Last October, we caught a cheap flight to Bali from SFO for only $450, but it required a 10 hour layover in the city of Guangzhou in China. Bridgette had never been to Guangzhou, so we jumped at the opportunity to show her a new place.
I’m always very optimistic about our travel abilities when I book cheap flights. Red eye flight + 12 hour layover? No problem! 14 hour flight + 10 hour layover? Easy peasy! Ofcourse, I usually regret it just a bit during travel days because I don’t sleep very well on planes, and tend to arrive to our destination very exhausted.
Fortunately, Bridgette is the opposite. She sleeps soundly in the cramped economy airplane seats like it was her own comfy bed, she eats airplane food with as much delight as her favorite restaurant, and she almost never gets jetlag no matter where we travel to in the world. Was she a born nomad? Probably.
Our flight from SFO to Guangzhou was 14.5 hours. We arrived early in the morning and breezed through customs. It was our first experience with China Southern airlines, and I have much praises for them! For any layover in Guangzhou over 8 hours, they provide a complimentary hotel room for you, complimentary day passes to use the subway system there, and complimentary local tours. We took advantage of the free hotel room to shower after our long flight, and then went on our way to explore the city.
Guangzhou is the capital of the province of Guangdong in southern China and is one of China’s three largest cities. My last visit to Guangzhou was about 25 years ago, so needless to say, it has modernized quite a bit since then. Despite the impressive skyscrapers all around now, I still felt most drawn to the older, historical parts of the city, so we focused in exploring in those areas.
We ate some yummy (and cheap) street food, walked aimlessly for miles and miles, and eventually did get to see the newer parts of Guangzhou with impressive museums and skyscrapers.
This layover was pretty uneventful compared to our Mexico City layover, which was good considering the long haul flight we had to take to get there!