Top 10 Attractions in Guangdong

Plan your Guangdong tour? With Guangzhou ( Canton ) as its capital city, Guangdong  Province is often considered as the southern gate to the mainland China, adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau. Guangdong is historically known as the  starting point of Maritime Silk Road and the birthplace of China’s revolutionary past.

The northern Guangdong is home to the magnificent landscapes featuring the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage crowned Danxia Mountain and the forested Mount Lufoshan; the eastern Gaungdong is blessed with beautiful beaches. Besides its wondrous natural beauty,  Guangdong boasts unique culture represented by the flamboyant watchtowers at Kaiping, also a UNESCO Cultural Heritage and Hakka’s coiled dragon houses in Meizhou.

With much to be discovered in Guangdong, here is our Top 10 list for the attractions in Guangdong.

1.   Kaiping Diaolou (Kaiping Watchtowers ) 开平碉楼
Kaiping is world famous for its Diaolou (fortified village houses or known as watchtowers), pristine villages and old townships. Kaiping Diaolous and villages were listed as World Cultural Heritage in 2007 for their harmonious fusion between Chinese and Western structures.

Kaiping Diaolous were originally built in the early Qing Dynasty and fully developed in 1920s and 1930s. There are mainly three kinds of fortified village towers:  Watch Towers, Communal Towers and Dwelling Towers.

Watch towers were built to guide against any possible forays by bandits; communal towers were built collectively with the fund raised by all the villagers. They would hide themselves in case of bandits’ attack.

These kinds of communal towers were often built behind villages while watch towers were built at the entrance of a village. Dwelling Towers were built as a combination of a residential house and a watch tower. Today, approximately 1,833 diaolou towers remain standing in Kaiping County.

All the diaolou towers are now scattered around the villages in Kaiping County.  Some villages have been chosen by the local tourism bureau to be open to the public. These selected villages have been turned into a large “Diaolou Tourist Site” with tourism administration.

A combo ticket allows you to visit three villages where the most representitive diaolou towers stand. The three villages are Zili Village (自立村) in Tangkou Township, Majianglong Village (马降龙村) in Baihe Township and Jinjiangli (锦江里) in Jiangang Township.

Most of the tall and impressive diaolou towers were funded and built by oversea Chinese returning home from South Asia, Australasia, and North America.  The Kaiping diaolou towers were built in a variety of architectural styles featuring a perfect combination of traditional Chinese watchtowers and classical European architecture.

The combo ticket also allows you to visit Li Garden ( 立园) in Beiyi Xiang,which was built in 1936 by Mr. Xie Weili, a Chinese emigrant to the United States.  On your village trip in Kaiping, you can visit Chikan (赤坎), the charming old town with the featuring Qilou structures.

How to go to the selected villages in Kaiping from Guangzhou

1) Take buses: you may take buses to Kaiping Yici Bus Station from Guangzhou Bus Station ( by the Guangzhou Railway Station) : 145-149 Huanshi West Road, Guangzhou Tel: (020)86661297.  When you reach Yici Bus Station in Kaiping, you may connect local buses to your selected villages.

2) Hire a private vehicle with a driver or self-drive. It is highly advised to hire a private car or van to tour freely around these villages.         Check out how to visit Diaolou from Guangzhou for more information.

Kaiping Diaolou (Kaiping Watchtowers )
Kaiping Diaolou (Kaiping Watchtowers )

2. Shaoguan Danxia Mountain Geopark 韶关丹霞山
Danxia Mountain Geopark is situated about 15 km north of Shaoguan’ city center in the northern Guangdong. It is a UNESCO World Culture site. Danxia is the name of a landform translated from Chinese, a unique landform originated in China,  mostly found in the Guangdong, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.

Basically there are three walking trails up to the mountain. Or you may take a cable up to the mountain. The three hiking trails are a little apart, you need to take the free shuttle buses going to each starting points of the hiking paths.

Most people would like to visit Yangyuan Stone  ( Penis Hill ), Yingyuan Stone ( Female Stone), Double Breasts Stone and sleeping beauty stone, hence the nickname of Natural Sex Museum.

It is feeling great to hike to the hilltop as if you are floating over clouds with lakes and rivers down, and with the majestic views of the Danxia range!

Visiting Time: suggested 2-Days
Entrance Fee:  RMB 100; RMB120 (holidays)  Valid for 2 days
Location: about 15 km north of Shaoguan’s city center
Opening Hours: all day
Best Time to Visit: Spring and Autumn
How to Get There
Take the high-speed train from Guangzhou South Railway Station to the city of Shaoguan, then connect the local tourist bus going to the geopark. You stay overnight in Shaoguan or hotels near the park.

