Mention Guangzhou to anyone in China, and the first thing they'll think of is food, perhaps some more food, a nap, then some snacks, dinner, a drink of tea, followed by, you guessed it: food. But there's more to Guangzhou than eating.
6 AM: If you have 24 hours, you may as well make the most of it, so head to Baiyun Mountain, one of the symbols of Guangzhou, to watch sunrise over the city. It's a peaceful start to the day as you gaze across the parks filled with early bird ballroom and fan dancers. If you hang around, you might end up indulging in a bungee jump and/or some grass skiing.
8:30 AM: Join the locals for tea and dim sum at nearby Song Feng Xuan, where the dishes start at an affordable RMB 4. Once sated, join in the chorus for a local song or two.
10 AM: You simply can't leave Guangzhou without some kind of local embroidery, paper-cutting or wood carving (or so the locals would have us believe). The alleys around the well-preserved Chen Clan Temple off Zhongshan Lu are like a miniature artistic oasis, a fine place to buy, or simply watch the masters at work.
1 PM: Kick back by the Pearl River with a set lunch in the garden at 1920 German Bar and Restaurant. Don't overeat though, as a night of feasting awaits.
2:30 PM: From 1920, take a lazy stroll west along the 'mini-Bund' on the banks of the Pearl River to Shamian Island, where you do find quiet, tree-lined streets and 1920s merchant houses now housing diplomats. Pick up some traditional herbal tea at any of the local teahouses on the banks of the river.
6:30 PM: Cantonese cuisine has to be on your agenda, so why not head to the original Guangzhou Restaurant on historic Wenchang Nan Lu, or its jazzed-up sister outlet in the up-and-coming Tianhe district, a Pudong-like mix of wide streets and high-rise office towers.
9 PM: By now, you'll have worked up a thirst. Up and down Jiansheliuma Lu, next to the Garden Hotel, you'll find bars and cafes aplenty. But head away from the crowds to Friends Daily on Taojin Lu and choose a bottle of wine from their huge selection, accompanied by imported nibbles.
12 AM: If you still want to party, go on to New Era for the latest in electronic sounds and live MCs (just be careful not to fall into the swimming pool on your way to the dancefloor). If it's cheap and cheerful you're after, then you can't go wrong with Cave Bar or Gypsy Kings: a Windows-esque underground dive near the Garden Hotel.
Song Feng Xuan
next to entrance to Baiyun Mountain (020-3620 9288)
Chen Clan Temple
7 Zhongshan Lu
1920 German Restaurant & Bar
183 Yanjiang Zhong Lu (020-8333 6156)
1) 2 Wenchang Nan Lu (8138 0388);
2) Baifu Square, 112 Tiyu Dong Lu, Tianhe District (020-3880 9138)
G/F, 11 Tao Jin Jie (020-8359 6681)
2 Zhongshan San Lu (020-8381 3327)
Visit www.thatsprd.com for more information.
(That's Shanghai June 21, 2007)