One of the down-sides of international long-haul travel is layovers between flights in unfamiliar places. We have a flight to Europe this year via Guangzhou, China, and I've been putting together my notes on how to make the best use of 7 hours between flights, which I'd like to share.
By the way, you can find more of my shared tips at my TravelnAsia Blog.
What's China famous for in the world? Food of course! And what's Guangzhou famous for in China? Why, it's food, of course!!! So what to do with 7 hours to spare in Guangzhou? Eat our hearts out, of course!!!!!
Now you can't really do much in Guangzhou airport itself as far as finding good Chinese food. There is a restaurant in the Pullman Hotel, near the airport terminal, and the food there is said to be OK if a little expensive. But not our idea of getting a genuine Chinese food fix.
The best places for street food in Guangzhou (and street food is the best food in Guangzhou) are ShangXiaJiu pedestrian mall near the Holiday Inn Dishifu Road and the Beijing Lu pedestrian mall near the People's Park. The first is more down-market and genuine, the latter more up-market and boutique style. Which you choose depends on your tastes.
So how to get there? Our flight arrives in Guangzhou at 5PM and we are on the runway to take off again at 12:20AM. So that gives us about 7 hours to feed our passion for Chinese food. We need to allow an hour to get through customs and immigration and out of the terminal, and we need to allow an hour and 20 minutes to get back into the terminal and onto the next flight, so we don't get left behind (because the food is supposed to be good in Paris too!).
There are three choices of transport: metro train, shuttle bus or taxi. I don't know much about the shuttle bus service, but if it's anything like most airports I'll just leave it alone. The metro train looks like a great option, but I'm surprised to find it takes TWO HOURS to get to either of these locations on the metro, with a change of train and a fair amount of walking involved. Pretty poor planning, I think.
So the best option to do this within our timeframe is to take a taxi. The cost is about US$15-20 each way, which is reasonable, and we should be able to do the trip inside an hour each way, which gives us 3 hours to enjoy some yummy Cantonese food and maybe do some bargain shopping as well.
What will we be eating? Well if we can navigate the hundreds of food options available, we'll be looking for Beijing hand-pulled noodles and steamed rolled rice noodle, two of our most favourite foods in China.
Beijing hand-pulled noodles, made fresh on the spot and dropped into a delicious beef broth with some meat and fresh vegetables!
Steamed rolled rice noodles, usually filled with some spicy minced pork, mushrooms and shallots.
Sorry, I've got to go now, drooling on my shirt!!!
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