The Nanfang / Blog

High-speed Rail Now Connects Two of China’s Biggest Commercial Centers

Posted: 12/9/2014 4:52 pm

high speed rail trainNew railway lines opening tomorrow will provide shorter travel times between Shanghai, Guangzhou, and other major Chinese cities. The Shanghai railway authority announced it will provide high-speed rail service to 32 cities in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan and Jiangxi.

As well, direct service will be provided to fast trains going to Harbin, Shenzhen and Lhasa.

Starting December 10, it will only take six hours and 50 minutes to travel between Shanghai and Guangzhou. It takes 16 hours to use the old fashioned trains.

Online ticket sellers list business class tickets for the tomorrow’s Shanghai-Guangzhou high-speed train priced at around RMB 2,500. First-class and second class tickets are priced at RMB 1,300 and RMB 800.

[h/t Shanghaiist]

Photo: news.China


100 Million Chinese Tourists Head Abroad in 2014, a New Record

Posted: 12/8/2014 9:30 am

national tourism administration

Over 100 million mainland Chinese tourists are expected to have traveled internationally in 2014, according to the National Tourism Administration. This number beats the previous record set in 2013.

The number is somewhat misleading, as more than 60 percent of travel was to the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau as well as the self-governed island of Taiwan.

Other popular destinations were South Korea, Thailand, Japan, USA, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Nearly 90 percent of all travel was within Asia, while 3.5 percent went to Europe, 3 percent to Africa, and 2.7 percent to the Americas. The countries with the biggest increase in Chinese tourists were Japan and South Korea. Combined, the two countries saw an increase in Chinese tourism of almost 40 percent.

The new travel record stands in stark contrast to China’s international travel from just over a decade and a half ago. In 1998, there were only 8.43 million trips made beyond China’s national boundaries.

Photo: People’s Daily Online


Best Place to Go This National Holiday? Your Living Room

Posted: 10/1/2014 6:49 pm

people mountain people sea lots of people tourismMaybe you’ve let this National Day holiday creep up on you, and suddenly you’ve got seven full days off but don’t know where to go.

Relax. The best place to spend your time off may very well be in your own home.

Notwithstanding the fact that expat homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, your home has one defining aspect that differentiates it from the traveling and tourism that will take place during this National Day Golden Week: your home isn’t crowded with hundreds of thousands of people.

If you decided to attend the two minute, seven second flag raising ceremony this morning in Tiananmen Square, you would have shared this unique experience in the company of 120,000 other spectators:

people mountain people sea lots of people tourism tiananmenIf, during this holiday, you’d like to take the subway in Zhengzhou, Henan, you’ll be greeted with this line-up that stretches down the road:

people mountain people sea lots of people tourism zhengzhou subway lineupIf you take the subway in Guangzhou, you may encounter a lineup like this:

people mountain people sea lots of people subway guangzhouIf you’re thinking about driving out of the city, you may experience some slight congestion:

people mountain people sea lots of people tourismMotorists have reported it’s taking as long as three hours and 15 minutes just to get out of Beijing. While in Shenzhen, there is currently a six kilometre traffic jam on the Humen Highway. Apparently cars on the highway to Shantou haven’t moved in an hour.

Traffic is so slow in Nanjing drivers can hop out and play a game of badminton while they wait for cars to start moving.

people mountain people sea lots of people trafficChina has many beautiful locations and tourist attractions. The problem is, everyone visits them at the same time. These photos offer an idea of just how bad it gets:

people mountain people sea lots of people tourismpeople mountain people sea lots of people tourismpeople mountain people sea lots of people tourismpeople mountain people sea lots of people tourismpeople mountain people sea lots of people tourism

If you’re enjoying your National Day holidays at home, keep enjoying them.

Photos: Information Times, Xinhua, China Network Television, Asia TodayMany Things that Even Guangzhou Residents Don’t Know, CCTV


China’s Antiquated National Holiday System Could Be Overhauled

Posted: 09/17/2014 9:56 am

china vacation great wall overcrowded crowds too many people

Don’t book your next vacation just yet! China’s State Council says it plans to review the national holiday system for 2015.

The State Council made its intentions known in a publicized letter to tourism departments on September 9, calling for a joint conference for tourism ministers. As there is no date for the joint conference yet, we don’t know what changes are being planned.

China is known for its infamous “Golden Week” holidays, which last for seven days but sometimes involve working on either end of the holiday, even if those days fall on a weekend. But the creation of “Golden Weeks” in 1999 helped Chinese people plan vacations because they had seven consecutive days off. The downside is everybody took vacations at the same time, resulting in massive overcrowding on the transport networks and tourist sites.

