Stop over: Guangzhou

The surf’s always up somewhere on the islands.
Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Qingping Medicine Market

At this sprawling, traditional medicine market, you'll find an ancient remedy for every malady you might be suffering from - and you can buy it by the sackful. Try ginseng with chicken for concentration issues or, if you're more daring, Chinese caterpillar fungus can help boost the immune system. It's the largest market of its kind in China - tourists generally go there to look rather than buy and local families stock up for the year.

Panxi Restaurant

This garden restaurant is a Guangzhou institution in a city that's all about food. In more authoritarian times, it was popular with national and local authorities and has also hosted a number of world leaders, including George Bush snr, Henry Kissinger and Deng Xiaoping. It seats 3000 so you can work up an appetite as you try to find your table. Try local specialties such as roast goose, suckling pig and crab meat soup for a taste of the region.

Yuexiu Park

The wonderful Five Ram statue in this lovely park is a tribute to the city's agricultural heritage. Follow the remnants of an early Ming Dynasty city wall and you'll end up at the Zhenai Tower. This building dates back more than 800 years and now contains a modest regional museum that has a great view of the city. There's more history in another part of the park - an octagonal memorial hall celebrates Sun Yat-Sen, who led what was to be the forerunner of the communist revolution.

Museum of the Western Han Dynasty

For just a little over $2, you can descend into the 2100-year-old tomb of King Zhao Mo. He was kept company on his journey into the afterlife with a number of human sacrifices, including two soldiers, seven wives, four concubines, a musician and a eunuch. Why? They were unfortunate enough to be serving at the court when Zhao died. Priceless gold, greenstone, ceramic treasures and animals were also buried in the tomb, one of a few that has not been plundered. Other artefacts, including his jade and silk coffin, are displayed in the museum.

Canton Tower

Opened in 2010, the Canton Tower puts Auckland's Sky Tower to shame. Its observation deck offers an impressive view at 488m, compared to our Skydeck's 220m. However, the view can be obscured by smog - the best time to visit for clean air and moderate temperatures is between April and October. The tower also doubles as a giant television antenna, the tallest of its kind in China.


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