Guangzhou and Shenzhen are booming megacities to explore. Guangzhou attracts droves of business people, and Shenzhen is becoming more of a tourist highlight. New malls, extremely tall skyscrapers with restaurants, stores and observatories, amusement parks, and bargain shopping areas are drawing people for cross-border excursions.
Special visa rules are making independent touring or private touring even easier than ever before. Here are our recommendations for where to shop, where to stay, how to travel, and what to do on a several day Pearl River region trip.
Guangzhou and Shenzhen Highlights
— Why You Should Venture across the Border
Guangzhou is a wholesale shopping mecca. Hundreds of thousands of people, especially third world people and Russians, go to source wholesale every year. As one of China's biggest megacities, it has its own interesting tourist attractions and culture such as the Chimelong's zoo and safari park that has more pandas anywhere outside of Chengdu.
Shenzhen is a boom city becoming the main tourist attraction in the region. The Ping An Tower is the world's 4th tallest building and has a luxury mall. The tall buildings/malls are places for luxury shopping, dining, accommodations, and sightseeing at lower prices than Hong Kong.
New Visa-Free / Quick Visa Guangdong Entry Options
Instead of incurring the waiting time and expense of getting a China tourist visa, there are three new short-term Guangdong Province entry options making tourism and travel easier than before.
Option 1: Shenzhen Special Economic Zone 5-Day Single Entry Visa
If you only want to visit Shenzhen, use the Shenzhen Economic Zone 5-day visa, as it's most convenient.
Entry rules keep changing. Now, tourists from almost all countries except the US and perhaps France can enter the Shenzhen Economic Zone on single entry 5-day visas.
- Quick visas can only be obtained at the border at Luohu (Lo Wu, 9:00 am–22:30 pm), Huanggang Port (24 hours), and Shekou Port. It often takes only a few minutes.
- For most countries, the fee is about 168 RMB or 215 HKD. However, for about two dozen South American and African countries, the fee can be several times more. For Russians and British, it is a little less than double.
Option 2: Visa-Free Pearl River Delta Tours
All visitors to Hong Kong and/or Macau are able to visit the surrounding Pearl River Delta (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, etc.) visa-free as long as they go with a registered tour group such as ours.
The stays in the Peal River Delta area can last 6 days or 144 hours for most countries, but for several countries, 21-day tours are possible. Travelers from certain selected Asian and European countries may also be eligible for 30-day tour visas. See Visa-Free Tour Guidelines.
Touring Guangdong Visa-Free with Us — Comfort and Stress Avoidance
Unless you can speak Chinese and/or have been in China before, once across the border, you can get bewildered. It might seem like a crowded chaotic mess with little English signage and a lot of tourist sharks, scammers, bad taxi drivers, and other people eyeing you as a way for quick yuan.
- Avoid tourist shock: A lot of first timers go into tourist shock wondering around the huge Luohu border crossing and train and bus interchange area. You can avoid navigating public transportation and/or taxi ripoffs with our guide and driver.
- Avoid tourist traps: As a first timer, you don't even know what the real money looks like, and you don't want to receive counterfeit money. It is a common scam against first timers.
- Enjoyment and learning: We can teach you the travel basics, some language, and help you enjoy your trip more.
- Flexibility: If you want to go to the border own your own and meet us for pickup on the other side, we can work with you.
The advantage of China Highlights is that our guide will accompany you and facilitate a stress-free tour you can plan yourself. Here's a suggestd Tour Plan for Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
Day 1: Shenzhen Entry
If you like tall buildings, malls, and luxury hotels, we can arrange a visit and stay at the Ping An Tower or KK100. The sightseeing is amazing, and the rates are lower than you'd find in HK for a similar experience. The Ping An's hotel is the second highest in the world as of 2016. The KK100 is almost as tall as the ICC Tower in Hong Kong, and it also has a hotel on top.
Or if you'd enjoy experiencing other things in Shenzhen, tell us what you are looking for, and we can take you there and book accommodations.
Day 2: Bullet Train to Guangzhou + Shopping
If you want to experience taking the bullet train, go with our guide to Shenzhen North Station. We can help you get tickets (in advance) and find the correct waiting area. The trip takes about half an hour. Looking out the window, you can see a lot of Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Guangzhou scenery.
Get off at Guangzhou South Train Station. A top place to shop is Beijing Street or Shangxiajiu Street. We can take you there. You'll find cheaper authentic restaurants and cheaper shops off the main thoroughfares. Let us or our guide recommend the restaurants, stores, and hotels that fit what you are looking for. See Guangzhou Shopping.
For Guangzhou wholesale clothing: For getting down to business with serious haggling and looking through many hectares of shops and stalls, the area around Guangzhou Station is where to go.
Day 3 (and 4): Relax at Guangzhou Tourist Highlights
Enjoy a Pearl River Night Cruise, Chimelong's attraction-packed resort, or the Chen Ancestral Shrine for architecture or history. Then stay another night or go back to Hong Kong via the bullet train or our driver. Tell us what to do for another two days as you wish.
Contact us: Simply contact our travel experts by phone or email, and we'll arrange everything from pickup and accommodations in Hong Kong, travel to the border, and your private driver, accommodations, and guide. Tell us your general preferences, and our skilled experts and the guide will arrange your itinerary.
Option 3: 72 Visa-Free Guangzhou/Guangdong Entry
A third option is to travel throughout Guangdong Province on a 72-hour fly-in to >Guangzhou (Baiyun Airport).
The Airport South Station allows quick and inexpensive travel to the city on the city's quick, clean, and modern subway lines. The station is below the airport, and the extensive lines cover the whole city. There also airport shuttle bus lines available to go to specific areas.
For business: Tianhe is the central business district. Guangzhou attracts foreign merchants like a magnet to one of the world's foremost electronics (and many other products) manufacturing regions. The twice yearly Canton Fair is a major draw for businessmen.
To go to Shenzhen: The border city is becoming the tourist highlight in the region. You could go to the Guangzhou East Station and take the bullet train for an hour to go to Luohu. There you could take Subway Line 1 (罗宝线) from the Luohu border to several tourist spots such as Gou Wu Gong Yuan 购物公园 (Exit D) for Ping An Tower.
Private Driver/Guided Tours
What would be a better way to get around but by private vehicle. Go where you want quickly and efficiently, and the driver will drive and the guide/interpreter will help. You can arrange for our driver to wait for you at the airport, train station or your hotel.