There have been debates on China’s holiday system before. Arthur Kroeber, the director of Dragonomics, a Beijing-based economics research firm, said the holiday reform debate “indicates that China’s becoming a more normal country. They don’t have to micromanage everyone’s vacations.”

However, people might not be ready to manage their holidays on their own. In December 2013, the national holiday office sought the public’s opinion in settling the problem of China’s holiday system. Opinion polls provided three options for the public to vote upon. The most traditional option, a seven day holiday on National Day, was the winner.

As absolutely anything is possible at this point, we should also steel ourselves to the possibility that this joint conference may decide, in all its wisdom, to change nothing at all.

Photo: cpd


Conde Nast Names Beijing One of the World’s Most Unfriendly Cities

Posted: 08/13/2014 4:31 pm

forbidden city crowdsConde Nast Traveler has recently published the results of a poll that shows Beijing is considered among the world’s most unfriendly cities according to tourists.

The term “unfriendly” isn’t necessarily a reflection of a city’s residents. Instead, it’s a judgment on how accessible and accommodating a city is towards its international tourists. For example, Johannesburg was ranked first because of its high crime rate and “danger of traveling alone”.

Beijing ranks at number six on the list, apparently because of its “terrible pollution” and “dirty streets” that detract from its beautiful attractions. With that, China Daily issued the following post:

worlds unfriendliest cities

Is Beijing the world’s most unfriendly city?
US travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler has published a list of the world’s most unfriendly cities for 2014 upon which Beijing is ranked at number six. The magazine thinks that environmental pollution, traffic congestion and overcrowding are the main reasons for being on the list. The top city on the list is Johannesburg, and there are three well-known romantic French cities on the list: Paris (#4), Marsailles (#4), and Cannes (#2).

As China’s capital, Beijing certainly has its problems. Beijing does have bad air pollution, congested streets and too many people, so it can’t dispute these facts. The contention seems to be over the word “unfriendly”.  Netizens in China, of course, have sounded off over the news:

I don’t understand the meaning of the word “unfriendly”. [tragic.emo]

This list was determined by the Americans themselves, no wonder there aren’t any of their own US cities on this list.

Let’s see you make New York, Los Angeles, and Washington not be congested with traffic!

There really aren’t any US cities listed.

In truth, Beijingers fear important foreigners!! Especially important people who are black!! It’s just that the foreign media doesn’t know this.

Actually, (they) treat foreigners very well.

I’ve never been to Beijing; I support this.

It seems as though this isn’t wrong. In loving our country, we must look at all the facts.

Take a hike, Beijing!

Or, it may be time to accept that Beijing is a terrible place to find yourself at the end of a journey. In May, a survey of 54,000 people by TripAdvisor determined that Beijing is the second-worst travel destination in the world, topped only by Moscow.

The survey ranked cities by the quality of taxi services provided, the helpfulness of locals, and, yes, the friendliness of its residents.

Photo: Jez and Jennie’s


[Photos] Record-Breaking Holiday Crowds In Guangdong

Posted: 06/3/2014 3:46 pm

dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsDid you spend this past Dragon Boat holiday festival at home, doing nothing? Well, it wasn’t entirely spent in vain because you were in fact doing something—avoiding the huge crowds that clogged transportation routes and tourist destinations throughout Guangdong.

dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsdameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsShenzhen traffic police reported that traffic for access routes to Daxiao Meisha and Dapeng were congested with “rush hour conditions” for ten hours from June 1 until yesterday morning. 256,000 cars were said to have been involved in a traffic jam 14 kilometers long.

720,000 commuters took the Guangzhou Metro on June 2, a 15% rise from last year. May 31 was also a traffic heavy day with 650,000 commuters.

dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowds

But getting there is only half the fun; just ask the record-breaking 16,000 visitors that descended upon Dameisha Seaside Public Park. The only reason so many people would choose to crowd together so densely must be because they obviously enjoy each other’s company, like so:dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsdameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowdsdameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowds

All of this price came at a cost, however. A closer look at the swarms of holiday-goers revealed a grubbier side:dameisha beach dragon boat festival holiday weekend guangdong people crowds

However, crowds don’t always have negative connotations, especially when everyone’s favorite endangered species-a la commodity of cuteness made a mass appearance at the Canton Tower in Guangzhou:canton tower panda canton tower panda

Oh, endangered panda: you’ll never over-populate us with the cuddleness you provide!

