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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Guangzhou Travel : Shangri-La Hotel and Canton Fair

Travel Diary of Guangzhou: Shangri-La Hotel and Canton Fair

Last month I got a chance to travel to Guangzhou. My plan was to attend the Canton Fair, world’s largest trade fair. The accommodation on this trip was at Shangri-la Guangzhou, one of the best hotel in town. I also had time for sightseeing, shopping, and enjoying the local food. My travel diary this time will be divided different than usual. It will be separated by sections. 

Section 1 : Intro + Hotel review
Section 2 : Tourist spots
Section 3 : Restaurant visits


Chinese Visa - most of the time Thai people will have to apply visa to enter international destinations. China also requires Thai citizens to obtain tourist visa. But, if you work for Thai government, you won’t have to apply for visa anywhere (My mom has this privilege). The place to apply for visa is at an old building on Ratchada Soi 1, next of Chinese Embassy. The visa office is only open in the morning. I got there around 10am and I had to wait for 2 hours to submit the documents. It cost 1,000 Baht for a single entry and it didn’t take long to process.  I went back to pick up the passport about 2 - 3 days later. You can also apply for multiple entries, if you plan to travel more than once. 

The flight : I was flying with the Thai Airways. The airfare was about 10,000 Baht and the flight was 3 hours long. The price is a bit higher than flying to Hong Kong but the flight time is about the same. At the customs of Baiyun Airport, staffs were more strict than my experience at other airports. They were like military. Well, we got through without any problem. Then, we hopped on the to limo going to the city. I didn’t plan about my transportation option. From what I noticed, there were trains and buses that seemed quite simple to rely on, if you were going to the city.  

Review the Hotel, Shangri-La Guangzhou

For me, Shangri-La Guangzhou was best choice of any hotels available in Guangzhou. As you know, this 5-Star hotel is known to be luxurious. There are many branches in major cities of China but there are also Shangri-La in Bangkok and Chang Mai. Compared to the one in Bangkok that has been in business for 30 years, this one is much newer being opened since 2007. Other 5-star hotels are clustered in the downtown area of Guangzhou. This Shanghai is perfect for us because it was located next to the Canton Fair Complex. So, I could say that this place perfect for me. The fair was within walking distance. For other hotels in downtown area, it would take about 15-20 minutes by taxi to get the the event. 

1. The hotel room 

At Shangri-la, being the 5-star hotel, there are various room layouts for customers to choose from. On this visit I got to stay at the Premier River View Room, one of the most common rooms available (320 rooms), sized 42 sq.m. and I also got to check out other rooms too.

My room (Premier River View Room - 42 sq.m) had two queen size beds. The room is much larger than the 5-star hotels in Japan or Hong Kong. I have stayed at the W hotel in Bangkok and I felt that the room size was about the same. So I looked up to find out about the room size there and this room was exactly 1 sq.m. smaller. The room had all the functions I needed ; work desk, television, refrigerator, and the river view. 

Work desk, TV, Fridge 

Sofa by the window with fresh fruits refill everyday and the panorama view

Good size bathroom with marble features

Great size room (42 sq.m.) spacious and luxurious, wonderful accommodation

The Horizon Deluxe Suite (2 rooms available - 174 sq.m.). This is one of the high end selection of the hotel. There is large living room, a separated bedroom, and two bathrooms. And of course, the full panorama view of the Pearl River since the room is at the corner of building.  

The Shangri-La Suite (Presidential Suite - 1 room available - 305 sq.m.) This is the best room of the hotel. Guests who come to stay at this room are the Super VIP, like celebrities or politicians. With full option functional spaces like the private dining room, kitchen, expansive living room area, semi office area, and large bathroom, all decorated with the classy interior design. The panoramic river view and the 5-star room service also added to the extraordinary accommodation, so this room is certainly well deserved to be the best of Shangri-La Hotel Guangzhou. I got to take a quick tour of this room and its extravagance made me feel special and understood why the price of this type is room is marked incredibly high. 

Other types of room available at Shangri-La Hotel Guangzhou : 

Deluxe Room (150 rooms - 42 sq.m.)

Horizon Club Premier Suite (5 rooms - 131 sq.m.)

Horizon Deluxe River View Room (48 rooms - 44 sq.m.)

Yangcheng Suite (Specialty Suite) (1 room - 261 sq.m.)

2. Restaurants

At Shangri-La Guangzhou, similar to the one in Bangkok, there are several restaurants available for guests to enjoy endlessly without bothering to leave to hotel. Let me list each one of the restaurants here.

