when the summer comes and the weather is hot like crazy!! Nanao island is the best choice to go on weekend if you live in shantou and as for people who live outside china or another city, you probably don't want to come to shantou because of Nanao island, but it would be nice and new experience you have much time.
There are a few beaches in Shantou and Chenghai. However, the beaches here are not always clean and you can expect people having their barbecue on the beach with food all around. The water isnt very clear either. But the beach can be a good escape from the city.
The popular one is Zong Xin beach. You can get more information from any hotel. Note: even if you are not staying at the hotel, you can always go to any business center and ask for information.
The best beaches are located in a nearby island called Nanao. There are frequent ferries that go to Nanao from Chenghai for about 20-30RMB(not sure), and it takes about an hour to get there.
The last ferry to leave Nanao is at 5 or 6 (best to check).
The best 'resort' in Nanao - keep in mind this is a very basic resort with decent but not luxurious rooms - is the Golden bay resort. Run by a friendly singaporean called Tony who helps you feel at home whilst you are there. I'll try to post his number but you can probably ask any hotel business center to find out.
Hot springs resort : Another place worth visiting is the Hot springs. Here, you can find a beautiful 5 star hot spring resort inside a beautiful secluded environment on the way to Chaozhou..
Inside the complex there are many different hot spring pools to soak into. The resort also has a swimming pool, Body and Foot Massages, some decent restaurants and outdoor bbq at very reasonable prices. I think its about 50rmb (5USD) to use the hot springs, and another 150 for a massage. The rooms are very nice, and if you want to spend a night, it will set you back about 400rmb for a basic room. They also have rooms with private pools. Definitely worth a visit. Its about an 45 mins from downtown shantou.
Mr Ben, also a singaporean, can provide more information : His number is +86 13827340168.
Foot massage : if you get the chance, enjoy the many foot massage joints in the city. Ask around and you will surely find one. Cost 40rmb/hour
The statements here may not be accurate anymore.
Apart from Business, there is not much to do here in terms of sight seeing. There are some unique spots but most people come here for the business.
There are some beaches nearby (albiet somewhat dirty), and some nice landscape but generally this place , having that small village feel to it , is quite boring at times. There is a small expatriate group here, mostly working in trade, or teaching english. If you see us, feel free to say hello.
Although Shantou has a huge population and tall buildings, it feels like a small coastal village. People here are simple and more or less kind. The rude or gross behaviour you sometimes find here is a result of the culture, or simply the lack of education of some locals. Most of them are kind hearted people.
Shopping in Shantou : Shopping here is nothing when compared to the malls and trendy shops in Shanghai or Hong Kong. Main shopping areas in Shantou are on Chang Ping Lu , and Jin Hua Lu (around the corner of the Golden gulf hotel). (Lu stands for street in mandarin). Here you can find Dvds, Clothes, Cosmetics, Tiny Factory outlets selling some polo shirts, and several restaurants.
You can also find Wal Mart (behind the golden gulf hotel on Changping Lu) - which sells everything and anything possibly needed.
When it comes to getting information, i find the hotel to be your best source. Specifically the Golden gulf hotel's business center. Their staff are relatively educated. And although i find the hotel to be a little run down, the staff there are not! (note. you don't have to be a hotel guest to ask for information at the business center).
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Jinsha Middle Road, Jinyuan District, Shantou, Guangdong, China
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
97 Jin Sha East Road Shantou 5 Shantou 515041
Good for: Solo
South of Zhongxin Avenue, Haojiang District, Shantou, Guangdong, 515098, China
Good for: Business
No.6 Hengshan Road, Longhu District, Shantou, Guangdong, 515041, China
Good for: Solo
No.52 Jinsha Road, Jinping District, Shantou, Guangdong, 515041, China
Good for: Couples
No.68 Hengshan Road, Shantou, Guangdong, 515041, China
Good for: Families
the typical chinese food from Hunan, it is normally quite spicy and tasty with traditional chinese cooked and serve with white rice. I d suggest to go and have a try here if you want to try something different from shantou .
Favorite Dish: Gan guo tofu which combined between dried Tofu and chili and some garlic, onion mixed with Doufu in the warm pot. and fried beef with chili
I won't describe each restaurant in detail but since good food in Shantou is scarce, i'll just offer my suggestions
Chinese food can sometimes be scary. Try to find out what you are eating before putting it in your mouth. Having said that - chinese food can be quite good here. The vegetarian restaurant is a safe resort and an alternative to the otherwise scary restaurants that your host might take you to :
The Vegetarian Restaurant is on Hai Bin Lu - pronounced Hi bin lu.
It is excellent if you enjoy vegetarian dishes. Since it is a buddhist joint the food is very simple, and prices are quite reasonable. Note that the restaurant closes early and they do not use onion and garlic.
There is another vegetarian restaurant on Jin Sha Lu - near di yi cheng, but I do not have the details.
For western cusine, i like the following :
I will use the golden gulf as the landmark , and describe where each restaurant is in comparison.
Haileys - Jin Sha Lu. Exit the Golden gulf hotel, turn right, and walk straight until you reach the traffic light. take another right and it should be on your left.
