Rising to stand 462 meters tall is the Canton Tower that overlooks the Haizhu District. It is one of the well-known landmarks of Guangzhou. Canton Tower is also the highest TV tower in China and is the third highest in the world. The view that is seen from the top of the tower is spectacular and is a sight that is not to be missed during any trip taken to Guangzhou.
- Location of the Canton Tower
- Getting to Canton Tower
- Things to do at the Canton Towers
- 1. Zone E
- 2. Zone D
- 3. Zone C
- 4. Zone B
- 5. Zone A
- Other infotainment activities in the Canton Tower
- Getting your tickets to visit Canton Tower
- 1. 433M Sightseeing Observation Decks
- 2. 450M Tower Top Look Out Combo
- 3. 460M Bubble Tram Combo
- 4. 488M Tower Glamour Pass
- Activities or sights to see around the Canton Tower
What makes this particular tower special is its unique design that was inspired by a lady’s who twists at her hip to look behind. The thinnest part of the tower is to resemble a lady’s waist and has a diameter of about 30 meters. The locals have fondly nicknamed the tower Xiao Man’s waist, named after a famous geisha of the Tang Dynasty who was known for her slender waist.
Location of the Canton Tower
The Tower is located at the banks of the Zhu or the Pearl River and is about a kilometer south of downtown Guangzhou.
Getting to Canton Tower
Being one of the prime sights to see in the city, getting to Canton Tower is quite easy. The Metro is the best choice of transport as you can avoid the city’s traffic. You can take the Orange Line or Line 3 of Guangzhou metro to the Canton Tower Station. But do note that the line is crowded during the day so it might be a tight squeeze.
But if you are coming in from the North using the APM Line, you will need to change Linhe West Station. Do note that this route is slightly longer than the Orange Line and will have a number of stops. But what takes the cake is that the APM metro line is driverless.
If you are taking a bus, then buses 11, 262, 468 or tour line 1 and hop off at Guangzhouta Xi (Canton Tower West) Station. But if you are on buses 121a, 121, 204, 262 and tour line 2, then you will need to get off at Zhujiang Dijingyuan Station. Once you get off at Zhujiang Dijingyuan Station, take a walk on the Yiyuan East Road till you reach the East Side of the Tower.
Things to do at the Canton Towers
While it may seem like there may not be much to do at the Canton Tower, there is actually quite a lot to see. The Tower is divided into 5 zones according to the height, Zone E, D, C, B and A. Each has something different to offer to the visitors and you will have to take a different ticket to head to various zones.
The Tower offers two thrilling experience along with its views: Sky Drop and Bubble Tram. But to experience this you will need to buy combo tickets.
If you are planning to visit the Tower, then do allocate a good 2 hours to explore just the Canton Tower only without taking any stop to have food. But do give yourself a couple of hours more time if you wish to explore the Tower more leisurely or if you wish to stop and grab a bite.
1. Zone E
Zone E starts at 376 meters or 1,233 feet and is considered to houses the most exciting parts of the Tower. It consists of 488 Lookout, Sky Drop, Bubble Tram, Engineering Marvel Tour Hall, the Star Observation Deck and the Cloud Observation Deck.
.488 Lookout: According to the Guinness World Record, the 488 Lookout is the highest outdoor observation deck. It makes for a good spot to get a panoramic view of the city.If you are visiting the Canton Tower in the evening, arrive well in time to catch the sunset, as it is a breathing taking experience. For those who love photography, the starry night captured for here makes for a perfect picture to be framed back home.
.Star and Cloud Observation Decks: Located on the 107th and 108th floors of the Canton Tower are the Star Observation Deck and the Cloud Observation Deck. If you want to buys souvenirs to take back home, head to the Space Post Office located here. You can also grab a couple of postcards to add to your collection.
.Sky Drop: A 100-foot free fall, the Sky Drop is considered to be one of the highest verical free-falls in the world. And guess what, you get to choose how you get to fall those 100 feet. There is the traditional one where you get to sit and are dropped down. The other option is where you get to stand, called the “The Standing Drop”.
