My family wants to visit my parents' home in China. It took us several days to finally figure out the English equivalent for the chinese names of places to be Kaiping to look up info on it, let alone trying to figure out the actual village. From the main city district in Kaiping, my parents say they would have no problems knowing how to get to their village.
So the question is, what is the easiest way to get to Kaiping for elderly people?
As best we can figure, it looks like you can get there from Hong Kong by train to Canton (which I figured out was actually Guangzhou) and from there by bus to Kaiping. Is there any direct route from Hong Kong?
We've heard horror stories of bandits robbing buses or small vehicles on these dirt roads to small rural areas. That's a very big concern. If there is some mass transportation like the train that can get us there safely, that would be better.
From Hong Kong - go to the China Ferry Terminal ( 33 Canton Road - located at the northern terminus of the Harbour City Mall,which begins from the Star Ferry ). This terminal is very modern, clean, safe, with escalators and information booths. Go thru the HKG customs and take the ferry (catamaran - operated by Chu Kong Passenger Transport (CKS)) for about 3.5 hour ride to Sanbu - a major river port of Kaiping (Hoiping). Take a taxi to the only 5 star hotel in Kaiping for about $65 a night:
From this hotel, you can hire a car or just take a taxi to the village and negotiate a day rate - probably no more than $35 USD a day.
I have not personally taken this particular ferry ride or stayed at this hotel ( I had lunch there ). I have taken the 2 hour bus ride from Taishan to the Guangzhou rail station ( there are 2 stations ) - then China customs / immigration at the rail station - wait for the train - 2 hour train ride to the HKG station - HKG immigration and then another taxi to the hotel.
The China Ferry Terminal is probably the fastest, safest way to go from HKG to Kaiping - especially for older folks - like me.
I should have been more specific. I meant Kaiping City, not the whole region of Kaiping. At least I think it's near Kaiping City--the area that looks like a populated are surrounding a river in the lower east side in the upper portion of Kainping.
I tried looking at the Village DB Search on www.c-c-c.org, but my parents' village names are not listed. They did identify 潭溪鄉 "Tam Kai Heung" as the area where they are located. They say it's near or in "Chik Ham" (their pronunciation) but I couldn't find it anywhere.
The only thing I'm worried about going by ferry is the motion sickness--my mother would get seasick very easily. Do you know if it would be a choppy ride?
If we go by bus instead, what are the road conditions. I'm thinking in my mind that since this would be going through old country areas, it would be mostly dirt and rocky roads which would make it a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride. Or has things been modernized enough that they have paved roads?
Post by David Wong on Apr 27, 2007 11:46:20 GMT -5
I think the easiest way is to go by private bus. There are at least 3 companies that offer this, and they leave once every hour or so. It's also the best way to view the countryside, and is the most relaxing. It takes twice as long as the ferry ride, but there is no mad rush...which makes it nice for most older folks (most of the business and younger people take the fast train).
I took my elderly mom last year to "Sam Fow" (three ciites of cheung sha and two other places I can't remember the names). The bus made stops all along the path from HK to Kaiping City center (stops included Chikan, Shui ho (water mouth), and other places that had been requested by the passengers. There were only six passengers on the entire bus ride (nice modern bus)... very comfortable and relaxed. It was a leisurely 4 hour ride and only cost C$40.
The only hassle was the crossing of the borders at HK/Guangdong... but it was really nice for us as they have a fast lane for elderly and for the disabled.
Good luck, and we look forward to reading about your experience when you return.
Post by David Wong on Apr 27, 2007 11:49:27 GMT -5
Oh, I forgot to mention... there were no dirt roads or bumpy roads. All highways in Kaiping are NEW: clean, smooth and modern. In fact their roads are in much better condition than those in B.C., Canada... and because it's a bus, it goes through the express lanes at all the toll booths.
Post by laohuaqiao on Apr 27, 2007 13:10:24 GMT -5
The catamarans are very smooth; moving at high speed the passenger cabins ride high above water surface and thus are not affected much by ocean waves.
Having said that, I'll throw out another option, which is to take the ferry from HK airport to Macau, going through customs at Macau harbor and not HK. Take bus or taxi to China/Zhuhai City border, about a mile or so away. Cross border and custom and from Zhuhai take bus or taxi to Kaiping City.
You can also take a ferry from HK airport to Shenzhen, again bypassing HK and go on to Kaiping fron Shenzhen.
Yet another option on how to get from Hong Kong to Kaiping or other Guangdong destinations......this is probably the simplest way but there are some potential quirks: Take a scheduled passenger bus from Hong Kong's airport to Kaiping. #1. If you do not wish to stay in Hong Kong or Kowloon at all, and #2. you have your China visa already, and #3. your arriving flight is convenient for you, and #4. you have a reasonable amount of patience, then this is likely your most direct way of getting to Kaiping. Hong Kong's airport has about a half dozen or so bus companies that have regular scheduled passenger buses running to various parts of Guangdong Province. However, in most cases this requires you to arrive at Hong Kong's airport at a certain time period because most of the buses leave for the various points in Guangdong Province in the morning hours. These buses will leave the airport, go through Kowloon, cross the border into China at Shenzhen where you connect to the appropriate bus to wherever you want to go in Guangdong. The bus ticket is around US$30-$35. The Shenzhen part of the journey is the most hectic part. Here you will exit the arriving bus to surrender your Hong Kong exit visa, return to the bus for just a few yards distance, exit the bus again but taking all your belongings and luggages with you, enter China immigration & customs, and afterwards find the proper connecting bus to your Guangdong destination. On the journey to your destination, there will be several stops along the way for disembarking passengers, so it is prudent for you to get a window seat on the bus in order to keep a watchful eye to ensure that no one walks away with your luggages at the stops.
My experience is as follows: I arrived at Hong Kong's airport around 10:30 pm because that was the last night flight into Hong Kong and there were no early, early morning arriving flights for me. I endured the overnight wait at the airport until the bus kiosks opened in the morning around 7 am. For me, I wished to take a passenger bus to Xinhui. I chose the CTS Express Coach since it was the only one with Xinhui as one of its destinations. I paid the fare for the bus ticket and waited about an hour for a CTS person to lead a group of us to the appropriate departing bus downstairs. CTS will put a sticker on your shirt or jacket with the name of your destination written on it so that in case you get lost along the way (especially at the Shenzhen transfer point), any CTS personnel will know what bus to direct you to. Once aboard the correct bus at Shenzhen, I was well on my way to Xinhui. To ensure that I won't miss my stop in Xinhui, I kindly asked the bus driver in broken Cantonese to remind me when my stop comes up. The entire bus trip from Hong Kong airport to Xinhui is about 4 hours. The bus has modern cushioned seats and air-conditioning, making for a comfortable bus ride.
If you can endure this type of travel itinerary, then this may not be so bad for you because there is only one transfer point (Shenzhen). To pass the time at Hong Kong's airport, I napped off and on, snacked periodically, wandered throughout the near-deserted airport, and read a book. If you are traveling with kids, then this may not be best for you.