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Guangzhou Train Station is one of the biggest stations in China and useful for metro travel, long distance slow travel, and going quickly to Hong Kong/Shenzhen. It is a big old station in the west central city area.
Usefulness: The dozens of slow regular trains allow you to go to places not serviced by bullet trains (most of the country still) and travel economically and see the country. Two useful high speed lines go to the Hong Kong border in Shenzhen, and to Zhaoqing. It has a metro interchange for lines 2 and 5 as well.
These popular train travel routes from Guangzhou Station will give you some travel ideas for planning trips around China:
Bullet trains: There are four bullet train stations in Guangzhou, and this station's C-class train can work for quick access to/from the west central Guangzhou area and the southern part of Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Not as convenient or quick as Guangzhou East's train: The fast trains here leave about 4 to 5 times less frequently than from Guangzhou East Station where the trains stop at also. Trains leave about every 45 minutes on average to go to Shenzhen Railway Station in about 90 minutes. When it isn't busy, the waiting time is longer than an hour. In comparison, trains from Guangzhou East leave about every 7 or 8 minutes during rush hours (18 minutes on average), and the travel time is 72 minutes.
Less central than Guangzhou East Station: Guangzhou's main tourist highlights and business and finance areas are mostly situated around Guangzhou East or are served faster by Guangzhou's East's metro lines 1 and 3. The Canton Trade Fair is 10 kilometers from Guangzhou East. The Zhujiang New City (珠江新城) financial district is only 3 metro stops south on Line 3 from Guangzhou East, and the Canton Tower is 4 metro stops south on Line 3. Chimelong Resort can be reached quickly from Line 3's Hanxi Changlong Station.
Perhaps useful between Hong Kong/Shenzhen and Yuexiu District: Taking this C-class high speed train to/from the Luohu border crossing could be the most efficient and comfortable way for a tourist to go from the Yuexiu area or west and north of Yuexiu to Hong Kong and southern Shenzhen at present considering the speed, convenience, flexibility, and ticket prices. But you have to time your departure well. See Border Crossings in Shenzhen/Hong Kong>>
More central than Guangzhou South: The city's other bullet train line to Shenzhen starts at Guangzhou South and goes to Shenzhen North and Futian Station in northern Shenzhen. That train takes about 60 percent less time to travel (33 minutes) and puts your closer to Futian financial district and Bao'an Airport. But it is on the outskirts of Guangzhou and not in the central city area most tourists and travelers go to. However, there is a direct metro line from Shenzhen North to Futian Border Crosspoint.
C-class bullet trains: This new line opened in 2016 and is part of a major high speed network in Guangzhou. The line goes to/from the station to 10 other stations and ends at Zhaoqing. Some trains only stop at four or five stations. These are industrial areas few tourists go to.
Slow conventional: The station was created to be a major hub for conventional train lines, and this is still the popular long-distance travel method of most Chinese.
Long distance travel: Guangzhou Railway Station is 2,300 kilometers (1,429 miles) from Beijing Railway Station, 2,294 kilometers (1,425 miles) from Beijing West Railway Station, 361 kilometers (224 miles) from Maoming East Railway Station, and 176 kilometers (109 miles) from Shenzhen Railway Station.
The major regular railway lines running through Guangzhou Railway Station are the Beijing – Guangzhou Railway, the Guangzhou – Maoming Railway, the Guangzhou – Zhuhai Railway, and the Wuhan – Guangzhou Railway. Routes change often, but this list information below shows the variety of regular trains and destinations possible.
Note about the train classes: The recommended trains from this station are the C-class bullet trains and the T-class (express) and Z-class (direct) trains. The K trains are often dirty, stop more often and for longer periods, and theft is a problem.
Note on alternative long-distance bullet train routes: Instead of these slow trains, from Guangzhou South, there are bullet trains you can take to many cities west, north and along the east coast of China such as Guilin, Yangshuo, Macau/Zhuhai, Nanning, Guiyang, Xi'an, Wuhan, Beijing, Changsha, Shanghai, Hangzhou and along the eastern coast. So now you have a faster choice.
