11 Days Free and Easy China Tour – Day 9 Guangzhou Canton Tower, Opera House and Huacheng Square

Heading to Wulin Chushen for Dim Sum Breakfast

We were already into the last leg of our 11 Days China Tour. So we needed not get up early to catch a train ride to anywhere this morning. We took our own sweet time to rise up and had plenty of time to sleep. Of course in Guangzhou, we were dying to try out dim sum in the city. It was already 9.30 am when we approached front desk for recommendation. We were advised to try out the restaurant just along the main road three minutes walk away.

So off we went to look for this restaurant. We turned left from Paco Business Hotel to walk along Guangli Road and then turned left again at the junction to walk along Tiyu West Road. After passing the MRT station, we found Wulin Chushen quite easily. We entered the restaurant but the ground floor was a waiting and display area where the movie Ip Man was shown on TV.

We proceeded upstairs and found the restaurant very spacious with plenty of tables and seats. Quite a number of diners were already enjoying their dim sum breakfast. This wasn’t a low end type of restaurant, but with a very pleasant and presentable ambiance. We were ushered to a table and we took our seats.

Sumptuous and Delicious Dim Sum Breakfast

Menus were given to us and we took our time to pour through the vast varieties of dim sum available. When we had finally made up our mind, we called the waiter to place our order.

The waiter gave us tea leaves packets and taught us how to make our own Chinese tea. A side table connected with the table is actually a cabinet to keep plates and cups and a tap on top with an electric kettle. Bowls were available and we had to firstly pour boiled water into a big bowl to rinse the smaller cups in this big bowl. We also rinsed the teapot with some hot water and then put the packet tea leaves into the teapot and added hot water. After a while, we could pour out the Chinese tea into our small tea cups. We could add more hot water into the teapot after that or change the tea leaves when necessary. It was an interestingly experience to begin our dim sum breakfast.

Soon our dim sum items came and our table was filled up rather quickly. The variety and amount of food we ordered were pretty amazing. The quality of food was very good. It was a very sumptuous breakfast. Actually, we were too greedy and ordered too much. We were so full after this first meal of the day. We liked the ambiance of this restaurant, very Chinese and traditional and the spaciousness of this restaurant was great compared to those restaurants we had dim sum in Hong Kong like Tim Ho Wan.

Explore Tee Mall near Paco Business Hotel

After the wonderful breakfast, we returned to Paco Business Hotel for a short break to decide where to explore this day. Now we already knew the way around and we found this neighbourhood rather pleasant. People were on the street going about their business with Tiyu West MRT Station around the corner. Back in our rooms having made ourselves comfortable and refreshed, it was time to head out to explore the city.

So we were back on the street heading back to Tiyu West Road. The street was lively on Christmas Day. A clown was on the street giving out balloons to kids. We entered entrance A of Tiyu Xilu MRT Station and walked over to Tee Mall. The mall was already busy as it was already noon time.

Tee Mall is a quite a huge mall with many floors to explore. A departmental store is an anchored tenant brimming with shoppers. The store was having a Christmas Sale with substantial discounts given and it was quite tempting to buy a tailor made suit there. So we took some time to explore the many levels of retailers checking out stores and also restaurants. The arcade was packed with young people as this was Christmas Day.

Refreshing Desserts at Hui Lau Shan

Closer to 1 pm, it was time to settle down for a break. As we already had a huge meal just three hours ago, we decided to patronize a dessert café. So we found a table at Hui Lau Shan. We ordered different items to sample and we found them very good. Service was excellent too. We couldn’t say the same for the café at City Square in Johor Bahru. This café in Guangzhou was so much better. So we indulged in some sweet and soothing stuff at the same time used their wifi to surf the internet. This café is located in the middle overlooking different floors in the mall. It was a great place to relax and people watch for a while.

After this break, we continued windows shopping for a short while more and then exited the mall. The main entrance was a hive of activities. The outdoor area was a fountain with Christmas decorations. The Christmas deco were quite attractive adorned in soft colours. Shoppers were busy taking pictures with their little children no doubt having a great time. We didn’t spend too much time here because to would like to visit Canton Tower just a few stations away.

Visit Canton Tower via MRT

So we walked over to the Tianhe South MRT Station. This is a direct line all the way to Canton Tower. We entered the station and bought our train tickets. After collecting the tokens, we went to the platform to wait for the train. Not long after, we were on our way to Canton Tower. It was nearly 2 pm when we exited the station to walk up the Canton Tower.

