How did we end up traveling from Guangzhou to Hong Kong during this frenzy travel period? It was actually just a simple case of not remembering to check the lunar calendar when we found some incredibly cheap air tickets from Vancouver to Guangzhou.
We needed to fly into Hong Kong, the international hub for our flight to Bangladesh. By flying into Guangzhou Baiyun airport, instead of the Hong Kong airport, we would save over $1,000 for two tickets. It would also give us a chance to try out the new high speed train from Guangzhou to Kowloon.
We arrived at the Guangzhou airport at around 7:00 pm. Our flight with China Southern airline, in spite of being completely full, was pleasant, on time, and customer service was excellent. Baiyun airport was decked out with Spring Festival decorations.
After customs and immigration procedures, we traveled by underground metro directly from the airport to our overnight hotel, near the Guangzhou South Rail Station.
We booked this apartment hotel closed to the rail station so we can take the high speed train early next morning into Kowloon. The cluster of several apartment buildings, located at the metro station just before the rail station, appeared to be all run by small business owners, each renting out several floors of each building. We saw at least 5 or 6 receptions store fronts, each quite busy checking in guests for their rooms. In addition, there are convenience stores and restaurants on the ground floors of these apartment hotels for their guests.
The room for our overnight stay was well equipped, clean and comfortable. The hotel even provides a shuttle service for the short ride to the rail station the next morning.
The Guangzhou South Rail Station was very busy when we arrived, so we were glad that we had booked our high speed train tickets to Kowloon online in advance. The Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, is labeled as the world’s biggest human migration during this annual celebration, with 3 billion trips forecasted. Even though the rail station was extremely busy, somehow it was much better organized than we had imagined. We have had some previous wild experiences with crowds when traveling in China so we fully expected a nightmare this morning. But to our surprise, it was busy but the crowds were effectively managed by different lines, gates, signage, and numerous service personnel.
The rail station was bright, clean, with all kinds of food outlets, convenience stores, and gift shops. It even had a MacDonald’s restaurant, a KFC restaurant, and a very nice Starbucks coffee.
Our train was clean, and seating was very comfortable with reclining seats. The train left the station right on time and we arrived at the Kowloon West Station exactly 59 minutes later. The top speed was 315 km/per hour. The cost for each of our second class ticket was only $30 RMB, or $5 CDN.
From the Kowloon West Station, it was a simple 15 minutes walk to our hotel in Hong Kong, by the Jordan Station.
Hong Kong was also decked out for the Spring Festival. Every business is displaying or selling something relating to this important annual celebration.
Beautiful tangerine orange trees with red envelopes were in front of our hotel.
Food is such an important part of Spring Festival, the markets were packed all kinds of specialties for the occasion.
In summary, the cost saving of flying into Guangzhou instead of Hong Kong was well worth it. The travel back into Hong Kong for our next flight, on the high speed train, even during the busiest travel time of the year, was inexpensive, fast, and comfortable.