China’s third-largest city, Guangzhou offers a distinct blend of tradition and modernity, with ancient temples and futuristic buildings taking centre stage alike. Strategically located on the Pearl River, it has served as one of the country’s major ports and transportation hubs for centuries.
Over the years, people of several faiths have called Guangzhou home – including Taoists, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims – and they’ve each left their mark on the city’s fabric. The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees boasts a nine-storey Flower Pagoda, while the Sacred Heart Cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Alternatively, the Huaisheng Mosque features a unique mix of Chinese and Islamic design elements.
An evening cruise along the Pearl River offers views of Guangzhou's modern structures lit up at night, including the neon-washed Canton Tower and the gleaming Guangzhou Opera House. Nature lovers can hike the Baiyun Mountain for breathtaking panoramas of the city from the top. If you’re travelling with kids, you can head to Chimelong Paradise – an amusement park that offers myriad activities and adventurous rides, alongside neighbouring water and safari parks.
Also known as Canton, Guangzhou is the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, the most emblematic of Chinese cuisines around the world. When sampling the local food, expect delicate, fresh flavours and dishes such as dim sum, white-cut chicken and Cantonese roasted goose.