Although it was winter in Guangzhou, it wasn’t cold at all. However, visibility wasn’t very good this day. The sun didn’t seem to appear and we couldn’t tell it was due to haze or fog. So there was no point paying to go up Canton Tower to view the city. Nevertheless, Canton Tower is quite unique with its spiral steel structure. All we did was to take a few pictures and then we walked down to the riverfront.

Stroll along Zhujiang River

Over at Zhujiang River, there were some visitors hanging out at the park along the river. Some were cycling and others like us were just strolling along the waterfront admiring the surrounding especially across the river’s high-rise buildings. Boats were plying on the river up and down stream but the boats didn’t seem to be full. Perhaps the hazy weather might be the reason why many were staying away from the river cruise. Maybe some might be waiting for evening to come to enjoy a better lit up night view of the city along the river.

We then walked left along the river and came to a wharf and a ticketing booth. Again some visitors were at the wharf but not very many. It was just 2.30 pm but the skies were not bright, a little gloomy and hence, probably the reason for the slow business. We encountered quite a number of young people on bicycles visiting this park along Zhujiang River.

Visit Hongcheng Park

Continuing our walk along the park, we reached a bridge. We then walked up the bridge and crossed the river. We descended to the middle island and walked to Hongcheng Park. There were some reconstruction works at the bridge and under the bridge near the park as well.

So we took a stroll into the park and took pictures of the many statues of famous historical figures, some ancient and some more recent. China being an ancient nation with a very long history, so there are quite a number of statues to commemorate these historical characters. Though there was absence of crowd, the park was lovely, especially for us to have the whole park to ourselves.

We then climbed back up the bridge and crossed over to the other side of Zhujiang River. Over this side of the river, we found ourselves in the quiet part of the city walking past tall commercial buildings after turning right on Linjiang Avenue. We continued walking along until we reached the junction with Huaxia Road. Guangzhou Opera House was just right in front.

Coffee Break at Opera House

After crossing Huaxia Road, we walked into the Opera House. The exterior architecture of the Opera House is quite futuristic in design that reminded us of the movie 2012. There were cyclists outside the Opera House too. Inside the Opera House, we went straight into a café. It was about time we settled down for a break as well because we were a little tired by then.

The interior of this café was quiet and tastefully decorated, very spacious as well. It was a little like a library setup, very youthful in deco and style. Indeed we only came across young people while we were there. Furnishing inside the café was pleasantly simple and clean-cut. Christmas decorations were visible at the entrance. This place had all the right vibes for a relaxing time over a cuppa.

It was nearly 4 pm and time to have a bite. We ordered some Italian set meals and rested for quite a while in the café. The food was great and wifi was good as we while away the time at this quiet and relaxing café. We did enjoy this short break where the pasta and bake rice were good and likewise the coffee and tea. We also took the opportunity to use the washrooms here as well.

Explore Attractions near Opera House

After this nice break, it was time to explore the surrounding of the Opera House and other attractions in the vicinity. There are some sculptures and art pieces outside the Opera House. They are quite unique too. The special architecture design of the Opera House is quite outstanding in the midst of all the skyscrapers here. Canton Tower across Zhujiang River added another dimension to this interesting venue.

Not far from Guangzhou Opera House is a stadium. Music and singing were coming out from the stadium that seemed to be a rehearsal for the coming New Year Eve countdown celebration. There were more visitors outdoor here than inside the Opera House. We encountered some more cyclists here as well. It seems like the best way to enjoy the outdoor around this area including visiting Canton Tower is to rent a bike.

We then walked towards the more crowded area with heavier human traffic. We found ourselves approaching the Guangdong Museum. Unfortunately it was fast approaching 5 pm and the museum was about to close. Outside the museum were booths selling food and drinks and some volunteers were giving out fliers to champion some social cause.

Leisure Time Near Guangzhou Library

We then walked next door and found the entrance to Guangzhou Library. The entrance of the library was a busy place with visitors entering and leaving. We didn’t want to look at Chinese books although we were sure English books would be available so we gave the library a miss. The library was however, very pretty, and the design of this library building was very unique and nice as well. Moreover, this library looked huge.

Not far from the library we found an interesting cylindrical booth. It turned out to be a post office with uniquely beautiful design where the ends were display panels for electronic advertisement and such. This booth looks so futuristic and cool, a good place to shop for some souvenirs as well. The people in Guangzhou are indeed very creative.

