Cruising the Pearl River in Guangzhou

Friends, there are two more highlights I want to share with you about our recent trip to China. One is our experience at the Great Wall. The other is what I’m sharing today, our cruise along the Pearl River in Guangzhou.

The Pearl River is named for the pearl colored shells found at the bottom in the section that runs through Guangzhou. It is more than 1,243 miles long, the third longest river in China. While you can certainly enjoy its scenic beauty during the day, it really comes alive at night as the high rise buildings and bridges light up. That’s why we decided to take the Pearl River Night Cruise! There are two ticket options; one includes a buffet dinner of traditional Cantonese food on the second level of the ship, while the other, on the lower level, allows you to bring your own food instead. They provide watermelon, grape tomatoes, and coffee, and you can bring anything else you like.

Cantonese food is very different from American-style Chinese food as well as the food you find in the other provinces, and it’s not a favorite in our family. So, we opted for bringing our dinner. Little Crafter and I shared a deep dish cheese pizza, hubby had spaghetti, and Scout had beef on a stick, all from a local pizza place that delivers to the dock.

When we finished eating, we headed to the upper deck, where the view was just beautiful! We went under two of the ten bridges that span the river, and the kids had fun hearing their voices echo when they shouted directly underneath of them.

We saw lots of interesting buildings in along the skyline, but our favorite was definitely the Canton Tower. It is the second tallest structure in China, the second tallest tower in the world, and the fourth tallest free-standing structure in the world, so it’s definitely a sight to see!

It is 1,969 feet tall and has 37 above ground floors in addition to two basement floors. There is an observation deck open to the public, and the tower is functional as well, sending television signals. At night, the Canton Tower glows and emits light, rather than being uplit. Every node in the lighting design is individually controllable to allow for LED animations and color changes across the entire height of the tower.

It was pretty spectacular watching the tower change colors. Although each color was beautiful on its own, I think the multicolored design was my favorite.

Scout’s favorite thing, though, happened when an entertainer came out onto the middle deck after dinner. She did a variety of tricks that enthralled everyone, not just the kids, and the grand finale was when she allowed anyone in the audience to spin a basketball on their finger. She’d get it started and then pass it onto your finger still spinning. You can see from his face how awesome that was. Poor Little Crafter missed this part, because his jet lag caught up to him and he fell asleep for the last half hour of the cruise.

If you happen to visit Guangzhou, I definitely recommend taking a Night Cruise! I also recommend bringing your own pizza. It was a lot of fun for our whole family, and the other families who joined us seemed to enjoy it as well. Stay tuned for our final adventure in China, our visit to the Great Wall, coming soon!

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