When you buy the ticket, the flight seems to be direct; in fact, you stop in Urumqui to pass the passport and customs control. The stop is quite long: the fellow Chinese passengers even had time to eat their instant noodles, which they probably missed.
In Guangzhou, we easily found the way: its metro is modern and comprehensible, with the signs in English.
We stayed with couchsurfers for three days, rambling around Guangzhou with them or alone. Apart from other reasons, we like couchsurfing because the new friends always know nice places to eat in the city, unlike, for instant, the hotel employees. In Guangzhou, they brought us to a wonderful small restaurant, which we would not have found on our own. Still, we did not avoid the chicken heads in the plate: this is Guangzhou traditional dish.
Also, the new friends brought us to their friend’s house to a hot pot party. Hot pot is also traditional Chinese meal. Broth is boiled in a big pot, and guests put in different ingredients they want, and fish them out when they are ready. Hot pot can be made with fish, chicken, and meet; this time we tried the chicken one, with the chicken heads for a better broth, of course.
The food in Guangzhou was a matter of constant surprise for us. Even though Nastya eats everything, we had to throw away locally popular bean drink, and some food products were unusual even by their appearance.
What concerns the cultural part, the city has enough sights to spend several days in it, and the free maps are kindly distributed in the large hotels. We started with the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (87, LiuRong Road, Yuexiu District Guanghzou), housing 55-meter pagoda. The temple was built in 537 and got its poetic name from the fact that Six Banyan Trees indeed grew in its garden. Today the Temple accommodates the Buddhist Association of Guangzhou, and its pagoda became a storage and display of 1000 Buddha statues.
Later, we visited Guangzhou Liuhuahu Park, tranquil and huge. One can walk, ride the catamarans, enjoy the architecture and see how locals entertain themselves here.
Just-married couples come to the park for photo shots, and teenagers – to rehearse their dances:
To be honest, the park was so peaceful and the jetlag so unbearable, that we could not stand it anymore and lay down on the grass. It seems that we did not sleep long, as the policemen politely woke us up: the park is not intended for sleeping.
We also went to Chen Clan Academy (Folk Art Museum, 34, En Long Li, Zhong Shan Liu Road ), which once was the place for praising ancestors and studying. In 1958, this temple was renovated and turned into a museum. It accommodates many yards, buildings, statues, and other works of art, including ceramics and bonsai.
Another important sight is a Sun Yat-sen Memorial (259, Dong Feng Zhong Road,Yuexiu District) – a monument to the revolutionist and the first president of Chinese Republic, posthumously honored as «father of nation». He was a theoretician of Chinese politics, a Chinese Carl Marx, and many Chinese referred to him as a teacher of Mao Zedong. This memorial building, occupying 60 thousand square meters, was erected on the place of the house in which Sun Yat-sen had been working.
One more historical sight is a Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, who ruled from 137 BC to 122 BC, and whose tomb was discovered in downtown Guangzhou only in 1983 году.
It is also nice to walk along the Pearl river in Guangzhou.
Or to shop! Guangzhou has everything: tea, food (even a separate market for different ugly creatures), and Chinese clothes, of course.
Apart from multiple shopping malls, it has two huge markets– a simpler and cheaper Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street and a fancier Beijing Road Shopping District. Street food is available in both markets.
We planned to see more of Guangzhou on the way back, before flying home, but then the country celebrated Chinese New Year, and everything was closed. After Guangzhou we went by train to Shenzhen to fly to Kuala Lumpur.