Mamas, are you in need of an easy escape from Hong Kong, with or without the kids? It’s no secret there are plenty of idyllic getaways in close proximity to our SAR, but sometimes the thought of getting on a plane is just too hard, especially with the kids in tow, right?
Well, how about a train ride to China? In just under two hours, you’re over the border in a new city and on an adventure! Take the train from Hung Hom Station in Kowloon direct to Guangzhou. Tickets are just HK$195 each way and the ride is comfortable and quick, with a (limited) food and drinks selection on board. You may experience a bit of a wait through customs, but let’s face it, that’s par for the course in a city where 13 million people reside!
Located on the Pearl River, Guangzhou is modern, spacious, green and clean, so despite the sizable population you won’t feel the intensity of Hong Kong’s crowds. You’ll arrive in downtown Guangzhou, where the station is just a short taxi ride to plenty of well-known hotels. You’ll find the Westin, Hyatt, Four Seasons, Sofitel, Ritz Carlton and Shangri La all making themselves at home in China’s third-largest city.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem like Guangzhou is overflowing with possibilities, but if you’re just taking time out with hubby, all you need are cocktails, dinner and a lazy afternoon walk, right? There are definitely no shortage of restaurants and bars with lots of wide, leafy streets to take a relaxing stroll.
If you take the kids you’ll need to dig a little deeper, but once you do, you’ll find plenty of parks, including Yuexiu Park – the largest in Guangzhou – comprising three artificial lakes and seven hills of the Yuexiu Mountain. With an amusement park, swimming pool, gymnasium, restaurants, stalls and museums, there’s plenty here to occupy the little ones. Guangzhou Zoo is well worth a look too. With over 5000 animals, including an Ocean World, this is one of the largest zoos in China. Chimelong Paradise is a great little theme park for the kids and there are plenty of stunning temples to visit.
State-of-the-art skyscrapers light up the night sky, so head up to the top of Canton Tower to check out the view. The tallest TV tower in the world, it was built using the latest engineering technologies yet still embraces 2000 years of Cantonese culture.
If you need a bit of retail therapy, it’s worth checking out Beijing Rd market. Not unlike Hong Kong, you’ll find the usual kids toys, handbags, watches, jewellery, and if you need a coat, I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many puffa jackets on sale! It is a couple of degrees cooler than HK, so you will need to rug up, (although possibly not in a full down coat!)
Taxis can be a little hard to hail in the street, so your best bet is to try and find a hotel or shopping centre and jump in line.
Whilst it doesn’t have the vibrancy of Hong Kong, if you’re in need of a short break out of town to revitalise and reconnect, Guangzhou is so easy to get to and a great place to explore.