Are you taking a trip to China with your family? Are you having trouble deciding where to go that would entertain not only yourself but also your kids? Have no fear dear travelers, for I know of a fantastic destination. This place is full of culture and life. It is rich with history and plenty of activities to do as a family. I have visited this country before but I will admit that I have not visited this particular city and sorely regret missing out on the opportunity. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the wonderful area of Guangzhou China.
Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital of and the largest city in Southern China’s Guangdong province . You can find the capital on the Pearl River, about 75 miles north-northwest of Hong Kong. Guangzhou is a major national transportation hub as well as a trading port. Due to this, you can find almost anything in the capital, and it has caused Guangzhou to be a part of one of the most populous metropolitan agglomerations on Earth. Here are four destinations in Guangzhou to check out when you visit.
The markets in Guangzhou are overflowing with goods and produce of almost anything imaginable. All you need to do is find a street and take a stroll. I can guarantee that you will eventually run into a market where the stalls and stores are lined up along the road. The air will rise in temperature due to the steam off of the vendor’s carts selling local snacks and meals. You will also find vegetables and fruit spilling from crates as passersby stop to examine and pick out a few local items for an on the go treat. Live hens will cluck softly to you as you pass. Be warned that the crowds are an easy target for pickpocketing. Overall the atmosphere is one of excitement and thrills as you stroll along listening to people haggle or gossip.
Autism Travel Tips:
- Be aware that Chinese markets can provide a sensory overload to the western traveler.
- If your family member with autism is sensitive to noise, be sure to bring a set of noise canceling headphones.
- Those sensitive to smells might want to skip this adventure or prepare accordingly.
- Some sights might not be suitable for little kids since the slaughter of animals and fish is done in the open.
- Bring plenty of hand sanitizer, if your family member with autism is like mine and touches everything.
- Although the prices are very cheap, the quality control is different than in the states.
- Be aware there are NO western bathrooms available so have your family memebers use the facilities in your hotel.
For the kids, you can take a stop to the Guangzhou Zoo. The zoo holds around 400 species and has become the leader of zoos in China for breeding animals such as chimpanzees, Asian elephants, and giraffes. The main attraction is the pandas. Children can watch as the pandas roam around and interact with the staff. There are also plenty of fun animal performances that allow kids to interact with different creatures while learning about nature and how to care for animals.
Autism Travel Tips:
- Be aware that the terrain is uneven and there’s quite a bit of walking to do. Closed toe shoes, an umbrella or walking fan is recommended.
- Be sure to bring a bottle of chilled water from the hotel, as well as snacks.
Chang Long International Circus
Another must for you and your children is the Chang Long International Circus. The circus has performers from all over the world. Adult and child performers will perform in the ring. Audiences see dramatically choreographed music, lights, lasers, and fireworks the circus provides. Don’t be surprised if you see an animal or two flying above your head, as animals are integrated into the routine.It is relatively easy to get to the circus, the best mode of transportation is taking the metro which is incredibly easy to use seeing as how the lines are color coded and clearly labeled. About an hour away from the Guangzhou city center, you take metro line 3 to Hanxi Changlong, and there will be shuttle busses that will take you the rest of the way.
Autism Travel Tips:
- If your child is noise sensitive, bring headphones and sit close to the exit in case it becomes overwhelming
Another thing that is a must see is Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street. This street is in the Liwan District of Guangzhou. It is one of the busiest commercial streets in China and is a large tourist attraction for restaurants and food. If you are hungry, then I suggest heading here to try some local cuisine. There are plenty of places to eat and if you’re not an adventurous type, don’t worry. Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street holds many places that offer European style food as well.
Even if you are not overly bold, I still encourage you to try some of the more famous traditional food while you’re there, such as dim sum, the dish for which Guangzhou is known. Dim sum is various types of steamed or fried buns filled with ingredients ranging from beef, pork, shrimp or vegetables. Many vendors sell them, and it is traditional to drink tea while eating dim sum. Another dish you should try is roasted suckling pig, a traditional dish typically served at banquets. The technique of roasting and serving this pig goes back over 1400 years ago.
Guangzhou is an amazing place that you and your family will enjoy. There is so much to do, from taking a night cruise on the Pear River to visiting Yuexiu Park and seeing the famous five goat statue. No matter how long you are there for whether it be for three days or three weeks, Guangzhou will consistently provide you with new and wonderful things to do every day.
Autism Travel Tips:
- A lot of the stores have a mini workshop in the back of the store in which artisans show how they paint glass and porcelain. Be sure to stop by one of these places.
- The streets are very crowded, so make sure that you prepare your kid for staying in close proximity to you at all times.
- This is the best place to buy souviners. Some haggling is in order.