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The Eight Sights of Guangzhou

Guangzhou sights Jo Wedlock

The Eight Sights of Guangzhou

story by: Tom Ricketts

With China Southern Airlines now flying to Auckland twice daily (and the occasional charter to Christchurch), its hub city of Guangzhou is now a major stopover destination for passengers heading on to Asia and Europe. In what could be the very earliest example of tourism promotion, the people of Guangzhou have been voting for the ‘Eight Sights of Guangzhou’ since the Song Dynasty of 960 (as in, over 1050 years ago!). What better way to see a city but through its locals’ eyes? Here’s the latest list…

Tayao Xincheng
- Tower Shining Through the New Town
This view is certainly a newcomer to the list. It features views of modern skyscrapers and towers which now dominate the skyline. Most striking of the already impressive towers is the 600 metre Canton Tower, almost double the height of the Sky Tower!

Zhushui Liuguang
- Pearl River Flowing and Shining
The Pearl River is one of the largest in China and the city of Guangzhou is scattered along the shores and islands of its vast delta system. It gets its name from a shiny type of shell found on the river floor. Shamian Island was originally a French and English open port similar to Hong Kong and Macau, and is notable for its historic European styled buildings which have been retained.

Yunshan Diecui
- Baiyun Mountain Green
Baiyun Mountain has long been a favourite city getaway for the people of Guangzhou. Baiyun Mountain is actually the name for a park that contains 30 peaks and many many forest walking tracks and trails. The highrises of the city can be seen from the higher peaks. Popular attractions in the park include Yuntai Garden, famous for its year round floral displays, Mingchun Valley, the largest birdcage in Asia, and the sculpture park.

Yuexiu Fenghua
- Elegance and Talent of Yuexiu Mountain
Yuexiu Mountain is a large park in central Guangzhou. It’s famous for the Five Rams Statue which has become the symbol of the city. You can easily spend half a day walking around the landscaped gardens, or if you short for time, jump on one of the trams that shuttle sightseers around the park. Also found here is the 600 year old Zhenhai Tower which now houses the city museum, and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Monument.

Guxi Liufang
- Ancient Academy Leaving a Good Name
This sight refers to the beautiful Chen Clan Academy, a complex of 19 buildings built over 100 years ago as a sort of school. The buildings feature amazingly intricate carvings and brightly painted porcelain figurines and scenes. This building is a must see when in Guangzhou.

Liwan Shengjing
- Wonderful Scenery of Liwan
Liwan is one of the most historic sections of the city, and the place to go if you want to shop! It’s dominated by narrow streets choked with the signs and advertisements of the many businesses crammed into the arcades which line the streets, the epitome of ‘Chinatown’. When you’re in need of a break from the crowds, head to nearby Liwan Lake, a beautiful central city oasis where you can relax in the gardens or take a cruise on the lake.

Kecheng Jinxiu
- Science City as Splendid as Brocade
Architectural fans will want to see the Guangzhou Science City, an impressive complex of buildings which make up the hub of the city’s IT and innovation businesses. The glittering glass and steel buildings resemble a brocade, a type of woven fabric that were made with silver and gold thread, and worn by Chinese nobility.

Shidi Changwan
- Wetland Singing at Night
The Nansha Wetland Park is another great option for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. The park is the city’s first wetland park, but already boasts over 141 species of birds! It’s best visited by a leisurely cruise in the evening when the birds come home to roost.

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