My Guangzhou Adventure

Sharif Bhuiyan is an Analyst for Vancity Credit Union in Vancouver, BC. He is a former Intern at Social Enterprise Associates. His interests include microfinance, social enterprise and international development. Reach him directly at

My passion for international development has always been fueled by desire to travel and try new things. So, when I was offered the chance to travel to Guangzhou, China for a week, my immediate response was "Awesome."

The adventure began the day after (Western) New Years, landing in Baiyun International Airport. After 2 hours to get through customs, I was truly arrived in the city - full of LED lights, cheap dim sum and camels.

Guangzhou is China's third largest city and the capital of Guandong Province in Southern China. Located on the Pearl River, it is a manufacturing hub - smog is a real problem. To get to the center of the place, use the Metro - the sixth busiest system in the world.

The Center is the best place to stay to explore the city. Like Las Vegas, their hotels have different themes to distinguish them. For example, my hotel "Vienna" was styled after the Renaissance (complete with original art). The majority of the population does not speak English, they speak Cantonese. That didn't limit exploring the city.

One of my favorite activities was trying Cantonese street food. The best time for this is in the evening - the oyster carts come out. Priced at 1 yen a piece (US$0.20) these delicacies (freshly taken from the Pearl River) are cooked with garlic sauce - delicious. For those who do not like street food, there is a dim sum restaurant on every corner.

Another famous activity in Guangzhou is shopping. Like eating, most of it is done on the street. No surprise, many products sold are counterfeits, but the prices make up for these knock offs. I got what I was told are three Louis Vuitton wallets for 50 yen each (10 dollars). For best value, you have to be willing to bargain.

Guangzhou is an interesting place to visit. While far from a common tourist attraction, the city has its unique culture, so great for travelers looking for something new. If you are interested in traveling to China and are looking for a cheap alternative to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, consider Guangzhou.

Useful sites for those wishing to visit Guangzhou:

Anantara Hotel Xishuangbanna

China Southern Airlines

Sofitel Sunrich
988 Guangzhou Da Dao Zhong Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, 510620
Tel +86 20 38838888

Creative Holidays
Tel: +61 1300 301 711


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