Great Spots for Photography in Guangzhou

Great Spots for Photography in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is a photographer’s playground.  From expansive cityscape, to intimate street portraits, to ancient cultural landmarks, you shutter-happy folks of the world can capture some amazing photos in Guangzhou.  And who better to give tips on great photo spots than this guy?

Jose Luis Vilchez taking photos in Guangzhou China

José Luis Vílchez, onsite in Guangzhou, China

 Roof Tops

It’s easy to get on rooftops for photos in Guangzhou.   Simply walk into the building, and take the elevator to the top floor.  Some buildings have doormen that may stop you, but the Chinese are super sweet. The worst thing that will happen is that they say no.


 Baiyun Mountain

For panoramas of sprawling Guangzhou, go to Baiyun Mountain.  Watch out for hazy views due to pollution.  It’s best to go on a clear day in October to November. Wake up early in the morning and assess the skies.  If you see blue, get to the mountain ASAP for your photos before the haze comes back (coz it will)!


Abandoned Buildings

Guangzhou is an urban explorer’s paradise.  The city is filled with buildings, shopping malls, bridges, factories, and village alleyways crumbling with remnants of the cultural revolution.  Here are some great spots for photography:

  • Ancient HuangPu Port.  Here you will find a lot of crumbling homes and temples dating from the Song Dynasty.  Get lost in the maze of alleyways in this fascinating village.  If you go a bit farther East down the road from HuangPu village, you’ll find an area filled with old factories (we actually did a music video there!)
  • Unfinished bridge crossing the Pearl River.  Stretching halfway across the river between University Island and Pazhou Island there is a major bridge project that was never finished.  Sneak around the barrier at the base of the bridge and walk as quick as you can up the on-ramp.  Try not to be seen, but again, the worst that will happen is that you’re told to stop.
  • Guanzhou, University Island, and Wanshengwei.  For abandoned apartment buildings and shopping centers, the truth is you will find these all over Guangzhou.  Having said that, we can point you to some areas where we know many abandoned spaces exist: Wanshengwei, Guanzhou Island, and University Island (all on Metro Line 4) provide many sites for abandoned infrastructure projects.  Avoid well-established city centers like Zhudjiang New Town, Tianhe, and Liede.


Canton Tower

At 600m tall nestled right along the Pearl River, Canton Tower is an amazing landmark that offers some of the best views for Guangzhou.  BUT (and this is a big but), you need to know when and where to go to get the very best photos.

  • Go on a clear day.  The best time of year for clear skies is fall (Oct-Nov).  Get up early and if the skies are clear, head straight to the tower before the weather changes on you!
  • Splurge for a ticket to the third observation deck.  The view from the first observation deck is impeded by a glass barrier.  A gondala ride impedes the view from the second deck.  The third deck offers unimpeded views.  Get ready for the sticker shock though – you have to buy an all in-inclusive ticket to get to the third deck, which costs  70USD (as of 2017).


Street Photography

We were debating where to send you guys for great candid, potent photos of everyday life in Guangzhou.  But the truth is, the entire city is a canvas for incredible street photography.  Go anywhere in the city, get lost in back alleyways, or follow main thoroughfares.  Know the subject and narrative you are looking for, and you will find it.  Or simply go and wait for the moments to come to you.  No matter where you go, you won’t be disappointed.


If you’re looking for an artist residency or photography workshops in Guangzhou

Connect with Lido Art Center.  If you are a serious artist looking for an artist residency opportunity in China, contact Lido.  If you are an art enthusiast and want to experience a taste of both modern Chinese art forms and the work of international artists, attend Lido’s various workshops and exhibitions.

If you want to connect with Guangzhou’s art scene, see our insider tips (we lived there for while!)