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Locals will tell you Guangzhou has two passions: economics and eating. They are correct – but there is plenty more to discover in China’s third largest city, too. The capital of southern Guangdong province, Guangzhou has been an important trading port since the Tang dynasty (AD618-907), and bears traces of its international past, when it was known to the world as Canton. Hub of the prosperous Pearl River Delta and China’s manufacturing and industrial heartlands, Guangzhou developed along the banks of the broad Pearl River – from the genteel Concession-era enclave of Shamian Island in the west, to the well-planned plazas and iconic architecture of Zhujiang New Town in the east, the centrepiece of Guangzhou’s current urban renaissance. With a warm subtropical climate and flower-edged streets, Guangzhou has a laidback character and locals love nothing more than to gather for yum cha – a tradition that originated in the city. Join them for a leisurely repast while sipping tea and watching one of China’s most intriguing cities go about its daily business.