Your One Page Guide to Yum Cha (Dian Xin)

Your One Page Guide to Yum Cha (Dian Xin)

A relaxed morning with a table full of delicious sweet and savory treats, with trolleys passing at regular intervals offering up even more, sound like your kinda thing? Then for sure you’ll be a fan of Dian Xin, also referred to as Yum Cha.

It’s a specialty of Guangdong province and it’s not to be missed. It’s also wildly popular in Hong Kong of course, but here’s a hot tip, head to Guangdong where it’s only part the price and sometimes twice as good. I’ll suggest a few places later in the post.

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The Top 15 Hotels in Guangzhou

The Top 15 Hotels in Guangzhou

These Guangzhou hotels are selected based on proximity to the city center, visitor ratings, overall value and suitability for foreign visitors.

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong, and in all respects, a mega-city with population exceeding 9 million. Popular attractions include Yuexiu Park, Canton Tower, Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Baiyun Shan, Bright Filial Piety Temple, Chimelong Tourist Resort and Baomo Garden to name just some.

It’s also a key destination for international trade featuring regular trade shows mostly held in the Panyu District, and many wholesale markets with the clothing markets being world famous, it’s also famous for shopping at Shanxiajiu Pedestrian Street and Beijing Lu shopping street, see here for a full list.

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Guandong Victory Hotel Shamian Island Guangzhou

Guandong Victory Hotel Shamian Island Guangzhou

If your looking for accommodation in Guangzhou and you’re after somewhere peaceful to stay, I think it would be pretty hard to beat Shamian Island. It’s relaxed, peaceful but still only a short taxi fare to the major shopping streets and main tourist attractions of the city.

I think there are four hotels on Shamian Island, including the White Swan Hotel, Guangdong Shamian Hotel, Customs Hotel and the Guangdong Victory Hotel. We chose the Victory Hotel simply due to the deal they had going at the time.

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Beijing Road in Guangzhou

Beijing Road in Guangzhou

Another of Guangzhou’s interesting streets is Beijing Road, it’s also a commercial street and again it’s packed with shops, malls and restaurants. Beijing Road is a little more cosmopolitan than Shangxiajiu Pedestrian St but some say a little more expensive too. It’s also pedestrian friendly with no cars.

Along with boutique shops and brand name retail outlets there’s also several large malls including Grandbuy, Xindaxin and Mayflower.

If market stalls, what could be brand name copies, and doing some hard bargaining for a good deal is more your thing, theres also places for that too.

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Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street in Guangzhou

Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street in Guangzhou

Stretching for over 1 kilometer along Shangjiu Rd, Xia Jui Rd and Dishifu Rd in Liwan District Guangzhou, the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Mall is home to hundreds of shops including several malls and many great restaurants.

 This is one of Guangzhou’s older streets and features an interesting mix of old European and Chinese architecture. Much of shopping streets older buildings look recently renovated which I guess was part of the city’s preparation for the Asian Games.

Li Wan Plaza is one of the many department stores/malls on the shopping street and turned out to be a great place to get breakfast. Shops don’t open until ten, thus the empty mall, but several shops in the mall are open for breakfast and one of those is located up on the fourth floor serving up and excellent dim sum, even better was the price, 2 well fed people for under 50RMB (~8aud) is always great value, particularly when it tastes this good.

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Guangzhou Trade Fairs: International Sourcing Expo

Guangzhou Trade Fairs: International Sourcing Expo

I was actually in Guangzhou to visit the Canton Fair, but ooops, I left my passport at the hotel. For some reason, seemingly unknown to anyone, you actually need to have a passport with a valid visa to gain entry to the Canton Fair, maybe they want to keep the locals out! If so, with red hair, white skin and an Australian accent I should be able to get in, right?

No chance, the front gates are guarded by guards from the PLA, yes, that’s right, Chinese military guards. But maybe that reflects what a big deal the Canton Fair is, this is one of the worlds biggest trade fairs, attracting thousands of buyers from all over the world, and from the worlds leading companies. So considering the times we are in, and the fact that that companies from all over the globe have representatives here, the gaurds are perhaps warranted.

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Guangzhou Metro (subway)

Guangzhou Metro (subway)

Guangzhou has a modern subway system which services a large part of the city. For me, I wanted to get from Ghuangzhou East Railway Station to Pazhou where the Canton Fair complex is. It turned out to be pretty easy, just buy a ticket at the electronic vending machine which accepts coins, 5 yuan notes and 10 yuan notes.

I had to take line 1 to Tiyuxilu and then change to line 3 and then get off at Kecun and change to line 2 whose second last destination is Pazhou. When I walked out of the Pazhou Station I was right in the middle of trade fair city where the Jinhan Fair and Canton Fair Complex were located. The International Sourcing Expo is also nearby.

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Train from Shenzhen to Guangzhuo

Train from Shenzhen to Guangzhuo

I was heading to the trade fairs that are held every year in Guangzhuo, in particular the Canton Fair and lucky for me theres a regular fast train between Shenzhen and Guangzhuo East (Guangzhoudong).

Theres many trains running through the day on this route, about 24 trains a day, from early morning to early night. It takes just over an hour for the trip although some trains take a little longer at over 2 hours, maybe they stop at more stations but I’m not sure.

For my first trip I booked a standard ticket at 75 yuan ($11) and it was a modern comfortable train, it was a D series train if you know your China trains. The only downside is that the seats are a little cosy….

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