Never mind Guangzhou's reputation as an industrial centre – the city's beautiful riverfront, lush parks and ancient temples take you on a journey through the centuries. Yuexiu Park is the largest park in Guangzhou and a comprehensive sightseeing destination with a number of historic sites. Make sure to stop by the stone sculpture of the Five Rams as well as the Ming dynasty city wall ruins as you make your way through the seven hills of the park.
For a taste of Guangzhou's spiritual side, pay a visit to the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, an impressive 1,400-year-old Buddhist construction where locals come to pray and burn joss sticks. Chen Family Ancestral Temple, located in the southwest part of the city, is a shrine turned educational centre that now serves as a folk art museum. Here you can see some of the most exquisite artwork and traditional architecture in the area. Check out also Shamian Island, a serene pedestrian sandbar with fully preserved French colonial villas and churches.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the centre, take a cable car to White Cloud Mountain, a leafy peak locally referred to as "the lung of the city". Spend a day relaxing in the nature and hike your way back down to the city in time for nightfall. Hop on a cruise boat on the Pearl River and watch the city awaken to a blaze of neon lights. Top your visit off with panoramic views from Canton Tower, a monumental TV and observation tower standing at record-high 450 meters tall at the heart of Guangzhou.