What to prepare, expect and know about Guangzhou if you are traveling there on your own.
As we know Guangzhou is part of China, the Southern region in the province of Guangdong. Guangzhou is well known for their Cantonese food, shopping, wholesale market and some scenery places. Before we go further, have a look at the 60 Second Teaser video of Guangzhou that I have created for you to have a glimpse of how Guangzhou is like. This article I will be covering; facts about Guangzhou (expect), what to prepare and know more about Guangzhou.
Check out the full travelogue below!
Facts about Guangzhou
Without wasting your time, let me go straight to the point.
Guangzhou is an ever developing city, fast pace and densely populated with 14 million of people as reported in 2016. You might be there on 2014 and return today to find the roads become bigger, buildings become taller.
Visa is required to visit China and the application differ for countries. There use to be Visa on arrival in Guangzhou but now is no longer available in Guangzhou. However if you are there for 3 days (72 hours) or 6 days (144 hours) you are eligible for a Visa-Free Transit.
Food Heaven 吃在广州
It is well known for their food, a Chinese saying 食在广州 (chi zai guang zhou) which means dine at Guangzhou, utterly agreed by all the Chinese people throughout the world. I have always enjoyed eating at Guangzhou and I know you probably afraid of eating there as you have seen or heard many rumours but these are the food and restaurant that I have tried. Local Chinese whom I know who brought me there and I very much believe these are safe and clean. Just bear in mind to avoid eating those tricycle food seller that usually appears at night.
Main Wholesale Hub for Entire China
If you are a trader looking to source for your own business but unsure where to starts, I suggest starting at Guangzhou. As it is the main wholesale hub for China, utterly they have most of the biggest wholesale market in China. It is said that lots of factories goods are firstly send to Guangzhou before the wholesale market distribute to other smaller cities in China, forming other smaller wholesale market in other part of China. Check the wholesale list here from Alamby.com.
Traveling around Guangzhou is quite simple with their infrastructure developing so well, going to your destination is no longer an issue. 3 method of transportation available – Guangzhou Metro, bus and taxi.
Their metro system is pretty convenient and relatively cheap. A trip from the Baiyun International Airport to city center cost you only about RMB7 (US$ 1.02). Do make sure to have a good look on the Metro map to know your station of exit and also which station for Line interchange. If you are there for a period of time, you could purchase a Yang Cheng Tong card (羊城通) for 80RMB (US$ 11.64) with usable credit of RMB30. Simply top up at any 7-Eleven store and the RMB50 deposit are retrievable at selected station. Guangzhou Metro map here.
Haggling is quite rare in Guangzhou as their law are quite strict there. However if you know you are a foreigner that are unfamiliar with their roads, they will probably take some extra round for a few extra bucks. So I suggest downloading Baidu Maps to check the route on your own.
Buses are the cheapest means of transportation. Each trip will cost you only RMB2 (US$ 0.29). However the downside of this is, you will need to recognize Chinese character to use take their bus. Another note is, if you are tired of walking and you don’t know where is the Metro station, simply find a nearby bus stand and check out the bus route map. Check out the Metro signage and you could save yourself some energy to reach the Metro station.
You will definitely come across a sim card booth at Baiyun International Airport at the luggage collection area. My advice, DO NOT BUY that sim card, why? It is not a fake sim card, it is legit but over price. I once brought a sim card there at RMB150 (US$21.82) with 4GB data plan. Great plan right? No! Within a couple of days my data ran out and I checked with their service operator only to find out that sim card package only costs RMB75 (US$ 10.91) or RMB80 and the data pool is divided into day time 2gb and after 7pm for another 2gb. So, if you must buy a sim card, have a little patient and purchase them in the city at any Telco provider shops or booths.
What to Prepare!
Connectivity is very important today. There is plenty of free WiFi in the city but most of them will require a local number for registration. Try to ask the customer service crew for their assistant. Some of the customer service crew are kind enough to let you use their personal local number for the WiFi registration. However, there is free WiFi in their Metro system and the speed is pretty good too but you will need their APP in order to use the Metro free WiFi. Download their APP first hand, Android user and iPhone user. For iPhone user, since this APP is only available in China region, here is what you need to do。 Go to Setting, Apple ID, iTunes & App Store, then click on View Apple ID and change your region to China to download the Apps. Simply change your region back to your preferred region after download completed.
Google Translate does not work in China. So do have your preferred language downloaded before you travel there. As a backup, do download some other Camera Translator that would greatly helps you by just using your phone camera to scan the Chinese character.
Virtual Private Network (VPN for China)
I constantly check my social media, hence the VPN is a necessity. Just recently China blocked numerous VPN providers but there is still plenty of VPN that are usable in China. Here is the VPN I used when I am in China.
Find out more about Guangzhou
Watch my first full Travelogue video below to learn more about Guangzhou, video speak louder than words!
If you have any question regarding Guangzhou, do ask me in the comment section below!
I heard about one local authentic restaurant and decided to visit the place. Only to find that they are not really a true authentic Guangzhou restaurant. However, my journey here took me through an unexpected visit of the some of the hidden alleys and had a glimpse of how it is like. Check out the video below to see yourself the hidden parts of Guangzhou!