Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A visit to Guangzhou pt. 1

I visited Guangzhou during the Easter week.  Going via Hong Kong, I took a bus from the airport to Guangzhou.  This city (also known as Canton) has a population of 7 million.  This modern metropolis is characterized by skyscrapers, huge shopping offices and malls and has an efficient and clean subway system.  Prices there are similar to Hong Kong, in terms of food and general shopping.  The city however still possesses the old Guangzhou in some parts.  I enjoyed my stay there and would like to bring my family bext year for a holiday.  (and to buy more tea)

But I digress - Guangzhou holds a  yearly Canton fair in late April showcasing products from China.  This worldwide renown fair is very popular.  A visit during this time may be also very interesting.  I would advise my reader if visiting Guangzhou via Hong Kong to take the express train (which I took when returning to Hong Kong).  The train stations at both ends are located downtown with subway connections.  The train ride, about 2 hrs+, is inexpensive and extremely comfortable and I find the documentation at the  immigration entry points to be a breeze at these train stations. 

The 1st pix shows the mascots that represent the Asian games to be held in the city in summer.  This pix was taken along Beijing Street, the famous street mall downtown.  At night, red lanterns hanging from trees lit up making a walk there a pleasant experience.  Pix 4 show the night scene there.  The glass panels there covers a section of Song Dynasty old roads found during an excavation.  

Dining is another major highlight of my visit.  The selection of food and drinks is astounding.  I had dinner at a seafood restaurant (pix 2&3) where more than 100 tanks of live seafood are available for selection and you can also choose how you want your seafood to be done. (steamed, fried, spicy or braised etc).  Tea selections range from pu erh, green teas and oolongs and you can brew your own tea as a tea set as well a kettle (over a small flame) of boiling water is at your dining table.  My 6 course seafood dinner costs me about US$60 for  table of 3.

My purpose in Guangzhou was to visit the tea centre there.  Guangzhou is considered as a major tea trading hub where one can find almost all the chinese tea there.  Tea buyers and traders worldwide are known to source their tea here.  The biggest tea centre in Guangzhou is found at Fangchun.  Accessible by subway, the Guangzhou Tea Centre boasts more than 2000 shops there.  It is an astonishing sight.  A "mecca" for the tea lover.  The size of this tea centre will make any tea enthusiast or even a  tea dealer  scream "wow".  More of Fangchun in my next blog.

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