As a budget traveler on a recent trip to Guangzhou, China, my wife and I were rather disoriented when we arrived at the city train station. It is one of the largest cities in the country and although we do not normally book in advance when we are hiking, this time, the absence of absence hotels of all kinds around the main central station led us to seek the guide.
Shamian Island, on the Pearl River right in the middle of town, seemed like a good place to find a cheap hotel, and when we arrived by taxi, we were immediately happy to be Venus. This small island, perhaps a quarter of a square mile, located directly on the banks of the river, and is a small oasis of calm in this bustling city. My first impression, believe it or not, was from Savanna, Georgia, the United States! Much of the architecture has been colonial since the days when the United Kingdom and the French used it as a commercial outpost. The old buildings are generally in good condition and there are wide streets and beautiful tall trees which give the whole island a feeling of relaxation. It & # 39; sa great place to walk.
We looked at some cheap hotels but settled on the Guangdong Shamian Hotel, a relatively cheap hotel that had some rough edges but very friendly and helpful staff. I would recommend it, for the large rooms and the perfect location.
At night, the waterfront of Shamian Island comes alive with outdoor restaurants on the Pearl River, and you can sit and watch the boat traffic on the river and enjoy ; an impressive view of the city. The prices here are a little higher than in other parts of Guangzhou, but it was worthy folly and we thoroughly enjoyed our seafood dinner.
One interesting thing about Shamian Island is the amount of westerners we see walking around pushing strollers carrying small, clearly Chinese babies. It turns out that Guangzhou is a center for Americans who want to adopt orphaned Chinese babies, and since the U.S. Consulate is located on the island, most people stay at the White Swan Hotel. nearby.
Shamian Island is a very good base for exploring Guangzhou, China, and although the hotels cannot really be categorized into the budget category, we certainly could have found some good hotel options market in Guangzhou on the quiet island, right in the middle of one of the biggest cities in China.