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In May 2010, Marco and I went to visit family in Guangzhou, China. For some reason, prices were crazy high for flights from the US into Guangzhou, so we decided to get a cheaper flight to nearby Hong Kong and just take the bus…. Oh, how we regretted that decision!

travellers arriving in Hong Kong

 We had researched bus services online and found China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Limited. They have a little stand with their bright red-and-white logo right after you exit from immigration. We explained to the ladies behind the counter where we needed to go, bought our tickets, and before we even knew what had happened, we both had a sticker on our shirt with the CTS logo and a number on it. While we were still laughing about the silly stickers on our chests, we were told to follow a Chinese traveler to the bus station in the airport. On a later trip with CTS in Macau we realized that these stickers weren’t just a weird custom, but that CTS employees use these stickers to herd people into the right directions and into the right busses 🙂

waiting in the bus terminal
hmmm….. chickens and ducks

The bus arrived, we chose good seats in the front and waited for the two and a half hour trip to start… Mistake! You don’t just pick your seat! Before you enter the bus, you are supposed to get yet another sticker from the nice lady in front of the bus with your seat number on it. After the driver saw us sticker-less, jetlagged travelers in the wrong seats he gave us the last two seats in the back of the bus instead… Oh well, at least the bus left on time. Another point in CTS’ favor by the way! We went with Kee Kwan Motor Road Co on another trip and they left way late and seemed much less professional overall.

leaving from Hong Kong airport
driving on the wrong side of the road
What they don’t tell you on the travel sites is that you can’t just board the bus in Hong Kong and get off in Guangzhou. There are multiple stops! One stop is close to Shenzhen where you get off the bus (without your luggage), go through a building just to get the “exit Hong Kong” stamp in your passport and get back on the bus for a few minutes. Then we were herded off the bus – this time including our luggage – for immigration to China at Huanggang Port Control Point. Quick tip: try to remember the color of your bus, some signs on it, and how the papers displayed inside the windshield look. Or even better, take a picture of the front of your bus with your phone or digital camera. Because once you get out on the other side, there are tons of busses and it would be really easy to miss yours. I wouldn’t have recognized it, so I’m glad Marco did! We dragged our jetlagged selves back into our seats and I dozed off until we arrived at Jinan University where we were picked up by our happy hosts. The bus stops right in front of the main gate.

Bottom line: next time, I’ll either pay more to fly into Guangzhou or stay in Hong Kong for a day or two to visit, and then take the train from Hung Hom Station in Kowloon, Hong Kong to Guangzhou with the MTR Intercity Through Train. So much easier and much more convenient!
This is the first post about our trip to Asia in May 2010. See here for the other posts about that trip.

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