Photo: Shenzhen Evening Report via Weibo (2), China Daily via Weibo, Shenzhen Traffic Police via Weibo, China Guangzhou Information Dissemintation via Weibo, Guangzhou Daily via Weibo


Guangdong Residents Can Now Visit Hong Kong and Macau With Their Fingerprints

Posted: 05/20/2014 8:00 am

Guangdong is issuing a new generation of Hong Kong and Macau travel passes for its residents. From today onwards, residents can apply for an e-pass which is expected to reduce the time required to cross the border through the use of self-serve e-channels, Yangcheng Evening News reported.

Different from the traditional paper booklets, the new e-pass is the size of an ID card. Residents can cross the border in about 10 seconds by pressing one’s finger on a fingerprint scanner. About 30% of the self-serve e-channels have been installed and finished testing, the report said.

The new travel pass (left)

Policies regarding the HK and Macau travel pass still remain the same, and so do the fees. The old paper booklet is eligible for use as long as it it within the expiration date, the report said.

The e-pass for adults is valid for 10 years from the start of the issue day, and for children under age 16, the e-pass is valid for five years. When applying for the new e-pass, applicants have to submit finger print samples. Application for the new travel pass takes seven working days at a local public security immigration office and upgrading the old travel pass to the new version takes 10 working days.

Home page and content page photo credit: Yangcheng Evening News


Shenzheners Most Likely To Skip Town Over Holiday

Posted: 05/6/2014 7:57 pm

A nifty infographic released by QQ Space that tallies up the tourist trends of Chinese people during the Labor Day holiday has revealed some interesting bits of trivia.

First, Shenzhen tops the list of Chinese cities that had the most departures of holiday goers from May 1 to 3; rounding out the list after Chengdu and Beijing is Guangzhou at number four. The infographic gives it a nice spin of saying Shenzhen residents are the people who “most love fun in China”, and not that they can’t stand to spend another long weekend here.

Maybe telling and maybe not, Dongguan pops up in this demographic as being the ninth most popular domestic destination this past Labor Day holiday. Are the good times back? We’ll see if travelers will go for the hooker, line and sinker. No other Guangdong city made it into that list.

Some more factoids: Labor Day travelers are mostly female, aged 23-34, and of the Aries sign. Men like to take group photos, while girls prefer “selfies”. Thirty year-olds are more liable to pose with a peace sign, while twenty year-olds are more prone to posing with a duckface.

Photo: Weibo


Shenzhen to roll out free wi-fi in hundreds of buses by summer

Posted: 01/23/2014 4:52 pm

Shenzhen is cementing its role as China’s most technologically-advanced cities by rolling out free wi-fi on more than 300 public bus routes later this year.

The city already offers free wi-fi on the metro, while Uber provides it when it sends a swanky car to pick you up.

The Shenzhen government announced the program, saying 14 bus routes will be selected as the pilot by March, with a full roll out to all 327 bus routes by the end of June.

Now if only wi-fi could be introduced on airplanes.

(h/t @mstandaert)


Shenzhen man publishes account of travelling the country while penniless

Posted: 09/3/2013 7:00 am

A Shenzhen-based author has published an account of the time he drove across China in 100 days supporting himself by borrowing money from strangers and handing them IOUs. The author, Liu Meisong, used a total of 222 IOUs as he drove as far south as Sanya, as far west as Urumqi, as far north as Shanhaiguan, and as far east as Mohe County in Heilongjiang in 2010, Jiangxi Television reports.

It started when Liu was having an unsuccessful business trip to Guangzhou in August 2010. Feeling impulsive, he decided to go to Haikou that night. He acquired the 452 yuan he spent on ferry tickets by borrowing money from strangers. He had to wait 15 hours to acquire all the money which was the longest he had to wait during his whole trip.

The characters “欠条” mean IOU, image courtesy of Google Images

He decided he enjoyed living like this and vowed to drive across the country without begging (he paid the money back later), working, or accepting sponsorship. He prepared hundreds of IOUs with a photocopy of his I.D card and his contact information to cover the cost of tolls, fuel, accommodation and other expenses.

He lost 10 kg on his travels as he lived primarily off instant noodles. It was a hugely stressful experience and he had all kinds of rejection along the way. Even his close friends questioned his sanity.

However, 10 of the people who lent him money were at the launch of the book in Shenzhen last week, which is a happy ending of sorts.

Liu says that if the book is successful, he will donate the proceeds to a good cause.


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