There is an efficient and expanding public transportation system that makes getting around in Guangzhou relatively simple. The Yang Cheng Tong card, available from convenience stores throughout the city, offers discounted travel using local buses, subways and even some taxis. The subway covers much of downtown, and the stations are clearly marked with the Guangzhou Metro logo. The bus system has more comprehensive service, but is slow if you travel long distances. Buses require exact change or a Yang Cheng Tong card. Taxis are a popular form of transport in Guangzhou for visitors, as they are cheap and reliable. Many drivers will not speak English, however, so it is best to have your destination written in Chinese to show them. Renting a car is possible, but driving in the downtown area can be confusing and possibly dangerous for those unfamiliar with Chinese as the road signs are not in English. China has a reputation for being bicycle-friendly, but Guangzhou does not have necessary amenities like bicycle lanes. You can rent a bicycle on Shamian Island, but for longer stays it is preferable to buy one as rentals are often in bad repair. It is also possible to explore some areas of the city on foot, but the various districts are far apart.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plug types vary but the two-pin flat blade and oblique three-pin flat blade plugs are common. Adapters are generally required.
China currency is the Renminbi Yuan (CNY), which is divided into 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen. Make sure you exchange your leftover Yuan before returning home because this currency can only be exchanged within China's borders. Foreign cash can be exchanged in cities at the Bank of China. Banks are closed weekends. The larger hotels and the special 'Friendship Stores' designed for foreigners will accept most Western currencies for purchases. Major credit cards are accepted in the main cities, but acceptance may be limited in more rural areas. ATMs are scarce outside the main cities.
The international dialling code for China is +86. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices and hotels; phone booths on the streets are usually for local calls only. In hotels, local calls are generally free or will be charged only a nominal fee. Mobile phone networks are very advanced and Chinese networks have roaming agreements with most non-North American international operators. Internet cafes are available in most main towns.
Emergencies: 110 (Police); 120 (Ambulance - Beijing)
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Guangzhou is part of the Pearl River Delta and has a humid subtropical climate. The city is situated just under the Tropic of Cancer and the generally pleasant weather is a big advantage for travellers. Guangzhou has fairly good weather year round with a generally warm and humid climate. As with most of China, the four seasons are clearly felt and delineated. Summers (June to September) are wet, humid and hot, and winters (December to March) are mild and dry. Springs and autumns are temperate and very pleasant but as spring is prone to rain, autumn (September to early December) is probably the best time to visit Guangzhou. The average yearly temperature is 70 to 84°F (21 to 29°C), which gives some indication of how nice it is on average. Guangzhou does experience the Asian monsoon and actually has a lengthy monsoon season from April to September. Although it can be rainy, there hasn't been snow in the city for several decades. The heat and humidity can be a bit overwhelming in summer and good sun protection is required if you are travelling at this time.
There is an Airport Express bus and local taxis that transport passengers to and from Guangzhou city.
Rental cars are available at the airport, or in downtown Guangzhou.
There are taxis available at Guangzhou Airport and the fare from the airport to the Guangzhou Railway Station is approximately ¥95, excluding toll fees.
There is a post office, bank, play room, smoking room, business centre and information desk at the airport, as well as leather, cosmetics and local speciality stores. The airport also has dining facilities and a wine and cigarette shop. Smoking is banned throughout the airport.
There is both covered and uncovered parking at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, with fees starting at ¥8 for the first hour and ¥5 per hour thereafter.
Free wifi is available in the terminal.