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Travel guide – Guangzhou

At the heart of South Central China lies Guangzhou, a booming port city and one of China's leading manufacturing and transportation hubs. Best known as the industrial engine behind the country's economic growth, Guangzhou has stood at the forefront of revolutions and cultural reforms, making it an ideal place for travellers to understand China's rich history. This Cantonese capital will surprise you with its abundant shopping spots, culinary treats and a vibrant mix of old and new – the Finnair travel guide to Guangzhou highlights some of the best things to see and do while you're in town.

Finnair is a leading choice for flights to Guangzhou, China, as well as to other parts of the country and continent. We offer the shortest routes between Europe and Asia, helping you to reach your destination faster.

Most of our Guangzhou flights are on the spacious A350 aircraft, which blends cutting-edge technology with advanced comfort. Enjoy true Nordic hospitality, great onboard entertainment and delicious meals on your flights to Guangzhou with Finnair.

Upgrade to Nordic Business Class when booking your airline tickets to Guangzhou and land feeling fully refreshed thanks to the fully flat seats.

You can have a pleasant holiday in Guangzhou any season of the year.

March and April are the peak tourist times in Guangzhou. Adding to the crowds, April also sees the large China Import and Export Fair. Be sure to book your plane tickets to Guangzhou well in advance if you’re planning your trip for this time.

The long summers are hot and rainy. The wettest months are May and June, and the hottest months are from July to September.

Autumn (late October to mid-December) is generally considered the best time to visit Guangzhou, with moderate temperatures and relatively dry conditions. It’s a popular time for tourism in the city, which city hosts a large trade fair in October, so check Guangzhou flight deals well ahead of your preferred travel dates.

Winter is the least popular time to visit Guangzhou. Temperatures are cold but not unbearably so. If you’re looking for cheap flights to Guangzhou, this is the best time to travel. Chinese New Year, however, is a busy time. Unless you’re travelling specifically to enjoy the celebrations, it’s best to plan your trip outside of the large festival.

Never mind Guangzhou's reputation as an industrial centre – the city's beautiful riverfront, lush parks and ancient temples take you on a journey through the centuries. Yuexiu Park is the largest park in Guangzhou and a comprehensive sightseeing destination with a number of historic sites. Make sure to stop by the stone sculpture of the Five Rams as well as the Ming dynasty city wall ruins as you make your way through the seven hills of the park.

For a taste of Guangzhou's spiritual side, pay a visit to the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, an impressive 1,400-year-old Buddhist construction where locals come to pray and burn joss sticks. Chen Family Ancestral Temple, located in the southwest part of the city, is a shrine turned educational centre that now serves as a folk art museum. Here you can see some of the most exquisite artwork and traditional architecture in the area. Check out also Shamian Island, a serene pedestrian sandbar with fully preserved French colonial villas and churches.

To escape the hustle and bustle of the centre, take a cable car to White Cloud Mountain, a leafy peak locally referred to as "the lung of the city". Spend a day relaxing in the nature and hike your way back down to the city in time for nightfall. Hop on a cruise boat on the Pearl River and watch the city awaken to a blaze of neon lights. Top your visit off with panoramic views from Canton Tower, a monumental TV and observation tower standing at record-high 450 meters tall at the heart of Guangzhou.

Hong Kong – Marvel at the world-famous skyline of this former British colony only a few hours away from Guangzhou. Hong Kong is also known for its heavenly food culture.

Huang Pu Gu Gang – An old trading port accessible by subway. This quaint town will transport you back in time with its historical buildings and ancestral temples.

Macau – Also known as the Las Vegas of Asia, the former Portuguese territory Macau offers world-class entertainment, fantastic Portuguese-Chinese cuisine and UNESCO World Heritage sites just 100km south of Guangzhou.

Shenzhen – Yet another metropolis nearby, Shenzhen is a favourite among Chinese tourists thanks to its numerous theme parks. The city is also one of the greenest in the country, offering lush gardens and parks for travellers to enjoy.

