The Nanfang / Blog

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.



Shenzhen may finally get a second airport, but it won’t help ease crowds

Posted: 08/29/2013 2:52 pm

Shenzhen may be getting a second airport sooner rather than later, though it may be for general aviation rather than commercial purposes, according to a skew of reports from local media this week.

The reports come just before Shenzhen International Airport is set to open its new and impressive Terminal C, which has been built in response to growing numbers of travellers passing through the city each year. The Nanfang shared details on the new terminal in a report on August 19.

“Terminal C, which will open soon, is designed to handle 45 million passengers and 450 tons of cargo a year by 2020. But what will Shenzhen do after that?” Deng Yaoqing, President of the Pan Pearl River Delta Innovation and Development Research Institute, asked at a city forum Sunday. The possibility of a second airport has been explored since as far back as 2008, according to Deng.

“Major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have two airports, while world cities like New York and London have more than two airports,” he added, according to a report by Shenzhen Daily.

But Deng’s words may mean little if a follow-up report by Shenzhen Economic Daily this week proves correct. The Daily, quoting a local transport official, said that the second airport may not in fact serve the growing number of visitors, but instead be intended for “general aviation” purposes.

“The airport for general aviation is quite different from what expert Deng Yaoqing has suggested about building a new airport in Pingshan,” said Yang Xing, deputy director of the transportation commission’s airport department, in a quote translated by Shenzhen Daily yesterday.

“General aviation refers to civil aviation operations other than scheduled air services, and to nonscheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire. It covers a large range of activities including flight training, agricultural aviation, medical rescues, light aircraft manufacturing and maintenance,” the Daily explained.

So although a second airport may be good for local industry and jobs, it won’t bring much relief to those worried about Shenzhen’s already burgeoning transport hub as we approach 2020.

Photo credit: Wikimedia


Shenzhen airport gets set to open massive new terminal

Posted: 08/19/2013 10:00 am

Shenzhen International Airport carried out a “relocation drill” Friday in preparation for the opening of its new Terminal C on November 14, the biggest upgrade to the airport since its opening 22 years ago.

The new terminal will be nearly triple the size of current terminals A and B combined, and will have double the number of counters. Fifty-eight new boarding gates will also be included, covering a total area of 450,000 square metres. By comparison, Heathrow’s main Terminal 5 building covers just 300,000 square metres.

“The new three-level Terminal C was designed by Italian-based firm Fuksas Architects, and incorporates a patterned double skin canopy of steel and glass that allows patterned light into the building, reduces energy consumption by shielding the space from excessive solar heat and also allows mechanical systems to be hidden,” Shenzhen Daily said in a report earlier this week.

The Daily added: “The terminal has a large check-in building with a wing-like roof on one side of a cross structure. The grand departure hall resembles a large manta ray enveloping the passengers. The hall will be bright with light diffused through the double skin and contains information desks, a car rental area, and airline check-in counters.”

Forty-five million passengers are expected to pass through the airport each year by 2020, up from just 29 million in 2012.

The new terminal will be welcomed by Shenzhen citizens and travellers who regularly pass through the major international transport hub. China is a country infamous for its flight delays, with only 18.3 percent of flights departing from Beijing Capital International Airport leaving on time in June, according to statistics.

Meanwhile, a report this week showed that air service complaints in Shenzhen are on the rise, with many passengers still filing official complaints over flight delays and cancellations.

Earlier this year, The Nanfang picked up a report on a series of bomb hoaxes that affected Shenzhen airport. This week, the man charged with the false threats, identified as Wang Hongliang, 26, from Inner Mongolia, has been standing trial at Bao’an People’s Court.

Last week, a former Yunnan Province official was sentenced to six months in prison for his public display of anger at an airport February.

Photo credit:


Shenzhen Airlines slashes fares to Bangkok, only RMB700 return

Posted: 07/5/2013 10:00 am

We’ve all had “bad China days” at some point, and wished we could just be somewhere else.  Now you can, and for much less than you might have thought possible.

Shenzhen Airlines is slashing fares to Bangkok, that den of iniquity, starting on July 15.  It will set you back only RMB500 for a one-way trip (and we wouldn’t blame you for that), or RMB700 return, 163 reports.

There are actually two flights a day, with one leaving Shenzhen at 5:10pm (ZH9204) and the other at 11:15pm (ZH9003).  The return flights depart Bangkok at 8:15pm and 3:30am.

You better snap up tickets fast because competition will be fierce. Moreover, it’s probably unwise to get your hopes up about the flights being on time.


Guangzhou tackles traffic congestion, will restrict non-Guangzhou registered vehicles

Posted: 03/22/2013 10:39 am

Guangzhou aims to tackle the city’s worsening traffic problem by introducing a new measure restricting certain vehicles from the road. (Shenzhen, are you listening?)

Under the new rules, vehicles registered outside of Guangzhou proper will be restricted from certain roads, and the downtown core, during certain times of the day. The speculation is rush hour traffic will be limited, for example. But as Guangzhou Daily reports, the times and locations for the restrictions haven’t been decided yet.

The new restrictions will throw a wrench into many people’s morning commute. As everybody knows, the PRD is a vast urbanized area, and not everybody who works in Guangzhou lives in Guangzhou. There are thousands of people who live in nearby Foshan, for instance, and make the daily commute.  One person the paper talked to, Mr. Guo, said he may have to buy a car in Guangzhou and register it there if he wants to continue driving to work. Otherwise he’ll have to take the bus and transfer to the metro, meaning waking up quite a bit earlier each morning.

On the bright side, though, the moves show the government is trying to unclog the city’s main arteries.  We’ll see if this is effective.

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