It was time to look for a place to sit down and wait for nightfall. It was getting dark anyway and we found a place by the pond near the Opera House. Quite a number of people were also sitting there reading or playing with their mobile phones. We took our seats as well to wait for Canton Tower to light up.

Lighting up at Huacheng Square

Sitting near the pond outside the back of Opera House, we could see reflections of the stadium, the Opera House as well as Canton Tower. Not long after, Canton Tower was lighting up and it wasn’t dark yet. Lights on Canton Tower started changing soon after lighting up. So we sat around the pond for a short while more and then walked to the open area of Huacheng Square.

By now, it was getting darker and skyscrapers were lighting up as well. Moreover, multi-colour lights on the ground were lit up too. The entire open area of Huacheng Square became more exciting with visitors thronging the area, young and old taking pictures of the surrounding and in particular, the beautifully lit up Canton Tower with its changing lights. Many visitors were attracted to the lights on the ground as well taking picture of themselves reflecting those lights from the ground. This whole area instantly became a massive playground, especially for the kids running around happily.

The lit up buildings were indeed beautiful especially the library which looked so grand in the night. One of the buildings in the distance was a huge display panel with Christmas greetings flashing in between other messages. The vibes at night at this venue was so different and so much more charming. The hazy day was a thing of the past and a night of glittering lights replaced the dull day we witnessed earlier.

Views of Canton Tower from Huacheng Square

Over across Zhujiang River, Canton Tower was the star of the night. Its changing colours were undoubtedly the centre piece of attraction here. Visitors and tourists alike were capturing the mesmerizing Canton Tower in picture form on their phones or cameras. All kinds of amusing pose could be seen with happy visitors hoping to capture a part of the tower with them superimposed in the magical lights of this imposing structure.

We then walked forward nearer towards Zhujiang River for a closer look at Canton Tower. The changing lights of the stadium on our right complemented the lit up Canton Tower. The stadium was still busy but the music and singing seemed to be dying down. We could tell the repetitive singing for the rehearsal was coming to a close.

Near the river, it was rather quiet at this location. Canton Tower was much clearer at this nearer spot but the river scene didn’t attract any crowd. The venue however was also nicely lit up and pretty cool as well. This area was more like a quiet park at night. After taking a few shots of Canton Tower, we walked back to the busy Huacheng Square where crowds congregate.

Enjoy Huacheng Square at Night

Walking back looking at those beautifully lit and changing lights skyscrapers was quite enjoyable. Of course we shared the excitement of those at the square enjoying the lights show as well as the pretty lights from the ground.

It was really great to see kids running around happily with their parents for a wonderful night out in a safe area where they could have freedom take in so much fun. The grandly lit library caught our attention again as we walked past. We would probably visit the library should we return during the next visit.

Shop and Dine at Huacheng Square

Instead of walking in the open area, we entered the underground area of the MRT Station where a lot of people were already there shopping and dining in the underground mall. We took note of some interesting shops and then saw a local restaurant along the passage way and decided to settle down for our evening meal. We ordered the local set meals of rice and noodles and had a simple and yet satisfying dinner.

After dinner, we walked on and explored the mall. There were more shops and eateries and more importantly, we found our favourite French Bakery, Tous Les Jours. We went in and grabbed some bread and pastries intending for supper. This would be another round of indulgence we looked forward to back in Paco Business Hotel later in the night.

As we continued walking in this underground mall, we soon reached a traditional multi-level mall. A supermarket is on the basement level. Once we went up, there were a few floors of retailers for higher end shopping. We walked past G2000 and they were giving 70% discounts on clothes. So I tried out a tailor suit and bought a set. I needed to alter the pants as it was too long. I was recommended to head up one floor inside another departmental store. A tailor service was available to get the job done at just CNY 20.

Back to Paco Business Hotel

With shopping done, we hopped back into the MRT Station and took a train back to Tiyu Xilu MRT Station. Exiting at exit A, we walked back to Paco Business Hotel easily via Tianhe Street and then Guangli Road. It had been a long day out and we were glad to be back to our clean, comfortable and cosy rooms.

After taking turns to shower and making ourselves comfortable, it was supper time with the bakery stuff we bought at Tous Les Jours. Coffee aroma filled our room and the pastries were great. We had a great time enjoying one another’s company chatting away until it was time to retire back to our own rooms.

Then watching TV and surfing the internet brought us to sleeping time. It would be another day to explore Guangzhou City in the morning and we had much to look forward to. So with lights out, we slept tight through the night after a long day out in the city.

Continue to Day 10

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