Travel agencies in Guangdong province are preparing for an influx of foreign visitors in transit who can get a 72-hour free stay, which will be available beginning in August.
Lin Jiexi, a public relations officer at Guangdong China Travel Service, said her agency has adjusted existing short trip packages in the province to satisfy foreigners' need for an authentic taste of Lingnan culture.
"We will take foreign visitors to the restaurants where they can enjoy local cuisine; for example, the food stalls hidden in alleys in Guangzhou's Xiguan area," Lin said.
Following the recommendations of various travel agencies, China Daily has designed three routes for short tours of the South China province.
This trip back in time begins with a stroll around the city's modern landmarks, then gradually goes 2,200 years into the past by touring the city's ancient architecture.
The first stop is Huacheng Square, the new city center. It is surrounded by new landmarks, including the Guangzhou Opera House and Canton Tower, all of which feature avant-garde architecture.
Ersha Island is another riverside art area, site of the Xinghai Concert Hall and the Guangdong Museum of Art.
After taking in the view of the river, you can take a cable car to the top of Baiyun Mountain for a bird's-eye view of the city.
Then it's time for a taste of old Guangzhou after lunch, as you soak in the tranquility of the Lychee Bay, which is being developed into "Lingnan Venice"; the grandeur of the 15,000-square-meter mansion of the Chen Clan Academy, which is representative of Lingnan-style architecture; and the beautiful Five-Ram Sculpture, the city's symbol.
Wrap up the one-day trip with shopping on Beijing Road, Guangzhou's busiest pedestrian street.
Go by train to Shaoguan, a city in the north of Guangdong, site of the 1,500-year-old Nanhua Temple. It is said that the temple holds the body of Buddha Hui Neng.
Take the opportunity to forget about the noisy city in the green woods and clean air of the Nanling National Forest Park.
After a good night's sleep, climb Danxia Mountain on the second day. The mountain is a world-famous geopark, composed primarily of red sandstone rocks. They form some really steep slopes to add a thrill to the climb.
If you feel energetic enough, the Lianshan Zhuang and Yao autonomous county in Qing-yuan are a bumpy bus ride away and well worth a two-day visit. Visit the mysterious underground river and explore the Yao culture.
You can go further and visit more cities in the province if you decide to spend all of your 72 visa-free hours traveling.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaiping Diaolou is an interesting combination of Chinese rural architecture and Western styles, including Greek, Roman and Gothic.
You can spend the second day in seaside leisure at Hailing Island in Yangjiang, one of China's 10 most beautiful islands, and the morning of the third day on a tour around an interesting museum that reproduces the water environment where the ancient shipwreck Nanhai No 1 used to lie.
Other tourism packages for a three-day trip include a coastal travel to Shenzhen and Zhuhai; an exploration of Hakka culture in Meizhou; and sun bathing on the island in Taishan.