La Cafe (not la bar) - Get out of the Golden gulf. Walk straight. along Jin hua lu. Pass the ICBC bank and take the first right. Keep walking straight and you will see LA Cafe. You will find a variety of dishes that aren't all that bad. Also has free Wifi Access.
Western coffee Shop at the Mertius Hotel. Opposite Golden Gulf Hotel.
Pizza Hut - down Jin Sha Lu (take a left after exiting the Golden Gulf hotel) - get a richshaw and ask him to go straight down.
Coffee : the best and cheapest coffee with a coffee shop ambience is Bread Diary. The bakery is downstairs and the coffee is upstairs : call them for directions : 0754 8992033
Il saint - great pizza, pasta. Ask for Andrea or Thorsen to cook you up a special meal. 754 88803978. Tasteful decor and a pleasant ambiance unlike many places in shantou!
** this was updated on Oct 09. Things may change.
Favorite Dish: At the vegetarian restaurant :
My favourite is the sweet and sour Taro in a taro nest.
The Tofu is also quite good.
They give a free dish of Char Kway Teao (noodles) which is also really good.
Western Coffee Shops Serving everything from Pasta, to Pizzas and Sandwiches :
La Cafe :
Try the baked spinach rice without the salmon.
You can always tell the waitress to amend the dish anyway you like it.
If you like coffee and need more than 2 cups - instead of ordering two cups, order a bottle which makes about 4 cups. You'll spend less than 2 cups, and have more to share.
Nachos is ok. Not great. Not bad
The Capolloni without the beef is good!!
Note: The Western food is relatively good but nothing compared to the food you find in bigger cities.
La Cafe :
This is a great place to hang out at night - they have a live band and the owner, Wendy, is very social and well known. They have a good selection of drinks and food.
Il Saint - this is a great place to enjoy a 'real' pizza' and the other dishes are good too. They have a great selection of drinks aswell.
If you prefer to avoid meat when you're in china, use the following phrase when ordering :
Vegetarian : Wo Boo Che Row - wo boo yao row
18 Reviews and Opinions
Places to party in Shantou :
>Sunglow (behind Golden Gulf) - for a live band and a game of pool.
> Manhattan - for bouncing dance floor and loud music (behind Golden Gulf)
>La Bar (next to Meritus or opposite the golden gulf hotel) - for more upbeat music including trance and some RnB. They also have a seperate lounge with internet access, and KTV rooms (opposite Golden Gulf hotel)
>LA Pub (below La Bar) (opposite Golden Gulf hotel)
>Wine bar - A large selection of wine and a comfortable ambience. You buy the wine downstairs, and they open it up for you to drink upstairs whilst you sit on comfy sofas. Cheese and other snacks also available.
Aussino wine bar on Changping lu.. Pass walmart and keep walking down passing mcdonalds.
Wine Cellar on Jin Hua Lu (Round the corner of Meritus hotel. Next to Oscar Disco and opposite LA pub)
>Mp3 for a Chinese disco feel
> If you want to try some KTV, go to Happy days on Jinsha Lu ( few mintues walk from the Golden Gulf [turn right after exiting the hotel]). Most clubs have KTV.
> If you prefer to relax and drink some coffee - there is a coffee shop much like 'starbucks' although not - called Bread Diary. Coffee is reasonably prices and glasses are huge. Two locations : call and ask them to give directions to taxi driver : 0754 8992033 or 0754 8553518 (all near downtown).
Dress Code: No dress code. Wear whatever you like.
Getting around Shantou :
The rickshaws are the best ways to get around short distances. Usually a 10minute ride should not cost more than 5 RMB.
Taxis are smelly, but they are the only way to get to Chenghai and other remote places (In case your factory does not pick you up). You can negotiate a fixed fare instead of using the meter.
Hotels can also arrange for a car and driver to take you around for the day , or per hour.
Getting to other cities.
There are buses which go to Shenzen, Guangzhou at regular intervals (every 30mins). You can usually get information from the major hotels such as the golden gulf hotel business center.
Buses to Hong Kong
There are 3 buses that go to Hong Kong twice a day.
Regency Bus > I think departing daily at 9am and 4pm. Try to get the exit row seat at the back. Regency Hotel.
In Hong Kong it stops at Yau Ma Tei YMCA, and somewhere in Hong Kong side
Golden Gulf > i think departing daily at 8am and 2pm. Golden Gulf Hotel
Stops at Kowloon Tong and Tsim Sha Tsui.
Meritus > The most comfortable bus by far. Has a few stops along the way but the seats are super luxurious.
Stops at Fanling, Sha Tin, and Tsuen Wan.
Usually buses to hong kong will stop half way for a break, and again at the border where you need to take your ALL your bags and pass immigratoin. Then get on the bus again to go to the Hong Kong border where you have to get off again and pass the Hong Kong immigration. It sounds like a tedious process, but its not too bad.
Note: Exit and Entry Forms must be filled both ways.
Flights : You can also arrange flights at the hotel business center. Usually air tickets have fixed prices, and you'll pay a small surcharge using the hotel's business center. In my opinion The golden gulf Hotel has the best business center in town with english speaking staff.
Contact any business center for more information