Do we do NYE in HK with kids? And where do I stay in Guangzhou?
September 15, 2015 8:18 PM   Subscribe

We're flying home to Sydney from HK on 1st January. Is NYE fun for families in HK? We're also supposed to be seeing family in Guangzhou, can you help me narrow down what area to stay in?

We're landing in HK, spending a few days there, then going to China to visit relatives. We fly home from HK on 1st Jan. There's 5 of us including kids 11, 13 and 14.

Should we:

a) Stay in China until 31st, then go directly to the airport, stay the night in one of the airport hotels? Relax, eat, sleep then go home unhurried. Flight is at 11am New Year's Day.

b) come back to HK a few days earlier and spend a bit more time there including NYE? If so, where do we go NYE? Do we watch fireworks? Are there family friendly festivities?

c)come back to HK a few days earlier and spend a bit more time there but get out of town for NYE? Go stay at the airport as per plan A.

d) your idea?

For Guangzhou, my parents are booked into the White Swan but there are no rooms left for our dates. It also looks out of my budget. I want to airbnb but I don't know which areas to narrow it down to. Is transport easy enough that it doesn't matter that much? My mum's side of the family lives somewhere near park with the 5 Rams statue in it, she doesn't know the name in English but it sounds like "Sai Gwaan" (west something?). If anyone can figure out where that is, that would be really helpful. If it's the other side of Guangzhou, somewhere where we could easily meet my parents for dinner etc would be good. I can't work out where the 'main' tourist or cbd areas are. My parents are no help! They usually just go and hang out with the rels and/or get driven around so they are oblivious to where things are.

Thank you everyone.
posted by stellathon to Travel & Transportation around Hong Kong (4 answers total)
Yuexiu Park has the five rams. It would probably be easiest for you to stay someone near there or along the same metro line (the blue one in Google Maps). Guangzhou is pretty big, but the main tourist area would be around where your parents are staying. Somewhere around Haizhu Square would be fine if you want to split the distance between your parents and your relatives (in transit terms, at least). That's very central. Nearer the relatives (significantly north of the yellow subway line on Google Maps) would probably be a little more peaceful if you aren't looking for a city experience. My experience is just touristing, so if someone local has better ideas, go with that.

The subway in Guangzhou is good. Get the stored-value card (tong) if you are going to be riding more than a few times.

Not sure about Hong Kong on NYE. If the kids like light shows and fireworks, I'm sure it would be fine.

You don't need to worry about an airport hotel in Hong Kong. Transit to the airport is very good (quick train available from Central or Kowloon) so you can stay anywhere near transit and get to the airport for an 11am flight without any hassle.

I might consider a day or two in Shenzhen on the way. You can take the high speed train from Guangzhou to Shenzhen (less than an hour) and then take light rail from Shenzhen to Hong Kong the next day. People from Shenzhen swear there is nothing to see there, but I actually found it pretty interesting (and very different from Guangzhou).

All three cities are interesting though, so I don't think you can go wrong. I'd be more interested in spending time in China instead of Hong Kong, which is much more familiar, but it really depends on your personal taste. I might suggest leaving Guangzhou around the 29th, spending a day and two nights in Shenzhen, then going to Hong Kong for NYE on the morning of the 31st, staying somewhere not too far from the Airport Express stations for your last night.
posted by ssg at 9:41 PM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hong Kong does have solar new year (Dec 31) fireworks but otherwise the main action is at the bars and pubs, very crowded with drunken revelers spilling onto the streets. A bit dangerous too. Lots of teens/young adults come to HK from China to party and get wild, crowd control is a problem...even for fireworks viewing. Pushing, shoving, excited yelling. High energy though, if you like that sort of thing.

Sorry, can't help with the Guangzhou q's.
posted by mono blanco at 9:45 PM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

A friend did NYE in HK a few years ago and said it was EXTREMELY crowded. As in very uncomfortably so.
posted by ryanbryan at 5:21 AM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I stayed at Motel 168 for two nights in Guangzhou. It was okay and really close to the subway but I didn't like it and besides the subway, there wasn't much there. I went to the Holiday Inn Shifu instead. It was a nice western hotel with a treadmill. I was alone at that point and it was a quiet pleasant place to stay in the middle of a busy city.

I didn't love Guangzhou but the subway was great. Shamian Island was charming. Taikoo Hui was pretty rad - yeah, it's a shopping mall but the architecture is pretty rad.
posted by kat518 at 5:58 AM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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