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The closest airport is Baiyun International (CAN), about 12 miles north, which receives nonstop flights from most major Chinese cities, as well as direct flights from international locations, including Sydney, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and New York. Carriers include, to name a few: Air China, Asiana Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Japan Air System, Singapore Airlines, Cebu Airways, AirAsia, and Thai Airways. If you have not pre-arranged a shuttle through your hotel, you can grab a taxi. Taxi services are 24 hours. In addition, there are airport shuttle buses that can take you into the city for about 20+ Yuan. You can find the bus stops for different routes outside the arrival halls. Service hours vary depending on routes: http://www.gbiac.net/en/jtzy/bus, frequency usually at about 20-30 minutes. A third and only recently available option is travelling by metro into the city, thanks to a leaping development of the metro system gearing for the Asian Games in Nov 2010. Currently passengers can take the metro on line 3 from Airport South station into the city. Use the Guangzhou metro website to search fare and accessibility to where you're going: http://www.gzmtr.com/en/. The first train from the airport is at 06:00, and the latest one is at 23:00 (22:55 is the cut-off entry time).
The main railway station is Guangzhou Railway Station (huo che zhan in Mandarin Chinese), which has transport from countless cities (inter- / intra- state). Acting as one of the five major railway hubs in China, the trains are almost always extremely crowded, so make your reservations at least a week in advance and show up at the station at least 2 hours before departure.
Direct trains from Hong Kong (Through Train service) are less crowded. You may purchase your ticket upon arrival to the station, but beware for peak seasons (ie Canton Trade Fairs, Chinese New Year, Ching Ming Festivals & Hong Kong & China long vacations). Through Train tickets are very popular during peak seasons, you may have to book your tickets at least 10-15 days in advance. Major credit cards for payment and collection of the tickets purchasing through Internet are accepted in Hong Kong side only, click here for details. You must pay in cash (either RMB / HKD) in Guangzhou. Through Trains call at East Station (dong zhan), which is connected to metro on both Line 1 and 3. The trip from Hong Kong takes 2 hours, around 1-2 trains per hour. Please allow at least 45 minutes before the train departure for completing customs formalities in the station. Entry gates will be closed 15 minutes before the train departure.
If you are travelling from Hong Kong via Shenzhen, you may also take the CRH Trains in Shenzhen, these trains are frequent, approx. 4-5 trains per hour, takes around 1 hour 10 minutes from Shenzhen to Guangzhou East. These trains call at 3 major cities between Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen. Like Through Trains, tickets in peak seasons are quite popular, you may have to wait at least 2-3 hours for boarding the train after purchasing the ticket during peak times. First class will have electric socket (220V) provided above your seat.
Guangzhou is well connected with major highspeed rail network, 300-350 km/h CRH trains are calling at Guangzhou South Station (nan zhan) and North Station (bei zhan) for inter-state services in Guangzhou. South Station is connected to metro Line 2. Entry gates will be closed 15 minutes before the train departure.
There is cart service of refresments, nuts, tea, and beer. Service is slow, so consider bringing your own snacks and bottled water. You will find concessions in the train stations. Trains have bathrooms in the cars. The train has completely non smoking cars. All trains in China, except Guangzhou - Hong Kong Through Trains, passport is required when you buy the ticket.
If you need to make transfers between East Station and South Station, make sure at least 2.5 hours is allocated to complete the transfer to prevent missing your train.
There are 6 lines plus an additional one going to Foshan todate (Nov 2010), and you can get to the railway station, chimelong, chenjiaci, shangxiajiu street, beijing road and so on. The metro is a very convenient and safe way for travellers and you will find most signage is also written in English. Guangzhou metro's website is where you can find info about fare, connection, key sightseeing/shopping places nearby and the service hours of each lines. http://www.gzmtr.com/en/
A fixed 10 yuan for 3 km to start, and then 2.6 per km. Some of the better taxis are the yellow cars, because yellow cars belong to the same (reliable) company and almost all drivers of this company are from Guangdong province - they tend to know the city better. There is also a 2 yuan fuel surcharge per trip. Always ask the driver to use the meter and give you a receipt before you leave - this will keep them honest. But always be careful to be sure you are riding in a "real" taxi, not just someone who wants to give you a ride. Be safe, and be smart. There are designated taxi lines just outside the airport and train stations.
There are several long-distance bus lines, but depending on the route, you may be in for a bumpy, rocky ride. Keep in mind that the more expensive companies are typically safer, so check with your hotel staff or the China International Travel Service for inside advice. The three main stations are all near the main railway station.
If you’re coming from Hong Kong, consider taking the Turbo Cat, a catamaran ferry that makes daily trips, which take about 2 hours. The ride is pretty comfortable, and a great sight-seeing opportunity. Consider buying first class tickets particularly in the summer as the coach seating is crowded and can get quite hot and stuffy. The air conditioning is much better in the first class sections. There is no smoking on the boat.