So, now you have registered your interest to participate in Canton Fair as a buyer. Now time to plan for the actual trip. When planning for this trip, consideration must revolve around convenience, budget, time and comfort. The main thing to keep in mind is that this is a business trip first and a leisure trip second.
Getting to Guangzhou
Getting to city of Guangzhou is quite straight forward. Guangzhou is one of China’s mega city, so the transportation facility is top notch. However, to make sure you are using the right mode of transportation, answering questions 3,5 & 6 from Part 2 are important. Getting to Guangzhou most efficiently depends on your plans and itinerary.
If you are doing the trade fair circuits and attending the Global Sources Trade Fair before doing the Canton Fair, your trip should go something like this:
Your Destination → Hong Kong → Guangzhou → Your Destination
If you are going to Guangzhou instead of Hong Kong first, you reverse the destination order. If you are only attending Canton Fair, then it is easy.
Your Destination → Guangzhou → Your Destination
Your Destination → Guangzhou → Your Destination
Some airlines offer direct route to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, which is convenient. Direct flights from Australia to Guangzhou takes between 8 hours to 10 hours. Direct international routes to Guangzhou include but not limited to Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Brisbane, Busan, Cairns, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Macau, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Mumbai, Nairobi, New York City, Paris, Perth, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo and Vancouver.
The International Airport is within 30 km to Guangzhou City Centre. The best way to get out of the airport to the City Centre is via Metro Line 3. If the train stops close to your hotel, taking the train would be a great option. We tend to take the trains as they are easy to navigate, cheap ($AUD2) and quick.
If you are unsure about navigating the train within your first hour of arriving China, don’t worry, we hear you and we have all been there. Take a taxi. Taxi services are available outside of the Arrival Section A Gate 5 and B Gate 6. Taxi ride should cost between $AUD20 to $AUD30.
If you are lucky (of have done your research) the Airport Express coach may stop right outside of your hotel. So, this may be the option for you. Express Coach is available just right outside the arrival terminal at $AUD 3 per person.
The best option we have so far found, is by contacting our hotel. Some hotels offer free pick up and drop off to the airport using the hotel limousine if you arrange it with them with your arrival details prior to arriving. So you basically get out of the Airport custom and look around for your name or your hotel written on a cardboard held by a smiling Chinese Limousine driver.
Tip: Compare flight prices between low cost carrier and full-service carrier. If the differences are within $100 to $200 and you have the budget for it, go with the full- service carrier. Long haul flights in small uncomfortable seats might not be the best start (and end) for you.
Tips: Beware of illegally operating taxi’s and scams. Ignore Ignore Ignore.
Tips: If you want to know how much taxi would cost from the airport to your hotel, email your hotel to find out.
Tips: Email your hotel 48 hours prior to arriving to remind them again that you will be waiting for your pick up. In case they forget.
Your Destination → Hong Kong → Guangzhou → Your Destination
If attending both Canton Fair and Global Sources Trade Fair, booking a multi-destination tickets between Hong Kong and Guangzhou will be a convenient option. In our experience, the cost to fly into one destination and fly out of other in this circumstance is the same if not only slightly more expensive than a one destination return journey. Nonetheless, we implore for you to do your price checking exercise prior to deciding.
What we like about this is, taking a multi destination ticket when attending both fairs means you only move location once. Some participants will take daily train ride between Hong Kong- Guangzhou so they can stay put in one hotel and take the same return flight home. This is a much more time consuming and tiring practice. Remember, you are going there to focus on products, not spending 4 hours of your daily time travelling. Your multi destination itinerary should look like this :
4 days Hong Kong → ½ Day Travel Hong Kong to Guangzhou → 4 Days Guangzhou
There are also flights from Hong Kong to Guangzhou operated by Dragon Air and Cathay Pacific Airways. Flights takes 1 hour, and prices are comparatively expensive to other transportation options.
Perhaps the best way to get to Guangzhou from Hong Kong. Taking the train is a fun activity. The Hong Kong – Guangzhou MTR Intercity Through Train is nice and clean. The seats are numbered, huge and comfortable. The best part is, it is a double decker train! It also does help that going through the Hong Kong and China customs through the train system is easy and not as busy. You can go for the First-Class Ticket (approx. $AUD60) which is fancy and high-end, however the premium class (approx. $AUD40) is also comfortable. Journey takes 2.5 hours.
You can purchase tickets up to 30 days prior to travel from the website (Hong Kong to Guangzhou only), which you then will have to pick in person in the selected locations as per the website. Another option is to purchase the ticket at the Hung Hom Train Station (where you board your train) at least 1 hour before your scheduled boarding time.
