorm. The mountain is part of a 28-square-km (11-square-mile) resort area, and consists of seven parks and scenic areas, about 30 peaks, and myriad gullies. Santailing Park is home to the enormous Yuntai Garden, of interest to anybody with a thing for botany. Fei'eling Park has a nice sculpture garden, and Luhu Park is home to Jinye Pond, as pure and azure a body of water as you're likely to find within 100 miles. All in all, a trip to Baiyun Mountain is a good way to get out of the city center—maybe for a day of hiking—without traveling too far. The cable car is an excellent way to get an expansive view of the cityscape and take photos with the backdrop of Guangzhou's skyline.

    Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y5, Daily 9–5
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  • 6. Baomo Garden

    Panyu District

    Much more than your everyday nursery, Baomo Garden stretches across 25 acres (10 hectares) and dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), though it was reconstructed in the late 1950s after being destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. The garden is home to more than 30 picturesque stone archways, several carp-filled lakes, and even a rose garden, but it's also known for its galleries, particularly the Treasure Hall, with its impressive collection of preserved pottery, bronze, and jade from ancient China. About an hour away from central Guangzhou by bus, or 40 minutes by taxi, Baomo Garden is a nice break from the downtown crowds. To get here, take a direct bus from the Passenger Transport Station: there are six buses a day, leaving at 8 am, 9:10 am, 10:20 am, 11:50 am, 2:20 pm, and 3:40 pm. No need to pack a lunch, several restaurants and teahouses on the grounds serve authentic Panyu and Cantonese cuisine.

    Zini Village, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y30, Daily 8–6
  • 7. Canton Tower

    Haizhu District

    Guangzhou's skyline wouldn't be as colorful without the Canton Tower, one of the world's tallest TV towers. The 112-story building outstretches even Toronto's CN Tower. Resembling a thin champagne bottle, the building turns into a kaleidoscope of color at night. There are excellent photo opportunities on the observation decks and a section of transparent floors where you can get an eagle's view of the cityscape. The tower features the world's tallest Bubble Tram, which has 16 transparent passenger cars. One revolution takes about 20 minutes. There are also two revolving restaurants and a coffee shop.

    222 Yuejiang Xi Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510220, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y150–Y488, Daily 9 am–11 pm
  • 8. Chen Clan Academy


    The Chen family is one of the Pearl River Delta's oldest clans. In the late 19th century, local members who had become rich merchants decided to build a memorial temple. They invited contributions from the Chens—and kindred Chans—who had emigrated overseas. Money flowed in from 72 countries, and no expense was spared. One of the temple's highlights is a huge ridgepole frieze. It stretches 90 feet along the main roof and depicts scenes from the epic Romance of Three Kingdoms, with thousands of figures against a backdrop of ornate houses, monumental gates, and lush scenery. Elsewhere in the huge compound of pavilions and courtyards are friezes of delicately carved stone and wood, ceramic sculptures, fine iron castings, and a dazzling altar covered with gold leaf. The temple also houses a folk art museum and a shop that sells Chinese handicrafts.

    7 Zhongshan Qi Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510175, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y15, Daily 8:30–5:20
  • 9. Chimelong Paradise

    Panyu District

    One of the most popular amusement parks in Guangzhou, Chimelong Paradise includes one of the country's largest water parks, more than 70 rides, a 4-D theater, a safari area with 10 giant pandas, and a massive crocodile park. There's also a circus. The place is popular with locals, so avoid it during weekends and public holidays when it is absolutely packed.

    Yingbian Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 511430, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y200, Weekdays 9:30–6; weekends 9:30–9
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  • 10. CITIC Plaza

    To get a sense of how fast Guangzhou is growing, head to the Tianhe District. Among the buildings is the 391-meter (1,283-foot) CITIC Plaza, one of the tallest buildings in the world. It houses upscale shops, a variety of restaurants, and the offices of many Fortune 500 companies.

    233 Tianhe Bei Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510613, China
  • 11. Dapeng Fortress

    Longgang District

    Like the rapidly disappearing hutong neighborhoods of Beijing, Dapeng Fortress in the Longgang district is a living museum. The Old Town contains homes, temples, shops, and courtyards that look pretty much the way they did when they were built over the course of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. For the most part, the residences are occupied, the shops are doing business, and the temples are active houses of worship. Dapeng's ancient city is surrounded by an old stone wall, and entered through a series of gates.

    Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518120, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y20, Daily 8:30–6
  • 12. Guangdong Museum of Art

    Er Sha Island

    A trove of contemporary and classic collections, Guangdong Museum of Art regularly hosts the works of painters, sculptors, and other artists from around China and the world. There are more than 60 exhibitions a year, showcasing works from artists such as Henry Moore, one of the most celebrated English sculptors of the 20th century, and Chen Ping, who creates textured paintings inspired by politics and human suffering. The museum, which has a dozen exhibition halls and a sculpture garden, is located on Er Sha Island, next to the Xinghai Concert Hall.

    38 Yanyu Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510105, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Tues.–Sun. 9–5
  • 13. Guangxiao Temple


    This is the oldest and most charming Buddhist temple in Guangzhou. The gilded wooden laughing Buddha at the entrance heralds the temple's welcoming atmosphere. A huge bronze incense burner stands in the main courtyard. Beyond the main hall, noted for its ceiling of red-lacquer timber, is another courtyard with several treasures, among them a small brick pagoda said to contain the tonsure hair of Hui-neng (the sixth patriarch of Chan Buddhism), and a couple of iron pagodas that are the oldest of their kind in China. Above them spread the leafy branches of plum trees and a banyan tree called Buddha's Tree, so named because it is said Hui-neng became enlightened in its shade.

    109 Guangxiao Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510182, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y5, Daily 8–5
  • 14. Guangzhou East Railway Station


    Guangzhou East Railway Station is a popular final destination, especially for travelers from Hong Kong who take the train to Guangzhou. The station is sleek, efficient and includes a wide range of eateries from fast food to sit down restaurants. A perfect place to stock up on snacks at the 7-Eleven and other convenience stores before you hop on the train. The station, with its vast entrance hall, is worth a peak, even if you don't have a train to catch.

    Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510630, China
  • 15. Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruise


    One of the best ways to see Guangzhou is to take a nighttime Pearl River Delta cruise offered by the Zhujiang Yeyou Company. The 50- to 90-minute rides pass all of the city's major sites, including Shamian Island, Ersha Island, and the Canton Tower.

    Yangjiang Xi Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510030, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From Y38
  • 16. Hakka Folk Customs Museum and Enclosures

    Longgang District

    Hakka Folk Customs Museum and Enclosures is a large series of concentric circular homes built inside an exterior wall that basically turns the whole place into a large fort. Inside the enclosure are a large number of old Hakka residences, some of which are still filled with tools and furniture left over from the Qing Dynasty. While some restoration projects elsewhere might pretty things up to the point of making the site look unreal, the opposite is true here.

    1 Luoruihe Bei Jie, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518116, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y10, Daily 9–5
  • 17. He Xiangning Art Museum

    Nanshan District

    The museum itself has seen better days, but this musty old building is chock-full of excellent contemporary and classical art from all over China. Not only will you find works from young up-and-coming artists, but there are also impressive multimedia displays and sculptures.

    9013 Shennan Dadao, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518063, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Tues.–Sun. 10–5:30
  • 18. Huaisheng Mosque


    In the cosmopolitan era of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) a Muslim missionary named Abu Wangus, said to be an uncle of the prophet Mohammed, came to southern China. He converted many Chinese to Islam and built this mosque in AD 627, making it one of the oldest in the world. His tomb in the northern part of the city has been a place of pilgrimage for visiting Muslims, but the mosque is his best-known memorial. A high wall encloses the mosque, which is dominated by the smooth, white minaret, which rises to 36 meters (118 feet).

    56 Guangta Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510175, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Sat.–Thurs. 8:30–5, except Muslim holy days
  • 19. Mausoleum of the 72 Martyrs


    In a prelude to the successful revolution of 1911, a group of revolutionaries staged the Guangzhou armed uprising, only to be defeated and executed by the authorities. Of those killed, 72 were buried here. Their memorial, finished in 1921, incorporates a mixture of international symbols of freedom and democracy, including replicas of the Statue of Liberty.

    Xianlie Zhong Lu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510070, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y10, Daily 6 am–8:30 pm
  • 20. Minsk World

    Yantian District

    This is Shenzhen's most popular—and perhaps strangest—tourist attraction. It's pretty cheesy but young kids might get a kick out of it. Essentially, it's a decommissioned Soviet-era aircraft carrier that a group of business executives bought in the late 1990s. Parked in perpetuity on the top deck of the ship (which is as long as three football fields placed end to end, and gets wickedly hot in the summer) are several Soviet fighter planes and helicopters.

    Haijing Lu, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518081, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y130, Daily 9:30–7:30

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