The Pearl River flows through the city from West to East. An evening cruise is a great way of seeing the city. The trip from Guangzhou Bridge to Shamian Island is beautifully lit in the evenings, when the bright neon lights are reflected on the surface of the river. The cruises are about two hours long and are easiest to book via a hotel or similar.
Enning Road is the perfect Sunday excursion destination, and has enough to see for several of your Sundays in Guangzhou. Enning Road is located in the area known as Xīguān which was the commercial centre of old Canton.
Bāhé Academy is one of the absolute highlights on Enning. The academy acts as a guild hall for the traditional Cantonese opera practitioners and it opened its doors first already in 1889. The academy provided lodging, schooling, medical and funeral services to the Cantonese opera starts and you can still meet masters of this art when visiting the academy. There are Bāhé Academies, i.e. sanctums for the Chinese opera tradition, in 20 countries around the world but the one on Enning road is the first one.
Take a right when you leave the academy and walk for about a block before taking another right into a lane called Yongqing Erxiang. The second-last house in the lane is Luányú Táng a 200-year-old club house for actors who performed the martial arts and acrobatic roles in Cantonese opera. The club still gives free martial arts lessons for children on weekends. Find out about the walk-in ‘jam’ sessions that are arranged multiple times a week as well as the most famous alumni of the school, Lǐ Hǎiquán, who is Bruce Lee’s father.
Designed by the famous British architect, Zaha Hadid, the Guangzhou Opera House is a majestic example of the modern architectural gems in China today. It is the largest performance venue southern China and it’s almost entirely composed of glass panels that are pieced together to form gentle curves.
Quing Ping Market is the best-known pet market in all of China where walking through the maze-like streets is a real adventure. There are Chinese medication, lobsters, snakes, seahorses, monkeys, cats, dogs, turtles and birds for sale. Smaller animals, such as scorpions and grasshoppers, are sold by the cup.
Shamian Island is the former British area from the colonial era. The bridges were closed every night at 10 p.m. and learning Chinese was punishable by death for the inhabitants of the island. Some of Canton’s oldest buildings are located on the beautiful, peaceful island.
Yue Xiu Park is the largest park in Canton, Yue Xiu Park, covers a total area of 93 hectares and has several man-made lakes and a large swimming pool. The park is known for the Zhenhai tower and the Sculpture of the Five Rams, which is the city’s symbol. The Zenhai tower has a city museum which showcases Guangzhou’s history from the very beginning.
The Temple of the Chen Family, Chenjia Si, was built by the wealthy Chen Family during the Quing Dynasty. The temple is also known as the Chen Classical Learning Academy, because it used to serve as an altar and a school, where students were trained for military exams. The temple has beautiful frescos, mosaics and clay sculptures.