Guangzhou (map) is the capital of Guangdong Province in southern China. Formerly known as Canton to the West, the city of Guangzhou has a history dating back roughly 2,200 years.
Like many Chinese cities, Guangzhou municipality includes a vast rural area in addition to the urban core. There are 11 districts in Guangzhou. Among them, *Liwan, *Yuexiu, *Tianhe and *Haizhu are the city’s core, of most interest to tourists.
While in modern times it is mostly known for its skyscrapers and shopping malls, the city is not bereft of culture, and Guangzhou boasts a large number of cultural and religious sites.
*Liwan (荔湾 Lìwān or 西關 SaiKwan, map). Canton’s historical sites are concentrated here, including the colonial *Shamian Island (map), *Saikwan Old Houses.
*Yuexiu (越秀 Yuèxiù, map). The political and cultural centre of Canton, inclunding 東山 TungShan (the heart of the Old local Political and Military areas). Highlights include Yuexiu Park (map), Peiking road (old times known as 雙門底 Saung Mun Dei) Shopping District, and Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.
*Tianhe (天河 Tiānhé/TinHo, map). The new city center and business district, full of skyscrapers and shopping malls. It is also home to most expat communities. Highlights include Guangdong Museum (map), *Central Library (map), Opera House (map) and Shipai village (map).
The popular pedestrian streets are:
Baiyun Mountain (map), located just north of the city center, is a large mountain park with forests, streams, and long hiking paths, as well as a cable car to the top for the less adventurous.
Authentic Cantonese cuisine is also famous throughout China for another reason — Cantonese people tend to eat absolutely anything. A well-known Chinese joke is that they eat anything that has four legs other than a table, anything that flies other than an airplane, and anything that swims other than a submarine.
Qingping Market (清平市场, map) (North from Shamian Island. Metro 1 Huangsha Exit D). Cantonese are known to eat just about any animal, and the market is world famous for its wild animal trades, although it has been tamer since the SARS outbreak. It is still a great place to go for exotic goods.
Visitors will find the best weather between October and November, and April and May are also good months.