Guangdong Province's

GUANGZHOU

Global Mark : 12.08

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
2 2 4 4 2 5 2 3

1

11.11

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
21 71%  (15) 62%  (13) 90%  (19) 5 to 20 13.05


Description :
A chaotic aspiring modern city growing in every direction with some nice parks and temples, the traditionally scary Qingping market and the oasis Shamian Island.

What you can do : Fight your way around / Relax in Shamian Island / Be surprised by the waterfall lobby of the Swan Lake Hotel / Visit temples and huge parks / Take a river cruise / Get scared in the most famous and bizarre market in China /Test the new metro...

What you may not like : The noise, pollution, anarchy & congestion of the place / The dying condition of the animals in the market / The limited coverage of the new metro...

How long ? From half a day waiting for a night train to 2 days


Where to stay ? 

Get precise info, book online and save money !  >> Hostels

Expensive /Limited choice / Avoid during Guangzhou's Fair (twice a year for 20 days, usually in April & October) / 5% tax is usually added to the bill but it can also be included in the negotiation.

Around the train station :

Numerous touts will wish to take care of you as soon as they spot your big nose. They should be able to find you an acceptable double for around 150Y, a bit less if you bargain hard. For this price, you should get the basic double room : 2 beds, a TV, the air cond.. and the basic attached bathroom. Do not expect perfect cleanliness.  Some touts promise places at around 100Y :  it might be possible one day but for now on, prices are likely to increase a bit by the time you reach the hostel... up to the 150Y mark.  >> See Travel Tips on how to deal with touts... 

  • Train Station Hotel, Train Station, 2/F, opposite the soft sleeper waiting room. / Sgle without bath 60 /Dble with bath 180 // Go there for the best price for Sgl / What you may not like : The claustrophobic atmosphere as the rooms are small and very basic, the train station crowd and pickpockets...

  • Jiaxin Hotel  (8666 7888), Zhan Qian Rd, down Renmin Beilu, 10mn walk from the Train Station, opposite the  below Hotel / Dble with bath & air cond. 150 but probably 120 without too much difficulty /Tple 210 // Go there for the good quality price ratio for Guangzhou, the convenient location near Liuhua Park / What you may not like : the not perfectly clean rooms, the noise from the street

  • Overseas Chinese Hotel  (8666 3488, fax : 8666 3488), opposite the above, 90 Zhan Qian Road / A three star international hotel / Normal price for the standard single room is 298 but a friend reported getting it for 170 (advance reservation price) so test your bargaining skills ! / Dbl 368 but maybe down to 200...

  • Yi Shu Hotel (866 79898 - 2102), next to the Friendship Hotel on Renmin Beilu, 10mn walk from the Train Station / Dbl with bath 168 / To get this price, you may however have to go through the travel agency located in room 2614. "Normal" price is 248 // Go there for the nice and cleans rooms at a good price, for the service of the travel agency (866 79898 - 2614 ) : sleeper train +30Y, sleeper bus to Yangshuo 100Y,...

In the South :

A more interesting environment but not so convenient if you have got an early bus or train...

  • Binjiang  (8383 4110), Yanjiang Lu, opposite the Dashatou Wharf where you take boat to Zhaoqing or Wuzhou, Bus No7 from Train station (1Y, 45mn) / Sgle without bath 65 to 80, with air cond. 100 / Dbl with shower 160 // Go there for the best price for Sgl in the South, for the convenient location if you arrive or leave by boat / What you may not like : being outside the interesting part of town

  • Guangzhou Youth Hostel  (8188 4298), on the very relaxed Shamian Island / Dorm without bath 50(8), 70-80(3) / Sgle without bath 100 / Dble 190 or 210 // Go there for the excellent location on relaxing Shamian Island, to meet other travelers, for the clean rooms, for the cheapest bed in town / What you may not like : being told it is full, the not so cheap prices that increase up to 80Y a bed during Guangzhou's Fair, the ruddiness of some of the staff...

 

Jiaxin Hotel jiaxin jiudian
Overseas Chinese Hotel huaqiao jiudian
Yishu Hotel yishu binguan
Friendship Hotel youyi binguan
Binjiang Hotel binjiang jiudian
Guangzhou Youth Hotel shengwaiban zhaodaisuo


One busy day in central Guangzhou : 

  • From the train Station or Jiaxin Hotel, walk south to Liuhua Park (Y3), a very relaxing park, even on Sunday.  

  • Exit at the South gate and walk 5mn west toward a small but colorful bird market. 

  • Walk around 20mn east (on Xihualu) toward the two interesting temples of Guangzhou : Bright Filial Piety Temple (Y2) & Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Y5)

  • Walk north (Jiefang Beilu) toward Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall (Y5 to walk outside, Y10 to go inside, free to look from the gate) and the high perched Sun Yatsen Monument (Y3)

  • Visit the huge Yuexiu Park (Y3), house of the sculpture of the Five Rams (the symbol of the city) and the Zhenhai Tower.

