Jan 16, 2024

By Goodnight Staff

Natural Attractions in and Around Guangzhou

While Guangzhou is often celebrated for its rapid development and cosmopolitan allure, it also offers abundant natural attractions that provide a refreshing counterpoint to the city's bustling pace.

From tranquil parks and scenic mountains to wildlife reserves and wetlands, Guangzhou and its surrounding areas are a treasure trove of natural wonders to explore.

In this article, we'll guide you through 15 must-visit natural attractions that offer a perfect blend of outdoor adventure, relaxation, and cultural enrichment. 

1. Baiyun Mountain

White Cloud Mountain (Baiyun Mountain) is one of the first incredible sights to be seen when arriving in Guangzhou. Its natural beauty, such as towering trees, crystal-clear springs, and densely forested mountains, draws people in. Visitors to this breathtaking place can relax while taking a respite from city life at this tranquil getaway spot.

Legend says five immortals visited Baiyun Mountain and saw its white cloud-shaped mountain ridge, giving rise to its name. Additionally, Baiyun Mountain houses many historical relics and cliff carvings from poets and writers of old. Furthermore, Baiyun Mountain used to be considered one of Guangzhou's 'Eight Sights.'

White Cloud Mountain has seven sightseeing zones, including Yuntai Garden, San Tailing Summit Park, and Mingchun Valley. Of these destinations, Yuntai Garden stands out as an exceptional attraction with abundant flowers and trees, one reason why Guangzhou has earned itself the moniker "City of Flowers."

2. Baishuizhai Scenic Area

An amazing waterfall cascades down Baishuizhai Mountain in Paitan town, Zengcheng district. This picturesque spot is an idyllic hiking destination widely recognized as South China's first step road.

It covers three mountains with 9,999 stone steps, including the Puming Stage on 1499 level platform, where visitors can hear its rushing waters cascading down. Hikers flock here from all around to take in its breathtaking view and listen out for the sound of cascading water crashing to the earth below.

The mountain park features various recreational activities, including KTVs, villas, lakeside restaurants, and swimming pools fed by natural hot springs. Furthermore, this area is home to many rare macaque monkeys, making great photo ops and watching their behavior first-hand.

3. Lychee Bay Scenic Area

Lychee Bay Scenic Area, locally known as Litchi Wan, is a captivating destination in Guangzhou's heart. This area is steeped in history and natural beauty, offering a serene escape from the city's bustling atmosphere.

Named after the lychee trees that once densely populated the area, Lychee Bay blends scenic waterways, ancient bridges, and traditional Lingnan architecture. The bay is enchanting during the summer months when the lychee trees are in full bloom, filling the air with their sweet aroma.

The area is crisscrossed with canals and waterways, making it a popular spot for boat rides that offer an uncommon viewpoint of the surrounding landscape. 

What sets Lychee Bay Scenic Area apart is its rich cultural heritage. The area is home to several historic sites, including the Wen Pagoda and Xiguan Ancient Houses, which glimpse Guangzhou's storied past.

4. Haixinsha Island

Haixinsha Island is a modern marvel that showcases the unique blend of urban refinement and natural beauty in Guangzhou. Located in the Pearl River, the island gained international fame when the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Asian Games took place here.

Today, it is an iconic landmark featuring a sprawling park, a state-of-the-art stadium, and stunning views of the Guangzhou skyline. The island is beautifully landscaped with lush greenery, walking paths, and water features, making it a popular visiting place for tourists and locals seeking a break from the city's fast paced life.

What makes Haixinsha Island truly special is its versatility as a recreational space. The island offers a range of activities to suit all interests, from strolls along the riverbank to cycling and jogging on well-maintained paths. The park also has modern amenities, including playgrounds for children and open-air stages for performances.

 5. Lianhua Mountain Scenic Area

Lianhua Mountain Scenic Area, also known as Lotus Mountain, is a natural wonder that offers a refreshing escape from the urban sprawl of Guangzhou. Located in the Panyu District, this scenic area is renowned for its lush landscapes, tranquil lakes, and, most notably, a lotus-shaped peak that gives the mountain its name.

