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Here's the new and improved Pearl of the Orient: Guangzhou
Posted on 26/11/2018


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Hong Kong is magnificent, but the vibrant metropolis doesn't have a monopoly on jaw-dropping skylines and spirited culture. Guangzhou is ready to elegantly pick up the torch.

Welcome to Guangzhou

Welcome to Guangzhou
Keng Po Leung/123RF

On the shore of the Pearl River, 75 miles north of Hong Kong, lies the ebullient city of Guangzhou. Once a significant littoral stop on the Silk Road and steeped in peerless history, Guangzhou has been and continues today to wield unparalleled cultural influence.

The third-largest Chinese city is incredibly well-connected thanks to China's unprecedented rail expansion endeavor, which has notably led to the creation of the glossy, pointy-nosed Vibrant Express, which connects all major hubs. The journey from Hong Kong to Guangzhou only takes 48 minutes, which makes traveling from one beautiful mega-city to the other incredibly easy, and surprisingly pleasant, thanks to the great service and immaculate design.

Such an effortless, sleek journey can only put you in the best of moods to start exploring the dazzling city.

A state-of-the-art city

A state-of-the-art city
Zhou Hong/123RF

Guangzhou's signature cutting-edge architecture is guaranteed to awe you. The city is a jungle of high-rise, neon-lit, avant-garde buildings, but some of them still manage to stand out. The Canton Tower, glistening, slender, and rainbow-hued, is a multi-purpose observation tower with an inimitable futuristic silhouette that has quickly become an emblematic sight of the city.

The Opera House is also an iconic building, which offers a stylized architectural rendition of the pebbles found in the Pearl River, an artistic prowess that was achieved through the skilful and subtle use of granite and glass.

But newfangled, larger-than-life architectural treasures are not the only thing Guangzhou offers. If it is dripping in ultra modernity, the city also knows when to give space to the sometimes messy, always unpredictable, but never dull local folklore.

...That is still a cultural heavyweight

...That is still a cultural heavyweight
sean pavone/123rf

Like every great city, Guangzhou has kept its old soul. As you step away from the brightly-lit, steel-clad buildings of the high-spirited and shop-filled Beijing Road, you'll quickly encounter a completely different ambience. Although most of Guangzhou's streets are bustling, you'll also find serene alleyways dotted with lush green spaces, low-rise villas, and mouth-watering food stalls.

Guangzhou is known for reconciling a timeless atmosphere and a futuristic energy, which creates an intriguing and mesmerizing cocktail. For a taste of this one-of-a-kind beverage, bask in the city's fascinating cultural sights. These include the stalls overflowing with scorpions and dried seahorses of the Chinese medicine market, the bonsai trees and folk art of the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the traditional pavilions of Qing Hui Yuan garden, the delicate granite carvings of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, and the beautiful statues of the Buddhist Guangxiao Temple.

And a self-proclaimed foodie hotspot

And a self-proclaimed foodie hotspot

Guangzhou is food-loving city, as its myriad food stalls and gourmet restaurants can attest. If China more generally is renowned for its unique cuisine, Guangzhou offers a mind-blowing sample of the country's culinary excellence. Guangzhou is where you can indulge in the most flavorful dumplings, durian, tofu, and chestnut cake. Traditional tea shops also flourish in the city, offering a peaceful retreat a world away from the hustle and bustle of the effervescent metropolis.

There are myriad reasons to discover Guangzhou, and the delicious food, eclectic culture, and jaw-dropping architecture are all fighting for the number one spot. The only way to know for sure is to visit and see which one of these finds the quickest way to your heart.

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