Taking a taxi is probably the easiest way of getting around in Guangzhou as it will take you directly to the place you are going. Taxis in Guangzhou are very cheap. The minimum fare price is 10 yuan (roughly 1.50$) and it will take you 2.5 kilometers. After that, the price is 2.60 yuan for each kilometer.
There are 4 colors of taxi cars in Guangzhou: green, yellow , blue and red. These are all 4 big taxi companies and it does not really matter which one you chose.
One thing to keep in mind though is that in 99.9% of all cases, the drivers can not speak English. The best thing you can do is to have someone write down the location you are going to with Chinese characters and show this to the driver.
Although not so common these days, some drivers might try to scam you when they see that you are a foreigner. The most common way is to drive a longer route than actually needed. This can be close to impossible to spot unless you are familiar with Guangzhou, but its usually not a big deal and will only cost you a few yuan extra.
Another way is that the driver might not want to use the taximeter and try to haggle a price with you. This is especially common during rush hours and/or if its raining and there is a huge demand for taxis. If you do this you might end up paying 2-3 times more than the actual price for the ride so be careful.
Uber has become extremely popular in China, but its not very easy to use as a foreigner here if you dont speak the language. Most of the time the driver will call you and ask where to pick you up, and they can not speak English. Also, many of the drivers are not professional drivers and they might actually have a hard time finding where you are going and ask you for the way.
The Guangzhou metro
Traffic in Guangzhou can be a real pain, especially during rush hours. More often than not, taking the metro is the fastest way to get where you are going. It’s fairly easy to use the Guangzhou metro system as a foreigner. There are English translations for almost everything so you wont have any trouble of understanding where to go. You can pay by cash by using the ticket machines. When you have payed, you will get a small plastic coin that you scan on your way in and insert on your way out. If you plan to stay in Guangzhou for a longer time and to ride the metro a lot, it might be a good idea to get a chargeable yangcheng metro card. You can charge these cards in the 7/11 stores found in almost all metro stations and then simply scan them when entering/exiting the metro.
The metro in Guangzhou is very clean, modern and accurate. The only problem might be that it can be overwhelmingly large. You can find a map of the metro lines here. Also, it requires you to be able to find your way from the metro station to your destination.
Taking the bus
This option is almost obsolete these days. The only advantage is that its very cheap, only 2 yuan. But buses will get stuck in traffic just like all other vehicles above ground and they require you to understand a fair bit of Chinese as the station names are written with Chinese characters. Taking the bus is not a very good idea if you are looking for effective means of transportation.
A few years ago, Guangzhou banned all use of motorcycles within the city. This might sound strange but if you consider the crazy amount of motorcycles and motorcycle-taxis there used to be here before the ban and the insane number of accidents that happened everyday, banning motorcycles was actually not a bad idea. What happened though is that almost all the people who used to drive motorcycle taxis started to drive electric bicycle taxis instead. At least it’s better for the environment.
If you are feeling adventurous, taking a bicycle taxi might be worth trying. But you should keep in mind that driving a bicycle taxi is also kind of in a grey zone legally speaking.
Taking a bicycle taxi could be a good idea if you only are going a maximum of a few kilometers and are in a rush or dont really know the way.
Remember though that you will have to haggle for the price, usually its 5 yuan for locations within a kilometer or so and a bit more for locations further away. The price is almost never more than 10 yuan so dont let yourself get scammed to pay 20-30 yuan or something like that. If you dont speak Chinese you will have to show the driver the address written with Chinese characters. Also, riding a bicycle taxi is not exactly very safe. They ignore any and every traffic regulation there is, drive slalom between cars, drive in the opposite direction of traffic, drive on sidewalks etc so take that in regard before you get on.