The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, featuring a range of hiking trails that lead you through bamboo forests, past ancient temples, and up to the mountain's summit, where you're rewarded with panoramic views of the beautiful countryside and the Pearl River Delta.

What sets Lianhua Mountain apart is its rich historical and cultural significance. The mountain is home to several ancient attractions, including the 400-year-old Lianhua Tower and the Qingyun Temple, which glimpse China's rich heritage.

 6. Haizhu Wetland

Haizhu Wetland, situated in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou, is a natural sanctuary that starkly contrasts the city's bustling urban landscape. Often referred to as the "Green Lung of Guangzhou," this expansive wetland area is a vital ecosystem that serves as a habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna.

The wetland is crisscrossed by wooden boardwalks that allow visitors to explore its intricate waterways, reed beds, and mangrove forests. Birdwatchers will find the area particularly appealing, as it is home to various species of migratory birds, making it a vibrant spot, especially during the changing seasons.

What makes Haizhu Wetland truly special is its commitment to environmental conservation. The area is not just a tourist attraction but also an educational center that aims to raise awareness about the importance of wetland ecosystems.

 7. Tianlu Lake Forest Park

Tianlu Lake Forest Park is an all-natural tourist attraction featuring botanical gardens, medical plant collections, bamboo groves, endangered plant gardens, and Chaoshan people villages - making it an excellent spot for relaxation and spending summer holidays.

Legend holds that five celestial rams carrying sheaves of rice landed in what is now Guangzhou and bestowed their blessings, leading to abundant harvests and giving the city many nicknames such as Yangcheng (City of Rams), Suicheng (Sheaves of Rice City) and Wuyangcheng (City of Five Rams).

Guangzhou boasts a complex and varied topography with a subtropical marine monsoon climate, making it an ideal natural vacation spot. Furthermore, there are various eco-tourist resources for visitors looking for close encounters with nature, such as forest bathing, fishing, and resort tourism available within its boundaries. Furthermore, ecological education resources for urban residents help increase environmental awareness.

8. Liuxi River National Park

Liuxi River National Park is a sprawling natural reserve located about 93 kilometers northwest of Guangzhou, offering a perfect getaway for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. The park is well known for its stunning landscapes, which include lush forests, crystal-clear lakes, and the meandering Liuxi River that gives the park its name.

The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering many activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating. The park's diverse ecosystems are home to various wildlife, including rare bird species and freshwater fish, making it a hotspot for nature observation and photography.

Its focus on eco-tourism and sustainability sets Liuxi River National Park apart. The park is well-maintained with eco-friendly facilities, including designated camping areas, picnic spots, and educational centers that provide valuable information about the local flora and fauna.

9. Ersha Island

Ersha Island, or Er Sha Dao, is a unique blend of urban sophistication and natural tranquility in Guangzhou's heart. This man-made island in the Pearl River is a world apart from the bustling city surrounding it.

Known for its upscale residences and cultural landmarks like the Guangzhou Opera House and the Guangdong Museum, the island boasts beautifully landscaped parks and green spaces. The tree-lined avenues and riverside promenades offer a peaceful setting for morning jogs, evening strolls, or leisurely bike rides.

The island's well-maintained gardens are adorned with sculptures and fountains, adding an artistic touch to the natural surroundings.

10. Chimelong Safari Park

Chimelong Safari Park is a world-class wildlife park in the Panyu District of Guangzhou, offering an extraordinary experience that combines natural beauty with wildlife conservation. Covering an area of over 1,333,340 square meters, the park is home to more than 500 species of animals, including some that are rare and endangered.

Visitors can get up close and personal with diverse wildlife, from African elephants and white tigers to giant pandas and red-crowned cranes. The park's safari-style tour allows you to observe animals in settings that closely mimic their natural habitats, providing an educational and awe-inspiring experience.

