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What is Guangzhou actually like?

Hi all. I've recently been offered a job in Hong Kong and a job in Guangzhou and I wanted to ask your thoughts on Guangzhou, warts and all.

I know I'm leaving this thread open to the kind of nonsensical moaning that litters less reputable expat forums, but go for it, I think I should be able to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Firstly, the background. I've been in Shanghai for the last five years, so I'm China acclimatised. My wife is Chinese, I speak ok(ish) Mandarin and have visited many Chinese cities, but I've not had more than a brief moment in Guangzhou, so am keen to hear your thoughts.

Hong Kong I know well.

If the subject matter is too broad, some areas of particular interest include:

Guangzhou's reputation as a crime haven
Lifestyle - eating/drinking out, things to do
Environment - access to green areas, mountains, beaches etc
Areas to live - Don't bother with the walled expat community types
How international is it?
What makes you stay in Guangzhou?

Thanks in advance and happy holidays

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Guangzhou Forum