What’s it like to Fly to Thailand via Guangzhou, China?
Did you know you can fly to Thailand via Guangzhou, China ? There are no direct flights from the US to Thailand so, until recently, you’ve had to choose between overnights in old favorites like Singapore, Malaysia or South Korea. Now there’s another option: fly through Chinese capitals like Shanghai and Beijing. Because China Southern has direct, 2′ 45″ min. flights from Chiang Mai, I chose to fly through Guangzhou – a sprawling port city on the Pearl River northwest of Hong Kong – because Guangzhou’s the birthplace of dim sum. The fare, 31,000 baht, included an overnight hotel and Western breakfast which I skipped in favor of the hotel’s Chinese restaurant’s dim sum breakfast – an adventure in itself.
Most readers can use China’s 72-hour visa-free allowance, so you can spend a few days in your transit city if you wish (the visa waiver applies only to the first Chinese city you land in), for the cost of your hotel. If you want to do this, go down to the Transfer Accommodation Desk at Gate 20 in the central terminal (pictured). It’s in the central terminal, so you must go downstairs from your arrival area and take the underpass into the central terminal. Show the photograph, above, to any airport staff and they’ll point you in the right direction. You’ll find the Guangzhou airport, including the officials and police, warm and good-humored: much warmer than, say, Kunming.
I chose to stay at one of China Southern’s own hotels, the Nanland Skyview, because it promised to handle airport transfers perfectly: the staff really, really doesn’t want you to miss your China Southern flight because they, too, work for China Southern. On the morning of my flight they included a flight time reminder with my wakeup call, then they called later to offer a car and driver to take me to the airport in plenty of time. (To save money on the hotel, join the airline’s Pearl Club online. It’s free).
The breakfast was fun. It started with a simple tea ceremony and turned into a banquet, as the video below suggests and turns into a banquet of familiar Chinese breakfast favorites. Every dish was perfectly prepared and I pigged out on the best congee with forkballs I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve eaten a lot. Now, here’s a bunch of Chinese travelers having breakfast…