So you have made it as far as Hong Kong, but are curious as to what lies across the border in China. If you have a few extra days to spare during your visit to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, there are several easy links to the mainland that will give you a slice of China. With the ever expanding high speed rail network from Hong Kong, here are the top three side trips to check out.
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3 of the best side trips from Hong Kong
Why go there?
It is a wonder why Guangzhou is not overrun with tourists, but that becomes part of the attraction itself. Guangzhou is a beautiful and modern city. Think Hong Kong on steroids (and a lot cleaner!). Set around the Pearl River, what Guangzhou lacks in must see sights it more than makes up for in authentic culture and food. With an abundance of top hotels, shopping malls and restaurants you go there to Eat, Sleep and Shop. And the best part is, you can do this without bumping into another foreigner the whole day!
Food – This is a foodies paradise. Chinese food never tasted so good. Think the best Dim Sum you have ever had, and that is just the start! With the Haizhu private food tour, go off the tourist path and try a variety of mouth-watering foods of old and new
Bicycle – Rent a bicycle and join the locals for a casual ride along the pearl river
Shopping – Designer malls or flea markets. Guangzhou has something for everyone
How to get there?
Guangzhou is an easy 2 hour train trip from downtown Hong Kong.
2. Hot Springs
Hot Springs in China?? No I am not crazy. China has amazing hot springs that rival those in Japan. Qingxin Hot Springs are located near Qingyuan city, only 20 minutes by bullet train or 1 hour by car from Guangzhou. Set in beautiful gardens, there are more pools than you can count. Just make sure you give yourself enough time as you won’t want to leave. And the best part, unlike Japan, there is no naked bathing, so you can relax and enjoy the springs with your friends and family.
Costs: From 110 RMB
Set around the Li River and surrounded by karst mountains, the scenery of Guilin is simply stunning. Take a stroll around the lakes to absorb the setting, or if you are more energetic, climb the stairs to summit one of the several nearby peaks. Guilin is also a perfect base for day trips to explore neighbouring villages.
After a hard day of sightseeing, enjoy some local Guangxi cuisine. With influences from both Vietnamese and Cantonese food, the food in Guilin can be an adventure in itself.
How to get there?
Guilin is now connected to Guangzhou by a new bullet train that only opened at the end of December 2014. It only takes 2.5 hours to go from Guangzhou to Guilin!