The Pearl River is totally picturesque, and adorned by charming views along its course. A cruise along this river in Guangzhou has become a must for visitors to the city. Whether you choose a daytime or an evening cruise, it should be a highlight of your trip – but I was obviously one of the unfortunate ones!
I must admit to being a bit of a Guangzhou fanboy. I liked this southern Chinese city more than most other Chinese cities (with the exception of Beijing), and one thing I always wanted to do when travelling in this marvellous city was to take the famous cruise on the Pearl River. Compared with the daytime cruise, the night cruise is even more fascinating under the sparkling lights. It starts from the White Goose Pool and ends at the Guangzhou Bridge in the east and Baihedong (White Crane Cave) in the south. This section offers visitors vistas such as ‘Night Moon over the Goose Pool’ and ‘Red Heart of the Pearl River’. Every visitor will be captivated by the beauty of the Pearl River during this two-hour evening cruise.
During the two hour cruise every visitor will be entranced by the beauty of the river and sights such as the White Goose Pool, Zhuhai Square, Aiqun Mansion, the Guangzhou Hotel and the European architecture of Shamian Island buildings. The ship also passes under ten famous bridges including Renmin Bridge, Haizhu Bridge, Guangzhou Bridge, and Jiefang Bridge.
I chose the ship called The Bright Pearl of Flower city, mainly because at 48CNY it was the cheapest cruise on offer. Maybe for a more expensive fee, I could have perhaps been associated with more laid-back and less angst-ridden locals…
The Bright Pearl of Flower City is apparently one of the most luxurious sight-seeing ships in China and many world leaders have taken this cruise. With this in mind, I did wonder why the tour was so cheap when compared to rivals cruise ships (at least 10-20CNY cheaper). With three decks in total, the Bright Pearl of Flower City can hold 250 visitors. It also features a coffee house and a small ballroom on the first floor, a Chinese style banquet hall on the second floor, and a sightseeing platform on the third floor, which is where I encountered some very rude tourists.
Travelling solo in China is always kind of awkward. Not for me, but for the locals. Some Chinese people don’t seem to let others enjoy themselves, as there is an element of racism involved when then see a “non-Chinese”. As I was minding my own business on the deck of the ship, admiring Guangzhou in all its glory, I noticed some rude Chinese tourists (mainly a middle-aged family with an elder tagging along) gesticulating towards me in a mocking manner, and I have no idea why. It was one of those occasions when you just have to let the ignorance pass over your head (maybe they just didn’t like the T-shirt I was wearing haha).
All in all, though, I have to confess that my trip on the Pearl River was somewhat ruined by this experience, and although the cruise itself was good value for money, I had to often bite my lip and ignore the taunting(?) as I photographed my memories of the city from on the water.