  • From the park (Jiefang Beilu), take bus No5 to the South.  Get off just after you reach the Pearl River and walk the area and its interesting market streets (Yide Xilu, near the Sacred Heart Church) 

  • Walk west toward the relaxing Shamian Island. Once there, have a look at the lobby of the White Swan Hotel.

  • Walk the most interesting sight of Guangzhou : its expanded Qingping market, just north of Shamian. 

  • Once you have lost your appetite, take bus No5  back to the North...

Note :  the above itinerary is for reference only. Other sights do exist...

 << Discover the symbols of Guangzhou...

Backpacker's Tips : Robbin, Singapore (Nov 06)
Well, I came over from macau taking the bus from Grandview hotel and dropped off at the stop closest to downtown, though I can't remember the exact location. There's a travel agency just a few steps away that will book domestic flights for you and their service was excellent. I highly recommend the restaurant nearby called HaoCai (ie Good Prospects if translated literally). The dimsum there was excellent, just imagine lean firm meat swimming in gravy enveloped inside thin thin dough. And each dish of 3-4 buns/dumplings/etc only cost around RMB3-7!!!!!

Backpacker's Tips : Frank Seewald, Germany (Nov 01)
You can get a same day visa for Vietnam from the Vietnamese Embassy against one picture and 600RMB. A three days waiting visa cost 400RMB. The Embassy moved. It is now situated in the Hotel Landmark Canton on the river / Haizu circle.

Backpacker's Tips :  Tam Chiwai, HK (March 00)
Parallel to the Peking road is a small street DiaMaJian where you can find a lot of food stand, good atmosphere around 18:00 till dark. There are couple of bar around Holiday Inn, like peace road, wind flower

Notes on the new Metro : Guangzhou Metro-Rail No.1 is operating since the end of June 99. With a total of 16 Stations, it offers a fast alternative for circulating within the congested city but a limited one as the main train station is not connected.  Between the East Station and the City Center down to Xilang, it is however an excellent choice !

How to leave Guangzhou ? Bus tickets are easy get on departure day. Hard Sleeper would be more problematic but not impossible. If you are staying near the train station, you can try to find & fight your way yourself (Guangzhou is blessed with one of the most stressing train station of China). If you stay on Shamian Island, it might be worth giving the travel agency Aurora (Tel : 8185 8276, No20 Shamian South St, open daily from 9 to 18) 30Y as a  commission and keep your nerves...


Bus Schedules :
Long Distance Bus Station on the west of the train station (5mn walk)

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Shenzhen 60 luxe 2 7:30 to 20:30 14 hour
Zhaoqing 30 luxe 2 6:35 to 20 17 30 mn
Wuzhou 80 luxe 4 8:30 to 17 6 1h30
Guilin 101 sleep 10 8/16:30/17/18 4 na
Xiamen 146/168 sleep 13 10:15/12:30/14:15/16:30 4 na


Boat Schedules : Dashatou Wharf, South of Guangzhou, Bus No7 to terminus (1Y, 45mn from Train)

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Zhaoqing 40 to 50 (3rd class) / 40  sleep/ fast   8 / 2 17:00 / 12:30 1/1 na
Wuzhou 50 to 60 (3rd class) /80  sleep/ fast 18 /5 17:00 (1) / 12:30 1/1 na

(1) operates only on Friday & Saturday (reported by Tam Chiwai)

Trains  << Click there


The trip to Zhaoqing :
Luxury Bus / SS / L&R / Y30 / 2 hrs

Another very comfortable journey with another bad movie to help you miss the highway view...

The trip to Changsha : Train No214 /Night / Y109 / 22:20 arr. 9:21

The train No332 scheduled to leave at 20:32 was not on duty and the NoY22 was expensive at 175Y so we opted for an unheard one, praying that there would be a connecting bus to Shaoshan... The train was of the prehistoric kind, lacking even the non-smoking sign. Having booked the top sleepers, we insisted that the fan be switched off as soon as the train departed. After all, all the windows were open and this proved quite noisy. The train arrived on time, two hours later than the schedule we were told when we bought the ticket. We were apparently not the only one not too familiar with this new old train...

The trip to Xiamen :  Sleeper Bus / Night / Y150 / 13 hrs

See also the trip from Shenzhen to Guangzhou...

"We made a double mistakes once : leave on Saturday morning and use a bus directly from HK. City Bus advertise "approximatively three hours". It took us more than five and 80HK$ to arrive only at Garden Hostel in Guangzhou (Bus No30 from there to the train station). Most of the time was wasted trying to leave HK via two crowded border areas... Our double advises therefore : leave on a week day and stick to the KCR"