Skip Navigation

Travel Guide Asia China Guangdong

edit

Introduction

Guangdong is a province in South China, located on the South China Sea coast. Traditionally romanised as Canton or Kwangtung, Guangdong surpassed Henan and Sichuan to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year; the total population was 104,303,132 in the 2010 census, accounting for 7.79 percent of Mainland China's population. The provincial capital Guangzhou and economic hub Shenzhen are among the most populous and important cities in China. The population increase since the census has been modest, the province at 2015 had 108,500,000 people.

Top

edit

Geography

Guangdong faces the South China Sea to the south and has a total of 4,300 kilometres of coastline. Leizhou Peninsula is on the southwestern end of the province. There are a few inactive volcanoes on Leizhou Peninsula. The Pearl River Delta is the convergent point of three upstream rivers: the East River, North River, and West River. The river delta is filled with hundreds of small islands. The province is geographically separated from the north by a few mountain ranges collectively called the Nan Mountains (Nan Ling). The highest peak in the province is Shikengkong with an elevation of 1,902 metres above sea level.

Guangdong borders Fujian to the northeast, Jiangxi and Hunan to the north, Guangxi autonomous region to the west, and Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions to the south. Hainan is offshore across from the Leizhou Peninsula. The Pratas Islands, which were traditionally governed as part of Guangdong, are now administered by the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Cities around the Pearl River Delta include Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Shunde, Taishan, Zhongshan and Zhuhai. Other cities in the province include Chaozhou, Chenghai, Nanhai, Shantou, Shaoguan, Zhanjiang, Zhaoqing, Yangjiang and Yunfu.

Top

edit

Cities

  • Guangzhou is the capital and main city in Guangdong
  • Shenzhen - Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
  • Zhuhai - Special Economic Zone (SEZ)

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

China has three "Golden Week" holidays per year. People get a mandatory two or three days off work for each holiday, and workers' companies can grant them the rest of the week off, making each holiday a total of 7 days. As you can imagine, having almost 1.4 billion people with the same days off can make travelling at these times arduous to say the least.

Travelling during the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year is incredibly difficult. Chinese New Year is China's Christmas, so the millions of migrant workers and students flood back to their home towns. Everybody else takes the opportunity to spend their hong bao (gifts of money traditionally given at CNY) and go travelling. Most of the time, since you are only allowed to purchase train tickets 6 days in advance and must be present in the city of origin, sometimes only standing room tickets are available. Be aware! The Spring Festival is undoubtedly the busiest time for the Chinese transportation system. Flying will avoid the crowded trains, but book early and expect to pay higher prices. All the main tourist attractions will be crawling with tourists (worse than usual), so unless you like crowds, it's best to avoid it altogether.

Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, so the date changes each year. The Chinese New Year/Spring Festival holiday is 7 days long and usually starts on New Year's Eve.

The two other national holidays are October 1st, National Day, celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China and May 1st, which is International Labor Day. Almost all Chinese get the two holidays off and many take the opportunity to travel. If you want to avoid the crowds, fly, but it should get a lot less busy towards the end of the week.

Top

edit

Weather

Guangdong has a humid subtropical climate, though nearing a tropical climate in the far south. Winters are short, mild, and relatively dry, while summers are long, hot, and very wet. Average daily highs in Guangzhou in January and July are 18 °C and 33 °C respectively, although the humidity makes it feel much hotter in summer. Frost is rare on the coast but may happen a few days each winter well inland.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

  • Baiyun International Airport (广州白云国际机场) (IATA: CAN, ICAO: ZGGG) is located quite a distance outside of the city of Guangzhou and is the main gateway to Guangdong. It's one the biggest airports in China and also one of the fastest growing airports in the world. Flights arrive/depart from this modern airport to many destinations around the world and within China. A long bus or taxi ride (about 1 hour) is required to reach it from the city centre. However taxis and shuttle buses are readily available just outside of the terminal.
  • Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX) has flights to most destinations throughout China. It is more economical flying to/from Shenzhen compared to Hong Kong, especially regarding domestic flights. Low-cost airline Air Asia has daily flights to/from Kuala Lumpur (~RMB1,000, 4 hours), Kota Kinabalu (~RMB1,500, 4 hours) and Bangkok (~RMB900, 4 hours).

By Train

The area is also well connected to the rest of China by road and rail.

By Boat

There are also many ports, mainly container ports handling massive freight traffic, but with some passenger services. In particular, there are ferries (mostly fast hydrofoils) connecting Hong Kong and Macau with the neighboring Guangdong cities Shenzhen and Zhuhai, and some even run upriver to Guangzhou. See the city articles for details.

Top

edit

Getting Around

As elsewhere in China, there is an extensive rail network; Guangzhou is one of the major hubs. Rail is the main means of inter-city travel for the Chinese themselves, and many visitors travel that way as well. The system now includes fast bullet trains on some routes; unless your budget is very tight, these are the best way to go - fast, clean and comfortable.

All the major cities have airports with good domestic connections; some have international connections as well. See the individual city articles for details.

There is also an extensive highway network, much of it very good. Busses go almost anywhere, somewhat cheaper than the trains.

Top

edit

Language

Although Mandarin is widely spoken, almost universally by educated people, especially in areas like Shenzhen and Zhuhai which have been built through migration from all across China, the historic and main language of the whole region is Cantonese, which is often wrongly believed to be a dialect of Mandarin, but greatly differs from Mandarin as much as French differs from Italian. Cantonese people are extremely proud and protective of their language (this applies in Hong Kong as well) and they all continue to use it widely despite efforts at Mandarinization. Cantonese itself is more closely related to the language of the great Tang Dynasty than the more modern (circa Yuan Dynasty) Mandarin. Cantonese people worldwide tend to refer to themselves as "Tong Yan" (People of the Tang in Cantonese) rather than Han, the standard appellation for ethnic Chinese.

Note that there can be significant dialectal variations within Cantonese, and the Cantonese spoken in areas in the far Western reaches of Guangdong (e.g. Taishan) are only marginally, or sometimes even not mutually intelligible with the Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong or Guangzhou. Cantonese is also the native language of the neighboring northeastern part of Guangxi province. Nevertheless, the Guangzhou dialect of Cantonese is considered to be the prestige dialect, and is generally understood throughout the Cantonese-speaking areas.

At the coastal areas near the border with Fujian, most notably Chaozhou and Shantou, a language called Teochew (the native pronunciation of Chaozhou) is spoken. Teochew is not mutually intelligible with Cantonese or Mandarin, but is to a small extent mutually intelligible with the Xiamen dialect of Hokkien, which is part of the Min Nan group.

Certain parts of the province, especially the border areas, are also home to Hakka communities whose Hakka dialect is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin or Teochew and only slightly with Cantonese.

Top

edit

Eat

Guangdong has many restaurants, with Guangzhou in particular having a reputation as a diner's paradise. Other than sit-down restaurants, bustling night markets provide an eclectic mix of inexpensive finger foods, snacks, and delicacies. These markets are filled with shops and food carts integrating the eating and window-shopping experiences. Night markets are usually very crowded with both tourists and locals.

Top

edit

Drink

Top

edit

Sleep

Top

Contributors

as well as Lavafalls (3%)

Guangdong Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Guangdong

This is version 12. Last edited at 7:07 on Aug 16, 17 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License