.Bubble Tram: 16 sightseeing cabins that revolves around the Tower to give you a panoramic view around the city, the Bubble Tram is one of the preferred activity for tourists. Located at 445 meters, the Bubble tram whirls on top of the Canton Towers.
.Engineering Marvel Tour Hall: Wondering how is the Canton Tower protected from earthquakes and hurricanes? You get to see the designing and the science that has gone into the construction of the Tower yourself at the Engineering Marvel Tour Hall. The Hall is located at the 109th and 110th floor of the tower. There are water tanks that act as counterweights that sway automatically to the opposite side in the event of strong wind or earthquakes. The water in the tanks also doubles up to extinguish flames in the event of a fire. The Tower itself is embedded with 600 electronic sensors that constantly monitor vibration, stress, and temperature changes. This data is stored and studied for future reference.
2. Zone D
Located between 334 meters to 355 meters of the Tower is Zone D. At this part of the Canton Tower is 1,096 stairs long 'Spider Walk' which is the longest spiral staircase in the world. Prepare for a test of your courage as the 1,000 meters long walkway is called so as the entire floor is transparent. You get to see the city from all possible angles. The Spider Walk gets you up close to the slimmest section of the tower.
3. Zone C
Located between 147 meters to 168 meters, Zone C is also another sightseeing site that gives you a view of the city.
4. Zone B
Zone B is located between 84 meters and 116 meters. This Zone is known for its large futuristic Jinyi 4D cinema consisting of one 4D and two 3D screening halls. Located between the 17th to 22nd floors, these screens have been known to accommodate more than 270 people.
5. Zone A
Zone A is located closest to the ground, between 32 meters and the ground level. The main source of attraction is the Pearl River and this zone lets you enjoy views of the Pearl River from the second floor. Restaurants that are located in the Canton Tower are based in this zone. If you wish to try out the local cuisine, then the Chopstix Restaurant is your perfect bet. The restaurant also provides continental cuisine. If you wish to just grab some light snack and a coffee, head to the Riverside Café where you get to enjoy the scenery of the Pearl River the cool breeze that blows from it. For those who are unable to go all the way to the top of the Tower where the Space Post Office is located, you can get some souvenirs from this zone as well.
If you are confused as to what part of the Canton Tower you want to visit, then please pick up your copy of the official brochure. The brochure provides you with a comprehensive list of activities and observation decks at the Tower.
While you are enjoying the activities and the sights, don’t forget that the Canton Tower also functions as transmitting tower for radio, TV, and cellphone. The antenna that can be seen from a distance is electronically controlled to show different colors that correspond to different days of the week. A quick history lesson, in ancient China, different incense stick aromas signaled different periods of the day.
Other infotainment activities in the Canton Tower
If you are traveling with your family, there is a video game arcade that is located at the lower level of the Tower for your children to have fun. History buffs, the Canton Tower has got even something for you. It houses a museum of Chinese history and culture if you wish to take a walk back in time.
For those who love art and exhibitions, do check out the Tower’s lobby for any events. The spacious Lobby often doubles up for various events such as book fairs and art exhibitions.
Getting your tickets to visit Canton Tower
The Tower is open from 09:30 am till 22:30 (10:30) pm but the ticket counters closes at 22:00 (10:00) pm. Bubble tram and Sky drop are open between 10:00 pm to 22:30. But please note that on Mondays, they have different timing. Now comes the tricky part, buying the tickets, as there are different ticket package that offers you access to different attractions and observatories (zones) in the Tower.