11. Shamian Island

Shamian Island is an idyllic green sanctuary that will make you forget you're in a city. From Liwan Lake Park and waterfront promenade strolls to postcard-worthy Pearl River views from this sandbank paradise.

Furthermore, Shamian is home to historic buildings of European styles, such as French Catholic Churches and former British HSBC and French Consulates, that give an unforgettable experience.

Guangzhou's picturesque destination provides more than just an idyllic retreat from its busy streets; plenty keeps art enthusiasts and culinary connoisseurs occupied. Galleries showcase local and international talents while the culinary scene harmoniously highlights global flavors.

12. Pearl River (Zhujiang)

The Pearl River, or Zhujiang in Chinese, is the lifeblood of Guangzhou and a natural attraction that defines the city's landscape. Stretching over 2,400 kilometers, the Pearl River is the third-longest river in China and a vital waterway for trade and transportation.

However, it's not just the river's economic importance that makes it a must-visit; it's also a stunning natural spectacle, especially from the numerous parks and promenades that line its banks. The river comes alive at night, illuminated by the dazzling lights of the city skyline, and offers a serene setting for evening cruises.

The sight of traditional sampans gliding alongside modern yachts creates a beautiful contrast that encapsulates the blend of old and new in Guangzhou.

13. Yuexiu Mountain

Yuexiu Mountain, located in the heart of Guangzhou, is a natural oasis that perfectly blends scenic beauty and historical significance. The mountain is part of the larger Yuexiu Park, one of Guangzhou's oldest and most famous parks.

Yuexiu Mountain provides a peaceful retreat from the city's hustle and bustle with its lush greenery, tranquil lakes, and well-maintained walking paths. The mountain is also home to several historical landmarks, including the ancient city wall and the iconic Five Rams Sculpture, which has become a symbol of Guangzhou.

The panoramic views from the mountain's summit offer a unique perspective of the city, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists.

14. Guangzhou Zoo

Guangzhou Zoo, one of three of China's three largest city zoos, spans 42 hectares and features over 600 animal species as one of three city zoos that provide recreation, sightseeing, scientific research, and education to visitors alike.

Goldfish Garden boasts nearly 100 species totaling 10,000 fishes that are revered and precious; Animal Performance features performances by lions, tigers, monkeys, and dogs; Dinosaur World is equipped with modern technology bringing back vivid imagery of dinosaurs; Lake Scenery features picturesque springs, islands, and pavilions; while Butterfly World allows visitors to marvel at graceful butterflies.

The Central Exhibition features mammals such as giant pandas - which have become symbols of China - birds and beasts. Tigers Hill features fierce tigers who become restless if their meal arrives late; these hungry cats consume 6-7.5 kilograms of meat daily! It typically takes three or four hours to fully explore this zoo.

15. Southern China Botanical Garden

Southern China Botanical Garden in Tianhe District provides an ideal combination of botanical beauty and cultural history. It stands as China's oldest and largest South Asian tropical botanical garden, often referred to as a "Tropical and Sub-Tropical Botanic Museum."

Research and Residential Zone, Dinghushan Nature Reserve, and Nursery and Exhibition Zone comprise its three sections. Nursery and Exhibition Zone contains 30 gardens with modern conservatories as its subzones.

The garden offers visitors a variety of recreational activities. You can visit the recreated village of Shamian for a beautiful scenic spot and learn about its history and culture at the Science Education and Information Center.

The botanical garden provides exhibits that explore the relationship between plants and human beings, such as Time Tunnel, Plants and Human Beings, Botanical Ecology, Botanical Resource Protection, and Sustainable Utilization, as well as interactive displays designed for children. Furthermore, you can take a metro to reach it all year round - an excellent idea if you wish to spend a full day exploring its beauty!

Historical enthusiasts should visit the Museum of the Western Han Dynasty. Exhibits showcase how Nanyue King's mausoleum was excavated and its treasures, such as pots, iron swords, silk fabrics, ceramics, and Emperor seals.

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