Shopping in Guangzhou

Mmmm! Pollution

This section only provides info to shopping at the wholesale markets coming in from Kowloon by train.  This information is only in its infancy and I am sure there is a lot to be added but this is just what I have experienced.

Acroos the bridge to 'Real' China
Wholesale shopping in Guangzhou is not for the faint hearted! However, the selection and prices are incredible. I decided to hire a shopping guide which turned out to be wonderful.  I found her on Trip Advisor through the forums. The quality is so much better than Low Wu (Shen Zhen) and the prices are much much cheaper.  However, saying that, you may like to take into account the price for the hotel and train.   You need to plan and know exactly where you are going and staying.  English is not as widely spoken.  Guangzhou is a massive city and so it takes a long time to get anywhere in a taxi, especially from 5:00pm onwards.  

Visa- You cannot buy this visa at the border like Lo Wu (Shen Zhen).  This must be bought in Australia before hand or in Hong Kong.  It is not the same visa as a border Shen Zhen visa, it is a general China visa.  However, you can use this for Shen Zhen.  We got a dual entry visa for Guangzhou and Shen Zhen.

Money- Change this at the train station

Getting there

Leaving Hong Kong:
Hung Hom station, leaving for Guangzhou

Train (not MTR) Leaving from the Hung Hom station. It cost 190 yuan ($28) each way. We took First class and it seems that the price was the same?  Some trains do not have First class. It takes 2 hours to get there. The train is fast and comfortable and you get allocated seats. There are even train hostesses who give you free water and there is food for sale. There are toilets on the train but not great after 2 hours.  Some are squat and some are not. If possible, ask your Hong Kong hotel for a Guangzhou timetable so that you can plan to arrive at least 45 minutes before.  The trains do book out, so if you get there early enough then you will get a seat, especially if it isn't in peak hour.  When you arrive at the Hung Hom station, go through the main entrance and turn right.  The train tickets are on your left when you turn, run by the China travel service.  They all speak English.  Get a return ticket if possible so that you don't have to worry about buying a ticket in China itself.  Make sure you confirm the train station you are returning from as there are 2 -Guangzhou main railway station and Guangzhou East railway station.  You will come home from Guangzhou East railway station.  Guangzhou Main railway station will take you to Shen Zhen (Lo Wu) You will then go and wait until boarding (which is 20 minutes before)  You will need to go through security and scanning and then into the departures hall.  Then wait again!  While you are waiting check out your carriage number and seat numbers as the train is huge. 

Arriving:

When you arrive in Guangzhou you will fill in an arrival card and go through customs.  They will even check your temperature!  Follow the crowds out and down the escalators to the taxi terminals at the front.  DO NOT get conned into a travel desk offering you great deals for a taxi.  They offered us 180 yuan to go to our hotel.  We ended up paying 50 yuan for a lovely clean taxi.  There are so many taxi's lined up.  You line up with the crowds with army official holding machine guns and hop into the next taxi when it is your turn.  DON'T hesitate or else you'll miss out!  Make sure you have your hotel written in Chinese and the address and phone number. You can copy it off any Chinese hotel website.  Hand it to the driver.  They always use a meter with the foreigners which is great. If you are going to the wholesalers straight away then have these addresses ready as well.  

Hotel: Guangdong Victory hotel-East Building Business room 430 yuan ($63) per room per night. (make sure the driver knows it is East, otherwise you will end up at the West building, and lost)
Twin Room at Guangdong Victory Hotel
Guangdong Victory Hotel East Building)
Sha Mian Island
We stayed in an area called Sha Mian Island which is a tiny area initially developed by the English during their trading years.  We also stayed here 20 years ago. It is a beautiful oasis of gardens, bridges, statues and old buildings.  However, since the last time we were here as backpackers, it has turned into a hub for American's adopting Chinese babies.  They are everywhere.  Actually, we were the only complete western family on the island.  We didn't realise that our hotel and the The White Swan, also on the island, are the only 2 hotels that these families must stay in.  We found it ruined the 'Chinese' experience as the restaurants and shops were all geared up for babies and American families.  Although I loved our hotel and the areas was beautiful, I am not sure I would stay here again?
Sha Mian Island Bridge

Shopping Hints

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to hire a shopping guide, which turned out to be a god send!  Her name is Sarah and she charged us 300yuan ($50) for the day 9:30 am-6:00 pm.  We paid for lunch, which was not much, of course.  Sarah had perfect English and took us to exactly the places I asked.  She did not take us to any shops that she would get commission from.  Sarah walked like she was 7 foot tall and had us running all day!!  Her email is liuyx333@gmail.com and just mention my name.  This is her job; to take shoppers to the shops or send wholesale items overseas.  I told her that we wanted to use the MTR as it is quicker to get around, which she agreed.  We did take a taxi once and 5 of us fitted in with a squeeze.

