Perched at the mouth of the Pearl River, the port city of Guangzhou is one of China’s most important trade and travel hubs. In fact, it is estimated that during the Chinese New Year holidays, Guangzhou experiences one of the largest human migrations on the planet.
Its importance throughout the year, though, is highlighted by the action at the city’s Baiyun International Airport, where your flights to Guangzhou will land. In 2013, it ranked among the world’s busiest (16th), with more than 52 million passengers travelling through it.
Indeed, Guangzhou’s commercial success has given a boost to its cultural standing. One example of the city’s impressive architectural landscape is the Guangzhou Opera House; the brains behind it was Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi architect and the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Then there’s the new Guangdong Museum, which is perhaps the best of its kind in China
Furthermore, the increasing number of skyscrapers – such as the Guangzhou International Finance Centre, the Pearl River Tower, and the forthcoming CTF Finance Centre – has etched the city’s impressive skyline into our collective consciousness.
For all its modernity, Guangzhou is also steeped in history, and is home to some ancient Chinese and colonial architecture (check out Kui Garden, Shamian Island and the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King).
The city is also a melting pot of Canton culture – a favourite hangout for Hong Kong movie stars, as well as the go-to destination for some of the best Cantonese food on the planet. There are an increasing number of international restaurants – a nod to Guangzhou’s cosmopolitan leanings, and its status as one of the most diverse and exciting cities in China today.