- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Guangzhou, China
Guangzhou or Canton, the capital of Guangdong Province, is the third biggest city in China after Beijing and Shanghai with a population of more than 12 million. Founded in 214 BC, the city has been a springboard for trading, cultural exchanges, many revolutions and reforms, making it an unavoidable stopover to understand what shapes the modern China.
Thousands of travelers come to Guangzhou for the wonderful scenery in this large metropolis, but also the authentic and tempting Yue Cuisine, and the local culture, like Cantonese Opera.
Being the most important port on the Pearl River after Hong Kong, Guangzhou boasts convenient ferry transport to Hong Kong and Macau. Baiyun International Airport is one of China's largest, making it an excellent place to enter or leave China.
Attractions in Guangzhou
Chen Ancestral Shrine
This Chen Clan Academy was organized by two Chinese-Americans who wanted Chen clan students to have an academy in Guangzhou. It was built just before the end of the Qing era between 1890 and 1894. It became a museum in 1957, and the remaining artwork and traditional architecture and decorations were deemed to be so valuable that in 1988 it was named a National Key Cultural Heritage Protection Unit by the State Council of China. It now is a Chinese folk art museum. It is one of Guangzhou's best tourist highlights.
Temple of Six Banyan Trees
This old Buddhist temple complex is active and is said to have a history of 1,500 years. There is a tall pagoda that was rebuilt about the year 1900, and there is a main hall that often has Buddhist worshippers worshipping and burning incense.
History The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liu Rong Si, 六榕寺) is an ancient temple that was originally built about the year 537 during the Liang Dynasty era. The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees was originally called the Baozhuangyan Temple, but a historically famous literati called Su Shi from the Song dynasty called it Liu Rong (Six Banyan Trees) because of six banyan trees that he saw there. Since then, it has been called the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. A pagoda was built in 1097. It was rebuilt in 1373 after a fire. By the late middle 1800s, the pagoda that stood there was damaged and looked different from the one that is there now. It was rebuilt in 1900.
Now it is an active Buddhist temple where people burn incense at the dates of the Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival.
Pearl River Cruise
The third longest river in China, the Pearl River, measures 2,129 kilometers (1,323 miles) in length. The Guangzhou section of the river is where Guangzhou's most scenic spots are located. Many famous sights are clustered along the river and are the reasons for many people taking a trip to Guangzhou.
The Pearl River got its name from a huge rock island. When the thousand-meterlong Pearl River cut through Guangzhou City, a large rock island in the centreof the river was scoured over. Over time this became smooth and bright like a pearl, hence the rock being named "Sea Pearl Rock" and the river "Pearl River". An interesting legend offers an alternative explanation of the rivers name. It was said that an Arabian merchant stole the valueless pearl of his country and came to sell it in Guangzhou. Since the pearl was the treasure of his nation, the Arabian State ordered his people to Guangzhou to bring the pearl back. However, on their ship home, the magical pearl suddenly flew up and fell into the river. Later the pearl changed into a huge shining rock. The river was later named as Pearl River.
The evening cruise on the Pearl River is one of the tourist highlights in Guangzhou. The beauty of the Pearl River at night can be compared with that of Hong Kong's Victoria Park. The cruise section from the White Goose Pool to Guangzhou Bridge is the highlight of the Pearl River cruise. Scenery along this part is so fascinating, with jade-colored water and colored lights on shore.
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
One of the architectural highlights in Guangzhou is a cathedral in Guangzhou that was built in the 1800s by the Emperor of France, the French government, and the Catholic Church. It has been recentlyrefurbished because it was damaged in the 20th century. The stained windows, high arches and spires, and the spacious and high inner sanctuary make the building look like a European cathedral. The building was modeled after the Basilica of St. Clotilde in France, and there are other interesting features.
The granite building is big. It is said to be the biggest Gothic-style cathedral in China and Southeast Asia. The floor area is 2,754 square meters or .68 acres. It features a nave that is approximately 27 meters or 88 feet high. There are two rows of pews and 14 small side-chapels. The cathedral is 35 meters wide and 78.69 meters long, and the twin towers rise 58.5 meters or 63 yards. The west tower is a clock tower with a large Chinese-manufactured clock, and the east tower serves as bell tower and has gigantic bronze bells that were shipped from France in the 19th century.
South China Botanical Garden
The South China Botanical Garden is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. Boasting a stunning collection of rare and exotic plants, this attraction is also a center of cultural learning and scientific research. Visitors are free to photograph gorgeous blooms, learn about slash and burn cultivation and create a piece of traditional pottery.
The garden was first built in 1929 and began its existence as Sun Yatsen University's Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. Today, it is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Many scientists and researchers still work here and regularly publish scholarly titles based on their findings.
With so many unique and interesting displays, the garden is high on most tourists' "must do" lists when visiting the nearby city of Guangzhou. The garden is divided into three main sections: the Research and Residential Zone, the Dinghushan Nature Reserve and the Nursery and Exhibition Zone.