WOK TOO Cafe (356 seats, International selection) This restaurant is an all-day dining of this hotel. The breakfast is served here daily. At lunch and dinner time, this restaurant is serving international buffet.  The price for buffet entry is 188, 318, 418 Yuan (service charge 15%) 1 Yuan is about 5 Baht. So, the price is about the same as in Thailand.

I got to eat at this restaurant for breakfast. The line buffet is quite impressive, separated in to sections and there are about 10 sections. There are so many selection for being the breakfast buffet; 10 types of bread, Chinese main dishes, noodle, rice and rice soup, Western style breakfast. At the egg station, there are two chefs on stand by, ready to cook the egg your way. Even for Cereal, there are so many to choose from. Fresh squeezed juices are available in bottles. I am not much a morning person and usually don't eat much in the morning. At first I thought about skipping breakfast and go to lunch somewhere in town. But, seeing the food set up at WOK TOO Cafe, I couldn't miss it.

There are two seating areas ; al fresco dining and indoor seating. This restaurant with 356 seats is nearly full every morning. The hotel must be getting high occupancy due to the time of the Canton Fair. I seated myself outdoor in the perfect weather ( about 23 degree Celsius). To be honest, this kind of weather is a rare occasion, mostly during winter time. The food of the breakfast buffet is wonderful. Everything was done well, with quality ingredients, 5-star hotel standard. After the breakfast I was so full of energy because I ate a lot of food. It is okay to eat a lot in the morning.

Summer Palace (302 seats, Chinese) : The Chinese restaurant of Shagri-La hotels is definitely the flagship among other type of restaurants. The hotel is the Chinese brand and guests always expect that their Chinese restaurant is the place for best. I have been to the Chinese restaurant at Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok. The atmosphere, the food, the service ; everything is remarkable. I also got to eat at the Summer Palace and I was totally impressed.

Other than the two restaurants I mentioned, there are 3 other restaurants at Shangri-La Guangzhou

Nadaman (120 Seats, Japanese restaurant)

il Forno (84 Seats, Italian) 

coolThai (88 Seats, Thai)

Besides the restaurants that I listed above, the Shangri-La Guangzhou also offers the "Horizon Club Lounge" for guests who stay in the Horizon type rooms. Guests can add the service of this lounge. The lounge is located on the 31st floor of the hotel and it pretty much takes up the whole floor. Surrounded with tall glass window, this lounge offers the great panoramic view of the Pearl River and the Guangzhou. For office service here, they have iMac 27" screen available for guests. Books on shelf are available at your convenience. There are plenty of tables and chairs for everyone to work freely. Moreover, they can provide soft drink, beers, or snacks right to your table. I have never taken advantage of this kind of service before. Just seeing the atmosphere, if I had work during this trip, I would definitely make functions of it. It is a much more comfortable working environment than in the hotel room.

The Horizon Club Lounge is so cool. There is a full breakfast served in the morning and tapas served at dinner time, upon your request. This service option with the lounge is really worth it. I have gone to chill and work at this lounge a few times during this trip.

3. Facilities of the Hotel

Shangri-La Guangzhou offers various facilities for leisure and health. And of course, I was taking advantage of their facility services.

Swimming Pool - The hotel has two swimming pools available ; indoor and outdoor. These are full size pools, over 25 meters long. The outdoor pool is beautiful with the green surrounding. I only wished they also have the saltwater pool too.

Tennis court - The outdoor tennis court is available for all hotel guests. Bats are also available for free, you only need to reserved ahead of the time.

Jogging trail - The park behind the hotel is amazing. You can jog along the green scenery and fresh air whenever you wish.

Putting Green - For golfers who wants to practice their putting and short games, this hotel has what you need.

Fitness - This fitness facility has all types of equipment for your exercise. Moreover, professional trainer are there to help and guide you as well.

CHI, The Spa - Health spa of all Shangri-La has the same name. You can choose your spa package that you want and you will be treated with great care here.

Throughout my stay in Guangzhou, 5 days and 4 nights, my time at the Shangri-La Guangzhou has been fantastic. Normally when I travel abroad, I don't spend much time at the hotel. I always chose the most basic accommodation for just a good night of sleep. During the day I would head out to the city. This trip is very different, I spent more time enjoying the facilities and services of the 5-star hotel. When you plan to travel somewhere for business or for leisure trip that you won't be sightseeing in the city as much, 5-star hotels are absolutely worth paying for. If you have the chance to visit Guangzhou, whether it is for business meeting or for the event like Canton Fair, Shangri-La Guangzhou hotel is certainly a great option. Experience the comfortable and exclusive stay at this hotel and you will understand why Shangri-La gets the high rating in many hotel booking websites.

