Guangzhou

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Facilities

Available:
Currency Exchange
Internet Cafe
Left luggage
PSB
Post Office
Not available:

Left luggage

There is a left luggage office located centrally at the train station for a small charge but if you go through a tourist office free baggage storage can usually be negotiated into the bargain (and indeed loan of an umbrella if it is raining).

Transportation

Long Distance

A number of travel agencies throughout Guangzhou may be able to help with purchase of onward tickets and if they have a sign outside in English they will try to be helpful despite any linguistic barriers. Don't be disheartened if they are unsuccessfulor claim that trains or sleepers don't exist or are unavailable as they should be able to recommend alternative operators one of whom will eventually be able to help - for a nominal fee. To avoid paying an agency fee one trick is to get them to write down in Chinese what sort of ticket you are looking for and then take it to the train or busstation (located adjacent to one another) and wave it at the ticket vendor. If you are unused to travelling in China or have lots of luggage it is probably as well to let a dealer sort your ticket although it is likely to be cheaper if you go to their office yourself rather than be escorted by a tout.

Train
From: Guangzhou
Arrive at the station in plenty of time as the station tends to be very crowded. It is necessary to present your ticket to get inside the main building and once there most waiting rooms are to be found upstairs (look for the number of your train to guide you). The waiting rooms in Guangzhou are not equipped with electronic displays so it is necessary to listen carefully for any boarding announcements. Try to be ready to identify your own train number in Chinese and then follow the crowd. If your Chinese is not up to this then just pick a friendly looking Chinese person (students are best) and show them your ticket and they will help sort you out.
From: Hong Kong
To: Guangzhou
Price: 200HKDTime: 2 hrs
Take the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) from Hong Kong's Hung Hom station which is a short walk from the star ferry terminal or Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station. Tickets are available at any KCR station, there are about 6 or so trains a day and prices cost around 200 HKD depending on whether the train is express, first class etc. The journey takes under 2 hours and the most important thing to remember is to help yourself to a Guangzhou city map from the on board magazine. The KCR is generally inhabited by businessmen who are almost all Chinese and signs offer baggage transferal for a fee. These signs may be safely ignored and all but the most ridiculous loads can be comfortably accommodated without assistance near the train doors (note: a compressor counts as a ridiculous load). Upon arrival in Guangzhou it is not uncommon for the queue at passport control to overflow onto the steps exiting the station, however foreigners generally have a much shorter queue awaiting them in the main hall at the top of the stairs.
Bus
From: Shenzhen
To: Guangzhou
Price: 60YTime: 2 hrs
Frequent air-conditioned buses leave from station near Shenzhen's Lowu border crossing.

Local

Underground
From: Guangzhou KCR station
To: Guangzhou long distance train station
Price: 5Y
The metro costs 5 Y (coins required and may be acquired at the obvious ticket office building in the basement level of the station). The ticket itself comes from a vending machine nearby. At the time of writing the second metro line shown on the Guangzhou city map was incomplete and so to complete the journey required a 1 Y bus ride on the number 6 bus which stops just outside the metro station where the two lines are due to coincide. Thereis also a major supermarket located in the metro station complex and a number of smaller shops.
Taxi
From: Guangzhou KCR station
To: Guangzhou long distance train station
Once you have exited passport control, a flight of steps leads down to the main station exit. This is inhabited by numerous tourism reps (touts) some of whom speak English and who can usually be relied upon to approach you. Prices for onward tickets can be negotiated but a surcharge will be incurred. However, if you are felling flush this is by far the simplest way to secure onward transportation and a taxi ride tothe west station (several kilometres away) may well be included (via the rep's offices to pick up the ticket). Alternatively many taxis are arranged outside the station but be warned that these are a prime site for pickpockets and bag snatchers.
Bus
From: Guangzhou KCR station
To: Guangzhou long distance train station
Price: 2Y
Buses should offer the cheapest option at not more than 2 Y but an inquiry would have to be made to establish which bus to catch and they may not necessarily go direct to the west station.