Travelling has always been part of my dreams, be it in the Philippines or any part of the world. Travelling makes me learn a lot of things about a particular place/country, so I always get excited whenever my mom plans a vacation. (It’s also one way to escape all the stress Med school gives me 😪). This Easter break, we decided to visit Guangzhou, China.🇨🇳
It was my first time to visit this beautiful country, so I was really looking forward to learning a part of China’s culture. Even though Guangzhou is not one of the popular places you’d think to visit in China, unlike Shanghai or Beijing, it made me even more curious on what I was about to discover in this city. Even I myself am not familiar with Guangzhou. We only decided to visit this city because my mom visits here every year for the Dental South China International Expo and because our travel days were only limited.
Here’s a brief introduction about the so-called “City of Flowers”:
Guangzhou is the capital and largest city in the province of Guangdong, China. It is located near the Pearl River, where the “Silk Road” originated. This served as an important trading port and transportation during ancient times. Even though it’s only a city, it is populated by almost 14M people! It is almost as large as a region here in the Philippines!
Our vacation in Guangzhou was scheduled for 4 days and 3 nights. We also decided to take on a tour offered by Rakso travels because it would be much better to have a tour guide to help us since we are not familiar with the Chinese language.
We travelled with China Southern Airlines. It was also my first time to use this airline, and surprisingly, I was satisfied with their service because 1) They served free drinks (non-alcoholic, of course) and 2) They served yummy breakfast! I know most international airlines have this but what made it satisfying was because we were not informed that they’ll be serving us food. It was not indicated on our tickets, and the travel agency did not inform us either. We realized that that was the probably the reason why the ticket price was expensive 😂
Our departure time was at 8AM, but we arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 around 5AM. The travel time was approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes from Manila to Canton. When we arrived, the pilot informed us that the ground temperature was at 16 degrees Celsius ++ it was raining! We panicked a little, but only for a while because we expected this temperature as predicted by the Weather app. I got a little worried because we only prepared one coat each, and I forgot to bring tights for my dress and skirt 😂
Travel Tip # 1: Always be prepared! Check the weather beforehand because countries with four seasons have weathers that are very unpredictable. If it’s rainy, make sure to bring an extra coat, jackets, a scarf and umbrellas. It’s also handy if you bring at least a pair of tights/warmers.
We met our tour guide, Cherry, by the exit of the Baiyun Airport and then proceeded to our first destination which is the Flower City Square!
Flower City Square is located in the Central Axis in Zhujiang New Zone. It ranges for about 560,000 square meters and is the largest square in Guangzhou. In the square, different buildings and architectures can be seen such as the new Guangzhou Library, the Guangzhou Museum and the Guangzhou Opera House. The Canton TV Tower can also be viewed here.
It was raining in Guangzhou for almost 3 weeks now, only a few flowers were in bloom. We still enjoyed our time by taking pictures with the Canton tower as the background, as well as the other buildings, even though it was freezingly cold!
Travel Tip #2: If you’re into fashion and is preparing for your OOTDs, you can check out in Instagram the different outfits you can wear that is suitable for a specific weather. Most posts are updated, and you can see how the people were dressed up in that particular place. (Well, that was what I did. Haha!)
After touring the square, we checked-in on our hotel, the Vienna Hotel, located near the Guangzhou Railway South Station. We had our first meal in China afterwards, and guess what restaurant we chose….
McDonald’s! 😂 We couldn’t miss the chance to try the menu in China, so we decided to have our lunch here. I ordered the Chicken rice bowl, which was not available in the Philippines. What’s amazing here is that they have this hi-tech facility where you can order easily by choosing the food you want in the touch screen monitor. It saves you from speaking in English (where most Chinese people here don’t understand that much yet) and doing sign language. After choosing your order, you can just pay through card or pay directly in the counter!
It was our free time to go shopping after lunch, since our tour resumes the next day. We had the luxury of time to ourselves, without Cherry guiding us. We visited the Tee Mall, which was just across the street from McDonald’s. Time for shoe shoppiiiiing!
My mom also brought us to this mini store, called MINISO, where most of the items are worth 10 yuan! (or 70 pesos). I saw a lot of cute stuff there, which were quite useful and handy. I tried to control myself and only got the ones I really need. 😂
I got a pair of mint-colored socks (10 yuan for 2 pairs) and a pair of stockings (to save me from the cold weather once I wear my dress 😂) But what I can’t control myself from buying is when I saw the pastel-colored highlighters and ballpens! It only costs 10 yuan for 3 pieces, making it much cheaper than Muji pens! Since Miniso is from Japan too, I concluded that Muji and Miniso pens are almost the same hahaha! I couldn’t resist so I bought 1 set of black pens and 2 sets of highlighters. (Still useful in Med hehe)
We dared ourselves and tried riding the Metro to go back to our hotel. It was confusing at first, but it gets easier to understand once you know where your destination is and which stations will you go or transfer to. It was rush hour then, so the Metro was full of people who were careless whether you’re a tourist or not. Which was understandable since everyone is desperate to get on the train and get home early. We almost missed our first stop becaus the train was so full. Luckily we were able to squeeze ourselves out and transferred to another line, the one directing straight to the station near our hotel. We only spent 30 minutes and 3 yuan per person in riding the Metro rather than taking the taxi, which causes much more plus the traffic you’ll be facing.
Travel Tip # 3: If you’re travelling with family or a large number of people, it’s better to take the Metro than taking a taxi. It saves you a lot of money and time. All it takes it to be street-wise and make sure to read every signages and listen to what stop is coming next. There’s an English translation so, no worries!
We had dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. It was a small place which sells ramen and sushi rolls. Even though they barely understood us as we ordered, the food tasted better than we expected! One bowl of ramen costs only 12 yuan or 84 pesos, and 1 plate of sushi (6 pcs) costs only 20 yuan or 140 pesos! It was so delicious! Probably the best sushi I ever tasted ❤
Travel Tip #4: Explore! Don’t be afraid to try out different things, especially when it comes to food. It wouldn’t hurt to try, just make sure that you know what you’re eating and that the place is safe enough for you to dine. 🙂
Did you like my travel tips? Stay tuned for more!
Up next: Wonders of Chimelong (Part 1)