What to take

  • Water, enough the the whole day!
  •  Toilet paper or tissue (yuk!) actually, don't worry, you'll be too scared to go!
  • A large light canvas bag to put your items in. Something you can either roll up to start with or carry over your shoulder. I wouldn't take a roller bag as the streets are really, really crowded and very unstable.
  • Eat a huge breakfast
  • Enough Yuan for the whole day.  Only one place took credit card and that was the wholesale handbags.
Wholesale areas  (click here for more information)

Please note that Guangzhou has many shopping streets and markets like any large city.  I only went to the 2 wholesale areas.  When I say wholesale, they will sell to anyone.  If you buy one piece, it is at higher price. Very little bargaining was going on here.  Sarah kept asking me to bargain but I knew we couldn't.  She was used to buying in bulk.  I maybe got 10% off at some places. However, again, I knew my prices so I knew they were reasonable.


Zhanxi Road 

MTR to Guangzhou Main Railway station)


Watches

We only went to the Jiu Long Watch City- 65 Zhanxi Road

Apparently there are many buildings around with watch sellers, however we only went to one and this happens to be the same place we went to 2 years ago.


Front of building-Jiu Long Watch City

Watch shops


There are so many side by side on the ground floor.  All the watches are shoved in under glass and then they have better ones stored away.  Best bet is to walk around and if you like the look of the person, talk to them.  Remember that these people sell them by the 100's overseas so bargaining is hard for just one.  We went to two shops side by side towards the front at the left side as they were friendly and nice.  The watches we bought were beautiful and we are very happy with them (I'll update you again in 1 year!! ha! ha!)  They went down about 100 yuan total as we bought more than one watch.

Shop c3001-b
Shop c3001-a (laila and Serjio)
Shop c3001-a  Serjio and Laila (yep! that's their names!) We only asked for AAA quality. Bought 4 designer inspired, beautiful, Swiss movement, crystal faced, stainless steel watches, water resistant only for 200-250 yuan ($30-$40) 

Shop c3001-b Lin Hui Di (beside other shop)  Bought 2 designer inspired women's watches for 200-250yuan ($30-$40)

Clothing shops

Unfortunately as Sarah walked so fast I cannot give you directions to the clothing but they are all in this area.  Make sure you get your bearings from the train station (and have the train station written in Chinese) and start walking.  There are so many shops and shopping centres around here.  We went into many around here, including inside the shopping centres and up the escalators.  Unfortunately, the Asian Games were on, so many of the shops were not selling the items we were looking for due to Beijing officials visiting but this is the area for designer inspired goods.

I did manage to find Jeans similar to True Religion for 90 yuan ($13)  Excellent quality and fitted well.  Also bought beautiful quality designer inspired tartan trench coats for 200 yuan ($30)

Baiyun Leather City 


Getting there: short taxi ride
Jie Fang North Road, Guangzhou


Handbags, wallets and accessories

A very interesting shopping complex.  Quite elegant, tiny, glass front shops.  Only a few floors, but lots of shops.  There is a large central escalator to keep as your bearings.  There is also a restaurant which sells Chinese food.  Each shop has their handbags and accessories displayed.

These items are only from the current collections.  I could not find any older styles and it became a bit of an issue as I only had one picture that was from an old collection and so I had to start again.  Make sure you know what you are looking for as each handbag is display with no labels showing.  You need to know what your bag looks like without labels. If I had known this, I would have had my purchases done in 2 hours!

Most shop assistants speak market English and know their brands.  Remember again that they are wholesalers and won't bargain, but their prices are brilliant and the quality is AAA only.


Shops and prices


Shop 1A083 Fortunately for Leather Line (love the names!)

AAA quality zip up patent leather wallets in current colours only - coffee, purple and black 130 yuan ($19)

AAA quality heart shaped coin purses with locks and labels, patent leather. 120 yuan ($18)

Shop 1A+1 Lihong Leather (in corridor against wall)

Nice quality pebble leather similar to Hermes passport case 70 yuan ($10)

Shop 2A203 Li Li Leather Co.

Absolutely stunning patent leather with suede leather lining similar to Jimmy Choo bag.  Amazing quality!!! 450 yuan ($68) What a bargain!!

I also bought a PU patent leather similar to Dior bag (I know it was PU and as the lady told me!) for 200 yuan ($30).  Also beautiful quality for this price.


Clothing

There is also a lot of clothing shops in this area, a lot imported from Japan and Korea.  They are stunning and if I had more time a would have looked further. 


Leaving Guangzhou


Guangzhou Eat Railway Station
If you are going back to Hong Kong, you will leave from the Guangzhou East Railway Station.  If you are going through to Shen Zhen then you will leave from the Guangzhou Main Railway station.  Allow plenty of time in case there is a traffic jam. We left our hotel at 9:00am to depart on the 10:39 train. It is the same process as leaving Hong Kong (all signs are in English)  You will go through customs here for Hong Kong as well. 

Back to beautiful Hong Kong!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Is the quality of goods in guangzhou really much better than lo wu. I went with my mother last year to lo wu and intend to go again this year but it does sound like a lot of work getting there from Kowloon. Could this trip be done as a day trip or wod it take too long.
Thank you I have really enjoyed reading your blog
Regards
Jacqui
alvil said…
Wooow thank you so much for the help am planning to go shop in guangzhou in june or july
Wharney Guang said…
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Wharney Guang said…
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Vita Sino Ltd said…
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Vita Sino Ltd said…
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