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What to Do in Guangzhou

June 27, 2010
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One suggestion about visiting different places in China… the language is really, really difficult to pronounce. So if you haven’t studied it for quite a while, you will have trouble making yourself understood – even if you are just trying to tell your cab driver the names of famous sights and attractions. If you want to go anywhere, print out the address in Chinese and show it to the cab driver. And collect business cards of the places you want to re-visit or suggest to someone else. It’ll save you so much time and nerves! Oh, and never ever leave your hotel without a business card of theirs ;) Believe me, it’ll come in handy!

Since our trip in May 2010 wasn’t my first visit to Guangzhou, I had already been to some of the cultural and historical sights. One of my favorites is the Hualin Temple which we saw back in 2005.

in the courtyard of Hualin temple

guarding the entrance

rows and rows of buddahs

offerings

close-up of one of the many buddahs

Xiangjiang Safari Park is another nice place to visit. It’s a little outside the city, but even when we went in 2008 you could get there easily with the new subway. I would definitely recommend the safari tour!

at the entrance

waiting for the safari tour to start

driving by the white tigers

I loved the zebras! So pretty!

taking pictures with the baby tigers

How cool do they look?!

the little lazy koalas

way too little space for the elephants, but still very, very cute

This time we did the sightseeing in Macau and focused on shopping in Guangzhou… In 2005 we did the shopping tour de force (I’ll include some pictures below), but this year we only went to our two favorites: the Baiyun World Leather Trading Center and the Onelink International Plaza.

The Baiyun World Leather Trading Center has floors and floors full of purses, wallets, scarves, and other pretty little things. They have some really high quality stuff, especially if you stay on the lower floors. I am usually somewhat overwhelmed, because there are so many different brands, sizes, and colors. If you ever go there, I suggest you go with a decent idea of what you want and how many purses you want to buy. It’s so easy to get sucked in and start a real shopping spree. My eyes kind of glaze over after about 30 minutes and if I’m not with someone holding me back, the outcome would be unpredictable 🙂 So, thanks to Marco for getting me out of there with just three purses in my arms!

Check out An Asian Traveler’s post on OneLink International Plaza. Very cool pictures and descriptions that really capture the place. They have everything you never even knew you needed from little electronic gadgets to toy helicopters to cute Chinese plates, pillow cases, and fancy chopsticks. This time I was pretty good and only bought a few business card holders, some key chaines, and a few small clocks. Marco bought a few toy helicopters and he gave me one of them 🙂 Quick tip: in some stores you can get a better price if you haggle a little. This is especially true if you buy larger quantities or big value items. Right around the corner is a really good German restaurant, the 1920. The food is pretty authentic and we really enjoyed it. Unfortunately our waitress forgot to put in our order and we waited for about an hour for our food… I am told that usually the service is much better though. And as I said, the food was really, really good!

If you want to get your nails done and maybe throw in a nice foot massage, try out the Grandview Mall. I got a French manicure and pedicure there and was totally happy with it. And the mall itself is impressive because of its sheer size. In 2007 it made it on the Forbes list of the world’s 10 largest shopping malls.

Here are some pics from our 2005 shopping tour which included way more malls, markets and stores. Looking back I have no idea how we made it through all of them 🙂

A mall focusing just on shoes:

shoes, shoes, ...

..., and more shoes

A market just for textiles:

textiles

and more textiles

An outdoor market where they sell electronics and gadgets:

outdoor market

more stuff outdoors

An indoor market with watches and cell phones:

cell phones

Stories and stories full of pearls at yet another market:

pearls

more pearls

Have fun shopping now! 🙂

This is the third post about our trip to Asia in May 2010. See here for the other posts about that trip.

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