On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:The best way to get from Guangzhou to Hong Kong entirely depends on how much time you have. The quickest route is to take the two-hour journey on a direct train that leaves from Guangzhou East Railway Station and arrives in Hong Kong, at Hung Hom. There are also a handful of buses that run from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, some direct and some making stops along the way in Dongguan and Shenzhen. While this is a cheaper alternative to the train, bus trips will take at least three hours and often more, so plan accordingly. Regardless of whether you go by train or bus, however, remember to leave time for customs, where if the lines are long you could spend an hour or more waiting to get through.
On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:You’ll find all sorts of goods for sale in the city’s malls and street markets, but Forbes Travel Guide’s editors say the best things to bring home from Guangzhou are of the culinary variety. Cured meats are a specialty, and foodie friends back home will appreciate biting into the cured sausages sold here that have a different flavor and texture from those commonly available in the United States. Gourmet teas grown and produced in China are another recommended item and are readily available at tea stalls and supermarkets throughout the city.
If you only have a day or two in Guangzhou but still want to squeeze in some shopping, consider doing so at Shangxiajiu Street, a pedestrian-only street in the old town where you can sample a variety of local snacks while browsing a great selection of scarves, jewelry, fashion accessories, paper goods and much more.
On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:Guangzhou’s local food scene is deliciously and largely flavored with Cantonese and northern Chinese delicacies, though if you’re craving some comfort food from back home you’ll also have no trouble finding good restaurants serving tried-and-true Western favorites. Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for five of the best food experiences in Guangzhou include something for everybody:
1. Bingsheng. This perpetually packed local institution located in the Haizhu District is a great place to sample a variety of Cantonese classics such as roasted goose, fish congee and pork dumplings. You’ll need some time to fully survey the restaurant’s encyclopedic 60-page menu.
2. South Sea Fishing Village. Open since 1986, South Sea Fishing Village is another excellent spot to dig into authentic Cantonese cuisine. Specialties such as crispy pigeon, deep-fried pork dumplings and abalone draw loyal legions of locals who often wait in lines that go out the front door, so plan on arriving early.
3. Eating on Shamian Island. You’ll feel worlds away from Guangzhou as you walk down the tree-lined streets and past the restored European-style buildings that dot this small island in Guangzhou’s Liwan District. There are a number of restaurants on the island, but if you want to take a break from Cantonese, grab one of the tables on the outdoor patio at laid-back Lucy’s, which serves burgers, pasta and other international staples.
4. Strolling Shangxiajiu Street. This pedestrian-only shopping street is a good place to hop into a restaurant for a dim sum lunch, nibble on street food specialties such as fried pancakes and steamed buns and to stock up on dried seafood and other packaged snacks.
5. Sip Herbal Tea. Start your day by pulling up a stool amongst locals at one of the city’s many tea houses and sipping a cup or two of medicinal tea, which is made from Chinese herbs and is often used to remedy a variety of illnesses and medical conditions.
On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:Though in general Guangzhou’s nightlife doesn’t enjoy a particularly sterling reputation – think thumping nightclubs and karaoke bars filled with working girls – there are a few spots Forbes Travel Guide’s editors feel are worth seeking out when it’s time to unwind.
The Brew, a family-friendly sports bar with locations in Zhujiang New Town and Panyu, serves excellent burgers, nachos and wings and is a favorite of local expats. Six different beers are on draft here, along with a number of imported microbrews in bottles. Tavern Sports Bar, which is a cross between an American sports bar and a British pub, is another recommended spot to catch the big game over cold beers.
Sapphire Lounge, a stylish bar located within China Hotel, A Marriott Hotel, Guangzhou, provides a less-sporty nightlife experience and offers excellent specialty cocktails, particularly the martinis. Finally, head to the 99th floor Tian Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou for spectacular views of the city while sipping drinks at a unique bar made from a 26-foot-long piece of colorful agate.
On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:If you’re short on time in Guangzhou and have to squeeze your sightseeing into just one day, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors think the best way to do it is by starting off on Shamian Island, where you can take a pleasant morning stroll along beautiful tree-lined streets, see well over 100 European-style buildings and browse eclectic boutique shops. Afterward, head to one of the city’s lively markets or pedestrian streets: two recommended options are Shangxiajiu Street, a popular shopping area packed with street food stalls and dim sum restaurants, and Haizhu Wholesale Market, where you can pick up packaged snacks, inexpensive clothing, fashion accessories and other souvenir knick-knacks.
