It was difficult to find a decent itinerary for Guangzhou when I searched for it last December. Nevertheless, we managed to put together a good trip with all the scattered information on the Internet.
China uses Alipay and WeChat cashless payment. As a foreigner, you will not be able to use these apps unless you link a China bank account to the payment apps. Some shops in the shopping malls accept Mastercards/VISA but it is very rare. Hence, I strongly advise to prepare more cash for the trip to any parts of China.
Apart from cash, you need to get the right travel sims card to ensure that you can use WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Google in China. Otherwise, you will need to download Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your phone to bypass the firewall. You can choose to use the free VPN service (e.g. Lantern) but I will strongly recommend to get a travel sims card as the free services might store all your data.
Lastly, I strongly recommend to download two apps, 高德 (Gao De) and 滴滴 (didi), in Singapore before you fly. Gao De is a navigation app similar to Google Maps. You can use it to navigate and estimate the price of a private hire car across different companies in China.
Didi is the only car-sharing app available in English. It accepts international credit card such as Visa and Mastercard as their payment. I encourage you to engage to the premium cars as the drivers are supposed to be verified by Didi. Even though it might be more expensive, it has a higher assurance for your safety.
Holiday Inn Guangzhou Shifu
Holiday Inn Guangzhou Shifu is located in the heart of Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Streets. It’s one of the most famous shopping streets in Guangzhou. It is very convenient for people who are planning to shop around the proximity.
We booked a King-bed Business Non-smoking room from the hotel website directly for S$230 per night. The hotel is about 15-minutes away from the nearest subway station.
Conrad Guangzhou is a luxury hotel located in the CBD area of the city. Around the hotel, you can find other chain hotels such as Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons Hotel.
We booked a King Executive Suite River View room for S$480 per night. You can read more about our stay here. The hotel is directly connected to a shopping mall and subway station but it is quite far away from the shopping district. Hence, you might want to consider the previous hotel instead.
We visited the most famous shopping district in Guangzhou on our first day of the trip. If you are going to take the subway, you can alight at Changshoulu subway station. The subway is directly connected to a shopping mall, HengBao Plaza.
(Credit to Tripadvisor)
In the shopping mall, you can find a variety of shops ranging from local small stores to international brands (e.g. Uniqlo, Watsons etc). If you need to stock up your groceries, you can get from the supermarket in the plaza too.
(Credit to HeyTea website)
HeyTea is one of the most popular tea brands in China. If you are not in rush, we recommend to try at least once during your trip. The queue is very long but I think it’s quite worth the wait. We had this seasonal drinks called 芝芝莓莓. It’s really good and shiok!
We had our snacks at 银记肠粉店, which sells large portions of Chee Cheong Fun opposite of the HengBao Plaza. The portion is so huge that I think you need at least 2 person to share. Their signature was sold out so we had the Char Siew flavoured ones, which are pretty good!
Shangxiajiu Pesdestrian Streets is the most famous shopping streets in Guangzhou. During the weekends, the crowds start as early as 9AM. Many locals start to patronize the dim sum restaurants such as 广州酒家 (Guangzhou Restaurant), 陶陶居 (Tao Tao Ju) or 莲香楼 (Lian Xiang Lou).
If you happen to go to Guangzhou restaurant, you need to proceed to the 2nd floor to request for a queue number. The number will be called and the waitress will bring you to your table. There is a high possibility that you will be sharin ga table with other patrons.
You can also choose to get the VIP room. The VIP room is a private area with a couple of round tables. You will not be sharing table with anyone but your service fees and price of the tea will be slightly higher.
We went to 南信牛奶甜品专家 (Nanxin Milk Desserts Expert) to have a quick fix for our dessert cravings. This shop is always very crowded so you might want to takeaway instead of waiting for a table.
There are streets food (proper food store) along the streets. We went for those stores with local crowds to ensure that we were not munching more than what we were supposed to!
On our second day, we visited Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall in the late morning. If you are a history lover, this might be the right place for you. The memorial hall is quite small and should not take you more than 2 hours.
Beijing Lu Pedestrian Streets is another famous shopping district in Guangzhou. I felt that the stores are selling at a higher price in comparison with Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Streets.
We went to Beijing Lu Pedestrian Streets specially to eat 海底捞 (Haidilao). The price is about 20% cheaper and you can see similarity in the menu. We ate at a weird timing so we didn’t have to queue but I suspect you might need to queue during peak hours.
We dropped by the Sacred Heart Cathedral after our heartful lunch. It was very crowded so it will be very difficult to get a photo of the architecture. And, you might want to keep your valuable items close to you!
Not many people talk about Yide Road but I think it’s worth a metnion. Yide Road is a gem for all e-commerce wannabe. You can find many wholesales store selling seafood, packacking packets, toys and decorations. It’s the best price to purchase in bulk and sell in Singapore.
On Day 3, we took Didi to the foot of Baiyun Mountain. The cable car ride takes about 10 minutes. Once you reach the destination, you can find some restaurants and local food around the proximity. I suggest to have heavy breakfast before going up to the mountain.
We spent most of our time lazing around in the shopping mall after we were done with the mountain. Had our lunch at Tsui Wah restaurant and lazed around in our hotel for the day.
On the last day of our trip, we decdied to visit the wholesales centre. If you are looking for any opportunities, you can visit Baima Clothing Marketing (白马服饰批发市场) and Hongmian Bubugao (红棉服装批发市场).
Guangzhou feels like Bangkok. The standard of living is slightly cheaper and you can find wholesales items in the city.