As one of the first cities in China to open up to world trade a few hundred years ago, Guangzhou is no stranger to an eclectic mix of nightlife activities. As a big city, trends from abroad and from around town abound, and it would not be hard for you to locate a place to relax and unwind.
A nice way to start your night time jaunt in Guangzhou is to go on a river cruise along the Pearl River to marvel at the city skyline and some gardens tucked in between. There are three trips that last one and a half to two hours each, from 6PM to 1030PM. The cruise starts at the Xidi Dock and terminates at the Guangzhou Bridge. For the tourist boat ticket prices cost about CNY38 (US$6); add CNY10 (US$1.60) for dinner. The deluxe cruise costs CNY68 (US$10.75); add CNY30 (US$4.75) for dinner. Make your way to Da Shatou Pier at Yanjiang Lu to start your cruise along 30 or so interesting areas.
After the Pearl River cruise, take a swig of Tsing Tao Beer or Zhu Jiang Beer at any bars or clubs lining along the river. The three famous party scenes in Guangzhou are Bai’e Tan Bar Street, Huanshi Lu and Binjiang Lu. The Bai’e Tan Bar Street, located at Changdi Lu on the bank of Bai’e Tan (White Goose Pond) is the most interesting. This place is packed with bars and the action usually starts at 10PM. Huanshi Lu Bar Street is located at the city center while Binjiang Lu Bar Street is by the banks of Pearl River, against a nice glittering backdrop of the city skyline.
A lively and famous joint is 23 Club (1F Guangdong International Electronic Mansion, 403 Huanshi Dong Lu, +86 8732 3487) with excellent house music dished out by their DJs. Amigo (B03, Bai’e Tan Bar Street, Fangcun, +86 20 8155 8173) is a compartmentalized French pub by the river that has wooden stairs winding down. A quaint restaurant is upstairs for an enchanting view of the Pearl River.
Baby Face (Aiqun Mansion, 83 Changdi Lu, +86 20 8335 5771) is a hip spot with a very current repertoire and atmosphere. If you prefer international grub while chilling out, trek to Tavern Bar (2 Hua Jiujui Lu, Zhujiang Xincheng, +86 20 8550 3038). They serve draft beer and cocktails while showing major sporting events on huge LCDs. A trendy dance club that is a favourite expat haunt is the The Cave (360 Huanshi Dong Lu, +86 020 8386 3660). An extensive range of music is rotated here by their DJs amid unusual routines by their dancers, such as the live python dance.
Jaded by the sights and sounds of the bars? For a taste of Lingnan culture, Cantonese Opera or Yuet Kahk at Guangdong Opera House (703 Dongfeng Road, +86 020 8760 4906) is your best bet. The opera is a rendition of songs and readings in the dialect of Guangzhou. It is characterized by a rise and fall of vocals in various rhythms, and harmonious and graceful melodies.
If you want to hit the greens at night, there are several golf courses in the city. Nansha Golf Course (Luwan Area, Nansha Economic and Technical Development Zone, Nansha District, +86 020 8468 1888) is a valley course with 18 holes. This John Jacobs designed course is equipped with de luxe amenities at reasonable rates.
Jiulong Lake Golf Club (Jiulong Lake Community, Beixing Town, Huadu District, +86 020 8679 3138) is a 30-minute drive out of the city and located in a small European-style town, with a villa, hotel and an amusement park for kids. It has a rolling terrain and the climate here is cooler by 3-5 degrees Celsius.