Guangzhou

Peaceful parks, inspiring architecture
and communal yum cha feasts

At the epicentre of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis, Guangzhou is constantly evolving and it’s all too easy to get swept up in the fast-paced melee of the high-tech city’s skyscraper-lined streets and vibrant shopping districts. Luckily, it’s just as easy to peer beyond the city’s veneer.

Here, architectural diversity is the norm. Traditional Lingnan architecture, like the intricately carved eaves and stonework of Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, coexists happily with the flowing glass lines of the lofty Canton Tower or Zaha Hadid’s surreal Opera House. Yet old, arcaded qilou shophouses still entice droves of people in search of books on Renmin Nan Road, or the latest fashions along neon-lit Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street.

 

The Cantonese are adept at slowing the pace down. Join them on a gentle stroll up the forested slopes of Baiyun Mountain for panoramic city views, or amble through Yuexiu Park to pay your respects to Dr. Sun Yatsen, father of modern China, at his ornate, blue-roofed memorial hall. Nearby Taoist temples, like Sanyuan Gong, are serene spots to light a stick of incense in memory of a loved one or simply watch the world drift by.

There’s little more enticing to locals than a fragrant brew and basket of dim sum buns, served at an elegant restaurant. On Sundays, you’ll see boisterous families pack out yum cha hotspots as they devour fried or steamed dumplings including siu mei filled with pork, or delicate prawn har gau wrapped in rice-flour paper. This is all washed down with liberal quantities of green, black and white speciality teas from across China.

Discover also

Beijing

Beijing

Skyscrapers rise beside centuries-old temples on the broad boulevards of the Chinese capital. A new creative culture thrives along hútòng alleys, while world-class dining and high-end shopping define modern life in the
Dongguan

Dongguan

An intriguing blend of laid-back charm and pulsating energy, Dongguan sits on the Pearl River Delta. The catalyst for the Opium Wars is fast becoming an eco-destination, thanks to the necklace of greenery wrapped around its heart.
Foshan

Foshan

With a seamless blend of modern energy and ancient customs, Foshan is a 21st-century powerhouse backed by 5,000 years of history. As well as being the city of Bruce Lee, it’s also home to rich musical and creative traditions.
Hangzhou

Hangzhou

With its long history, Hangzhou effortlessly blends ancient and modern. Linked to Beijing by the centuries-old Grand Canal, it’s now home to several major high-tech companies and has a growing reputation as China’s Silicon
Jinan

Jinan

Jinan is known for its artesian wells, many of which are set in serene parks, but it’s also a gateway to China’s spiritual heartland. The home of Confucius and the country’s most sacred mountain are close to the “City of
Pingdu

Pingdu

A gateway to scenic wildlife areas and mountain trails, manufacturing hub Pingdu lies at the heart of Shandong’s productive agricultural belt, so it’s no surprise that residents enjoy fine teas and cuisine using local
Qingdao

Qingdao

The thought of Qingdao brings beer and beaches to mind, but scratch beneath the surface of this Yellow Sea resort, and you’ll find delicate cuisine featuring locally caught seafood, cute colonial streets and revered mountains.
Shanghai

Shanghai

A thriving cultural, culinary and commercial centre, Shanghai is the engine room of China’s economic boom. The pulsating metropolis is a place where ancient sites like Jing’an Temple sit comfortably beside ultra-modern towers.
Shenzhen

Shenzhen

A new economic powerhouse with an eye to the future, Shenzhen has risen at breakneck speed beside the Pearl River. Peep behind the gloss to rediscover a city that continues to cherish its Buddhist heritage and Cantonese cuisine.
Wuhan

Wuhan

The capital of Hubei province, Wuhan draws crowds with its Yellow Crane Tower, a replica of the Qing-era marvel, but hidden wonders await in this huge city.
Xi'an

Xi'an

Best known for its terracotta warriors, Xi’an once marked the eastern end of the fabled Silk Road. Brimming with historic landmarks, from the Bell and Drum Towers to the Great Mosque, the ancient city also embraces modern China.
Xiamen

Xiamen

While well known for the Nanputuo Temple and its verdant gardens, along with the historic Hulishan Cannon Fort, the cosmopolitan oasis of Xiamen is fast becoming popular for its blend of beachside charm and modern city living.
Zhengzhou

Zhengzhou

Tree-lined avenues and restaurants serving Henanese cuisine set the tone for modern Zhengzhou. Yet kung fu and Bronze Age artefacts also come to mind when you think of the city, with its Shaolin temple and ancient ruins located
Ürümqi

Ürümqi

Central Asia and China are juxtaposed in Ürümqi’s lively bazaars and shopping malls, Silk Road ruins and modern skyscrapers, and its minarets and pagodas. Uyghur heritage lends the city and its cuisine a unique flavour.
World Map

Looking for inspiration?