Canton Fair

China Import & Export Fair at Pazhou Complex - World's largest trade fair in 2014

Phase 3 of the event with various sections : Office Supplies | Cases & Bags | Recreation Products | Food | Medicines, Medical Devices and Health Products | Shoes | Textiles & Garments

How you can register to enter the fair : http://www.cantonfair.org.cn/en/ at Buyer E-Service Tool (BEST) register everything and upload your photo.

Sacred Heart Cathedral

Beijing Road and Shang Xia Jiu 

Chimelong Circus
- Chimelong Tourism Resort has theme park/hotel separated into 7 main areas.

1. Chime-Long Paradise : Largest theme park in China
2. Chime-Long International Circus : Animal show and circus with 8,000 seats show once per day (weekday) and 3 times on weekend.
3. Panyu Xiangjiang Safari Park : Largest zoo is Asia with 20,000 types of animals and 5 Pandas.
4. Chime-Long Water Park : Largest water park in Asia, designed by famous world-class water park designer company.
5. Guangzhou Crocodile Park : Largest crocodile farm in the world. 100,000 crocodiles or 70% of all crocodiles in China.
6. Chime Long Golf Center : Largest golf practice facility in the world.
7. Chime Long Hotel : The hotel of main resort.

- Taigoo Hui & Downtown

- Monument of 5 Goats

-  Guangdong Museum

- Guangzhou Library


1st Restaurant : Bing Sheng Seafood Restaurant (Head Office)
Cuisine Type : Cantonese
Price Range (per person) : 500 - 2,000 บาท
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.105317, 113.286399
Website : http://www.bingsheng.com/


2nd Restaurant : Kung Fu
Cuisine Type : Cantonese (?)
Price Range (per person) : 100 - 300 Baht
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.103344, 113.356273


3rd Restaurant : Wuu's Hong Kong Cuisine
Cuisine Type : Cantonese
Price Range (per person) : 500 - 2,000 บาท
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.135576, 113.333538


4th Restaurant : Tiger Prawn Vietnamese Restaurant
Cuisine Type : Vietnamese - Chinese style
Price Range (per person) : 500 - 1,000 Baht
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.122749, 113.267220


5th Restaurant : Bingsheng Pinwei Pearl River New Town Shop
Cuisine Type : Cantonese
Price Range (per person) : 500 - 2,000 Baht
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.114808, 113.328236


6th Restaurant : 江南厨子 - Famous Chef From Jiangnan China
Cuisine Type : Jiangnan Chinese Cuisine
Price Range (per person) : 500 - 2,000 Baht
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.134038, 113.332679


7th Restaurant : Awfully Chocolate
Cuisine Type : Dessert Bar
Price Range (per person) : 300 - 500 Baht
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.134090, 113.332408


8th Restaurant : Japanese restaurant on the ground floor, GT Plaza
Cuisine Type : Japanese
Price Range (per person) : 500 - 1,000 บาท
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.120038, 113.322501


9th Restaurant : Summer Palace
Cuisine Type : Cantonese
Price Range (per person) : 1,000 - 2,000 บาท
Location (Lat, Long) : 23.102905, 113.370563

(Contemporary Chinese - Nouvelle Chinova)

Poached Chicken with Chinese Rice Wine (RMB 38) :

Crystal Cured Pork (RMB 32) :

Baked Tiger Prawn with Chinese Truffle served in Salted Egg Yolk Sauce (RMB 72/person) :

Double boiled Duck Soup with Sea Whelk and Truffle (RMB 68/person) :

A Combination of Crispy Chicken served on Goose Liver and Jelly Fish (RMB 98/half) :

Fried River Shrimp, Clam and Chives served with Steamed Oatmeal Bun (RMB 65) :

Combination of Summer Palace Dim Sum Platter (RMB 88) :

Sweetened Almond Cream with Egg White Served with Fresh Fruit (RMB 38/person) :


10th Restaurant : Noodle shop on the ground floor at Baiyun International Airport
Cuisine Type : Halal Taiwanese Noodles
Price Range (per person) : 300 - 500 บาท
Location (Lat, Long) :23.389001, 113.299952


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