Guangzhou, May 16-18, 2006

Written by Jul 5, 2006 04:07
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Whirlwind tour - Guangzhou > Hainan Island > Shanghai

It all started when Singapore Airlines (SQ) splashed its on-line promo fare for its Singapore-Guangzhou-Singapore sector. At only S$98 two-way (excluding taxes/surcharges totaling S$210), I happily booked two tickets on-line leaving Singapore on the 16th and returning on the 25th (the promo fare had travel restrictions but luckily for us, it coincided with our holiday plans).

After 'congratulating' myself for grabbing a good deal, I began to panic - how on earth was I going to spend 10 long days? Other than playing golf at two of our reciprocal clubs in Guangzhou, there's nowhere else we wanted to visit. We don't shop (other than the usual souvenirs for friends/relatives) and hardly do long sightseeing trips. Thankfully, I made a few on-line searches and came across the forum. With the travellers' tips (special thanks to Pinetree), I was able to plan an itinerary that covered interesting places that we would love to visit, dine or stay in Guangzhou, Hainan Island and Shanghai. The weather had been kind to us too - cool on most days - even the typhoon got diverted! We had a great time!

Guangzhou - May 16-18, 2006
May 16 @ Guangzhou -.1st nite (RMB260) at Suncity Hotel (booked by our reciprocal club as its 20 minutes away from the golf course). However, it is situated in an old and dusty industrial area. Really boring … no nice eateries or trendy shops nearby. There were a couple of fast-food chains though. We had dinner at the hotel - Japanese restaurant. Food average but the chawanmushi (steamed egg) was yummy. (At the Baiyun Airport, the counter staff claimed that there wasn't an airport shuttle service to Suncity Hotel. A few that we approached also feigned ignorance. One agent wanted to charge RMB400 for the ride to our hotel but we joined the taxi queue outside the airport. The damage -RMB260 including toll charges for the 1-hour journey :( that's equivalent to a nite stay at the hotel! Imagine our surprise when we stepped out of our hotel to take a walk - smacked right there is the airport shuttle service!!!)

May 17 @ Guangzhou
Slight drizzle / typhoon anticipated - Had breakfast at the Guangzhou International Golf Club. Ordered an American and an Oriental set. After breakfast, it was still drizzling but we decided to play. Glad we did it - beautiful course and friendly caddies.

After the round, we 'moved house' - downtown to Garden Hotel (RMB600/nite Luhu's corporate rate). Had late lunch at the Garden's Chinese restaurant, Lai Wan (a.k.a. the 'lycee' restaurant - another forum contribution, thanks!). Dim sum was excellent. Since typhoon was also expected tomorrow, we decided to rush over to Guangzhou Luhu Golf Club for nite golfing. Owing to their lighting system, we played 14 holes and had to repeat the other 4 - this wasn't told to us before play! We were also forced to pay a higher 'package price' of RMB380 per golfer (total = RMB760 for 2 caddies and a buggy). Normal fees were only RMB250 per golfer. Other than this hiccup, we enjoyed playing the challenging course, with undulating fairways. Security guards as well as the police were spotted at many of the dark hidden corners. The course is built within a public park and apparently there were loiterers/robbers who often hid among the bushes. Its quite risky to play at night - not recommended. Had supper at Garden Hotel - a super club sandwich and lobster bisque - yum yum!

May 18 @ Guangzhou
Across the road from Garden Hotel, there is a delightful eating place recommended by passers-by - "See You There" restaurant (haha … a direct translation of its Chinese name would be "No See No Count"). We had yummy beef noodles, pork innards porridge and roasted goose drumstick (had it unchopped ... finger-licking good!). The 'milk' tea served here was excellent too.

After breakfast, we went to Beijing Lu and Shang Xia Jiu pedestrian streets. We also visited the Museum of King's Tomb of South Yue (Metro line 2 blue to Yue Xiu Garden). Our next stop was Shamian Island - nothing much here except old colonial buildings. However, the Pearl River nite scene with colourful neon lights on the opposite bank was awesome. We had buffet dinner at the White Swan Hotel - RMB274/pax - a little high end but the Coffeeshop served a myriad variety of high value items - 2 kinds of caviar and truffles, escargots, rock oysters, roast beef, lamb, sashimi, sushi ……..

After dinner, we walked around the hotel facilities - impressive and room rate starts from RMB1300/nite. We chanced upon the Shamian Hotel just 2 minutes away from White Swan (surprisingly the waiter at White Swan Hotel, airport staff and taxi drivers whom we approached had not heard of its name and did not know its whereabout. The friendly waiter even said that if it existed, he would surely know as Shamian Island is a small area). Initially, we thought of staying here for the first night but since our queries drew a blank, we stayed elsewhere. We were glad that we didn't as we felt that it looked old and its small lobby area was quite drabby-looking. The locality is also not recommended for families with small children as its a long walk to the Metro station (15-20 minutes away?). The station itself is very run-down and the tunnel looks quite intimidating - definitely not a place that you would want to walk late at nite.

 More Guangzhou Travel Reviews
1. Pleasant Memories KEVINWARDCFC from IE Jun 17, 2006 22:06
2. Where the Food's At MISHEN from NZ Apr 26, 2006 12:04
3. MY CHINA CALGUY from US Apr 1, 2006 19:04
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