A massive and less convenient station: This old station has a large front plaza and an overall area of 377,600 square meters (4,000,000 square feet) with not enough convenient exits. The transportation facilities to the area including the metro station exits are not as quick and easy to access as Guangzhou South and Guangzhou East. Also the place is so big that getting around it takes longer and is tiring.
It is disorientating for first-timers, especially if you don't speak Chinese and read Chinese signs. It isn't really set up to handle foreign travelers as well as the other two that are more modern. Crime is also more of a problem.
The station sprawls and is huge, but if you have questions, go to one of the counters or ask the staff. Bullet train ticket counters are on the left side of the central doors as you walk off the front plaza, and the regular train counters are on the far right side of the building facing the plaza. If you are new to the station, allow about 30 extra minutes for orientation.
Big clock: A big clock in front identifies the building.
Lead time: It is recommended that you arrive at the station 2 hours before departure time if you already have regular train tickets and an hour before if you have bullet train tickets. Add an extra half hour for the bullet train and an extra 45 minutes for the regular train if you want to buy tickets at the station counters. Lines for conventional train tickets may be quite long especially before and during holidays, and the wait might be an hour.
Delivery: Outside the station building at the east corner, you will find a China Railway Express office (中铁快运) where you can have your large luggage delivered to destinations at a reasonable price.
Storage: By the side of the ticketing counters, they have a temporary luggage deposit desk. The price starts at 5 RMB/piece for a day. Overnight costs extra.
Portage: Staffers in red caps will help you carry large luggage onto the train, 10 RMB/piece.
Generally, unless you know the city bus routes, the best way to go to and from the station by public transportation is by taxi or subway. If you are unused to riding Chinese buses, you could easily get on the wrong bus or miss your stop.
Guangzhou has four train stations. Be sure about which one you are going to and explain to your driver clearly about which station to go to.
Distances: Guangzhou Station is in Yuexiu District and is 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Guangzhou South Railway Station, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Guangzhou East Station, and 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Baiyun International Airport.
Catch taxis at the taxi stand in the front plaza on the first floor. They are to the left of the central doors as you exit next to the bus parking station on the east side of the plaza. There are people all around the area on the look-out for unsuspecting foreigners in order to do crimes such as giving counterfeit money or scams. They may offer rides, baggage handling, etc. They might charge you much more than do these at the exit.
Legit taxis will generally pull up to this designated taxi area where there may also be police and/or guards watching. Guangzhou's taxi scammers are especially notorious.
See more on Guangzhou taxis.
The metro exits are on the southwest side of the plaza.
To Guangzhou East Station (广州东站):
Note that these lines get packed from about 7:30 am to 9:00 am and 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The trip might take 45 minutes or more including transfer, and you might have to push your way on board. With baggage, this is more difficult to do.
Bus to Guangzhou East: It be reached directly by taking bus 271 from Guangzhou Railway Station within one hour.
To Guangzhou South Station (广州站):
Line 2 goes directly to Guangzhou Station where you can reach Shenzhen North Station and Futian Station on a G train for about the same price as the C train to Shenzhen Station. It takes 33 minutes to reach Shenzhen North where you can transfer to the subway for the Futian Border Crosspoint or other places. Departures are much more frequent too from Guangzhou South.
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (广州白云机场) has convenient transport:
To Chen Ancestral Academy: It is one of the top historical sites. Our Guangzhou and Shenzhen historical and cultural tour provides private transport and you can modify the itinerary to go to other places.
To/from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (广州白云国际机场): Airport Express Line 1
You can buy train tickets in the station, at other stations, at city train ticket booths, or online. Be clear about which train station you want to use. You might prefer using a tour agency like us. See How to Buy Tickets in China>>
Ticket counters: Bullet train ticket counters are located on the first floor on the southeast side of the building to the left of the main middle entry doors (as you enter) that face the big front plaza. Regular train counters are in a big room on the far right (west) side of the building.
You can count on us for booking tickets. In 2015 alone, we helped over 10,000 customers obtain their tickets and greatly facilitated their trip in China. We are available 24/7 and will have your train tickets delivered by express mail to your appointed address or hotel.
For booking, go to https://www.chinahighlights.com/china-trains/, choose your trains, and we will do the rest!