Long lost weekend

Updated: 2013-06-27 03:18

By Tang Zhe in Beijing and Xu Jingxi in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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Long lost weekend

The spaceship-like Guangzhou Opera House, designed by Zaha Hadid, is an iconic landmark on Guangzhou's skyline. Provided to China Daily

Traditional landmarks

In Xiguan, about a 10-minute drive from Shamian, there are many well-preserved traditional buildings.

Besides taking in the grandeur of the traditional mansions, you can also enjoy authentic Cantonese food and see Cantonese opera in Xiguan.

Cantonese cuisine is known for its colors, fragrance, taste and presentation, and is an absolute "must-try" in Guangzhou.

Favorite dishes include steamed shrimp dumplings, crispy durian pastries, steamed barbecued pork-stuffed buns and egg custard tarts.

Small restaurants selling traditional snacks along the streets also surprise with various flavors.

The Lianxiang Teahouse also preserves the tradition of presenting Cantonese opera in the afternoon.

After a taste of Guangzhou's charms from times past in Xiguan, visitors can head to the river to soak in the city's modern vibe and visit the new landmarks.

Canton Tower stands gracefully by the Pearl River. The world's highest Ferris wheel on top of the tower enables visitors to take in a bird's-eye view of the city.

Across the river is a giant "sailboat" — Haixinsha, the main venue of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. Nearby is Guangzhou Opera House, a modern spaceship-like building designed by famous Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

Over the past three years, the area has become the central business district and cultural heart of the city.

Besides the opera house, you can also wonder through Guangdong Museum and Guangzhou New Library. The two buildings boast interesting architecture, with the former looking like a black jewelry box and the latter a white unfolded book.

The exhibits in Guangdong Museum are mainly relics, such as china, jade, bronze ware and ink stones.

If you prefer modern art, you can visit Redtory, known as "Guangzhou's 798 art zone".

The buildings have been transformed into art centers, restaurants and bars. You can tour art exhibitions and shop at the small artisan market.

The Fangsuo Commune in TaiKoo Hui shopping mall is also a great spot for lovers of art and literature.

The commune is a combination of bookshop, cafe, clothing store, exhibition center, artisan boutique and public salon. Artists, writers and scholars are invited to give lectures every week.

At night, take a cruise on the Pearl River. The buildings on both sides compete for your attention with their dazzling neon lights.

With its colorful "dress" on, Canton Tower is most charming at night.

There are three main bar streets along the Pearl River: the one near Haizhu Plaza metro station, another on Shamian Island, and Party Pier Beer Culture and Art Zone. The best way to wrap up a tour of Guangzhou is to sit in the cool breeze, drinking beer, chatting with friends and soaking in the city's nightscape.