Drumbrake's Travels

My trip reports

Qingyuan 清遠 & Guangzhou 廣州

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Thorntree report

A short trip from Hong Kong to Qingyuan 清遠, and Guangzhou 廣州

There are direct buses from Hong Kong to Qingyuan which is the easiest way to get there. The Motor Transport Company of Guangdong and Hong Kong Ltd .  Departures from Austin Rd, Kowloon at 0715, 0900, 1400 and 1730. Cost HK$130 and journey time around 4-5hours.

We wanted to use the new high speed train from Guangzhou South. So we caught eebusMongkok (Pitt St) to Guangzhou South train Station (HK$120, one departure at 0800). Took 3 1/2 hours. Go through Huanggang immigration, but there were no problems with only minor queues.

If you cross the border to Lo Wu, there are buses to both Guangzhou South and Qingyuan.

Guangzhou South Railway Station is an impressive piece of architecture. There are ticket machines, but at the moment you need a Chinese ID card in order to purchase tickets through them. At the ticket window, we had to show passports – the number of which was printed on our ticket. We were able to get a ticket for a train leaving in under an hour.

Guangzhou South Railway Station

The train is impressive as well – I think we touched 350 km, and the journey was over in something like 25 minutes. The train continues to Wuhan, and would be a good way of heading north.

Nose of the train

Qingyuan Station does not have any public transport as far as I can see. A taxi to the town centre was 30 Rmb. Note that the station is quite near Wu Yi ferry pier, so if heading to the temples, you could go there straight from the station.

We stayed at Qingyuan Hua Guan (Royal Crown) Hotel – listed in LP. It’s ok – typical Chinese hotel, but in need of a good clean. Tripadvisor Review . It’s ok for one night. It’s next to the town bus station.

Taxi back to the ferry pier cost 30 Rmb. The hotel and taxi driver both said Wu Yi pier was closer than Baimiao dock (listed in LP). It turns out that Baimiao is opposite Wu Yi, but as far as I can tell the road bridge is in Qingyuan town, so you either go to one or the other.

Getting on the Boat

The expensive part for us was the boat trip – LP mention boats for max of 5 passengers costing up to 230 Rmb. However when we got there, only much larger boats (carrying maybe 15-20 people or more) appeared to be available and the price had gone up accordingly, starting at around 400 Rmb for a round trip. We got them down to 330 Rmb but this is still quite a lot. Perhaps if you go at a weekend there will be more people and you can join others to cut costs; on a weekday afternoon in March there were very few people doing that trip.

Both temples are are worth seeing – make sure you give yourself time to explore; we went in afternoon and didn’t really have enough time at either – I’d think around 2 hours at Feixia and an hour at Feilai. Prices were as follows: Feilai Temple – 15 Rmb (same as stated in 2009 LP guidebook); Feixia – Now 60 Rmb (in guidebook was 35 Rmb). However, the woman on our boat got us tickets for 50 Rmb each. No student discounts for either place.

I enjoyed Feixia more. While the ‘Dracula’s castle’ description in LP is a little of an exaggeration, it is still atmospheric, and being able to spend an extra hour or so there would have been good. Feilai has been rebuilt and it shows, although the views are quite good.

Incense at Feixia

Corridor at Feixia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feilai Temple

 

The trip on the boat is quite relaxing – you pass lots of small fishing boats including some using cormorants. However, it did get a little chilly at times; if travelling in Winter, have some warm clothes. we were offered a chicken so if you are hungry, the boat crew can cook you dinner.

Fisherman with Cormorant

Apparently Qingyuan is famous for fresh free range chicken. There are lots of restaurants to choose from, although not all had this type of chicken. We finally found one- the chicken did have quite a gamey flavour.

We were considering initially to go up to Nanling National Park from Qingyuan. However, people in our hotel were unsure how to get there. it also looked like along journey, and there only appears to be one place to stay near the park. So, instead we caught a bus to Guangzhou. Buses go to many different destinations in Guangzhou – we ended up at Guangzhou East Station (35 Rmb, 90 mins). From there we caught the subway to Fangcun (5 Rmb, 25 mins) and then walked (10-15 mins) to Guangzhou Riverside International Youth Hostel.

This is quite a nice hostel. We paid 268 Rmb for a family room (double rooms sold out). Reception are ok, and English is spoken.They serve food, although we did not eat there.They have wifi downstairs and cable internet upstairs. Problems were minor- TV had very poor reception, and our room had not been cleaned when we tried to check in. But,still recommended. Tripadvisor review here .

The ferry to Shamian island is close to the hostel, so we went there and walked around. It attracts lots of photographers and wedding couples. There are also the American adopters staying at the White Swan. I’m not sure if there is still a hostel on Shamian island or not – if there is, and it is as good as the Riverside, it would be a good place to stay.

Green Building on Shamian Island

From Shamian island, we walked over to the Chinese Medicine Market across the water – a little like Western in Hong Kong with lots of dried seafood being sold. We then caught the subway to Chang Shou Lu in the hope of seeing Xiguan Residence and Hualin Temple ,but could find neither! Ended up having hotpot in a shopping mall!

The next day we headed back to Hong Kong. We caught the subway to Guangzhou East and then train to Shenzhen (80 Rmb,1 hour).There are ticket machines (which do not require ID cards), but they don’t give change. Chinese had to ‘beep’ their ID cards to enter the waiting room, while foreigners were waved through.

In Shenzhen, we had lunch in Laurel Chinese Restaurant – it was busy and had to wait maybe 25 minutes for a table. Food was good, but they used Dynamic Currency Conversion on my Rmb credit card to change the bill to HK$. I did not realise only after we had left the restaurant – lets see what the bank does.

Lo Wu immigration was easy, and soon were back home

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Written by drumbrake

March 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm

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