Xiaozhou Village – This centuries-old town in the southern outskirts of Guangzhou has become a haven for creative types. Pick up some local art and spend a relaxing day strolling around the scenic canals, fruit orchards and ancient buildings.

As one of China's key export centres, Guangzhou boasts unparalleled shopping opportunities for made-in-China goods. Whether you are looking to purchase inexpensive electronics, clothing, toys or Chinese tea, you are sure to catch a deal in one of the city's countless markets, shopping malls and commercial streets.

Beijing Road – A convenient pedestrian shopping street populated by both locals and tourists especially on weekends. Some 140 stores offer various goods from clothes to jewellery, leather accessories and books on this half a kilometre road.

Haizhu Wholesale Market – Bargain for kitschy toys, home decor, hair accessories and other knick-knacks among locals and wholesale buyers in this massive flea and souvenir market.

Qingping Market – A notorious food market for dare devils and adventurous eaters. Here you can find anything from Chinese medicinal herbs to dried sea creatures and taboo cuisine. Not for the faint of heart!

Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Road – The essence of Guangzhou architecture, shopping and eating. This buzzling pedestrian street stretches over a kilometre and is lined with old buildings, shops and food stalls for every taste imaginable.

Tianhe Teemall – A large, international one-stop destination for shopping, eating, entertainment and more. Here you'll find thousands of brands, many of them well-known Western chains.

Guangzhou is home to Cantonese food, one of the eight culinary traditions of Chinese cuisine, and boasts the country's largest number of restaurants per capita. Make the most of your visit and grab an authentic taste of the world-famous dishes while you're in town.

Baiqie Chicken – Also known as White Cut Chicken, this Cantonese favourite is prepared by boiling the chicken in water to preserve its original fresh taste.

Chinese Steamed Eggs – Beaten creamy eggs steamed to silky smooth perfection.

Dim Sum – Bite-sized steamed or fried dumplings served alongside the Yum cha morning tea tradition.

Kao Ru Zhu (Roasted Suckling Pig) – A prized Guangzhou offering, roasted whole suckling pig has been a delicacy in the area for more than 1,400 years.

Wonton noodles – A popular Cantonese noodle dish served in hot broth, garnished with vegetables and wonton dumplings.

Tea – An essential part of the local culture, tea is served everywhere. Sample the endless options from herbal varieties to Oolong, Tieguanyin and Pu'er.

Beer – Chinese beers are typically light and available widely in supermarkets and restaurants.

Getting around in this sprawling metropolis is easiest by public transport. Make use of the excellent subway system within the city centre, and hail a taxi for those hard-to-reach places in the outskirts.

Subway – Guangzhou's subway is modern, clean and affordable. The subway network covers much of the city centre and serves passengers until 11 p.m.

Taxi – When the subway isn't an option, taxi is a convenient way to get around. Beware rush hour traffic and always request the meter be switched on.

Bus – Guangzhou offers an extensive bus network of both inter-city and long-distance routes to the Guangdong region. Deciphering the system can be a hassle, but fares are cheap.

Ferry – If you're heading to Hong Kong, get a taste of the Guangzhou's buzzling port by catching a high-speed ferry across the Shizi Ocean. The trip takes less than two hours.

Currency – Yuan (¥).

Electricity – 220–240 volts, 50hz. American type-A plug and Australian type-I plug are both used.

Tips – Officially tipping is not required in China, but it is becoming more and more common.

Payment / card – Accepted in most hotels and department stores. Reserve cash for transportation and street markets.

Time zone – CST / UTC+8.

Water – Tap water is not safe for drinking. Bottled water is widely available.

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

The airport is located about 40 kilometres north of the city centre of Guangzhou.

  • Finnair flights: Terminal A
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

Always remember to check your airline’s terminal and check-in times.

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