Chime Long International Circus

The Chime Long International Circus is considered the number one tourist attraction in Guangzhou by Trip Advisor ratings- and with good reason! We had never gone due to the high price tag of this 1.5 hour show, but after hearing so many great reports, we gave ourselves circus tickets for Christmas which we finally redeemed just last week. We borrowed Jeremy’s high quality camera with which Joy caught some great shots. Nothing, however, could quite capture the fast pace of this creative, colorful, quirky, and entertaining show! But….come to the circus with us and we’ll walk you through part of the experience!

Caleb was so excited! He could hardly wait for it to start, but he had to! We arrived an hour early in order to get good seats which are first come first served within boundaries.

With no introductions, the extravaganza began with a laser light show, singers, dancers, people spinning on wires suspended from the ceiling, and LOUD LOUD music!

You will quickly notice that not all the faces are Chinese. In fact, our assessment was that the majority of the players were from outside China with a large contingent from formerly Soviet block countries. The second act was trick riding, during which one flexible and bold young woman hung backward off the horse, then crawled underneath the belly and back up onto the saddle from the other side. Eek! 

For some reason, this act featured a large Atlantis-like shell on which reclined what appeared to be a fake lion and a real tiger (not sure the lion was fake- just a guess). Don’t ask me what the shell had to do with anything, but the riders were excellent. Forgive the heads. In our seats, it was impossible to shoot around everyone sitting, standing, or walking around in front of us.

Angela’s favorite performance was the aerial ballet. The music was quiet, the mood serene, the lighting muted and romantic. During this, she tapped her Aunt Joy on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, excuse me! I have to dance!” Unfortunately, no photos of that but suffice it to say she was the cutest performer in the show, and probably the most modestly dressed!

That was followed closely by the trapeze artists. They did have a net, which I appreciated. It made it much more relaxing for the audience! 

As soon as one act finished, the next came on. In this photo notice the clowns already onstage as the trapeze-ists (trapezoids? swingers?) take their final bows.

We were amused by the wide variety of animals who appeared in the course of the evening. If you have an aversion to trained animals, this circus is not for you! We guessed that this troupe takes advantage of the safari zoo next door- thus the strange assortment of creatures that took part including this hippo and these… guinea hens? Meanwhile, the clowns did magic tricks/comedy in the background.

And the monkeys and mama pig with piglets!

Following the clowns was a group of springboard performers among which was this guy on stilts…

Then back came the clowns with trained bears who could ride bikes and motorcycles, push wheelchairs….

and walk tightropes!

Of course, there was the obligatory elephant performance.

This shot was taken at the end of this trick, but the elephants turned a jumprope with their trunks while this man jumped. It was pretty cool!

Afterward, six South American dare devils rode small motorcycles in this globe. Though the set is a bit tacky, their riding was incredible and they did some amazing tricks.

Then we saw more aerial performers in this “Sky Dance”. Notice the giraffes at the bottom of the second photo following. I didn’t even notice them because I was looking up. However, afterward when we asked Caleb what he liked best at the circus he answered, “The giraffes.” Go figure! But this act also included trained deer, camels, a zebra, and some swans.


Then another horse act, voted by our family to be the most underwhelming part of the show.

While setting up the stage for the next big event, these acrobats put on a quick paced, fun, show in the runways around the stage. They moved so fast that this was the only pose we got a clear shot of, but we hugely enjoyed watching them.

Following them was this Wheel of Fire- our family’s favorite performance of the evening. A very fit young woman walked in the middle ring steadily throughout their act, to keep the wheels in motion.

The four buff men in pink did various tricks in, around, and on top of the wheels, keeping their own wheels spinning as well. Here they jump rope.

Then they did it blindfolded. They must be NUTS, buff nuts, but still… (That man is not falling, just doing a stunt.)

This was a great shot, though we just missed the guy’s head. These folks earned their applause with constant action, creativity, and heart stopping antics.

The girls were enthralled.

The ensuing parade around the ring included flamingos, mountain goats, and a gazelle, among other things!

Then, lo and behold, the little river running around the stage which had featured lights, smoke, fog, and fire turned out to have a deep enough section for diving! This act had divers, trampolinists, and even a slip and slide portion.

The final feature was an American man shot from a cannon. The actual shooting had so much light and smoke that the photos didn’t come out, but Joy got a great shot of the guy’s shadow in the lighting as he flew!

And…just like that, an hour and a half later with no breaks, no intermissions, split second timing…the show is over and it’s time for the last parade and final bow!

The pictures really don’t do justice to this, the largest permanent circus in the world. They put on a really stunning show which cannot be fully appreciated in only one visit. As I looked at the pictures Joy had taken I realized how many facets I had missed. It was well worth the expensive price tag and made a great family memory.

For those coming to Guangzhou, the Chime Long International Circus costs 250-280 yuan for adults, 125-150 for kids or shorter adults from 1.2-1.5 meters tall, free for children less than 1.2 meters one per adult ticket. VIP tickets are available for an extra 200 yuan. These allow you to have premium, reserved seating.

To get there, take subway line 3 to Hanxi ChongLong; take Exit E; and take the ChongLong shuttle to the circus.

The circus begins at 7:30 but opens at 5:30. If you arrive early, you can get very nice seating without paying the extra price. The better seats are to the left and right of VIP seating down by the “river”. If you are seated in any of the rows along the river you will have access to the many stuffed toys, etc, they throw to the crowd. We arrived at 6:30 by which time those seats were taken.

The facilities include food kiosks, souvenir shops, and so forth, and abut the ChongLong Water Park, Amusement Park, Safari Zoo, and hotel.  All are similarly priced and offer good entertainment for longer term visitors to Guangzhou.