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.