1 - Jiang by Chef Fei
No journey should start on an empty stomach, so first head to the Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou for lunch in one of its outstanding dining outlets. For a local flavour, Jiang by Chef Fei serves Cantonese cuisine directed by Chef Fei, voted the “Best Chef in China” in 2015 by Lifestyle Magazine. The restaurant has a contemporary design with a palette of grey, brown and cream, while wooden floors, patterned carpets and exquisite Oriental artwork add a sophisticated touch. The new menu (available until June) includes signature dishes such as Xisha Island crayfish with garlic sauce (RMB188/US$27) and black pepper Alaskan crab (market price).
Info: 389 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510620; mandarinoriental.com/guangzhou
2 - Canton Tower
From the hotel, take a ten-minute taxi ride to the 600-metre Canton Tower – the third tallest tower in the world – and enjoy sprawling views of the city and Pearl River. There is an outdoor observation deck at 488 metres, or hop into one of the crystal cabins of the Bubble Tram for a 360-degree ride around the top of the tower. If you overindulged at lunch, then burn off the calories with the Sky Walk – the world’s longest spiral staircase – which stretches from levels 32 to 64 and offers interesting architectural views. You can learn more about the building and how it resists hurricanes and earthquakes in the Science and Technology Marvel Tour Hall on levels 109 and 110. Meanwhile, adrenaline junkies can try the heart-pumping Sky Drop, a “standing” free fall experience.
Info: Tickets start from RMB150 (US$22); Open 9.30am-10.30pm daily; cantontower.com/en
3 - Guangdong Museum of Art
Leave the tower and cross Zhujiang River (Pearl River) via Guangzhou Avenue – a ten-minute walk will bring you to Er Sha Island. Walk west along the island’s southern riverbank to reach the Guangdong Museum of Art. The museum has 12 exhibition halls showcasing large- and small-scale works ranging from oil paintings and sculptures to ceramic work and calligraphy, from both local and international artists. Remember to bring your passport as you need to go through a security check before entering the museum.
Info: Free admission; open daily 9am–5pm except Monday; 38 Yinyu Road, Er Sha Island, Yuexiu district, Guangzhou; gdmoa.org
4 - The Memorial Museum of Generalissimo Sun Yat-sen’s Mansion
Jump in a taxi for a ten-minute zip back across the river to learn about the “Father of the Nation” Sun Yat-sen. The Memorial Museum of Generalissimo Sun Yat-sen’s Mansion, built in 1917, was once Sun’s house and office, and an important military facility due to its close proximity to the river. In 1999, the city government conducted a RMB15 million (US$2.2 million) renovation of the building and it was reopened as a museum in 2006. There are two buildings – North and South – depicting the original setup during Sun’s brief residence. There are also exhibitions talking about Sun’s life and the history of Guangzhou.
Info: Free admission; open 9am–5.30pm except Monday; 18 Dongsha Street, Fanzhi Road, Haizhu district, Guangzhou; dyshf.com
5 - Bar 5
Cross back over the river once more and head to Yanjiang Middle Road, where you will find LN Hotel 5. The hotel recently joined the Small Luxury Hotels collection and has a fabulous rooftop bar on level 7 called Bar 5. Skilled bartenders practise molecular mixology alongside classic cocktails. Try the signature Baijiu rice wine cocktail, relax on the comfortable couches and enjoy fantastic 180-degree river views that encompass the iconic Canton Tower – a perfect way to finish the day.
Info: Open 5.30pm–1.30am; 277 Yanjiang Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou; lingnanhotelfive.com