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Old September 10th, 2013, 02:29 AM   #1
Pansori
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Guangzhou|广州|Гуанчжоу|Guangdžou|Kanton

If anyone's checked out my thread on Shenzhen this one shall be the chronological continuation of it.

For those who are only interested in Guangzhou, welcome to one of China's biggest, most vibrant and most amazing cities.

Guangzhou is pretty much bordering Shenzhen and is a part of what shall become by far the world's largest urbanized area. And no it's no bullshit. All it takes is to take a drive or a train ride from one place to another to realize that. It's almost scary seeing the speed and scale of urbanization in the entire region of the PRD. I'll post some pictures from the route Guangzhou-Zhuhai later to show what I mean.

Guangzhou has always been at the center of the PRD and despite the colossal rise of Shenzhen as the main center of the region it retains its positions as the commercial and transportation hub. It is really an extraordinary case where a 14+ million city coexists with another 14+ million city right next to it.

What is even more amazing that despite those two megacities being so close Guangzhou seems a world apart from Shenzhen. Not just by appearance but also by many cultural aspects. For instance you'll hear much more Cantonese spoken on the street as opposed to Shenzhen which is almost exclusively Mandarin-speaking. The city seems more 'cultured' and settled albeit less modern and glitzy than Shenzhen (which is understandable).

Another thing that I found quite fascinating about Guangzhou is the cosmopolitan touch. I never expected to see so many foreigners in China. Lots of Africans (from Somalians to Nigerians), Russians, other Europeans, Arabs... pretty much anything from anywhere. And I never had a problem communicating in English which is not necessarily common in China. I found it really (and I mean REALLY) contrasting not only with Shenzhen but also with Shanghai which despite being the most famous, biggest and supposedly most international city in China is no comparison to Guangzhou when it comes to being cosmopolitan and open. For me as a foreigner this really gives a very special and desired touch to the city in addition to its fascinating urban fabric and attractions.

The starting point is the mage-huge Guangzhou South Railway Station which is located about 17km to the South from the CBD. The station is absolutely vast. Very much like a big contemporary Airport terminal. I was there in 2011 too. Back then it was just opened and not yet as lively. In 2013 the picture seems rather different. I couldn't say it was crowded but it certainly was busy. I suppose it will get more busy once other HSR routes will open. Especially the Hong Kong section of the Beijing-Hong Kong HSR route
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I have posted this in my Shenzhen thread but I suppose it's worth posting it again here. A collection of Satellite images comparing railway stations in China and a few major European Railway stations. Guangzhou South is the first one. Just to have an idea what I mean by saying that this station is effing huge
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Old September 10th, 2013, 02:43 AM   #2
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Views from the 15th floor apartment where I was staying overviewing Liwanhu Park. The elevated highway below is the inner ring road

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Old September 10th, 2013, 03:19 AM   #3
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Bus ride

The next day riding Tour Bus No.1 from Zhongshanba Bus station to Yuntai Garden Bus Terminal at the foot of Baiyun Mount. The flat fare is Ą2 which is pretty good value. Especially for longer distances. I'm not sure exactly how extensive the bus network is in Guangzhou but it seems pretty good, easy to understand and clearly marked at bus stops. What rather surprised me though was that buses didn't seem to be crowded as I would have expected. Especially given how notoriously crowded the metro stations and trains can get. Maybe I was just lucky
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Typical city buses
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There are trolleybuses in Guangzhou too. It's not very easy to find any info in English though: how large is the system, how many routes, how many trolleybuses, what's the future of the system etc. The general trend is that trolleybus systems are being gradually abolished in many cities worldwide in favor of fuel-efficient or electric buses. I'm not sure what's the situation in Guangzhou
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Old September 10th, 2013, 03:29 AM   #4
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Baiyun Mountain

The destination of the bus ride was Yuntai Garden which is at the foot of Baiyun Mountain. It is one of the popular outdoor attractions in Guangzhou providing excellent hike and viewing spots. It was raining so I didn't take any photos on my way but this is the view from the cable car which will take me to the top of the mountain
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Advancing under elevated S81 Guangzhou Ring Expressway. I like the idea of a cable car which goes under expressway
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Outdoor basketball courts below
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:09 AM   #5
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Baiyun Mountain

