Home' A Plus Magazine : May 2013 Contents 56 May 2013
wice a year – in April and October
travelling to Guangzhou makes
a visitor feel like a modern day pil-
grim on the Silk Road. That’s when
the Canton Fair is held and the city is packed
with Indian, Arab, Persian, Turkish and Afri-
can traders as well as Chinese middlemen.
The downside is that the city’s streets are
crowded, restaurants and bars overflow, and
hotels jack up their rates to sky-high levels.
Fortunately for the other 10 months of the
year, Guangzhou can be a welcoming mix of
old and new: colonial mansions are propped
next to glittering skyscrapers.
With a population of 13 million and a
legacy as one of China’s major trade centres,
Guangzhou is a surprisingly orderly melting
pot. Visitors will quickly notice a near-absence
of motorcycles, banned from the city centre
since 2007. Honking horns was outlawed at
the same time, with much less effect.
The city’s 10 districts lie either side of the
Pearl River Delta. The oldest district of the
city, Liwan, includes Shamian Island and is
the best-preser ved historical area.
Zhujiang New Town has been constructed
rapidly as a “new central business district.”
Though well ser ved by transport, the area
lacks ambience. Nearby cultural attractions
include the blob-like Guangzhou Opera
House and the award-winning Guangdong
Provincial Museum. (The museum’s striking
exterior is the high point; avoid dealing with
the unpleasant staff, lax opening hours and
Guangzhou has of course spread in all di-
rections: travelling towards Hong Kong, it is
difficult to discern where the metropolitan
area ends and Shenzhen’s begins. For views of
the city, ride the lift to the top of the hourglass-
shaped Canton Tower in Haizhu district, cur-
rently the tallest structure in China.
The massive city’s lungs are found in the
surprisingly picturesque Yuexiu Park. An an-
cient city wall leads to the 800-year-old Zhenai
Honnus Cheung, Institute member and Travelzoo Asia-Pacific CFO, sees how the
Pearl River city combines the historic and the avant garde
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