Take a short break in your hotel, then make your way to Bingsheng, a wildly popular Cantonese restaurant with a tome-like 60-page menu – the pork dumplings and roast goose are reliably delicious. Finally, wrap up your whirlwind day in Guangzhou by getting a bird’s eye view of the city either from the observation deck of the Canton Tower, the world’s tallest TV tower, or over cocktails at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou’s 99th-floor Tian Bar.
On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:If you want it, you can buy it in Guangzhou, which has both modern shopping malls with outlets for popular international chains, as well as local markets packed with clothing, jewelry and all kinds of knick-knacks and souvenirs. If you’re looking for a Western-style mall, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors think the best shopping is at glitzy Guangzhou Tee Mall Plaza, where you’ll find seven floors of retail glory along with restaurants, a movie theater and much more. Alternately, head to pedestrian-only Shangxiajiu Street to score bargain-basement prices on clothing, housewares, fashion accessories and souvenirs, or to Haizhu Wholsale Market to stock up on packaged snacks, toys, paper good and other gifts at wholesale prices – haggling is expected at both destinations.
On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:There are plenty of reasons to take the kids with you to Guangzhou, where kid-friendly activities include taking a thrilling spin on the world’s highest Ferris wheel, embarking on a fun wildlife safari and splashing around in a massive water park. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best things to do with kids in Guangzhou:
1. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Canton Tower. Not for the faint of heart, this horizontal Ferris wheel is located 1,601 feet off the ground on top of Canton Tower, making it the highest of its kind in the world. If the dizzying heights of the Ferris wheel are a little too scary for you or your kids, you can alternately enjoy stunning views of the city from the less-harrowing observation deck.
2. See the Chimelong International Circus Show. This fun variety show will tickle adults and kids alike as it unfolds over about 90 minutes and includes everything from circus acts with tigers, bears and monkeys to dazzling dance, ballet and musical performances.
3. Visit Chimelong Paradise. Opened in 2006 and featuring over 60 different rides and attractions, Chimelong Paradise is the largest amusement park in China and a great place to spend the day with kids of all ages. Older kids will love zipping around on the park’s winding roller coasters, while parents with younger kids can take little ones for a paddleboat ride on the park’s manmade lake.
4. Spot Wildlife at Xiangjiang Safari Park. This well-maintained zoo is bound to be a hit. Featuring white tigers, pandas, bears and other exotic wildlife, Xiangjiang can be explored either by foot in the “Safari on Foot” section or by train in “Safari on Wheels.”
5. Get Soaked at Chimelong Water Park. There are some really fantastic water rides at this huge water park, including the Super Tornado, where it’ll feel like you’re caught in a tornado as you’re sucked down into a funnel, and the 984-foot long Jet Slide. Theme Kids Water Town, featuring 42 water toys and 9 water slides, is ideal for young children.
On August 28, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:There are plenty of fun things to do in Guangzhou, from strolling quiet tree-lined streets lined with European-style architecture to getting views of the city from near the top of the world’s tallest TV tower. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best things to do in Guangzhou:
1. Canton Tower. There are a few indoor and outdoor viewing decks at Canton Tower, currently the tallest TV tower in the world, but the most thrilling – or perhaps most terrifying, depending on your point of view – spot to see Guangzhou in panoramic glory is from one of the passenger cars on the Ferris wheel, which at 1,601 feet off the ground is the highest of its kind on the planet.
2. Shamian Island. An idyllic escape from the busy city center, this small island is highlighted by its beautiful tree-lined streets and more than 100 European-style buildings. This is a good place to browse boutique shops and pick up some souvenirs.
3. Xiangjiang Safari Park. Families with children should put a visit to Xiangjiang Safari Park at the top of their to-do list. Here you can see white tigers, pandas and other wildlife while touring the well-maintained facilities either by foot or by train.
4. Chimelong International Circus Show. This captivating 90-minute show is another highly recommended family-friendly activity in Guangzhou. Part animal circus and part dance and music spectacle, Chimelong International Circus Show takes many of its cues from Macau’s popular “The House of Dancing Water” extravaganza.
5. Guangzhou Panyu Lianhua Mountain. Travel about 12 miles outside of the city to this beautifully landscaped park overlooking the Pearl River where you can tour gorgeous pagodas and enjoy the surrounding greenery from one of a few good restaurants.