Guangzhou is a sprawling port city northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River. The city features avant-garde architecture such as Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House (known as the “double pebble”); the carved box-shaped Guangdong Museum; and the iconic Canton TV Tower skyscraper, resembling a thin hourglass. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, a temple complex from 1894, also houses the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum.
The Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, the resting place of Han Dynasty ruler Zhao Mei, displays a burial suit with over 2,000 pieces of jade. Considered the birthplace of dim sum, Guangzhou has a thriving food scene. Its markets specialize in wares ranging from eyeglasses to electronics. The sandbar Shamian Island, across a canal from Guangzhou, has leafy streets and grand mansions that are a legacy from its time as a foreign concession. On the city outskirts, Xiaozhou Village is an atmospheric, canal-filled old hamlet that now serves as an artistic hub.