Guangzhou Train Station Guide
Desperate to get out of this beautiful city? Are the snows of Harbin or the deserts of Xinjiang calling? Let's face it, no one wants to deal with a long bus ride and with flights likely to have infants defecating in the aisles these days, the train is the only way to go. Not only will you get a view of the Chinese countryside, but providing you're not going hard seat the trains are fairly comfortable and reasonably priced. Guangzhou is served by four train stations, creatively named Guangzhou Railway Station, Guangzhou East, Guangzhou South and Guangzhou North.
It's recommended that you buy any train tickets online to save the queuing and crowds at the ticket offices. Many ticket companies will deliver the tickets to you for a small fee and you're more likely to get your preferred train. Trains sell out fast in China, particularly around Chinese New Year and other national holidays; be sure to book ahead of time.
Guangzhou Railway Station
Address: 159 Huanshi West Road, Yuexiu 广州市越秀区环市西路159号
For Trains to: Beijing, Harbin, Haikou (Sanya),
Amidst the markets of Yuexiu, the main station is not only the oldest in Guangzhou but the busiest. Accessible by metro lines two and five, as well as being within walking distance of Lianhua Bus Terminal and the Provincial Bus Station, from here you can take trains to all over the country. Though not as modern as the other stations, it still has semi-decent facilities, including left luggage. A train runs the long 52 hour journey daily from here to Lhasa, however at the time of writing a Chinese National ID Card is required. Avoid the guys walking around trying to sell tickets.
Guangzhou East Station Address: Linhe Middle Road, Tianhe 广州市天河区林和西路
For Trains to: Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Harbin
On the edge of downtown Tianhe, Guangzhou East is easy to get to via lines one and three, by bus, and by coach. This is the best place to go if you need to do a visa run as high-speed trains run several times an hour to the Shenzhen border and hourly to downtown Hung Hom. Facilities include left luggage, a bureau de change and an ATM, but if you've forgotten anything the Popark shopping mall is just next door to pick up any essentials.
Address: Shibi Residential District, Zhongcunzhen, Panyu 广州市荔湾区黄沙大道南
For Trains to: Beijing, Shanghai, Zhuhai, Guilin, Xi’an, Changsha, Nanning, Jinan
From this station you can take the land equivalent of a rocket and reach Shenzhen in just half an hour. The thing is that by the time you've taken the long trip from downtown to the wilds of Panyu where the station is it would have been quicker to take the slower train. We’re not kidding. It's far. The same goes for any trips to Zhuhai. If you don't live in Panyu, take the bus from GZ East Coach Terminal or the Provincial Bus Station and knock an hour off your trip. The terminal station is only a five minute walk to the border with Macao. That said it's worth making the trip down to Guangzhou South if you're planning on a longer journey. The high speed trains leaving from here are often much faster than those leaving other stations.
Address: No.1, Zhanqian Road, Huadu 广州市花都区新华镇站前路1号
For Trains to: Wuhan, Ganzhou
Most expats are unaware that Guangzhou North even exists, and odds are you too will never need it. Difficult to get to in the suburbs of Huadu, you will have to take a long distance bus to reach it. By train it is just under an hour from the main station, whose traffic it was originally built to ease. Useful if you want to take a high-speed train to Wuhan or for taking a train straight to/from nearby Baiyun Airport.
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