Guangzhou already has a good subway system, and it will get better as it's expanded.
It's very useful if your hotel is located next to a subway station. I always stay at a hotel located next to Ximenkou station, just one stop away from where the two main lines intersect.
When riding the subway it is best to use the one yuan coins. You should always at least have some 10 yuan notes with you which can also be used in the token machines. Most rides are either 2 or 3 yuan depending on whether you go a distance of 3 or 6 stations. I seldom paid more than 4 yuan to go anywhere I wanted to visit in Guangzhou, and that's a nice little savings over taxis which start at 7 yuan.
The subway is still relatively new, clean and well maintained. The frequency is about 3 minutes and it's not impossible to find a seat.
Popular tourist stops accesible by subway line include Chen Jia Ci (Chen Family Academy) and Yuexiu Park. On rainy days the subway is wonderful for reaching underground shopping emporiums. My favorite one is located at Martyrs Memorial Garden (Lie Shi Ling Yuan), where there is also a JUSCO supermarket that attracts local celebrities.
Guangzhou has a fantastic and very modern metro system, with four lines currently open, as seen in the map shown in the photo here. Some stations are still under construction. All signage is in both Chinese and English, at both ticket machines and platforms. Tokens are used instead of actual paper tickets but the concept is the same. If you need change to buy a token at the machine you can get it from a person in a ticket booth, but they don't sell the tokens in the booth, they just give change.
In order to get from central Guangzhou to the Fangcun district (just southeast of the city center) you'll need to go across the Pearl River somehow. The most expensive and roundabout choice is to take a taxi. Or, as shown in the map here, you could take the metro. But if you are in Shamian Dao or the Huangsha area, instead of paying 2 yuan for the metro, you can take a ferry across the water for only .50 yuan!
Gong Yuan Qian is probably the most important station in the Guangzhou Metro System, being at the axis of metro lines 1 and 2, which traverse central Guangzhou... It is a big station, but certainly not nearly as big as Ch?telet station in Paris. It is very modern and well organized, and is also situated next to many of the shopping areas of central Guangzhou such as the north end of Beijing Lu.
Guangzhou Main Train Station is conveniently reached by taking the metro as you can see by the metro map here. This is the biggest train station in Guangzhou and will probably be the one you will use to get to most provinces of China, however, it does not have trains to Hong Kong as those trains use the Guangzhou East Train Station. Trains to Beijing take approximately 24 hours and Shanghai is 27 hours (slower train).
There is also a CITS office right next to the main train station as well as two large long distance bus stations, McDonald's, various hotels, etc...
Like the main train station, the Guangzhou East Train Station, called Guangzhou Dong Zhan, is easily accessible by the metro system as seen in the metro map shown here. This is the train station you will be using when arriving or departing from/to Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Trains to Hong Kong take only about 2 hours and often it is not necessary to by tickets in advance...
As you can see in the picture here, the boundaries of the ancient walled city of Guangzhou -- that very old city, called by many names, such as Canton or Chu Ting, a city at least 2000 years old, known to the Romans, and the Arabs, and all the others down the line -- those boundaries only cover a small portion of what is today central Guangzhou. The farthest northern tower of the old walled city is the only one that still exists and you can see it when you visit Yuexiu Gongyuan. In ancient times, Guangzhou was the most important trading center in South China as Hong Kong did not exist until the mid-19th century or so...
This photo gives you an idea of what the Guangzhou Metro System platforms are like... As you can see, very modern, fairly orderly and lots of colorful backlit advertisements, including ads for American products such as KFC, McDonald's, and the Colgate toothpaste ad shown here... Unlike in most Western countries, there is almost always a security guard at each metro station platform to guard the place and assist people...
This is probably one of the fastest and easiest ways to get around Guangzhou. The metro is modern and clean, much like the metro stations in other major citites. The signs are written in both Chinese and Pinyin. It is easy to navigate.
You have to purchase tokens from machines in order to ride the metro. If you don't have change, you can goto one of the booths and they will give you change. However, they don't sell tickets.
It is very convienent since it connects to the main bus station and train station, Guangzhou Dong Zhan (translated as Guangzhou East Train Station). This helps getting in and out of Guangzhou so much easier!!!
Guangzhou Subway is quite good and getting to places of interest, shopping, food outlets is very easy. Fares are reasonable.
The newest train has route map within the carriages and lights indicators on the route map to show the location of the train in relation to the station and the tunnel. Great works. The older train doesn't have this feature.
Addition of subway screen door at the platform level is on-going in some stations but is place is very neat and tidy without obstructions.
Tokens can be purchased through ticket vending machines with instructions in English and Chinese. You tap the token on the turnstile to enter the paid area and slot the token into the exit barrier to exit the station.
At the exit point, some lights doesn't light up when you slot in the token and you would have to pay attention to listen for the blip sound in the mist of all other blip sound from other turnstile.
All exit point at labelled with station's direction boards in English and Chinese.
Good mode of transportation if you are travelling in group of more than 4 persons.
Very fast and a trains comes from 2-6 minutes apart, depending on the time. All the stations have english on them and they are very easy to use. There is 2 lines right now which cover a good size of gz, soon there is another line opening.
Comparing to the metro system in Shenzhen, Guangzhou's is a lot outstanding for its convenience, but it is not as new as the one in SZ. GZ metro practically covers all of main touristic places including Shamian island, Martyr shrine, Yuexio Park ,and Guangxiao temple. But please note that the system can be extremely crowded on the weekends. Yet, this is the simplest way for a first time visitor to move around in the city.
Guangzhou has one of the most comprehensive metro systems in China. It has a total of 8 lines serving the city centers, suburban areas, Baiyun Park, and the Airport. The following are some of the metro stations serving major attractions:
Line 1 : Guangzhou East Station, Tiahe Sport Center, Martyrs' Park, Chen Clan Academy
Line 2 : Baiyun Park, Guangzhou Railway Station, Yuexiu Park, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park, Guangzhou South Railway Station.
Line 3 : Airport South, Guangzhou East Station, Tianhe Coach Terminal, Zhujiang New Town, Chigang Pagoda.
APM Line: This is a metro line with smaller trains that connect mainly for Pearl River New Town or Zhujiang New Town. Huacheng Dadao --> Guangzhou Opera House --> Haixinsha --> Chigang Pagoda.
Check out Guangzhou Metro website to learn more
The Guangzhou Metro first started operation in 1997 and the stations look like they're modelled on the ones that I had just come from in Hong Kong. I used it when I first arrived in the city as Line 1 linked the Guangzhou East Railway Station (where I arrived on the train from Hong Kong at) with Huang Sha, the station for Shamian Island where I stayed during my time in the city. All-in-all, there are 4 lines although more are planned over the next few years. The service is very clean and efficient and I used it several times during my stay.
Single tickets are bought at a kiosk at every station or by the automatic ticket vending machines. Like most cities in Asia, fares are based on distance. Fares range from RMB2 (a couple of stations) to RMB12 (the longest journeys). The ticket itself is a black contactless (RF) plastic token that you wave over a sensor on the top of the barrier.
Metro in Guangzhou is the newest and nicest compared to other cities' . I love its colorful design. You would notice each station has its own theme color. It is awesome. And later built Line 2 Metro is even nicer and safer. As you can see in the picture, there's glass door on the platform. It happened before that people followed suicide by jumping off from the platform. Such glass door will prevent tragedy like that to happen again. Cool idea!