This past weekend was the Dragonboat festival in China, meaning a 3 day weekend for me and the rest of China. When trying to decide where to go for the holiday weekend, a number of places came to mind. It ultimately came down to costs, and Guangzhou won the vacation race.
We left for Guangzhou Saturday morning at 5:30 am. My brain does not work pre-6 am (in all reality, it doesn’t work till post 7 am), so this was literally a wake up and zombie my way towards the metro and towards the plane. Zombie, zombie, zombie, zombie
I then woke up in Guangzhou, hot Guangzhou. No wonder it was the cheapest option, it was easily 33C at 10 am. We took the metro to our hotel room, checked in, blasted the AC on in our room and my body, and headed out the door. It was hot and sticky. And there were plenty of mobikes throughout the city.
So here begins my biking across Guangzhou.
We were staying about 4 blocks from the Pearl River, so we began biking east along the north bank of the Pearl River. A wonderful plus about Guangzhou is that both banks of the river have been developed into a wide walkway for people to walk along, rest, work out, etc. It also means you’re able to bike without having to worry about driving around/into people or wait for traffic lights.
We wandered our way along the bank and ultimately started going inland at Tianhe at this giant park that stretches about 10 blocks inland from the Pearl River north. We had tea at HeyTea, a place that normally has over an hour long wait for the tea. We saw no line, so we ordered tea. And we only had to wait 30 mins (woo! a small weird win)
We wandered around the giant parks and walked along Dongfeng Rd to another mall and wandered inside the mall. There were some sales, so I bought some items :).
We then biked to what we thought was an open brewery, but it was closed. So we biked some more and headed to a brewery nearly 3 blocks from where we were staying. We sat there for over 6 hours, drinking beer and watching World Cup. We first had not great seats, in the back of the bar and far from the TV. But half an hour before the first game, we got new seats outside right in front of a tv and the AC. We watched a few games before calling it a night to watch the rest of the games from our room, where i fell asleep within 5 mins of the game starting.
On Sunday, we woke up and started biking northwest, very close to the mountain. The heat was setting in, and it was much hotter than the previous day. We had our brunch at a restaurant called “Brother Fat’ in Tianxin district, very close to the Baiyun mountain.
We then biked for maybe an hour and half, flying past notable tourist locations, such as Liuhuaha Park and Guangxiao Temple. We finally arrived at Shangxiajiu Commercial Pedestrian Street.
Shangxiajiu Commercial Pedestrian Street is about 3-4 blocks of stores and food shops lining the sidewalks. There’s a lot of humans and lot of stores offering sales. There are a lot of different stores, including some very poorly fake stores, such as “New Barlun” instead of “New Balance”. I still remember New Barlun really well. I laughed so hard
After that, we biked down to Shamian Island. Not sure the history, but its this small island in the middle of Guangzhou that has a completely different architecture than the rest of Guangzhou. It actually reminds me a lot of New Orleans. It’s got a lot of buildings with decks and overhangs, very similar to New Orleans.
After biking through this island, we biked down the north part of the river, crossed the bridge, and biked along the south part of the river. We biked until we reached ‘Party Pier”
“Party Pier”. What is this. It’s essentially a pier at the eastern part of Guangzhou that has a number of restaurants and bars in one location that you can pop around from one location to the other. What’s a great thing about it – a lot of bars in location.
What’s a bad thing about it – very vacant.
We walked around and got drinks at this bar with a climbing wall. Super cool idea, but, sort of really impractical with seats directly under it. After grabbing a drinks, we went to a deck restaurants to get dinner while the sun set. We watched the Guangzhou skyline to light up and see the Canton Tower (‘the pride of Guangzhou’) light up.
We watched the first world cup game of the night@ the bar with the climbing wall. It was pretty lame. The screens were amazing, but the patrons were not at all interested in the game.
So we biked the 30 mins back to the area where we watched the games the previous night, and watched the 2nd game.
The next day was the hottest in Guangzhou. We biked our way to a DimSum restaurant, and ordered so many amazing dishes. Dimsum is huge in the Canton region, and we were one of many patrons at this location. We got shrimp potstickers, egg dumplings, taro tarts, normal dumplings, some more dumplings, and chicken feet.
We thought the chicken feet was something else, but i still tried it. And i’m not a fan. It’s a lot of bones, and 0.1% meat. Not worth the effort.
After that, we just stayed in malls. It was so hot that the second we got outside, we were sweating olympic-size pools. So mall to mall, and ended it at K11. K11 is a chain of malls here in china that have an artistic theme. We have one as well here in Shanghai. And that was our last thing we did in Guangzhou before going to the airport and got on a plane home to Shanghai.
Here are some things I recommend in Guangzhou:
- Bike! Bike everywhere!
- Eat dimsum!
- Don’t check out party pier