October is the ideal month to visit one of the largest cities in China. Here you will find stunning architecture and a whole host of artistic treats to catch up with, plus a mild autumn climate to enjoy
After saying goodbye to the extremely hot summer, Guangzhou city now welcomes the best season of the year – autumn. Whether cycling along the city's green pathways or walking in the city centre, this is the best time to enjoy all that Guangzhou has to offer.
National Day parade
To celebrate China’s National Day on 1 October, there is a week long public holiday. A local music festival, Southfest, will be held at the Fisher’s Ferry in Pan Yu district on 1 and 2 October, transforming the square into a musical and carnival heaven. The festival, which is celebrating its fourth year, will bring together dozens of local bands, a market of handmade arts and crafts, and loads of fun.
Pan Yu district
The bi-annual Canton Fair, also known as the China Import and Export Fair, is the month’s most important business event, commencing on 15 October. As one of the largest commercial expos in the world, the fair brings a flood of traders into the city, giving Guangzhou a bustling and international ambience. The trade fair is divided into three phases, two for export business and the third for the import market.
One of the exhibition halls at Guangzhou's Canton Fair
Guangzhou Opera House, designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid, will welcome the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Russia’s oldest and greatest symphony orchestra, on the night of 16 October. Led by the conductor Yuri Temirkanov, the orchestra will present the free Russian style of Tchaikovsky with cello soloist Dimitri Maslennikov, as well as Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. Other touring troupes such as Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the a capella quartet Musical Island Boys from New Zealand, will help fill up the rest of October's calendar.
Guangzhou Opera House, designed by Zaha Hadid
Strolling indoors in the downtown area is appropriate all year round. The marvellous Guangdong Museum, in its glistening Zhu Jiang New Town home, is always a must-see destination for tourists. The exhibition, First Americans: Tribal Art of North America, will last until 20 October.
In October, German fare also spreads worldwide with The Ocktoberfest beer festival. German restaurants in Guangzhou, such as 1920, Paulaner Bräuhaus and Wunderbar, will celebrate the festival with authentic sausage, beer, bread and sauerkraut all accompanied with Bavarian music and dance.
For night owls, the 1200 Bookshop is the first store of its kind in the city that is open 24 hours a day, so you can browse the shelves or pick up a book at anytime. Alternatively, the chic, club style atmosphere of Mandarin Oriental's sophisticated bar, The Loft, provides the perfect spot to relax with a cocktail.
During the day, ascend the Canton Tower for a panoramic view of the whole city. You will feel as though you can touch the blue autumn sky. Hop on to one of the sightseeing spherical cabins on the ‘bubble tram’ at the top of the tower, or take a heart-stopping ride on the world’s highest vertical free fall between 455 and 485 metres, or take pictures from one of the stunning glass outdoor observation decks on the 107th and 108th floors.
To calm your heart rate after the giddy heights of the Canton Tower, why not pop in to the Taikoo Lounge at Mandarin Oriental for afternoon tea, perhaps with a glass of champagne, while deciding between the grill or Cantonese restaurant for your evening meal.
Jessie Huang is the editor of
lifeofguangzhou.com, a South China-based English website for the local expatriates