Shaoguan Danxia Mountain Geopark
Shaoguan Danxia Mountain Geopark

3. Guangji Bridge at Chaozhou  潮州广济桥
Guangji Bridge is located in the east of Chaozhou. It is the bridge is reputed as one of China’s four famous ancient bridges with the other three being the Zhaozhou Bridge, the Lugou Bridge and Luoyang Bridge.

Guangji Bridge was originally built in 1171 in Song Dynasty,  a pontoon bridge spanning Han River supported by 86 giant boats, named Kangji Bridge. Gangji Bridge went through repeated destruction and reconstructions in the centuries.  Later 24  piers were built to straddle the Han River with the middle part still supported by boats.

So a part of Guangji Bridge is still supported by boats as a pontoon bridge. When it is open, there is a space for boats to pass through. It can also be close.   It is the first open and close style pontoon bridge in China,maybe in the world.

Visiting Time: suggested 2 hours
Entrance Fee:  RMB 60
Location: East of Chaozhou City
How to Get There
Take Bus 3

Guangji Bridge at Chaozhou
Guangji Bridge at Chaozhou

4. Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses ( Weilongwu) 梅州客家围龙屋
Coiled Dragon Houses are one of the five vernacular residential buildings in China. The Coiled Dragon Houses were originated in Meizhou area inhabited by Hakka people.

The city of Meizhou ( where most of the Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses are located.) is about 500 km northeast of Guangzhou City.
How to Get There
Take buses to Meizhou from Guangzhou (4 hours) or Shenzhen (3 hours).

Hakka people are one of the major eight groups of the Han nationality. Meizhou is known as the epicenter of the Typical Hakka Culture.

Hakka people settled down in Fujian,Guangdong and Jiangxi Province starting from Song Dynasty through Ming and Qing dynasties originally aimed at avoiding wars and natural disasters that occurred at their home place in the central China.

A typical coiled dragon house is  enclosed, walled structure which is mainly composed of two semicircles. The front half is a crescent fish pond and the other half cirl is the main residential building constructed resembling one, or two,or even more coiled dragon with  halls that serve as spaces for ritual and other lineage activities, with the top hall housing the ancestral shrine of the lineage.

In comparison with the earth round house which is set  vertically, coiled walled dragon houses are extended  outward in a series of concentric half-circle rings, with open-air flagged stone pathways separating the circles.

Visiting Time: suggested 1-2 day
Location: Meizhou is over 500 km northeast of Guangzhou City
How to Get There
Take buses to Meizhou from Guangzhou (4 hours) and Shenzhen (3 hours)

Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses ( Weilongwu)
Hakka Coiled Dragon Houses ( Weilongwu)

5. Beaches in Yangjiang 阳江滨海沙滩
The city of Yangjiang is located on the southeast coast of Guangdong, about 230 km to the southwest of Guangzhou. Yangjiang has a coastline of 458.6 km with over 20 fine beaches totaling 35.4 km. The beaches are different in size and shape all blessed with the blue water and finest sand. Dajiaowan (大角湾) and ShiliYintan (十里银滩) are considered the best of the beaches.

Dajiaowan Beach and Shili Yintan Beach are connected by pedicabs or 40-minute walk. A 50 yuan ticket allows you the unlimited entry into the two beaches in two day coupled with free admission into Maritime Silk Road Museum of Guangdong.

The Maritime Silk Road Museum is just near the Shilin Yintan Beach. The museum houses the remains of the 30-meter long Song Dynasty shipwreck that was sunk near the island.  The ship is said to be headed for Middle East or Africa. Over 7000 pieces of merchants on board kept in a sealed glass tank. But only 200 pieces of porcelain, copper and gold are on show. The research work is still process to have more excavation.

Visiting Time: suggested one day
Entrance Fee:  RMB 50 ( Dajiaowan, Shili Yintan and the Musuem)
Location: 50 km from the city center of Yangjaing,  230 km southwest of Guangzhou
How to Get There
Take buses from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other major cities in China

Beaches in Yangjiang
Beaches in Yangjiang

6. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 孙中山纪念馆
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was built in honor of the great Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Completed in 1976 and designed by the famous architect Wang Da-wei, it is one of Taipei City’s most well known landmarks.

The exterior of the hall contains some gardens, and decorative historical walls. It has many wide open spaces where the people of Taipei often go to spend some time relaxing. The interior of the hall includes a main hall entrance with a statue of Sun Yat-sen and many exits to other parts of the hall, containing historical artifacts.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours:08:00-18:00
How to get there: take Subway Line 2 to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall; or take Buses No.2, 27, 42, 56, 62, 74, 80, 83, 133, 185, 204, 209, 224, 229, 261, 276, 284, 293, 297, 305, 518 or 543, Guangzhou

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

7. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall  陈家祠
The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall was originally  built by the 72 Chen clans for the accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations from Chen families in 1894 in Qing Dynasty. Later it was turned to be the Chen Clan’s Industry College, and later middle schools afterward.