By Taxi or Private Car
If you are in a group of 5 or more and prefer a door to door service, then taking a Taxi or Private Car hire might workout to be the same price if not cheaper than taking the train. This considers the cost of Your HK Hotel → Hung Hom Station → Guangzhou Railway Station → Your Guangzhou Hotel for the group. To ensure problem free travel, the best way to book this through your hotel concierge desk. Prices during Canton Fair is much higher than other times, so perhaps request the concierge to arrange for a few quotes. Depending on the traffic, driving from Hong Kong to Guangzhou takes around 4 to 5 hours
Another cheap and reliable option to travel to Guangzhou via Hong Kong is by the CTS Express bus from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. At $AUD16, the bus route would be your cheapest option. The Pick Up/Drop Off location for the express bus are along selected hotels (great if you are staying at these hotels!) within the HK Island, Kowloon and New Territories areas. Travel time on the express bus is between 4 to 5 hours depending on the traffic. You can purchase tickets at the CTS branch or departure locations. Make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure as they do depart on time. The downside on taking the bus is that, you have to get off the bus every time you reach the immigration. Once you have done that, you have to make sure you get back on the RIGHT bus !
You better believe it! There are also ferry services from Hong Kong to Guangzhou! Ferry Ride from China Ferry Terminal (China Hong Kong City), Hong Kong International Airport Ferry Terminal or Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal to Nansha Port will take 1 hour and 20 minutes. The ferry also stops at another Guangzhou port, Lianhuashan Port and this trip takes 1 hour and 50 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the port. The downside on taking the ferry is, to get to these ports to selected hotels/destinations, you will have to take a free shuttle bus which takes another hour. Plus, at $AUD 30 per trip, they are not necessarily cheap!
For a beginner looking for a hotel in Guangzhou, a stay at the Canton Fair participating hotels is a good idea. Whenever we are here for the fair, our accommodation requirement is highly focused on an experience that would best serve our need of a fuss free and convenient environment.
When choosing suitable hotel in Guangzhou for the Fair, some of the requirements and amenities we need available are:
- Very close to the train station (if possible same train line as Pazhou Complex)
- Hotel must be Canton Fair friendly
- Hotel must have a Fitness Centre
- Close to the malls and 24-hour mart (7/11)
- Hotel must provide Wi-fi
- Availability of International ATM close by (eg: Bank of China, Citibank)
- Hotel must provide breakfast
- Near restaurants, food courts, stalls, bakery
- Close to hair salons, spa and pharmacy.
- Hotel must have a business centre
- English speaking staff who can write in Mandarin
- Hotel within reasonable distance from City Centre
With the above reasons, we find that the best solution is to stay at the participating hotel as they tend to meet our criteria. Majority of the participating hotels offers Canton Fair-Related services such as:
- Free pick up and drop off shuttle bus to the Canton Fair
- Early breakfast
- Buyer’s Badge Registration Counter
- Business Centre
- Helpful information such as train map, information booklet
- Free pick up and drop off from the airport
- Discounted rates
The best thing to do is to study the participating hotel lists and see which hotel suit your need and your budget the most.
Tips: Make sure you have the shuttle bus pick up and drop off time table with you always. Be early as they get busy and leave on time.
Tips: Make sure you utilise your free breakfast at the hotel. You will do lots of walking and food are expensive at the fair.
Tips: if you can afford a bigger room, go for it. It helps having the space to spread and categorise all the catalogues you will be getting
Tip: The mattresses in China are hard as a rock. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Transportation in Guangzhou
Getting around Guangzhou is easy. The easiest option is the Guangzhou Metro- they go everywhere. Majority of the train station is super close to the attractions and malls hence not much walking. You can basically navigate your way to Canton City and the airport with the metro. Signs are available in both Chinese and English. The 3-day pass ($AUD10) allows you unlimited train and bus trips over the course of 72 hours. This pass is available at the information counter of major train station.
To get to Canton Fair by Train, take Metro Line 8. Stopping at Xingang Dong Station Exit A will take you to the Area A entrance of the fair. While stopping at Pazhou Exit A or B will take you to the Area B entrance of the fair.
Should you prefer not to walk after a long day, taxi’s and Didi Chuxing (Chinese version of Uber) are widely available. The Didi App for Guangzhou City is now available in English – so you book your ride just like Uber.
Tips: Be careful of your belongings whilst on the train