Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Guangzhou, China 101

This is the first of my 7-part travelling series. Here I will be sharing with you details and tips on two of my latest travel destinations: Guangzhou, China and Hong Kong. No brochure-like narrations here, all you will read are personal insights that we have gained throughout our week-long adventure. I hope you'll find these useful and you'll enjoy your trip as much as we did :)

Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou is located at the Southern part of China. It is easily accessible from our favorite travel destination called Hong Kong. Our trip to Guangzhou was brought about by the Bi-Annual China Import and Export Fair. This fair opened up Guangzhou to foreign investors all over the world. Cantonese is the main dialect in this province of China while RMB (renminbi) is the official currency.

Getting there

Just like any trip to China, you would need a Chinese Visa to be allowed to enter Guangzhou. Since I had to renew my passport this year and it took the DFA a pretty long time before they finally delivered it to me, we were a bit worried that we won't be able to get our Chinese Visa on time. Luckily, our travel agency told us to relax as they took care of the tedious legwork. However, to avoid getting stress and spending unneccessarily, I would suggest to allot at least two weeks processing time.

Being budget travellers, we carefully canvassed all of the possible flights and transportation mode that will take us from Manila to Guangzhou. Note that only Cebu Pacific flies directly to Guangzhou however not on a daily basis.

Finally, we decided to fly to Hong Kong then to take the KCR Kowloon-Guangzhou Train that has 12 trips daily and travels for only an hour and 50 minutes. The transfer was also a breeze! From the Hong Kong International Airport, we took the Airport Express train to the Kowloon station. There, we looked for the K1 Airport Express shuttle bus that drove us directly to the Hung Hom station which is also where we will ride the KCR train to Guangzhou. Cost per ticket is HKD190.

Of course, another way to get to Guangzhou is to take a direct flight which will land at the Baiyun International Airport or to take the bus from the Hong Kong International Airport which will cost you less but will take approximately 4 long hours before you finally reach Guangzhou.

We took a short nap during the train ride but were awaken with the shuffling sound of our co-passengers. I can't believe we're finally in Guangzhou, China!

Going Around Guangzhou

Contrary to rumors and hearsay, Guangzhou is a modern city with a very efficient subway station and road traffic schemes. From the Guangzhou East Railway Station, we were immediately able to get to cab that will take us to our hotel.

Just a word of caution though, although Guangzhou has thousands of foreign visitors every year, command in English is still pretty bad. Most of the building signages are in Chinese and only a handful of locals can converse a bit of English so make sure to equip yourself with the Chinese name and direction to your hotel beforehand. Of course, a trusty map is also a must when going around Guangzhou.

Up next: Where to stay in Guangzhou?

8 comments:

  1. always look at the restaurants on the street, there are little speciality restaurants that are good and cheap. We call guangzhou the cheapo version of hongkong

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  2. Hi! Hope you can help me with my question. :) How long did it take to go from Kowloon station to Hung Hom station using the K1 shuttle bus? Thanks so much!

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  3. hi gretch! the travel from the kowloon station to hung hom was approximately 15 minutes or less! :)

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  4. Hi. Will be going to Guangzhou this November for the Asian Games. What travel agency did you go for visa processing help? What requirements did they ask you produce? Thanks.

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  5. hi would like to ask when did you visit guangzhou? and hows the weather when you were there and rough estimate on the how much money i should bring? thanks :)

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  6. @HJ: i went to guangzhou around april 2009. weather was ok not very warm not cold at all. re. the budget it depends on where you want to go and what you want to do :) food is relatively cheap in GZ though and if you're lucky and get there during the sale season then shopping is cheap too

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  7. Hi! Thanks for the helpful post! I'm set to leave for Guangzhou next month for the Canton Fair (huge expo) and I'm wondering if it's advisable to go by myself. I'm pretty wary of getting around and going to the expo site without getting lost. Is it manageable to go around the city? Thanks.

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