Now it is home to the Guangdong Folk Art.  The Chen clan ancestral hall is famous for the ornate decoration which is presented inside and outside the halls. A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving are seen on the walls,beams, columns, ridges and soon, a trove of Chinese folk arts.

A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:30
How to get there: take subway Line 1 to Chenjiaci Station; or take Buses No. 85, 88, 104, 107, 109, 114, 128, 193, 204 ,233, 250, 260 or 268 and get off at Chenjiaci Station; or take Trolley Bus No. 104, 105, 107 or 109

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall
The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

8. Mount Luofo ( Luofoshan ) 罗佛山
Luofoshan is situated in Boluo County of Huizhou city in the north of Guangdong Province, about 70 km from Huizhou’s city center and 110 km from Guangzhou city. Luofaoshan is renown as one of the 10 famous Taoist mountains in China.

Luofoshan, also named “Dongjiaoshan”, is an AAAA National Level Scenic Area. It is the 7th cave of  the 10 major Taoist caves. It is reputed as the No.01 Mountain in Lingnan area. It is also famous for its herbal medicine.

Luofoshan features 432 peaks, high or low, 980 waterfalls and springs, 18 caves and 72 stone chambers. The main peak is Feiyun Summit 1296 at altitude. Luofoshan is massive  and mesmerizing with comfortable weather.

Visiting Time: suggested 3-4 hour
Entrance Fee:  RMB 60
Location: 70 km from the city center of Huizhou,  110 km from Guangzhou
How to Get There
Luofoshan has convenient transportation with buses coming from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Huizhou and other major cities in Guangzhou

 Mount Luofo ( Luofoshan )
Mount Luofo ( Luofoshan )

9. Xunliao Bay Beach Resort  巽寮湾滨海旅游度假区
Xunliao Bay is located in the south of Pingshan Township of Huizhou city,  on the east cost of Guangdong Province. It is about 240  to the east of Guangzhou and 136 km to the east of Shenzhen and 98 km to the south of Huizhou’s city center.

Xunliao Bay is one of the purest bays in the east coast of Guangdong Province. Strolling on the finest beaches, bathing in sunshine, breathing fresh air, immersing yourself into the blue sky, white clouds, sand beaches and tidal waves, a poetic and romantic feeling.

The bay is jammed with hotels, restaurants. Water activities are plentiful, canoes, yachts, speedboats, motorbikes,  diving and the list is on and on, a perfect summer resort.

Visiting Time: suggested 6-8 hour
Location:  the south of Pingshan Township of Huizhou city
How to Get There
Busing to Xunliao Bay from Huizhou, Gangzhou, Shenzhen and major cities in Guangdong Province.

Xunliao Bay Beach Resort
Xunliao Bay Beach Resort

10. Seven Star Crags Park 七星岩公园
The park is located about 2 km north Zhaoqing’s city center, about 100 km west of Guangzhou. Seven Star Crags Park is reputed as “Immortal Fairyland” and “No.01 Woner in Lingnan”.

The park is composed of 5 lakes, 7 crags and 8 caves,  crags above lakes,  caves in the crags and rivers inside crags,  like a fairyland in a city rarely seen in other cities. The park features karst crags and lakes.  The seven crags line in the shape of the Great Dipper, hence the name of Seven Star Crags Park.  The Great Dipper shaped seven crags cut the lake into 5 parts,  creating a magnificent view!

Visiting Time: suggested half day
Entrance Fee:  RMB 60 ( excluding some pay caves )
Opening Hours: 7:30 – 17:30
Location:   2 km north Zhaoqing’s city center, about 100 km west of Guangzhou
How to Get There
Busing to the park from Gangzhou, Shenzhen and major cities in Guangdong Province.

Seven Star Crags Park
Seven Star Crags Park

Tip:  Hassle-free Guangdiong Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer
the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Guangdong:

Guanzhou Kaiping (Diaolou) One Day Tour
Guangzhou Shenzhen 4 Day Tour
Guangzhou Zhuhai 3 Day Tour
Guangzhou 3 Day Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Guangzhou

Top 10 Attractions in Shenzhen

Top 10 Attractions in Zhuhai

Any questions, just drop a line.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Attractions in Guangdong

  1. Dear Helene,

    You should go to the city of Meizhou ( 梅州).
    Location: Meizhou is about 500 km northeast of Guangzhou City
    How to Get There
    Take buses to Meizhou from Guangzhou (4 hours) or Shenzhen (3 hours)

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