Dizzying attractions at the Canton Tower
Better known by its westernised name of Canton, Guangzhou embodies the Chinese economic miracle all on its own. In 2010, when it held the Asian Games, the capital of Guangdong province impressed the whole world by inaugurating the Canton Tower (also known as the Guangzhou Tower). You can hardly miss this urban landmark which rises majestically from the heart of the new business district of Zhujiang. As you approach the foot of the fifth tallest tower in the world, you feel reduced to the size of an ant. Look up to the sky and admire this amazing architectural feat. Great tubes like twisted cables rise to a height of 450 metres. You have to take a step back to see the 150-metre-tall mast antenna which seems to touch the heavens. Unlike most skyscrapers, this futuristic edifice designed by Dutch architects Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit has an almost feminine shape and is complex, transparent and sinuous all at the same time.
As well as China's most elegant television transmitter, the Canton Tower is also home to a number of tourist attractions. Head to the lifts which zoom up to the top in one minute, thirty seconds! As you cling on to the wall, you have the feeling of floating in a void. On the 107th floor, the doors open onto 488 Lookout, the second-highest outdoor observation deck in the world. 488 metres below, the stunning panorama takes in the whole of Guangzhou and the Pearl River. The opera, the new library, Guangdong museum, the Olympic stadium… all these iconic monuments look like they have been lifted from the land of Lilliput.
The energetic visitor will enjoy climbing the 1,028 steps of the Spider Walk, a transparent spiral staircase leading up to a second and even more impressive platform. After enjoying the view from the summit of the tower, go back down to the level below and climb aboard the Bubble Tram. This tramway with glass pods that seem to float in the sky slowly rotates around the top of the tower. You will never have another experience like it!
Allow yourself a break in one of the tower's tea rooms, then take your courage in both hands. Take a deep, deep breath before attempting the Sky Drop: a free-fall ride that drops 30 metres from the top of the tower. Recover your senses before leaving this big-thrill tower as night falls. Turn around and look on in amazement as its multi-coloured lights make it even more magical.
222 Yuejiang W Boulevard
+86 (0)20 8933 8222
Luxury hotel high in the sky
The vertical landscape of Guangzhou and the Canton Tower can be admired in panoramic setting from the Ritz-Carlton. Stay at this luxury hotel, located in a skyscraper in the heart of Pearl River New City, in the Tianhe district. Behind its glass and steel facade awaits a world of European elegance with touches of Chinese influence. From your room on the 36th floor, your eyes settle on the mythical Pearl River below as it meanders its way through the city. This spellbinding decor continues all the way to the large outdoor pool.
The hotel will also seduce you with its sophisticated cuisine. The Ritz-Carlton is home to the famous Lai Heen Cantonese restaurant which has been awarded its first Michelin star. Take a seat in its intimate, dark-wood-panelled booths and enjoy inspirational contemporary cuisine from Gordon Guo. This Chinese chef will tickle your taste buds with a perfectly poached grouper, steamed with egg white and then fried in a wok with celery and onions. It is a real treat!
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
3 Xing'an Road, Tianhe Qu,
Guangzhou Shi, Guangdong Sheng,
+86 (0)20 3813 6688
Hiking up the White Cloud Mountain
Next day, you feel like getting in touch with nature, so you head for the summit of Baiyun Mountain, also called White Cloud Mountain. Pack a picnic before setting off from the western entrance to Baiyun Park, on a half-day hike in the green heart of Canton. A shady path leads you through jungle-like vegetation. Beware of the spiders around you! After walking for three hours, you can make out the summit of Moxing Ridge, standing 382 metres high, as it rises up through the mist. At the top, all sorts of attractions (such as a 5D cinema, bird aviary and bungee jumping) entertain visitors who arrive by cable car.
Leave the madding crowd behind and gaze out over the landscape. The mountain chain stretches into the distance a line of sharp peaks and lush valleys. Out of this bucolic scene flows the Nine Dragons Spring. Behind you, the view embraces the entire city and meandering Pearl River far below. You head back down through the forest, coming across a pretty temple on one side, a bubbling waterfall on the other. Your green interlude comes to a perfect end in front of Yuntai Garden, the largest landscaped gardens in China.
Xinshi Town, Baiyun District,