China Southern Airlines have long been loved by travellers for their great value fares to Australia/New Zealand and Asia. Now there’s an extra reason to fly with them; the new 72-hour Visa-Free scheme means passengers can break their journey in Guangzhou without the need to obtain a visa and explore part of China less visited by western tourists for three whole days.
So now you know you CAN (it’s an airport code joke. Sorry.) the question is, should you? What’s in Guangzhou that’s worth visiting? Well quite a lot actually…
72 hours in Guangzhou…
Admittedly you were probably going to do this anyway, but Guangzhou is the birthplace of “Cantonese” cuisine and has more restaurants per capita that anywhere else in China. Though the names of some of the dishes might sound familiar from your local takeaway menu, the reality of eating out in China is always extremely different from anything you’ve seen before. Try the dim sum (said to be some of the best in the country) and the Jidi Porridge which is supposed to bring luck in exams!
Check out a Kung Fu Teahouse
Yep you read that right, Kung Fu tea is huge in Guangzhou. Unfortunately this does not involve throwing teapots from high places and clefting them in twain with a single hand slice (if it did we’d be on a plane right now) but it is a beautiful ceremony which gets to the heart of China’s obsession with tea. Sorry, I feel like I’ve disappointed you there.
Get back to Nature
The largest urban park in China is located just on the edge of Guangzhou. Yuexiu has rolling hills, lakes, a 5 floor museum – you could spend three days just exploring. If you fancy something a bit more wild try “White Cloud” Mountain, a beautiful scenic spot from the top of which you can view the whole city.
Shop till you drop
From tiny winding alleyways full of everything from electrical goods to flowers, to massive wholesale malls, Guangzhou is renowned all over Asia for its shopping. A big player in the export industry, you can get pretty much anything here…come to think about it maybe it’s a good plan to stick this stopover at the end of your trip!
No not that – the Canton tower was the tallest free standing structure in the world before the Tokyo Skytree took over the mantel (it’s now 5th behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the Shanghai Tower and the Abraj Al Bait Towers in Mecca). That doesn’t mean it’s not pretty awesomely big, plus it has the added bonus of a “bubble tram” around the outside and a “Sky Drop” ride – both at 455 meters above the ground! Now if there’s one thing the Eiffel Tower is missing…
For all it’s shiny modern splendour Guangzhou has some great historical sights to boot. The “Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family” not only has a catchy name but is also has great historical significance in Southern China where as the Bright Filial Piety Temple (another pithy one) is older than the city itself.
The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family in all its glory