Guangzhou Health & Safety

Guangzhou is a relatively safe destination, but foreign travelers are always susceptible to petty crimes. Pick-pockets and purse-snatchers are actually pretty common, so use good sense at all times, by locking valuables in the hotel safe, leaving jewelry at home, carrying limited amounts of cash, and storing that in a money belt. Also avoid walking around alone at night, especially in and around the train station. The good news is that serious crimes against foreigners are rare, partly due to the fact that the penalties are quite severe—including execution.


In terms of health risks, protect yourself from stomach upset by passing on the local water, ice, and produce, as well as any uncooked foods or unpasteurized dairy products. Stick to bottled water, and consider bringing an antidiarrheal medication with you from home just in case.

It’s always advisable to take a small bottle of hand-sterilizer and tissue because of the lack of public restrooms, but you could always dodge into a 5-star hotel. Try to avoid touching handrails because most local folks can be seen sneezing and merely blowing their noses in their hands, and hacking/spittiing on the ground without respect to others.

Emergency Medical Assistance: Falling ill in a foreign place can be a frighterning experience. Make sure you have contact information handy, such as the number for your translator and your doctors. There are several international medical centers in Guangzhou servicing the foreign community. All centers offer medical advice, assistance and after-hour consultation. If you decide to go to a local hospital, you need to bring cash with you. Local facilities may not accept your credit cards and NO treatment will be given before payment is received.

Over the Counter Medications can be found in local pharmacies, Watson’s or Manning’s.
English Name Chinese Name
Panadol tablets 必理痛片
Tylenol tablets 泰诺
Fenbid (ibuprofen capsules) 芬必得胶囊
Talcid tablets (Tums) 达喜(胃药)
Bufferin cold and cough 日夜百服宁
Mucosolvan tablets and syrup 沐舒坦
Clarityne 克敏宁

While Guangzhou is known among the Chinese for its relatively high crime rate, it is still not a dangerous city by Western standards, and is no more dangerous than a large American or Western European city. Due to the enormous number of people from other mainland provinces flocking to Guangzhou in the hope of finding jobs (often unsuccessfully); the area surrounding the main train station has gained a notorious reputation for being chaotic, unsafe and rampant with petty crimes. Pickpockets are especially active here.
Security enforcement has increased and security cameras are now more commonly used since the 2010 Asian Games.

Train and bus stations:
Police are aiming to increase their presence at Guangzhou’s major terminals from about one-in-a-thousand (circa 2005) to about one-in-three-hundred, but the sheer number of people at the big stations make them impossible to police perfectly. Like any other crowded area, pay close attention to your bags and be aware of what people close to you are doing. Never go with random people claiming to be cabbies. And apply caution even at smaller terminals.

Buses and trains:
These are prime places to have your pocket picked or your bag rifled through. If you have a knapsack style bag, don’t wear it on your back or you’re asking to get robbed. If you wear it slung on your side, make sure the zippers are facing forward where you can see them. Bags made of softer materials can easily be slashed with a razor.

The crowd that forms on entering a bus makes it a particularly vulnerable time, since everyone is close together and facing forward. This is a time when many thieves strike. You are likely thinking more about entering the bus, or getting out your card, than paying attention to your pockets. And the thief can make an easy getaway.
Do not flash your valuables in public, do not wander around by yourself late at night and remain alert at all times. Use only official taxis and get advice from the government-run tourist office. While shopping, be aware of scams such as street hawkers trying to sell fake laptops and other high value goods.

Also, be very careful with making deals with local merchants. Always remember that most are only interested in making money, so be sure to barging or walk away, there are plenty of other stores. Be aware of fakes of everything from eggs, milk, shampoo, even X5’s, jade, everything can be bought fake. Also, merchants come and go, so it’s easy to lose your money because they just “disappear”.

As foreigners walking in the Beijing Lu or Shangxia Jiu Lu, there will be lot of merchants (people) get close to you and say “Watch, Watch, Watch” or “Rolex, Rolex, Rolex” then show you a picture of different famous brand of watches. They will sell you the watches with high price, in fact, the watches are fake watches and it is very cheap watches when you buy it at the Guangzhou watches wholesale market (most of them are about 80-300 RMB, some are cheaper, depend on the brand of the watches you want ). You just need to ignore them when you meet these kinds of people.

Traffic conditions
Traffic conditions in Guangzhou have drastically improved in recent years and rules are followed relatively well. However, car speed in Guangzhou is fast enough to claim more lives when accidents happen. Use extra caution when crossing streets; use pedestrian bridges and tunnels whenever possible. Like everywhere else in China, cars do not yield to pedestrians. Instead, drivers automatically expect pedestrians to give way to them. So in most cases, they do not stop until it is too late.

Emergency numbers are: Police: 110; Fire: 119; Medical: 120; Traffic accident: 122.

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