Still from the cable car. All of a sudden the colossal skyline appears
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The skyline of Tianhe CBD. Only after looking at the numbers I realized how really badass it actually is. This is one of the most colossal skylines in the world by any measure. For the moment there are 7 supertalls completed or topped out (including the Canton Tower which is technically not a skyscraper but in reality is probably even better than that) and another 3 supertalls U/C including the prominent CTF Guangzhou which will rise to a staggering 530 meters (1740ft) without spires or other fake stuff. This means we're looking at 10 supertalls in a few years time in this one picture alone
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A wider view. I have noticed that despite clearly very impressive skyscrapers and excellent density in order to create a great skyline it somehow doesn't give that striking impact as some skylines elsewhere. The reason for that is because of surrounding context which is countless other highrises all over the place which somewhat reduce the striking impact of the CBD cluster. In American cities the downtown skyline would typically contrast with lowrise buildings right outside the cluster whereas Shanghai's Pudong is isolated by a wide river when looking from the most popular observation points so creating a more striking impression. In either case once you realize how actually tall those buildings are it's really quite a sight
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Last edited by Pansori; September 10th, 2013 at 04:19 AM.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:22 AM   #6
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Baiyun Mountain

Random views
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:30 AM   #7
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Baiyun Mountain

The diversity of supertall designs is pretty amazing too. However, in my opinion at least, none of them even remotely match the impact of the 600m Canton Tower which must be one of the most impressive things that have ever been built. It's just so damn beautiful from any angle, from any distance and during any time of day or night
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The iconic City Plaza which used to be the main skyscraper landmark of Guangzhou
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Old September 11th, 2013, 12:26 AM   #8
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Amazing city, nice detailed thread! Plan to go there in December during my HK visit.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 12:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsky View Post
Amazing city, nice detailed thread! Plan to go there in December during my HK visit.
Please please please take your time to take some photos.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 01:16 AM   #10
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Baiyun Mountain

More views from the viewing platform at Baiyun Mountain
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Old September 11th, 2013, 01:20 AM   #11
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Baiyun Mountain

As you can see there is quite a bit of construction activity all over the city
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Zhujiang New Town still has a lot of construction activity despite being a virtually complete development. There are 5 supertalls complete or U/C in this picture
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The elevated S81 Guangzhou Ring
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Old September 11th, 2013, 01:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pansori View Post
Beautiful.

Who designed the station, btw? That interior shot reminds me of Lisbon's Oriente.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 03:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Beautiful.

Who designed the station, btw? That interior shot reminds me of Lisbon's Oriente.
It's seemingly designed by Terry Farrell. That particular shot of the interior is of the lower floor (arrivals). There is another (underground) floor below which is dedicated to metro access. And two floors above: train platforms and the upper floor for departures and waiting hall. I'll post pictures of that one later.

Overall it's a very nice and good station but not a match to Shenzhen North when it comes to interior aesthetics.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 05:04 AM   #14
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Is this the region of mainland china where Cantonese is spoken?
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Old September 11th, 2013, 05:09 AM   #15
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It sure is. Except Shenzhen of course which is a 'migrant' city where people come from all over China.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 04:57 PM   #16
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Cantonese is spoken throughout Guangdong province. The name "Cantonese" in Chinese literally means "Guangdong language".
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Old September 16th, 2013, 02:42 AM   #17
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Baiyun Mountain

I shall continue with my photo tour of Guangzhou from Baiyun Mountain

Visibility is deteriorating. It was perfect after the heavy rain but after about 30-50 minutes it came to 'normal' (I guess)
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Old September 16th, 2013, 02:52 AM   #18
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Baiyun Mountain

Housing

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Viewing/resting deck at Baiyun Mountain
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Closeup of the CBD. You can barely see the buildings in a distance. There is bridge to the right from Canton Tower. Not sure which one it is but I guess it's Panyu Bridge which is about 15km away
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Old September 16th, 2013, 02:58 AM   #19
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Baiyun Mountain

As can be seen from Baiyun Mountain Guangzhou has a very beautiful latural landscape. It also looks vast
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It's really a great feeling to see all of that. Especially in locations where you can see to more than just one direction. Guangzhou looks really a huge. There are countless highrises for as far as the eyes can see
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Old September 16th, 2013, 03:03 AM   #20
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Baiyun Mountain

A perfect spot to see the skyline
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A big never-ending city
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This must look like a nightmare to those who come from the 'human scale' and 'new urbanism' fairytale dreamland. Guangzhou says to them: "F*** you. Because I can b***h"
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