On Travel: 24-hour Transit Into Guangzhou, China Without Visa

As I write this, I’m home, in bed, it’s 3:00 AM and I cannot sleep.  My body still thinks it’s 3:00 PM, jet lag sucks!  So I thought, what better time than to start my layover in China 🇨🇳 blog.

The process was a lot easier than I imagined, so I thought I’d share in case it’s something you were stressing about or just wanted to know in the event that you too have a layover in China.

24-hour Transit Into China Without Visa

I’m flying back to Canada from my monthly long adventure to Vietnam (please be sure to check out my posts on that amazing trip).

When I landed in Guangzhou, China, at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, the temporary immigration process to enter China was much simpler than I expected it to be.

If your layover in China is less than 1 day, you can possibly enjoy a 24-hour transit without a visa (24-hour TWOV). It is available to passengers of most nationalities at most ports of entry.

If your layover is more than 24 hours, you can consider 72-hour TWOV or 144-hour TWOV.

Most countries are eligible for the 24-hour TWOV except those listed below: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

When I deplaned, I went over the area for the Visa (the sign is easily displayed – you’ll be heading to the right).  I filled out the necessary application form and handed it to the kind lady at the counter.  After providing her with my passport, boarding pass from my current flight, and for my flight onto Toronto, I was asked to take a seat as they reviewed my application to enter the country. The process was smooth and quick – I hardly had enough time to vlog that I was waiting for a response before she provided me with the answer – YES!

From there I went through to Customs and then made my way to Gate 50 (it’s downstair on the first floor – you’ll be walking to the right), the China Southern Airline counter for my FREE hotel accommodation. I found that gate a little hard to find, but once I found it, the rest of the process was fairly simple.  I showed the counter agent my boarding pass and passport and was then asked to review a selection of hotels from an iPad and select one.

Free Hotel Provided By China Southern Airlines

I chose the W.Y. Lera Hotel based on the looks of the hotel alone, I didn’t read the whole summary of each hotel because there was a line up behind me.  It looked like something I might see in Vegas – tall, flashy lights, had a tower, and it looked as if there was be something “happening” near by.  That wasn’t the case so much.  The hotel is located in the Huadu District of Guangzhou in the far northern suburbs of the city, quite the distance from any sightseeing in the city centre.  But, it was provided for FREE and I am definitely grateful for that and am not in a position to complain.

I noticed online that China Southern Airlines also offered FREE sightseeing tours. I asked at the desk, they do, however, it ended at 1:00 PM and my flight was at 2:30 PM,  I wouldn’t have enough time to finish the tour, get to the airport, through security and make my flight – so that was not an option for me.

After selecting my hotel, I was provided with a sticker with the hotel name and asked to wait in the designated area until the airport shuttle could take us to the hotel.

When I arrived at the hotel I asked at the front desk how long it would take by metro to get to the city centre – by subway 1.5 hours each way — having to grab my shuttle at 11:00 AM the next morning, this was not going to work either, so I would have NO sightseeing during my time in China 😞.

I really applaud China Southern Airlines for providing this service to their passengers, I was happy to sleep in a (hard) bed rather than on an airport floor.  This is a 3-star hotel, has 178 rooms.  The  room was “nice”, it wasn’t outstanding.  The room was tired and dated.  The carpet was worn and dirty, the decor tired.  Also, the WiFi did not work in my hotel room at all, it barely worked in the lobby.  The rest of the hotel however, was quite nice.

Breakfast was provided a NO COST, the buffet style selection was endless and was quite yummy.

Enjoying some egg, fruit, beignet, fried fish cake, gyozas, a nada, ramen soup and a coffee

The best part was the view from the 22nd floor revolving restaurant (it did not revolve while I was eating breakfast). It was an overcast day and was overlooking the tops of other buildings,  but, I still found the views quite nice.

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View from the 22nd floor restaurant

The next morning, I decided to go for a walk around the hotel to check out the neighbourhood.

It was pure suburbia, mostly stores, banks and car dealerships. I found it interesting nonetheless simply because of the language of the signs.

It would have been nice to see some of the things I wanted to during my brief stay in Guangzhou. The city features avant-garde architecture such as Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House; the carved box-shaped Guangdong Museum; and the iconic Canton TV Tower skyscraper, resembling a thin hourglass. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, a temple complex from 1894.

