Getting to Guangzhou

Finally planning that vacation to culture-rich yet cosmopolitan Guangzhou? Or is your trip more for business than pleasure? Whatever the reason, heading to Guangzhou should not be a problem. Here are some of the most convenient ways to get there.

By Plane
There’s a major international airport that services Guangzhou, and it’s also the second most prominent hub in Southern China, next only to Hong Kong. That’s the New Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, located just 28 km north of the Guangzhou city center. (Not to be confused with the former Baiyun Airport, which is now closed.)

The airport has a number of international connections, including to and from Bangkok (via Thai Airways), Helsinki (via Finnair). Los Angeles (via China Southern), Paris (via Air France), and Singapore (via Singapore Airlines). There are also direct flights to and from Frankfurt, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka and Tokyo. As the home base of China Southern Airlines, the airport also provides a wide range of domestic flights.

The most convenient way to travel to and from the airport is by taxi, and a ride to the city center usually costs around ¥120, inclusive of a ¥15 toll fee. A metro line servicing the airport is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion by 2009. There are also nine Airport Express bus lines that service the airport and take passengers to virtually all major destinations in the city. Tickets range from ¥10 to ¥36.

A word of warning to Guangzhou newcomers: avoid taking rides to the city from unofficial solicitors. These operators are illegal and will charge you much more than official transport services.

By Train
From Hong Kong, there’s a direct train that covers the 182 kms to Guangzhou in 1.5 hours, with a stop at Kowloon. However, if you’re traveling from Shenzhen, the quickest way to Guangzhou is to take the China High Speed train. It travels 200km per hour and fares are cheaper. From Hong Kong, Shenzhen is just across the border and thousands of people corss the bridge that links the two cities every day.

A new express line recently opened between Lhasa in Tibet and Guangzhou, a distance of 4,980 kms. Trains cover the distance in about 58 hours. Fares cost around ¥869 and up.

The two main train stations in Guangzhou are the Guangzhou East Station, which has routes to Hong Kong and other major cities, and the Guangzhou Station, which has many routes, including routes to faraway Harbin. The Guangzhou Station is one of China’s biggest train stations. Many tourists tend to mix up the two and end up missing their trains. Make sure you double-check your tickets to know which station to go to.

By Bus
From the Hong Kong International Airport, there are coach service on hand to take passengers to many destinations in Guangzhou, including the China Hotel, Garden Hotel and Jinan University on Huang Pu Da Dao. It’s a three-hour bus drive and costs around HKD 250. In addition, many bus terminals in Hong Kong have services that cross the border towards Guangzhou, including the bus stations on Canton Road (near Kowloon Park) and Austin Road. Tickets cost around HKD 100.

Naturally, there are many domestic buses that travel to Guangzhou covering practically every corner in Guangdong province. There are also direct bus routes from nearby regions such as Fujian, Hubei and Guangxi. The major bus stations are the Yuexiu Nan Station, Liuhua Station, Tianhe Dasha Station, and the Provincial Station.

By boat
If you don’t mind the water, going to Guangzhou by boat is always a fun way to visit the city and affords travelers a majestic view of surrounding areas. If you’re coming from Macau, Hong Kong or the Hainan Island on Haikou, head to the Zhoutouzui Ferry Pier and take one of their hovercrafts or ferries to get to Guangzhou. It’s an exhilirating way to travel.

If you’re coming from Shanghai, Xiamen, Qingdao or other nearby mainland cities, you can go to Dashatou Pier and get a boat to travel to Guangzhou.

From Hong Kong, the most convenient way to get to Guangzhou by boat is through the New Nansha Pier, which has six lines that travel to Guangzhou every day. The ride costs about ¥116-230 takes around 75 minutes

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