China Trip – Getting there and Highlights

My stay in China was quite short as I only spent three days and two nights there. My impression of China was largely unchanged from the last time I visited – food is cheap, but the air remains hazy and polluted. However, I had a more positive view of their shopping centres (the ones I visited anyway) due to greater cleanliness.

There are four options of travelling from Kong to Guangzhou (listed in order of least expensive to most):

Transport Option Cost ($HKD)* Comfort Rating^ Duration
Coach 110 3 3 hours
Bullet Train 190 5 2 hours
Ferry 220 3.5 2.5 hours
Plane 2087 4 1 hour
*Costs above are indicative and subject to change due to holidays and peak periods
^ Ratings are out of 5, with 5 being the most comfortable and 0 being the least.

Commentary

From the table above, you can see that there is a positive correlation between duration and cost. The longer it takes to get from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, the cheaper it gets. The coach option is impacted by the choice of travel dates and times as heavy traffic can sometimes delay journeys for an extra hour or two.

The bullet train and ferry were both viable options but where we were staying in China was not really that close to the bullet train and there was fog on both days which would potentially impact the ferry speed. Although the plane option is the quickest, it is a bit silly because it is a lot more expensive than the other options and you normally have to arrive at the airport two hours early anyway. In that time you could have already arrived at your destination!

So in the end we went with the Eternal East coaches for the journey to and from China. We also chose weekdays where not many people would be travelling so our travel time was reduced from 3 to 2.5 hours.

Highlights

Unlike Japan, we weren’t travelling on a tour so the itinerary was a lot more relaxed. No morning calls and no time limits on attractions that we visited. Here are a few places that I’d definitely recommend visiting:

Chimelong International Circus

Cost: 300 RMB / 61.47 AUD

chimelong circus.png

Going to the circus is a very rare occasion for me, the last time being Cirque du Soleil in Sydney in 2007. So I was pretty stoked about going to this one which I found to be spectacularly choreographed. The show comprised of a variety of award winning international acts including performers from America, Russia, Africa, Columbia and China. It was the first time I saw brown bears riding small bicycles, walking on two feet and clapping their hands. During interludes between acts, there were parades of animals and performers representing different nationalities. The costume design and lighting made it very impressive. Overall, I have to say that it was a very entertaining and outstanding 90 minute performance.

Lingnan Impression Park

Cost: 60 RMB / 12.26 AUD

lingnan impression park.png

Discovering my Chinese heritage and culture! This 16.5 hectare park is a must-visit for anyone with a Cantonese background. There are houses and temples which are in traditional Cantonese style. Hong Kong and Macau specialty stores can also be found within, selling traditional Guangdong art and crafts. I found the displays of ivory and wood carvings quite interesting which can be seen along Lianxi Street (the park’s main street). Exploring the park and viewing shows (e.g. Lingnan Impression Show) can take anywhere between 3 or 4 hours so towards the end we were feeling a bit hungry. Luckily, there are restaurants serving Cantonese cuisine. We opted for a light afternoon snack in the form of black sesame soup which temporarily satisfied our appetites until it was time for dinner.

Canton Tower

Cost: 150 – 488 RMB / 30.66 AUD – 99.94 AUD

The price varies depending on the packages that you choose as the tower is divided into five zones (Zone A to E). There are also observation decks at varying heights, revolving crystal sight-seeing cabins and a 485 metre free-fall named the “The Sky Drop” for the thrill-seekers. Sadly, I missed out on this attraction as I saw it only from afar. We had dinner in its vicinity at Charlotte Bar, which was a Western style restaurant. After dinner, we were able to see the Canton Tower light up and transform into a rainbow spectacle.

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