At 11:00 AM the airport shuttle did exactly that – shuttled us the 20 minute drive to Baiyun International Airport.  We arrived rather early.  Having already received our boarding passes in Vietnam, we just needed to clear security and customs, which was a breeze.  Although they did confiscate my fave hot sauce from Vietnam – it was over 100 ml 😢. (I only traveled with  a carry on and a Herschel knapsack, no checked luggage / best way to travel 🧳).

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While I waited for my flight to board, I sat, had coffee and chatted a bit with my new friend Petr, whom I met the night prior as we both waited for our shuttle to the hotel.  That helped pass the time quickly.  Then, off I went to departure Gate A160 to board and be on my way back to Canada.


The flight was long – I don’t know how else to make 15 hours pass fast – most of my flight was during the “day” – so I watched a lot of movies, read, did word search (I clearly made a typo in my Insta story above lol).  


Upon landing at Pearson International, I was greeted with a blanket of white snow and a balmy temp of -11, a huge difference from the 31 degrees I had become accustomed to.

Welcome Home!

I’m suffering from jet lag, my sleep is off and I have no motivation for the time being. Thankfully I took 2 work days off at the end of my trip to deal with the time difference.

Next blog will cover my fave moments, foods and things about Vietnam and well as some things I wasn’t so fond of.  Tune in shortly.  

Why Do I Take Pics?

I am frequently asked why I take so many pictures … of everything!  I always respond “cause I like to”.

But when push comes to shove, I don’t only take pics cause I like to, I do it because they capture life moments of the things and people that I love.

These are the main reasons I take pictures of pretty much everything:

1. To Hold On To Memories

Moments are fleeting aren’t they?   Time passes quickly, I can’t believe that my babies are now grown up, young women … I’m glad I took so many pics of them so that I can look back on and relive those memories (our memories are known to fade over time).   Taking pictures helps me to hang on to those memories just a wee bit longer. Each of my kids have scrapbooks filled with memories of their loved ones, lives, birthdays, vacations … the BIG moments. I can pass the scrapbooks filled with their photos along to them so that they look at them and relive their memories and to share them one day with their children.

With the advent of FaceBook and Instagram … I now post pics digitally, so I no longer “scrapbook” per se, I found a website that links to Facebook and/or Insta to create a portrait of my life and milestones.  I do it per year, so that I can look back at the year in its entirety. I tend to forget how much I really do and the great things I’ve accomplished no matter how little throughout a year, the printed day by day book helps me to relieve these memories and how much I have to be grateful for.

My Social Book Link:  https://www.mysocialbook.com

2. To See The Beauty In Everyday Things

Beauty really is everywhere and really is in the eye of the beholder.  Once I started noticing details, I started to see how much beauty is in everything around me, and sometimes in the most ordinary places. I see things much differently now, I’m more appreciative.

3. Express Myself

I love being able to express myself through the camera and use it as an extension of myself to tell stories. The good thing with modern technology is that it’s so easy nowadays, no more having to carry a clunky camera with you (unless you want to of course!) .  You can take photos of everything from your lunch to changing seasons, vacations, family and friends in an instant. These are the images that tell my story, my pics have changed and evolved as I have changed and evolved.  Photographs can show more than just how something looked. They can capture how something felt.

14369923_10154368123655168_2404424584055590009_n📷: Kodak Tourist Camera, a recent find at a local vintage store

 4.They Are The Best Souvenirs

Photographs are the best souvenir from my travels. They are personal to me and each one has a story behind it. I’m not a fan of clutter, I believe everything has a place … so trinkets aren’t my thing … they inevitably break, or clutter up your home. My professionally printed albums line up nicely on my bookshelf ready to enjoy whenever I want to.

5. I Really Do Enjoy It

Photography is honestly uber enjoyable to me.  Shooting the pics is a blast, I get to capture a moment, an event, the smile on someone’s face.  I like the aspect of taking a day to drive around – to somewhere I haven’t been to see what I can shoot – it’s FUN!  Sorting and editing images is an essential part of the process and I get a sense of accomplishment once I’ve completed it and it looks great!

With all the beauty, joy, love, variety, history, adventure, emotion, and awesomeness out there in the world, get out there with your camera/phone and experience it!  You don’t have to be a professional photographer to be a photographer!


~ “Photography is a love affair with life.” – Burke Uzzel