Guangdong province is located in the southernmost part of the Chinese mainland. It borders Fujian province in the east and Jiangxi and Hunan provinces in the north. To the west is Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and to the south is the South China Sea.
China's second largest river - the Pearl River - flows through Guangdong. To the east of the Pearl River Estuary is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and to the west is the Macao Special Administrative Region. The southwestern Leizhou Island in Guangdong is separated from Hainan province by the Qiongzhou Strait.
Covering an area of 179,700 square kilometers, of which 1,448 square kilometers are islands, the province has 21 prefecture-level cities. The province's unique geography and climate serve as rich tourism resources. At the end of 2017, the province was home to 12 national 5A-level tourist attractions and 172 4A-level attractions. Well-known tourist sites, such as the Guangzhou Chimelong Holiday Resort and the Shenzhen OCT (overseas Chinese town) East Resort are now home to various international activities and events.
Transit passengers from 53 countries including the United States, Canada, and all members of the European Umion can spend up to 72 hours in Guangdong without a visa. This visa-free policy allow foreigners from these 53 countries with visas and plane tickets to a third country to stay in Guangzhou visa-free for up to 72 hours. Below is a suggested itinerary for a three-day trip in Guangzhou. It includes many scenic spots and plenty of delicious Cantonese food.
Day one: Guangzhou
The city of Guangzhou is home to rich tourism resources and you will never regret visiting. Your first stop can be Guangzhou Baiyun Mountain Scenic Area, which is renowned as the "No 1 Scenic Area in Guangzhou" and the "No 1 Mountain in South China".
Baiyun Mountain is made up of more than 30 hills and covers an area of 21.80 square kilometers. Its highest peak, Moxing Ridge, is 382 meters high. The picturesque mountain is rich in overlapping ridges, peaks and freely extending brooks, forming a natural barrier in the north of Guangzhou. Baiyun Mountain takes its name from the floating clouds atop the mountain after a late autumn rain – a spectacular sight.
Tourists can enjoy a panoramic view of Guangzhou and the distant Pearl River from the top of the mountain. [Photo/eguangzhou.gov.cn]
After enjoying the picturesque mountain views, you can head downtown and pay a visit to Yuexiu Park, which boasts over 80 years of history.
The park has numerous tourist attractions, such as the Zhenhai Tower, the Foshan Archway, the Ancient City Wall, the Sifang Emplacement, the Sun Yat-sen Monument, the Monument at the Study and Office of Sun Yat-sen, Wu Tingfang Graveyard, the Emperor and Officials' Graveyard of the Shaowu Regime of the Ming Dynasty, the Sailors' Pavilion, the Five Rams Monument, the Five Rams Legendary Sculptures, and the ball-shaped water tower.
Apart from the park's landscapes, visitors can also visit the most iconic piece of Lingnan architecture- the Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, which was built in 1894. The temple is a compound complex consisting of nine halls, six courtyards, and 19 buildings connected by corridors. The most impressive attractions in the temple are the superb carvings extolling nature. The wood carvings, in particular, demonstrate some of the finest artwork in Guangdong.
The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, also known as the Chen Clan Academy, is a place for both offering sacrifices to ancestors and for study. [Photo/eguangzhou.gov.cn]
Your trip in Guangzhou isn't complete without a visit to Shamian Island. Shamian has served as an area of mercantile importance since the Song Dynasty (960-1279). From the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) onwards, its importance doubled as a strategic point of defense during the second Opium War (1856-1860). In 1859, the island's territory was gobbled up by Western imperialism, as it was split into concessions for the French and the United Kingdom (four fifths of the territory went to the British, with the remaining fifth went to the French).
The territory today features architecture that befits its cosmopolitan history, with the mansions on the island being some of the best preserved Western European style buildings in the country. More than 40 buildings have been counted amongst the most exotic in Guangzhou, exhibiting traits of Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture.
Famous attractions on the island include the Catholic Church Our Lady of Lourdes, built in 1892, the British Protestant Church Christ Church of Shameen, built in 1865, and the Guangdong Foreign Affairs Museum.
Shamian Island features quiet pedestrian avenues flanked by trees and historical buildings. [Photo/visitgz.com]
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