1. 433M Sightseeing Observation Decks
This is ticket gives you access to the 433M Star Observation Deck and the 428M Cloud Observation Deck, which are the lower observation decks and are also the enclosed levels. This is the cheapest ticket and is priced at CNY 150 for adults and CNY 75 for children 1.2 and 1.5m (3.9 - 4.9ft)
2. 450M Tower Top Look Out Combo
This pass gives you access not only to the 433M Star Observation Deck 428M Cloud Observation Deck and the 450M Look Out which is open air. It also includes getting a ride on 450M Sky Drop. For adults, the combo is priced at CNY 228. Children between 1.2 and 1.5m get the ticket half-priced (CNY 114).
3. 460M Bubble Tram Combo
The pass is similar to the Tower Top Lookout Combo. Instead of a Sky Drop, you get to take a ride on the 460M Bubble Tram. You also have access to the 433M Star Observation Deck 428M Cloud Observation Deck and the 450M Look Out. The Canton Tower Bubble is one of the top attractions of the Canton Tower. For adults, the combo is priced at CNY 298. Children between 1.2 and 1.5m get the ticket half-priced (CNY149)
4. 488M Tower Glamour Pass
This Pass gets you into all the observatories, Bubble tram, and Sky drop. It is priced at CNY 398. Children between 1.2 and 1.5m get the ticket half-priced (CNY 199)
If you just want to take a ride only on the Sky Drop Ride and on Bubble Tram without visiting any of the observatories that is also possible.
An adult’s ticket to accessing only the Sky Drop comes at CNY 180. While children between 1.2 and 1.5m can get the tickets at half price, children under 1.2m enjoy the ride for free.
An adult’s ticket to accessing only the Bubble Tram also cost the same as Sky Drop, at CNY 180. While children between 1.2 and 1.5m can get the tickets at half price, children under 1.2m enjoy the ride for free.
Please note that Canton Tower is a complete no-smoking zone. If you are a smoker and are likely to carry your lighter, you will have to surrender them during ticket check.
Activities or sights to see around the Canton Tower
There is plenty to see at the Canton Tower but it is best if you plan your day with activities and sights to see around the Tower to save time. While there is plenty to do at the Tower, there are sights to see and activities to do close to it as well.
Head to the Huacheng Square to see the modern and cosmopolitan side of Guangzhou. At night, the view from this square is spectacular and you get to see how the Canton Tower lights ups the Guangzhou skyline before or after your visit to the tower. Around the Square are several sights to see such as the International Finance Center and the new library.
If you wish to take a walk in history, then head to the Guangdong Museum to explore the culture and history of Guangzhou. The museum is located right next to Huacheng Square. While the museum is known to have temporary exhibitions, the main sources of attractions are Natural Resources of Guangdong and the Guangdong History and Culture.
Another attraction located close to the Canton Tower is Redtory. This area is now known for it, artist studios, art galleries art spaces, fashion stores, and coffee shops. While art exhibitions are the main attraction, the surrounding area draws artists who are on the lookout for inspiring and creative surroundings perfect for art and photography. So if you love photography, grab your camera and head to the Redtory for some artistic shots.
No trip to Guangzhou and no exterior sightseeing of the Canton Tower is complete without a trip to the Pearl River. Flows through the middle of Guangzhou, the Pearl River may not seem to be too special during the day. But do schedule yourself on a cruise in the night because once the sun sets the beautiful nighttime scenery of the city is unlike you have ever seen before. The beautiful cityscape is painted with lights in different colors. Let’s also not forget that the while you can see the Canton Tower resplendent with its lights and laser show from the land. There is something to be said to witness the same vision from the river lulled by the gentle rocking of the cruise ship and the cool breeze that sweeps over the river.
Don’t miss out on a stroll through the Liwan District, which is known for its local wares and Cantonese restaurants of the top quality. If you can and have the time, pay a visit to the QingPing Chinese herbs market. If you wish to explore some cultural sights then head to Hualin Temple and not far from the temple is a market that deals in jade. This market will make a perfect spot for those who wish to buy jade jewelry.
If you wish to enjoy some architecture, then head to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, which took 25 years to complete its construction. It is one of the few Catholic cathedrals to be built entirely from granite.